Fibonacci Blue / Flickr Minnesota March for Our Lives...
Fibonacci Blue / Flickr

It’s a great time to be alive. As the nation continues its refusal to limit access to guns that cause mass shootings in American schools, administrators find themselves with few choices as they seek to prepare for and mitigate the potential damage of a shooting on their own campuses.

Since nobody seems able to keep the guns out of schools, folks are getting creative! In New Hampshire, they’re offering teachers a special $100,000 “death benefit” to ensure that if a student guns down a choir teacher, that musical educator’s funeral costs are covered. More than a dozen states have introduced bills that would arm teachers, so they can shoot back at disgruntled students! Eighth-graders are even getting “ballistic shield” inserts for their backpacks at their middle school graduations, because what better way to prepare for high school?

And in Philadelphia-area schools, they’re stocking up on military-grade trauma kits—to help bridge that crucial gap between when a shooter first begins his rapid-fire assault on students and teachers, and when emergency medical professionals can actually get to those struck down by the bullets.

“This is one thing that people can do,” said Matthew Levy, chairman of a nationwide coalition of public-health officials and medical professionals called Stop the Bleed. “Most mass shootings are over in a matter of minutes, but it may take responders a substantial amount of time to secure that scene and get resources to the injured.”

The kits are essentially first aid kits on steroids, battlefield-tested and created with today’s school shootings in mind. Despite the fact that the duffel bags are stuffed with things like “tourniquets, hyfin vents that can be applied to a chest wound, and medicated gauze pads treated with a coagulant to stop blood oozing from a bullet hole,” some officials are quick to insist that military-grade trauma care can be helpful when those clumsy Philly kids get hurt by things other than bullets.

“We’re not just focusing on shooting in schools — it’s bigger than that,” said Chrissy DePaolantonio, Safe Schools planning coordinator for the county’s emergency services department. “Even if they fall down the bleachers and get a big gash, it’s really controlling a bleed so they don’t bleed out.”

While the kits rarely cost more than $100, building a proper stockpile requires far more than a single kit—and the training required isn’t cheap either.

But in a world where politicians owned by the NRA refuse to take a stand, it would appear that the absolute least we can do—and some might say it’s the most we can do—is to ensure that students survive the gun violence that elected officials seem unwilling to stop.

Either way, it’s a lucrative business, indeed.

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