Well here's some more depressing news: Mother Jones's Tim Murphy has the full story of why adults are stocking up on backpacks lined with "carbon nanotube armor" in the wake of the Newtown massacre. "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," Derek Williams, president of Amendment II, one manufacturer in an entire sad micro-industry of extra-safe backpacks, told Murphy.
And it's terribly sad that parents thinking that these backpacks are a good idea and even more depressing that these things might actually serve a purpose. At one point in our history an ad like this one, from Bullet Blocker (
Another bulletproof backpack company, Bullet Blocker, has the following ad, which might have seemed as exploitative as it is depressing, but in light of Newtown, it's not that far off:
In 2007, Engadget's Joshua Topolsky first reported on bulletproof backpacks as a sort of joke: "Sending your kid off to school these days isn't what it used to be -- at least that's what one company called MJ Safety Solutions would have you believe -- because they're selling a bulletproof backpack." Italics mean you're not supposed to believe this thing exists in reality.
Now, as Murphy points out, there are several different kinds of packs and armor complete with themes from the Avengers to a Disney Princess model. And while the packs run around the $200-300 range, body armor can run parents up to $500:
Kid body armor? Bulletproof backpacks? And we thought we had qualms with the idea of arming the teachers.