Bulletproof vests need to become the new normal


Photo taken by Sandra Grünewald on Unsplash.

The United States has begun its process of returning back to normal life after the Covid-19 pandemic. Since more people are not out and about, unfortunately, with this return, there has been a spike in the number of shootings in the country. Since the U.S. government continues to refuse to rule on cases concerning stricter gun control, should U.S. citizens consider wearing bulletproof vests out in public spaces? 

Recently, there was a shooting in Atlanta on March 16 where a man killed eight people at local Atlanta spas. Then, on March 22 in Colorado, a man killed 10 people at a King Soopers. In both cases, these tragic shootings occurred in public spaces. 

In a poll taken out of 132 Arvada students and residents, 57% of respondents said that they often feel afraid to conduct day-to-day activities due to the possibility of being a victim of a shooting. Similarly, in a poll out of 148 local Arvada students, 79% of respondents said that they have been afraid that a shooting could occur in their school. 

With mass shootings on the rise after the pandemic, one’s concern for one’s safety out in public areas is bound to rise. 

Most recently, the A-West community was directly affected by the shooting in Boulder because not only was it less than 20 miles away from the Arvada areas, but the shooter also graduated from A-West back in 2018. 

Many students said they felt “terrified, shocked, numb, scared and angry” following the news on the Boulder shooting. A few students also recalled encounters with the man responsible for the death of 10 people and described feeling “surreal” to have had an encounter with him. Students also mentioned how grateful they were that the man “chose not to attack our school or our city” as he was an Arvada native. 

Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

The idea that A-West could have been a target for the Boulder shooter is a scary reality that many students are struggling to wrap their minds around. The mere fact that this man could have chosen A-West to attack gives all the more reason for students, schools, and other public places to begin to recommend that people make bulletproof vests the new normal. 

A-West Senior Haley Matta states, “We need change, and change starts with us.” She continues, “We have to use our voices to demand change, be the catalyst of that change. Our generation has grown up in a world where mass shootings are a normal occurrence. My peers and I know what it is like to be afraid to go to school, the grocery store, or the movies. We can be the change by using our voices to create an environment of love rather than judgment.” 

Utilizing one’s voice to support those who need help can be extremely powerful. The power of the voice may be a purposeful route to go down as a society as we work towards change. While the power of the voice may take some time to develop, we as a society may need to take immediate action in purchasing body armor since mass shootings tend to be an everyday occurrence. 

Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

There are federal regulations on the purchase of body armor, and some states may have different regulations on armor. These regulations include the purchase of body armor face-to-face and that no convicted felon may be in possession of body armor. 

For Colorado specifically, the state says, “Anyone can buy and use bulletproof vests in Colorado except those with felony conviction. Bulletproof vests and other body armor can be bought face-to-face or online.” 

While the idea of wearing a hefty vest may seem absurd and ridiculous out in public, it is very possible that the victims of these most recent mass shootings could have survived if they had been wearing bulletproof vests. As the U.S. Government refuses to address the idea of stricter gun control, it does seem reasonable that society begins to normalize body armor out in public spaces for the safety of oneself and others. 

Bulletproof vests may not be the best plausible solution for preventing mass shootings, but until the U.S. Government chooses the safety of its people over an AR-15 gun, society will have to take insane measures to make sure that a simple trip to the nail salon or grocery store does not end with one dead on the stone-cold floor.