Some people say there's not much regional variation in American artifacts and ways. A can of Coke, a pair of jeans, a supermarket is more or less the same from Maine to Arizona.

But we read about a fashion that, as far as we know, is unique to New York City.It seems a former city cop is marketing bullet-proof back-to-school clothes - vests, blazers, T-shirts. Bullet-proof clip-boards and book bags give added protection.

Despite high prices - $450 for a jacket - three dozen orders are already being filled.

That should not be surprising in a city that recorded 1,905 homicides last year. A number of children have been shot in recent weeks.

But it is certainly grim. May this tragic symbol of urban barbarism remain a New York oddity.