Parents are buying their kids bulletproof school uniforms and armoured backpacks. Really. Tell me this is not a culture in a decline at least as bad as that of poor old Western Europe. What else can be said about a nation where legislators deliberately ensure that schools need to do stuff like this?
Barry Tull, headteacher of Worcester Preparatory School in rural Maryland, has 80 ballistic shields deployed in his classrooms disguised as whiteboards and clipboards. Some teachers use them to assign homework, others lean them up against the wall, but most of Worcester's middle and high-school children know what they are for.
"Our teachers were concerned to begin with about whether they were expected to be first responders, but at least they feel they have something now as opposed to cowering in the corner with their kids," says Tull. "The former secret service trainers we had in showed us how they can deploy them; how to hold them in front of their body defensively or use them offensively where the teacher charges at someone with the shield as cover."
Some would say these are counter-terrorism measures. I mean, that's what they seem like, right? But when a white man shoots a bunch of kids and their teachers it can't be terrorism, because that would make rational gun control laws counter-terrorism measures! So, by the power of logic, terrorists may well be crazy brown guys with pressure cookers, but are never, ever, white men with guns.
It's probably in the wonderful United States Constitution, somewhere. Right alongside the bit that said everyone was free except for the slaves. And that's not not an entirely unrelated issue...