Remember after 9/11 when companies started selling ridiculous “safety” gimcracks like office-escape parachutes to nervous office drones?
Several companies have stepped up promotion on armor for kids.
These are companies that generally cater to people who want military-style gear like gun enthusiasts and police/military personnel. But now they’re promoting various products for school children.
One company, Bullet Blocker, sells backpacks and ballistic inserts which can be installed in an existing backpack. The inserts weigh about 1.25 lbs (.6 kilograms for you metric types). These items are promoted as “child safety supplies.” Another company, Amendment II, sells bags with “Disney Princess” or “Avengers” themes, and a level II or IIIA (your choice) ballistic interceptor plate.
How effective are these plates? It varies. The plates offered are generally ones designed to resist handgun fire. A IIIA rating indicates that a vest is protective up to and including .44 Magnum bullets. This covers most handguns. However, repeated fire can overcome these plates, and they only offer protection over the part of the body they are covering. They are also limited against things like rifle fire and armor-piercing rounds, which are legal to purchase in the US.
Humans are the most rational creatures on this planet, and yet we have major blind spots in our thought processes. When you hear that you have a one-in-a-million chance of winning the lottery, your brain reads the “one-in-a-million” part in a very little voice and fixates on the “winning the lottery” part. Statistically speaking, it’s extremely unlikely that your child will ever need something like this. But it’s not human nature to think in those terms. Your brain focuses on the fact that the possibility exists. This armor technology has limits, but they do offer some protection. And humans have this need to feel safe, and to feel that their loved ones are safe. People need to feel that they did all they could. These companies cater to that need. Is it wrong or exploitive?
In a world where we even need to worry about this, I honestly don’t know.
Robert is a science geek with a passion for science fiction. He has a BS in general biology and currently works in an occupational health lab at The University of Arizona. Additionally, Boumis has published three short stories, all science fiction, and does costuming in his spare time. His interests include classic science fiction novels, sci-fi films, filmmaking, UFOs, and video games. Follow his Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Robert-J-Boumis/142544852462290?ref=ts