Fri, Dec 21, 2012 - Page 7 News List

US school shooting fuels bulletproof backpack sales

AFP, WASHINGTON

On the heels of the deadly shooting tragedy in Connecticut, parents’ anxiety is driving a surge in sales of bulletproof backpacks, in the hope the armored bags can give their kids a safety edge.

For less than US$300, the company Amendment II — a play on the Second Amendment to the US constitution, which guarantees the right to bear arms — is selling a boys’ pack with Avengers characters on it and a Little Mermaid one for girls.

“Sewn into the rear of the pack, you can always be confident that the armor hasn’t been accidentally left at home and that you or your child are protected in case of the unthinkable,” the company said.

“It is an awful thing — you would never imagine your child with this kind of stuff — but since the Newtown tragedy, our sales are more than 10 times better than usual,” said Richard Craig, head of the Utah-based company.

Amendment II is among a handful of companies that have seized the moment to offer protective gear for US schoolchildren whose parents arguably feel more vulnerable than ever.

Another company, BulletBlocker, is offering inserts for between US$150 and US$200 that slip into a backpack like a book — but with a different purpose.

“Light, easy to use, it is as big as a book,” BulletBlocker vice president Elmar Uy said.

He said that since Friday last week, sales were up by 40 percent to 40 inserts a day.

“We don’t guarantee anything,” Uy said. “It is just peace of mind, security for parents.”

“It is non-stop since Sandy Hook. It is all about the terrible things that happened last week, the end of the world hysteria, the Maya prediction; there is a lot of political uncertainty,” Devin Standard said.

Standard’s company, Black Dragon Tactical, has been selling 30 “ballistic panels” a day.

“The question is: Is your life worth US$229? Most people, when they think about this, they say yes,” he added. “It is a little security blanket, it weighs almost nothing. But it is always there, just in case you are at the wrong place one day.”

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