In case you missed it, The Washington Post reported this week that one of the hottest trends in back-to-school supplies this year is ballistics-proof merchandise. As in, bullet-proof backpacks, 3-ring binders, and clipboards.
Yes, it’s shocking and a bit demoralizing to imagine we’ve reached this state of affairs, but also telling that revenues for these items have increased every year since 2016.
“Here’s our demographic: parents with kids,” Steve Naremore, founder of TuffyPacks told the Post. His Houston-based company sells ballistics-proof inserts for backpacks. He admits that it is “a real morbid niche.”
And while it might seem shocking that Office Max and Office Depot are stocking shelves with bullet-proof items for kids in schools and adults in offices, it’s actually part of a much larger trend where homeowners, business owners, religious leaders, and others are recognizing a violent new reality.
Members of the Fortune 500, casinos, and restaurants are now including active shooters among possible risks to operations in their annual reports. Where, not so long ago, those risks were normally reserved for competition or natural disasters, today’s business must recognize that a deranged shooter with high-capacity weapons could seriously impact their financials.
For example, Caesars Entertainment noted in its most recent annual report that “visitation to Las Vegas declined following the mass shooting tragedy on October 1, 2017.” Wynn Resorts said the same shooting “underscores the possibility that large public facilities could become the target of mass shootings or other attacks in the future.”
Similarly, the Wall Street Journal reports that restaurant chains such as Dave & Buster’s Entertainment, Stratus Properties, and Del Taco Restaurants have warned that active shooter events could damage year-end financials.
Welcome to America circa 2019, where the Boy Scouts’ famous motto, “Be prepared,” has never seemed more important or prescient.