"Your child's safety; Your piece of mind, is our business." So reads an advertisement for BulletBlocker, a company selling bulletproof backpacks and other body armor for children. Since the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children dead, BulletBlocker and other companies like it have seen a massive surge in demand for the bags. "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," says Derek Williams, the president of Amendment II, which sells a variety of bulletproof backpacks for $300 each. The steep price and the opportunistic promotion of the bags has led some to accuse these companies of profiting from a national tragedy.
"With thoughts of defenseless children seared into the national consciousness, the company doesn't plan on letting the crisis go to waste," writes Tim Murphy at Mother Jones. Of course, Williams claims he just wants to keep kids safe. "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," he says.
According to the company website, the bags can be used as a shield to stop bullets from most handguns, and come in a range of designs, including Disney Princess and Avengers versions.
Update: In a statement, Disney says it never authorized any of the products, and has sent Amendment II a letter "demanding that all sales of backpacks depicting Disney Princesses, Marvel's The Avengers, or any other Disney intellectual property cease immediately."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to adopt the perfect rescue dog
- Why the poor can't catch a break on Thanksgiving
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The lessons of Japan's latest recession
- In Ferguson, Michael Brown lost his life — and America's police lost the benefit of the doubt
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
- How to stop Black Thursday — and still score that big screen
Subscribe to the Week