Friday, August 17, 2007

Not Sure What I Think About This.

The Ballistic Bookbag

Pictured above is a product currently available for children and parents preparing for returning to school soon. It's the Ballistic Backpack and it cost $175. Why the high price tag? It's bulletproof. Made from a lightweight product similar to the vests worn by police and military, it's marketed as practical protection from guns and knifes for everyone, but especially your children. At school.

Since 1999 over 328 incidents have occurred, leaving 229 dead and 422 injured in school violence alone. That is an average of about 1 per week since the Columbine Tragedy. In almost 97% of these documented incidents, MJ Safety Solutions backpack could have provided the ballistic protection that could have saved lives.

I'm not sure I buy their claim of a potential 97% success rate, but I do admit, my first thought is, why not? Why not give your kid a bulletproof back pack? Why, effing-not? I mean, it can be crazy out there. How can I not do my best to protect them?

That isn't my only thought though. Other are: What long-term damage am I doing to myself and my children by succumbing to what is clearly a choice made from paranoia? Most schools, I assume, require you to leave your bag in your locker to help prevent this kind of violence. Likely, it wouldn't be available to protect you.

And when are we going to see people commit crimes with ten of these things hanging off of them. If logic leads criminals to duct tape their faces, their bound to use this soon. Given their high cost, when will they become a target of theft, leading to violence?

Also, when are kids going to start testing the bag themselves with their parents gun, Jackass style?

When are we going to get rid of the guns that make this type of product necessary?


Flannery Alden said...

Jesus! Talk about fear-mongering products. If it wasn't so scary, it would be funny.

lulu said...

Ok, on one hand, that's pretty fucked up, on the other hand, I have Lands' End ballistic nylon luggage and it has worn like iron.

Phil said...

Flan - True that.

Lulu - and there you go. I hadn't thought of that. It must last forever.

Valerie said...

Remember the knife stabbing incident at York?

Greenman said...

Valerie - I do. I spent quite a few afternoons with the stabber, George Geider, as his backyard bumped up against Doug Karo's backyard. Even spent some night at sleepovers at his house. Bad choice from a kid picked on to much.

Duff said...

Good points... all. I don't know how I feel about the backpack. That would be extravagant, a bit impractical given what you said about having backpacks left in lockers, etc. Besides that you speak more to the point at the end anyway.

This entry makes me think of the Ani Difranco song "To the Teeth". It's an eloquent & powerful song about all that. For example, "the sun is setting on the century
and we are armed to the teeth
we're all working together now
to make our lives mercifully brief
and schoolkids keep trying to teach us
what guns are all about
confuse liberty with weaponry
and watch your kids act it out
and every year now like christmas
some boy gets the milkfed suburban blues
reaches for the available arsenal
and saunters off to make the news "

If you aren't already a fan of hers, you should check her out. There are lots of listens for different albums on her site ( I couldn't find one for the song I mentioned, but the lyrics are there.

Here's a link to a different Ani song. It's a newer album (Reprieve). I give you... the one called Hypnotized. Listen to Decree too. (

Oh Hell, listen to all of 'em when you find the time. They're all good. She's a great musician, and the best lyricist since Dylan imho.

m'kay. Guess that's my ani plug for you. Sorry if it got pushy. I really think you'd like her stuff though. In case it wasn't obvious, I sure do. =)

Peace out, Phil!

Christina Fleetwood said...

Why don't we just put our kids in full body armor? You know, the rich kids get the plate, middle class get chainmail, and the "less fortunate" ..well boiled leather will just have to do.

If bullet proof backpacks are necessary for the safety of our kids, then they either ALL get them, or they ALL don't.

This is another example of our societies bizarre willingness to de-volve back to the days when the big steel and oil tycoons pranced down the street dripping in money, while hundreds of their own employees and fellow citizens slunk by in threadbare clothes begging for bread and medicine for their kids.

I'm not a communist or anything, but there are some things that are so blatantly geared towards the wealthy and *apparently running out of things to spend their money on* crowd. And this is one. Safety products have become very posh nowadays ya know-even the ones that don't work. Have you seen some of these new bicycle helmets? Tre' Chic!

It makes me sick that a company would so shamelessly use our recent school shooting tragedies to try and make money. Is nothing sacred anymore?

Then again, if you're the guy that invented the backpack, and the bicycle helmet generation are willing to waste money on it, then I suppose you have experienced free enterprise at it's best.

Or at it's worst....?