Irish mum in US horrified at 'bullet-proof' schoolbags

Irish mum in US horrified at 'bullet-proof' schoolbags
The bullet-proof' schoolbags

An Irish mum living in the US has told of her horror at seeing bullet-proof bags in her local back-to-school supplies store.

Tracey Meighan Kochout, who lives in Los Angeles, thinks companies shouldn't play on parents fears by peddling backpacks which claim to give additional protection in the event of a shooting at their local school.

The mum of three from Navan, Co Meath said the words 'bullet-resistant backpack' is something a parent should never have to see on a child's schoolbag.

Her children Ryan (11), Sophie (14) and Niamh (17) are back to school in the coming week.

"I couldn't believe it. The backpacks are made by a company called Guard Dog Security Proshield Backpacks. The bags say that they are made of nylon fabric and soft tactical armour and have been independently tested by a third party," she said.

"The company says the packs have high-level IIIA protection which is strong enough to stop a bullet from a .44 magnum handgun.

"They are priced from $174,99 to $199.99 and even come in pink, green or black colours. I went back to the office depot where they sell all stationery for office and school supplies but they were all gone.

"I think the aim is that a child moves the bag in front of them or wherever they need to shield themselves and hope for the best.

Tracey Meighan Kochout
Tracey Meighan Kochout

"It doesn't bear thinking about. In my opinion, we can't live in fear. You just have to live your lives in the hope that you or your children never end up in a situation like it.

"Everyday there's a shooting. I personally am against guns but some of my neighbours have them.

It's funny how here in California, you can't buy a drink until you're 21 but you can go to any sports shop or gun shop and buy a gun at the age of 18 with your driving licence.

Tracey has been living in LA for the last 24 years, ever since she moved over to work in film animation at Fox Studios. Her husband Marek works at Dreamworks and recently was part of the animation team of How to Train a Dragon

"It's sad that I've become a bit immune to it all. When I hear there's another shooting, I listen for a second and just switch off the news. There are always going to be mental health issues but if the gun laws were tightened, I believe there wouldn't be so many lives lost.

"How many times do you see people fight and make up the next day. Use a gun and it can't be taken back.

"The backpacks sales may be on the rise, especially after the latest massacres in Ohio and El Paso but we did not purchase them. We just hope such atrocity never darkens our paths."

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