|Demonstrating a shirt's bullet-stopping capacity.|
Miguel Caballero makes children's vests, backpacks, t-shirts and other wearable things that are (supposedly) bulletproof. Remember how mom sent you off to elementary school with the admonition 'Keep your jacket on so you won't catch cold,' or 'Wear your raincoat so you don't get wet'? Well, now moms can add a third warning: 'Keep your bulletproof gear in case a madman with a high-powered gun bursts into your school (or house of worship, or shopping mall, etc) and starts blowing holes in people'.
It's only practical good sense, after all.
|Armor your kids today!|
I suppose there's nothing wrong with Caballero manufacturing wearable bulletproof accesories for children - except that it makes totally unnecesarry threat seem normal and acceptable, when instead society should be addressing the cause - too many guns. The social hysteria reminds me of the Cold War paranoia, when many people, including schoolchildren, lived in constant dread of nuclear annihilation from the Soviet Union. But the U.S.'s gun threat is a completely home-made danger.
The U.S.'s gun lobby is already very powerful, and thrives economically on these massacres, which cause booms in gun sales. (I just wonder whether, in their hearts of hearts, gun company executives felt a secret thrill when this latest massacre happened, because they knew it'd mean huge new Christmas sales). But a gun protection industry will create an even stronger lobby. I'm waiting for bulletproof pews for worshippers to take cover behind, bulletproof store windows in malls, and on and on, until everyday life is lived in a paranoid fortress and a multi-billion firearm-industrial complex has grown up which will defend to its last dollar of profit the right to commercialize high-powered murder machines.
During the 1980s and '90s feature stories about Colombians using bulletproof business suits were regular fare for the international media, and deepened the country's image as one big free-fire zone. Altho it still has a serious homicide problem, Colombia has changed profoundly since the Pablo Escobar days. Interestingly, according to news reports, the company now sells 95% of its products outside of Colombia.
Now, the paranoia has shifted north, to the U.S. But, unlike the case of Colombia, which has long been victimized by global drug trafficking and drug prohibition policies, the U.S.'s mass murder problem is completely domestically-created.
The Canadian government made an awkwardly-timed announcement the other week celebrating "new market opportunities for its gun makers in the form of exports of assault weapons - which are banned in Canada - to Colombia. The announcement came the day before the assault rifle massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. Those "new market opportunities" for Canadian companies are evidently a result of the recent Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.
Since assault weapons are, thankfully, not available on store shelves here in Colombia, I assume that any "market opportunities" would be sales to the military or police. But those organizations have had serious human rights issues.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours