When a “heartwarming” story is not heartwarming

Today’s Columbus Dispatch contains a story about a woman who has started a business making bulletproof inserts for backpacks as a means of protecting kids from school shootings.

I’m sure the woman in question means well, but this is another one of those sorts of stories that are cast as heartwarming and inspirational but which, in reality, stand as utter indictments of our society’s abject failure to do the bare minimum to take care of its citizens. It is also a story about how we do more to encourage the monetization of our society’s failures — “Hey, this person has started a business premised on the fears parents have of their kids getting shot!” — than we do to actually address those failures.

Imagine a society in which we keep guns out of the hands of would-be killers rather than sending our kids to school in body armor. Imagine a society in which people get the medical treatment they need rather than rely on GoFundMe drives that, luckily, got a celebrity retweet. Imagine a society in which needy children were fed rather than one in which a kid saved up money from mowing lawns to pay off “lunch debts.”

We can do better, people. We must do better. Don’t accept that the way things are is the way things must be.

Craig Calcaterra

Craig is the author of the daily baseball (and other things) newsletter, Cup of Coffee. He writes about other things at Craigcalcaterra.com. He lives in New Albany, Ohio with his wife, two kids, and many cats.