Commercial Window Shield of Toledo, Ohio is facing criticism for marketing its shatterproof windows using a photograph from Sandy Hook Elementary School the day 26 people were murdered. An e-mail from the company described a product that can “help keep out unwanted intruders” alongside the image of Sandy Hook’s shattered entrance.
Newtown families and Sandy Hook school officals said the company should be “ashamed” of using the tragedy to imply the company’s products could have stopped the shooter and his assault rifle. “We get a lot of spam e-mails and companies pitching their security products but this one stood out because the first thing you see is a crime scene photo,” Essex Board of Education Chair Lon Seidman said. “To somehow insinuate that the product would have somehow prevented what happened was just woefully inappropriate.”
According to the Hartford Courant, local officials demanded that Commercial Window Shield issue a retraction and apology. “I did not intend for the e-mail to come across in the way that it did,” a Commercial Window Shield employee said in an e-mail apology. “I hope you are able to accept my apology, as our intention was not to cause you or the people of Newtown any further pain or anguish. I am literally sick over this.”
Commercial Window Shield is only one of a long line of businesses that have profited, or tried to profit, from the massacre. There has been a surge in bulletproof whiteboards, backpacks, and school supplies. While schools that buy these products are likely well-meaning, aiming to protect their students, research calls into question whether these tactics are more effective than prevention.
The firearms industry may have gained the most from a year of mass shootings, since gun sales surged during the debate over gun violence prevention. The manufacturer that sold Adam Lanza his Bushmaster XM-15 assault rifle has continued to earn Cerberus Capital Management millions, despite the parent company’s promise to sell it after Newtown.