A rush on “armored backpacks” has been reported after the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary last week, after a gun sales spike was confirmed by the FBI in the way of single-day increased applications for gun background checks in Colorado alone the day after the killings.
The rush on armored backpacks seems to be one of the ways Americans are coping with the knowledge that a school shooting could unfold in such a horrific and unstoppable way, and while the country debates over how best to handle an outbreak of shooting, expensive body armor for tots is an emerging trend.
ABC reported on the rush on armored backpacks, quoting manufacturers that say the protective measure — which costs several hundred dollars — is akin to a seatbelt. Noting that the armor works for handguns but not the style of high-capacity weaponry used in Newtown, the news agency says:
“At least three companies that make armored backpacks designed to shield children caught in a shootings also are reporting a large spike in sales and interest … The body armor inserts fit into the back panel of a child’s backpack, and they sell for about $150 to $300, depending on the company.”
At best, the rush on armored backpacks seems to be a palliative solution — one provided with the knowledge we can not directly address the root cause of a school shooting nor reduce one’s likelihood. At worst, the armored backpack rush is capitalizing on fear and tragedy, providing snake oil to parents and children with the knowledge not one child will likely be saved by the clearly incomplete measure.
Apparently some people have concluded that the problem in Connecticut was just too few armored backpacks: tmblr.co/ZjF_YyZi0oLq
— Ari Kohen (@kohenari) December 19, 2012
Ken Larsen, 41, explained the reasoning for an armored backpack, which may shed light on the alleged rush. He says:
“It’s a no brainer. My son’s life is invaluable … If I can get him a backpack for $200 that makes him safer, I don’t even have to think about that. Where is my credit card? … Kids already carry backpacks. When there is a shooting, you run for your life. Having it right there and on when he runs for his life gives him more safety.”
But the sellers of armored backpacks and guns similar to those used that horrible day seem to have few reservations about stoking the sorts of fears that may in part fuel the cycle of violence. The Huffington Post quotes Robert Akers of Rapid Firearms in South Dakota as saying:
“It’s a madhouse … Any time they have one of these shootings or an election, it gets that way. I don’t even want to sell them right now because I won’t be able to replace them for probably six months. … The price is only going to go up higher.”
Do you think the rush on armored backpacks will translate to safer American school kids?