No kid should have to worry about getting shot while getting an education – but kids in America do.
Our country has a school shooting problem. It’s such an issue here that students have regular drills preparing them for an active shooter situation and companies have started to produce bulletproof backpacks as back-to-school options.
And there’s really no signs that these incidents will slow down.
In fact, a July 2019 report from CNN found that over the last 10 years, school shooting incidents have increased from 13 incidents that took five lives back in 2009 to 29 incidents that claimed 37 lives in 2018.
An August 2019 report by the Pew Research Center corroborates these claims, stating that “active shooter incidents,” or incidents during which “one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area,” in general have been on the rise in recent years.
Most Americans don’t really agree on why school shootings, or active shootings in general, are happening, and we certainly don’t agree on how to stop them – but one thing we should agree on is that the violent deaths of our kids isn’t something anyone should take lightly.
Of course, that didn’t stop one American clothing brand from trying.
The New York-based “neo-native menswear design house,” Bstroy, recently unveiled its 2020 spring line, which includes four distressed hoodies emblazoned with the names of schools that are the sites of the deadliest mass shootings in the United States …
Virginia Tech and Stoneman Douglas.
And yes, they come complete with effing bullet holes.
Naturally, people are not happy about the line and took to the brand’s Instagram feed to voice their displeasure – and let me tell you, Bstroy is being dragged for it.
“There are so many ways to use fashion and clothing to make a sociopolitical commentary – this isn’t it,” Instagram user and fashion writer Katie Wilkes posted. “How do you think the parents who saw their children’s clothing with bullet holes through them feel seeing this? Comforted? Empowered? As if we are on the precipice of change? I doubt all of the above … ”
Fred Guttenberg, the father of Jaime Guttenberg, one of the victims of the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stonemen Douglas High School, confirmed Wilkes’ thoughts, tweeting:
“Under what scenario could somebody think this was a good idea? This has me so upset. If any of my followers (know) anybody involved with this clothing line, please ask them to stop it immediately.”
Under what scenario could somebody think this was a good idea? This has me so upset. If any of my followers no anybody involved with this clothing line, please ask them to stop it immediately.https://t.co/VzAlog0TCt
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) September 17, 2019
Stoneman Douglas survivor Delaney Tarr echoed Guttenberg’s feelings, tweeting, “So this is f—king disgusting. Unacceptable. Bullet holes?? People died. People DIED. Jesus.”
After receiving the backlash, the brand’s co-founder, Brick Owens, posted a response to his personal Instagram defending the line.
“Sometimes life can be painfully ironic,” it reads. “Like the irony of dying violently in a place you considered to be a safe, controlled environment, like school. We are reminded all the time of life’s fragility, shortness and unpredictability, yet we are also reminded of its infinite potential … ”
In addition, the New York Times reports that the brand says the line was never going to be sold but was instead being used to raise awareness about the larger issue.
Whatever the intention behind the hoodies was, it missed the mark.
Like Tarr wrote, people died. It’s real loss and real pain that real people feel daily – and will feel until the day that they die.
I’m all for using art as a catalyst for change and raising awareness about this issue, but not at the expense of the people who have already suffered so much.
What do you think of these hoodies? Do they inspire change or are they tasteless displays? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.