Connecticut school shooting
On December 14, 2012, a man wearing combat gear and armed with semiautomatic pistols and a semiautomatic rifle entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Connecticut, US, where he fatally shot 20 children and 7 adults. The gunman, identified as Adam Lanza, age 20, most likely shot and killed himself during the incident. The gunman had earlier shot and killed his mother at their residence prior to the shooting at the school. Lanza's girlfriend has also been reported missing in New Jersey.
US school massacre boosts sales of bulletproof backpacks for kids
Parents' anxiety following last week's Connecticut tragedy is driving a surge in sales of bulletproof backpacks, in the hope they can give their children a safety edge.
For under US$300, the company Amendment II - a play on the second amendment to the US constitution, which guarantees the right to bear arms - is selling a backpack with Avengers characters on it for boys and a Little Mermaid one for girls.
"Sewn into the rear of the pack, you can always be confident that the armour hasn't been accidentally left at home and that you or your child are protected in case of the unthinkable," the Utah company says.
"It is an awful thing - you would never imagine your child with this kind of stuff - but since the Newtown tragedy, our sales are more than 10 times better than usual," company head Richard Craig said.
Amendment II is among a handful of companies offering protective gear for US schoolchildren whose parents arguably feel more vulnerable than ever.
Another company, BulletBlocker, is offering inserts for US$150 to US$200 that slip into a backpack. Since Friday, sales were up 40 per cent to 40 a day, he said. "It is just peace of mind, security for parents," vice-president Elmar Uy said.
"It is non-stop since Sandy Hook. It is all about the terrible things that happened last week, the end-of-the-world hysteria, the Maya prediction," said Devin Standard. His firm, Black Dragon Tactical, has been selling 30 "ballistic panels" a day. "The question is: is your life worth US$229? Most people say yes," he said.
"If you have a car, you have car insurance; if you have a house, you have home insurance. It is a little security blanket but it is always there, just in case you are at the wrong place one day."