We are a nation crippled by fear and mourning following the fatal Newtown shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, especially those of us who do the mundane school drop off and pick up every day. Since last Friday morning, those routines seem to be gripping parents in powerful ways and one of them manifests in armoring your child’s backpack for a day at school. As if you needed any other barometer for how frightened parents are in this post-Newtown climate, consider the “soaring” sales of bullet-proof backpacks specifically for children.
Mother Jones reports that Derek Williams, the president of Amendment II, a company that manufactures “lightweight” body armor, is pioneering the “body armor for kids” market. (I just got sick to my stomach.)
Apparently Amendment II introduced a line of kiddie-looking backpacks, including a SwissGear for teens, an Avengers one, and a Disney Princess one, with their signature carbon nanotube armor. These backpacks have reportedly been designed to protect children in the case of school shootings — we’re seriously marketing stuff with that tagline now?
And since the massacre at Newtown, people — or presumably parents I’ll venture to say — are buying them up like crazy:
“I can’t go into exact sales numbers, but basically we tripled our sales volume of backpacks that we typically do in a month—in one week,” Williams says… “We want to be sensitive to how we do that, but we are gonna try to get the word out that this product does exist that there are ways to at least provide our children with some protection,” Williams says.
Between armor lined backpacks and the parents who sent their sixth grader to school with a gun for “protection,” people are going to think we Americans send our children off to school as if it were a designated battle zone. But with a new assault weapons ban getting ready to hit the Congress floor, perhaps we’ll start to become known for something else.