Yes, let’s put bomb shelters in kindergarten classrooms, this solves everything
Despite the fact that there are over 100 countries around the world that have solved the mass shooting problem, giving us all the data we could possibly ever want to pull from in order to solve it ourselves (hint: The solution is gun control. It has always been gun control. It will always be gun control), we Americans have always been an innovative bunch. So here we are, innovating our own solution to the fact that we have mass shootings just about every day, and many of them take place in schools, killing children.
And by golly, it seems like maybe someone has figured it out! Oklahoma, a Republican stronghold that’s definitely not known for progressive views and solutions, is trying something that’s so simple, it’s frankly shocking that we haven’t thought of it before: Just put a bomb shelter in every classroom, cafeteria and gym. I know, I know. Can you believe no one’s suggested already?
The shelters come from a company called Shelter-In-Place, and they’re marketed as “bulletproof saferoom storm shelters.” Yes, that’s right. Not only do they protect your kids from the rain of bullets they may face in a classroom, but also from tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes, supposedly. Honestly we can see the benefit of having some kind of weather protection in schools, since no legislation on the planet is going to prevent a natural disaster. However, as a longtime Nebraska resident, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that any tornado strong enough to flatten a school is gonna pick that thing up and toss it like a hacky sack.
But it has padded benches and “plush” carpeting so that will probably be fine, right?
Plus, according to Shelter-In-Place’s website, the shelters can also be used as “a little nook reading/quiet/tutoring room” for those times that your children aren’t avoiding staring down the barrel of an AR-15. So useful!
The bottom line here is that this is insane. Literally, this is insane. We’re so opposed to even the bare minimum, common sense gun control laws that we would rather teach our children that it’s normal to sometimes have to stop in the middle of math class to practice hiding in a bulletproof closet. That’s where we are at. Even Shelter-In-Place notes on its website that there are an average of seven public shootings in the United States every goddamn day, which is a batshit statistic, and yet, nobody can see how equally batshit it is to normalize bulletproof shelters for school children and consider it to be a solution.
And that’s before we even get into the cost of these things. The classroom-size models start at around $30,000 a pop, and Newsweek reported that one Oklahoma school dropped $400,000 to put them in just six classrooms. Let’s just play devil’s advocate for a second and assume we should consider these shelters as a solution to the horrifying regularity of school shootings in the U.S. In order to protect students from an active shooter situation, you would need one in every classroom and every common area, and probably a few out on the playground, just to be safe. At $30,000 a pop. We can’t even afford textbooks and basic classroom supplies, yet we’re going to consider this? Shelter-In-Place suggests school districts should “work with their local banks to set up a 20 year lease agreement for the safe rooms,” at up to 3.5 percent interest. You good with that, taxpayers? Didn’t think so.
Is this rock bottom yet, America? Have we exhausted all the excuses? Can we finally agree that it’s not acceptable to foster an environment in which grade school children may face murder in their classrooms? This isn’t the solution. We all know this isn’t the solution. But when are we going to actually enact what works?