‘Joe the Plumber’ is marketing a device to counter school shootings
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Toledo’s Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher has taken a break from politics and plumbing to become chief operating officer of a Colorado firm that’s marketing a metal device that can be slipped on classroom doors to block school shooters.
Wurzelbacher, who first gained public attention by confronting Barack Obama during a campaign swing through his neighborhood and subsequently ran for Congress, says he sees the “SwiftShield” device as a nonpartisan way to protect kids.
“This isn’t a Republican or Democrat thing,” says Wurzelbacher, adding that he’s scheduled to meet later this month with Parkland, Florida school shooting survivor David Hogg to discuss the device, which has been sold to schools in Utah, Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma.
Wurzelbacher is a vocal Second Amendment advocate who came under fire in his congressional campaign for recording a video that linked the Holocaust to gun control. But he says he’s tired of arguing over guns and wants to help with a solution to the school shooting problem.
He notes that one of the students killed during the May 18 school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas - 15-year-old Christian Garcia - died while holding shut his classroom door to protect other students. He says the device he’s marketing could prevent similar deaths.
“Getting these in schools is an uphill battle,” said Wurzelbacher. “Schools should be clamoring for solutions. It is quite the opposite.”
Wurzelbacher said his product was invented by a roofer, and he learned about it through “outdoor industry” contacts. He says he’s delivered presentations about it to school superintendents and principals at conferences around the country, and is trying to get corporate sponsors to pay for their installation.
He said many school districts don’t have classrooms with door locks, and the $140 devices are cheaper than installing locks.
“I want to do something that will really help people,” said Wurzelbacher, who is still based in Ohio. “You can be in politics your whole life and not make any changes. Instead of arguing, let’s do something real that the left and right can get behind. Until those issues are solved, we’re coming up with a device to protect your kids.”