Has it really come to this?

December 24, 2012 • 9:36 am

It has come to this: bulletproof backpacks to keep your kid from being shot. There are many makers; here’s one example:

Screen shot 2012-12-21 at 7.03.30 AM

The Washington Post describes how sales of these items are booming since the Newtown murders. Here’s an excerpt:

 At least half a dozen companies sell bulletproof backpacks and vests for children, and since the country’s second-worst school shooting, they say business has greatly increased. In Arizona, a body armor manufacturer called Amendment II says sales of its bulletproof children’s backpacks — Avengers for boys, Disney princesses for girls — have risen more than 500 percent. Black Dragon Tactical, a survivalist company in New Hampshire, is promoting armored backpack inserts on its Facebook page.

“Arm the teachers, in the meantime, bulletproof the kids,” Black Dragon said on its Facebook page Sunday. “These panels fit into most common backpacks.”

Yes, by all means arm the teachers. Holy mother of God!

And check out that Black Dragon Facebook page (and feel free to leave a comment). After taking lots of verbal flak, Black Dragon replied to its critics:

Picture 1

47 thoughts on “Has it really come to this?

    1. I guess that some people think that there vis a substantive difference between murdering your children (acceptable) and murdering my children (unacceptable).Or have I misunderstood something (again)?

  1. Given the concerns I remember in middle school and high school about the number of books we had to carry home*, I can’t believe that it suddenly shifted to making kids lug around armor.

    * And the effect of that weight on our growing backs.

  2. That would add a lot of weight to kids’ backs, not to mention the weight of parental paranoia. What if the shooter is facing them?

    Considering the fact that a survivalist’s guns were used against kids in Connecticut, isn’t this a case of self-fulfilling prophecy? The more guns that get sold to paranoid people, the more paranoid people will snap and shoot the un-paranoid, which will make more paranoia, and increase gun sales, etc. ad nauseum

  3. Bullet proof backpacks appeal to our need to actually do something. Rather than sit around like a rabbit in the headlights.

    Whether it is helpful or not is not answerable yet since they are new. Hard to see that they are. The kids in Newtown were all shot in classrooms where they weren’t wearing their backpacks. And they aren’t big enough to shield the whole kid anyway.

    Given a little kid with a bullet proof backpack and an adult shooter at close range, I wouldn’t bet on the backpack.

    There is a problem for sure. I don’t have a solution and maybe no one does. Even gun control runs up against the huge installed base of guns in our country, most estimates are 300 million or so.

    1. Love the message it sends to all the children. We will work to pass any laws necessary to protect unborn cells. But you? You’re on your own. Don’t look for adults to save you. (Not to late to ask Santa to revise that wish list!)

  4. As a non-American, I cannot understand how these people fail to realise that, in the rest of the world, not having to arm yourself is seen as progress. I feel lucky to live in a country that is too old to have founding principles from a former age used as an excuse to stay firmly stuck in the past. There is nothing weak or pathetic about sacrificing the odd “freedom” for the greater good – is that not the foundation for a civilised society?

    1. There is nothing weak or pathetic about sacrificing the odd “freedom” for the greater good – is that not the foundation for a civilised society?

      Sorry, but I’m listening to some lectures about a guy called Socrates. Obviously a barbarian who had nothing to say of value, and has been meaninglessly repeated for 2500 years.

    1. When (if ever) were kids not allowed to take their backpacks into class? How else are they going to get their text books from class to class? And where would they leave them outside class time? Are you going to provide some sort of lockers?

  5. “no rapist will ever assault them”.

    We’ll just gloss over the fact that they’re most likely to be raped (and sadly 1 in 5 of them will be at some point) by someone they know well, i.e. someone with whom they keep the gun out of reach in a cabinet or purse.

    Likewise most burglaries are in empty properties, and most paranoia about young people is just the expression of stereotypes about the young.

  6. It makes perfect sense. Just put up notices at the school doors instructing shooters to ask the kids to put on their backpacks and turn around.

  7. Amendment II must be expecting to receive a lot of orders for these backpacks. The company has doubled its production costs by making “Avengers for boys, Disney princesses for girls.” Yuck!

  8. Yes. The bulletproof backpack may stop the bullet going through, but I suspect they will be useless in saving the child. The massive speed of these high velocity projectiles will be sufficient to plasma-ize the heart and organs in their little bodies due to their massive impact.

    There is no getting around it. Get rid of the fucking guns. Period.

  9. It seems that no death is so tragic and so horrific that some depraved lowlife won’t attempt to make some money off the corpse.
    I’m finding that being an American grows increasingly mortifying with each passing year.

  10. Please, JC, write a rebuttal to today’s OpEd in the NYTimes by Rabbi Jonathan Sachs. The Moral Animal needs religion to be moral is his point. Taking up all that space in the NYT that could be so better used for an intelligent discussion of morality – or of cats, or kings.

  11. No doubt, the backpacks would have saved the Newtown students huddled in the closet with their teacher’s arms wrapped around them, if they were wearing them, or at least protected their BACKS – very temporarily.

    Perhaps all students should be completely clad head-to-toe with body armor, like the Newtown assassin.

    Are there any restrictions on the sale of body armor? Who besides police and the military has any business acquiring such armor? Ought its procurement by a civilian be prima facie evidence, or at least warrant strong suspicion, of incredibly ill intent?

    1. No, banning body armor would be infringing on the rights of Americans to protect themselves. It would also unjustifiably and grievously hurt the prospective profits of the armor manufacturers.

      You just need to make sure all the armed teachers are using armor-piercing ammunition.

      [/sarcasm], in case it isn’t obvious.

      1. Not to mention teachers will need better body armor to stop the new widely available armor piercing bullets designed to stop shooter who wear body armor.

      2. You just need to make sure all the armed teachers are using armor-piercing ammunition

        You can get armour-piercing bullet-nukes in machine-gun magazines (per the NRA’s revised teacher-arming guidelines).
        Err, why?

    2. Filippo
      Sarcasm or not, there is no way that body armour backpacks would save a child from getting killed. The kinetic energy imparted to a high-velocity bullet would simply kill the kid, penetration or no penetration.

      “Blunt Trauma. Even if the fabric stops the bullet, however, NIJ notes that there
      is another source of potential injury—“blunt trauma” from the impact:
      If…the armor that covers the torso deforms from the bullet impact, the
      surface of the armor against the body at the point of impact will be
      forced against or into the skin. Unlike a penetrating wound, in which the
      skin is broken and the bullet tears through the body, the deformation of
      armor from bullet impact results in blunt trauma. This type of
      nonpenetrating injury can cause severe contusions (bruises) or internal
      damage and can even result in death.70
      Body armor users must therefore also take into account the capabilities of their
      armor to prevent injury from blunt trauma, even if the bullet does not actually
      penetrate the vest. The force of the blow transmitted through the vest could kill or
      seriously injure the wearer even if he or she does not suffer a penetrating wound.

      Found at P.15

      1. It’s a moot point any how since those backpacks will only stop the relatively slower bullets fired by handguns, not the ones used by the shooter. You are right though, to meet an NIJ rating the material can’t have more than 44mm of compression from a bullet impact and I doubt these backpacks would exceed this standard by much.

  12. I think that all children should be afforded the protection that the President’s children have at their school.

    1. That is ridiculous. Not all children are subject to the same threat as the President’s children. Because of all the wacko right-wing lunatics who think Obama is destroying America in league with the UN and the Muslim Brotherhood, Obama has had more threats against him than past Presidents.

      Here is a sensible Republican talking about the GOP/NRA nightmare America that stupid gun policies are creating: https://mobile.twitter.com/edwood3/status/283301159739994112/photo/1

      How insane and stupid our nation has been to fall for this lunacy, where the gun industry and the NRA are encouraging people to buy more guns for their safety, and then using the threat posed by the greater number of guns to scare people into buying more guns. This is a classic escalation of fear, and it needs to be stopped. There is no point when we will have enough guns, and it will just become worse and worse and more dangerous and Americans will feel less and less secure.

      Living in fear is not living. It is a nightmare, it is surviving, and I have some experience with this.

      Gun nuts are trying to create a death-cult apocolyptic America, and it’s driven by the profit motive coupled with a stupid redneck frontier/confederate/sovereignty/survivalist/doomsday prepper paranoid mentality that has gripped too many people. This is what it means when people say the terrorists have won, when America lives in fear and terror and is at war with itself.

  13. Lets use some logic here. Recreational drugs are mostly illegal yet drug users still get plenty. Make stricter gun laws and only the criminals will have guns. If a gunman has his choice between two buildings’ building A most people are armed, building B not one person is armed, which one is he going to choose.

    1. Trivially false dichotomy: if a madman doesn’t have ready access to guns, he’ll have to use something else. c.f. the similarly-timed attack in China, in which the death toll still stands at 0.

    2. That isn’t how things have worked out in European countries that have strict gun controls… In practice, it’s very hard to obtain guns and even criminals are reluctant to use or steal them, since they know that escalates their crime.

  14. Here is what I emailed our local school superintendent, a week ago. FYI, I live in Texas, and the superintendent hasn’t bothered to respond.

    Dear Mr. ,

    My heart is still aching over the mass murder/suicide at Sandy Point Elementary. I’m a resident of Boerne, and as the media increasingly focus on gun control laws and mental health issues, controversies which won’t be resolved for ages — especially with our grid-locked US Congress — I would suggest a safer and more immediate action.
    Mental illness nor not, assault weapon or carefully aimed BB gun, Adam Lanza shot through the one barrier between himself and his victims.
    If the barrier had been bullet proof, he wouldn’t have reached them. There are many sorts of bullet-proof barriers, from glass to steel. The latter could be electronically seen through by video camera.
    If the barrier had been wired to an alarm that, under attempted breech, immediately alerted police, fire, and EMS with live video feed, and if it caused a danger-alert light to warn each and every room, closet, bathroom and hallway, all might still be alive, today. Even Adam might be alive, available to examine and study, to protect from himself and to protect others from him.
    So, while pundits argue tactics which will not protect anyone in the immediate future, I thought you might consider the idea of applying for a grant from Homeland Security for the funds to create such enhanced barriers, to offer real protection for our children, teachers, and staff. It wouldn’t strain local budgets, and it would add jobs to our local economy, while the work is being done. You might even be able to spearhead a move to have all Texas public schools and universities arrange for similar set-ups. Perhaps Homeland Security would take to the idea and offer it to other states, as well.
    Let’s face it: In the long run, it is far cheaper than the resources required to deal with mass murders like the one in Connecticut. It is also far less heart-breaking.
    If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know. I do not have children of my own; rather, I tutor children in the Boerne ISD and consider all our children a shared responsibility.


      1. Thank you. I offer the idea freely and anonymously, wishing for it to go viral and reach widespread media attention and support, so it will wind up in widespread use,.

  15. Idiots are always happy to capitalize on others’ tragedies. The backpack wouldn’t help in any of the previous school murder sprees. The killers don’t seem to have a habit of shooting people square in the back – and certainly not while the victims wear backpacks.

  16. I absolutely despair… as someone who lives in the UK where thankfully we have VERY strict gun controls.. I just don’t get Americas reluctance to embrace gun controls… well actually I do…money.. arms ar BIG business.

    1. Also, American “Exceptionalism,” which translates as a profound sense of entitlement, self-regard, hubris.

      Ought Capitalism qualify as a “religion,” here in The Land of the Fee and The Home of the Craven, what with all the bowing and scraping and genuflecting before the altar of Commercenary?

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