This Saturday, DefendAPack® had the distinct honor to be welcomed into the Wal-Mart family. We hosted a launch event in Miami where DefendAPack® will now be featured in a pilot program. The managers and co-workers were equally as impressed as the customers. For us, it is such a great feeling to know that Wal-Mart believes in protecting families as much as we do. This launch program certainly marks a momentous occasion for our young company and affords us a tremendous opportunity to protect more and more people as we grow.
While this event was certainly exciting, we had no idea the response we would receive; nor did we understand how much we would learn from the many wonderful people we met.
Most parents that came to us, had an immediate reaction that sparked some amazing and insightful conversations. What was most interesting to us, and the parents is how the KIDS responded. When asked how they would react in an active shooter situation, almost every child – whether 9 or 16 years old, without hesitation, said that they would NEVER hide in a corner or in a room. Rather, that they would RUN. It was interesting to see their parent's reactions; one even doubted what her daughter was saying. “But they train you to hide,” she said. “And that is why so many of us get shot,” the daughter said. To say that the parents were shocked was an understatement. We, however, were not. Many teens have told us a similar story; and in fact, if you look at the past two school shootings, most of the TV coverage has shown kids running out of the school in panic and fear.
With the uncertainty of what a child might do, we started to see that most parents have not had many conversations about active shooter drills, or what their child would “actually do” in case of a real threat.
This is not disparaging toward parents in any way. What it highlights though, is that parents’ thoughts about mass shootings might not line up with how their kids actually think and feel. We came to understand that kids feel this fear, live this fear and worry about this fear…more than we had ever imagined.
Most professionals who are experts in the field of active shooter threats, recommend some form of Run, Hide, Fight (in that order) when teaching about how to respond in an actual threat event. Every child we spoke to at our event, was very aware of the protocol and also very aware of how they felt they would react.
RUN: Most all experts agree. Your best course of action in any shooting situation is to run. The average hit rate on a moving target is 4 percent. That means you have a 96 percent chance of not being shot if you move. Most kids we talked to indicated they would run, even if instructed to do otherwise. Adding DefendAPack® into the mix gives that last added layer of protection to reduce the chance of being shot even further. Anyone carrying a backpack with a plate or a combo backpack with a vest AUTOMATICALLY has bullet-resistant protection while running. With a combo pack and the opportunity to deploy our vest, the runner has protection in the front and the back while also allowing the backpack to be left behind to allow for greater speed and agility.
HIDE: Running isn't always an option, especially for children in grade school and middle school. Younger kids will be instructed to shelter in place in almost every case. While most experts agree that this makes sense for little ones, having a DefendAPack® backpack will give your child added protection should a shooter make their way into closer contact with your child. Just holding the bag up to shield themselves can make a huge difference.
FIGHT: The last option would be to fight. In reality, most kids will not engage a shooter (which is a good thing), but should your child be forced to fight, being protected with DefendAPack® just makes sense.
Let's be fully transparent here. We are as horrified and angry as you are at the number of school shootings happening today. In 46 weeks of 2019, we have had 44 school shootings. This must stop, but until society identifies and addresses the problem, we need to do as much as we can to protect our children and prepare them in case something does happen in their school.
While the chances of your child being involved in a mass-shooting are quite small, it is still a chance on our minds and something most of us think about to some degree. In fact, DefendAPack® was born literally from a father creating something to protect his daughter after the Parkland shooting. Only after his daughter asked him to create protective gear for her friends as well, did he decide to launch a business to protect more people.
So, although we are eternally grateful for the opportunity to be featured at Wal-Mart Miami, we are even more grateful for what we have learned. We ALL need to be more aware of our children’s thoughts and fears and understand which type they are more likely to be: a runner, a hider or a fighter. Regardless of their decision, DefendAPack® will be there for them and you if needed…and we truly and honestly hope you never need it.
Thank you for your continued support while we work to protect as many people as possible.