Across the image was text reading “SHIT JUST BROKE MY HEART,” and the following comment followed:
Saw this at Office Max today and my heart literally broke into pieces. ????????
The same style of bullet-resistant backpack appeared in three colors: black, teal, and pink. The bags were priced at $119.99, and a large attached tag read: “Protection is in Session, Bullet Resistant Backpack.”
Other details, such as the OfficeMax location, were not included in the post, which accrued more than 150,000 shares in just a few days. The presence of the backpacks amid school supplies is evidently a market response to a number of school shootings. (It should be noted that the bags were advertised as “bullet-resistant” and not “bulletproof.”)
A search on the OfficeMax/Office Depot combined website indicated that ten individual bullet resistant backpacks were available as of August 2019. The viral post showed the Guard Dog Security Bullet-Resistant ProShield Scout Youth Backpack in teal in the center, while to the left was the pink version of the bag and black on the right.
All three were priced at $119.99, the least expensive available bullet-resistant backpack. A Guard Dog Security ProShield Pro Tactical Laptop Backpack was also available for $199.99, and a Guard Dog Security ProShield II Tactical Laptop Backpack retailed for $174.99.
The least expensive model’s description stated:
Built to provide Level IIIA protection.
Designed for student’s everyday carry, the Guard Dog ProShield Scout backpack looks like a regular backpack yet boasts LEVEL IIIA protection. With a laptop sleeve and organizational pockets, the Scout is just ounces more than a non-armored backpack.
At $174.99, the next model up from that backpack was resistant to “certain” gunfire:
Our backpacks are tested by an independent third-party laboratory under the experimental conditions of bullet resistance for protective materials category established by the Department of Justice National Institute of Justice (NIJ STD 0108.01 Level IIIA). A laboratory report is included … Stay safe with this backpack, which offers soft-armored construction that has been independently tested to be impervious to certain gunfire.
The priciest model contained an additional feature:
Built-in, hidden holster hold and conceals most handguns.
In response to the viral Facebook post, CBS News reported that bullet-resistant backpacks are spiking in popularity, citing a shooting at a Florida high school in which a gunman murdered seventeen people:
Until [then recently], most bullet-resistant bags had to be ordered online directly from the specialty companies that manufactured them, but their popularity has skyrocketed, and ballistic backpacks are also sold online through major retailers such as Macy’s, Bed Bath & Beyond and Kmart.
Since the Parkland school shooting, sales are estimated to have doubled or tripled. Now, they’re showing up in stores.
Yashi Sheikh, founder of Guard Dog Security, says he wants parents or students to be prepared rather than afraid.
“We’re not saying, ‘Buy a backpack, it’ll solve everything,”‘ he said. “We’re saying this will put you in a better position in the case of a school shooting than someone who doesn’t have a bulletproof backpack.”
The post about OfficeMax selling bullet resistant backpacks is accurate — the models shown in the photograph are available nationally on the OfficeMax/Office Depot website. The bags are described as “bullet-resistant,” but not “bulletproof,” and they are marketed as a response to school shootings in the United States.