In a town where there are four officers to keep 1,500 people safe, the police department is taking an unusual approach to school safety: testing to see if textbooks can stop bullets.
The Panama Police Department in Le Flore County, Okla., fired rounds from various guns into textbooks of varying thicknesses to see if they would stop the bullets. The results, according to KTUL News: Two books stopped a handgun fired at close range, and three stopped a round fired from an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle.
The station quoted Police Chief John Whiteaker as saying: “I’m not saying that this is the be-all, save-all of a child. It’s not feasible for a school district to put bulletproof vests on their children. Is that really the type of school you’d want them to go to?”
How to keep kids safe in school has become a heated national debate in the wake of the Feb. 14 shooting deaths of 17 people at a South Florida high school, the latest in a string of mass shootings in schools in recent years. President Trump has called for arming teachers, as survivors of the Florida shooting have been advocating for new measures to control the sale of guns.
A 2015 story in Popular Mechanics reported on a Demolition Ranch experiment to see how much paper it would take to stop a bullet by firing .50-caliber rounds into stacks of paper.
Surprisingly enough, two sets of five reams of paper — that’s 5,000 sheets in total — weren’t enough to stop the a .50-cal in its tracks. Two separate bullets, one an armor-piercing tracer round, made it seven reams (3,500 sheets) in before escaping out the side, probably due to the way some of the reams reel back on impact. That’s over twice as many pages as you’ll find in the typical copy of War and Peace, and thicker ones at that. Way too many to ever fit in your front shirt pocket.
You can watch the full KTUL report here: