|Wednesday, 19 December 2012 13:14|
Williams is the president of Amendment II, a Salt Lake City-based company that manufactures lightweight body armor for law enforcement and military use. "BASICALLY, there's three models," says Derek Williams. "A SwissGear that's made for teens, and we've got an Avengers and a Disney Princess backpack for little kids."
But lately they've moved into a different market: body armor for kids.
Six months ago, Amendment II introduced a new line of backpacks, built with the company's signature carbon nanotube armor, designed to keep kids safe in the event of school shootings.
Since Friday's massacre at a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school, sales have gone through the roof.
"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," Williams says.
With thoughts of defenseless children seared into the national consciousness, the company doesn't plan on letting the crisis go to waste.
"We want to be sensitive to how we do that, but we are gonna try to get the word out that this product does exist that there are ways to at least provide our children with some protection," Williams says.
Here's what the group's booth looked like at the Self-Reliance Expo in Mesa, Arizona, one of the nation's largest prepper roadshows:
The Centurion Shield RynoHide backpack-insert goes for US$199 (RM607) - US$100 (RM305) less than the armored Disney Princesses backpack. So why would you pay the extra Benjamin?
As Williams explains it, "With kids, you never know when they're gonna take something out of their backpack and not put it back in."
"My Child's Pack," from the Massachusetts company Bullet Blocker, goes for US$224.99 (RM686) (it's currently on sale for the holidays). Here's the main image on the front page of the Bullet Blocker website, last updated on December 17:
"Whether you're a college student, doctor, lawyer, business traveler, or concerned parent…an extra level of precaution might help safeguard your (or your loved one's) life in the event of an 'Active Shooter' situation" the company explains.
"While you can not control when gun-related violence happens, you can choose to do something to improve your odds of survival."
The company also offers a "bullet resistant" backpack for US$349.99 (RM1,068). The pitch: "If you already have a laptop bag, you can just buy the panel and insert it yourself. Get these for your whole family! Be safe, GET TACTICAL ARMOR TO WEAR for safety and protection!!!"
"It looks like it might fit someone's mission profile out there. Heck, if your local public school has metal detectors, get one for the kids."
Per the company, "If your enemy brings a gun to the fight, One up him with a full armor system and a weapon of your own." It's so cutting-edge the company won't even show a photo of it:
But here's a video of the R.A.D. Pack in action:
If you're looking for an even higher level of protection, you've still got options — but you'll have to ante up. Amendment II, for instance, offers the Centurion tactical vest, light-weight and durable, for US$499 (RM1,523):
But as Williams notes, this product isn't generally recommended for everyday school use. "It's more you want to take your kids to the range, take them out hunting with you, that kind of stuff," he says.