22 October 2008
There are bulletproof leather jackets and bulletproof polo shirts. Armored guayabera shirts hang next to protective windbreakers, parkas and even white ruffled tuxedo shirts. Every member of the sales staff has had to take a turn being shot while wearing one of the products, which range from a few hundred dollars to as much as $7,000, so they can attest to the efficacy of the secret fabric.
This is a nice touch: if you get shot and live while wearing one of the garments, you can join the company’s Survivor’s Club.
Part of the protective value of bulletproof clothing is its scarcity, which is why the company screens customers to keep criminals from buying. A world where innocents wear protective gear and bad guys don’t is the safest of all for the innocents, since criminals can stick to low-powered weaponry.
If, on the other hand, criminals start using the bullet-proof clothing, their foes will probably upgrade their shooters. That’s already happening to some extent. “In some parts of Mexico,” the New York Times points out, “drug assassins have used rocket launchers and grenades to wipe out rivals.” That could become more common if criminals stop dying from pistol shots.