100 Proof

As a fellow member of the glass industry, I am guessing that you get a ton of questions about glass from family, friends and even acquaintances who seek you out at everything from cocktail parties to kids’ soccer games, looking for the answers to their questions about glass. Though the approaches may differ and the actual questions vary, they are all singular in purpose. I have found they all want just one thing; they want proof.

Consider the recent tragedy in Newtown, Conn., which put a Christmastime break in the collective heart of this country. I am sure you heard the reports the gunman had broken through the glass door’s sidelite to gain entry into the school.  And I would guess that you were asked, as were I, Julie Schimmelpeningh and countless others, if “bullet-proof” glass would have helped.  In fact, a session at last week’s Glass Association of North America talked quite a bit about school safety and changes as a result of increased priority.

That handy-dandy term “bullet-proof” glass is everywhere. In fact, if you see the movie Zero Dark 30, you’ll note that one character was told she avoided death in an ambush because of it. “Thank God for bullet-proof glass,” she was told after an attack on her car.

While “bullet-proof” is a great term–heck, it’s as good as “bomb-proof” or “hurricane-proof”–it’s also just as phony. When people ask me about bullet-proof glass, I tell them what I believe to be the truth. “There is really no such thing as bullet-proof glass,” I say, “the term is a misnomer, because given enough time and weaponry power, any glass will be defeated eventually. The better term is bullet-resistant glass. There are different types and levels of bullet-resistant glass, ranging all the way up to multiply glass-clad polycarbonates that you see in some high-security facilities. And they are very effective.”

So could bullet-resistant glass keep tragedies like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School from happening? Doubtful when you have a person as loaded with fire power as the gunman there was. But what every level of bullet-resistant glass does offer is time. If a gunman needs two or three minutes to breach an opening, instead of 20 or 30 seconds that might make a difference in the future. It’s sad we even have to have this conversation, but we do.

Turning the Page

I watched most of Oprah’s two-part interview with Lance Armstrong last week as well as the 60 Minutes report on him last night and those, too, made me sad. The 60 Minutes piece included an older clip of Armstrong talking about proof—about how there was no proof anywhere that he had done what he was accused of at the time. “If I had done this, wouldn’t there have been some proof?” he asked.  But it also detailed how there were pieces of proof that were either ignored or negated over the years. It made me think, too, of the “Most Influential People in Glass Industry” stories that we’ve run over the years. I’ve always been struck by how many people in the glass industry listed Lance Armstrong as one of their champions. It’s not only kids who can be disillusioned by their heroes. No one needs further proof of that.

Super Sunday …

is just around the corner and I’m hoping you will participate in our annual “Glass Industry Super Bowl Poll” by answering the two simple questions below:

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Results will be published on Friday, but I will tell you I am routing for the 49ers because my sister, who knows little to nothing about football, was in Vegas early in the season when the 49ers were not thought be serious contenders. Her husband, who is very into football, placed some serious Super Bowl bets and urged her to do the same. But she, neophyte that she was, just picked a team from the list because she had once visited San Francisco and liked the city … so she has got some great odds. Go Niners!