I’ve always been a big supporter of free enterprise. It’s what’s made America great. Well one of the things, anyway. My cousin and I once mentored a Junior Achievement group. I stop any time I see kids selling lemonade by the curb. And don’t even talk to me about what a sucker I am for a kid who knocks on my door trying to raise money for his baseball team to travel to an out-of-town tournament or something. Teaching the budding little entrepreneurs about creating wealth through a good idea and hard work can only benefit them (and the rest of us) as they grow. Which makes it really hard for me to criticize kids who are trying to do just that. But I’ll give it the old college try…
The LionHeart Challenge appears to be the English equivalent of what Junior Achievement is on this side of the pond. Kiddies at the Harrow School in Hornsey, just north of London, took part in the competition recently. As one of their teachers said, the big idea is to teach “…the pupils how to work together, create an idea and then present it to others working to deadline.”
Laudable goals, I’m sure. Just one problem. Shouldn’t the product the little whippersnappers design be something that might actually, you know, work?
Not that it was the fault of the kiddies. Not at all. They were given the unenviable task of designing products to combat gun and knife crime. I know. Why that assignment? Because their betters evidently figured…if the little urchins have to come up with ideas anyway, why not do some anti-gun culture reinforcement at the same time?
Let’s see now. They live in a country where gun ownership is all but banned. And you can’t carry a pocket knife that’s more than three inches long or even locks open. So deterring gun and knife crime through self defense and the potential for armed opposition by a potential victim is pretty much out.
So, given those constraints, what did the little rascals come up with?
Pupil Duraly Kayar, 15, said: “We created a bracelet, which has a panic attack button, a camera and a GPS system. It’s linked to the police so when anyone is in trouble they can press the button, take a picture of the person attacking them and the police can track exactly where they are.”
That does sound pretty cool. Cool if you’re a local cop investigating what happened to the poor bracelet-wearing git lying on the ground in a pool of his own blood. Just pop off the bracelet and print out a photo of the attacker. Who’s now long gone.
Again, the kiddies also learned how to work together, put a proposal together, present their idea, yadda, yadda, yadda. All very valuable skills. It’s just too bad they weren’t allowed to work on something that a potential buyer might actually benefit from.