Juan David Hernández brought a new invention to a local science fair, and it came with a sobering reality.
Two years ago, according to El Universal, gunshots rang out near the Mexican preteen's elementary school classroom. During an interview with the newspaper, the boy recalled diving to the ground alongside the rest of his classmates and feeling frightened — the kids had nothing to protect themselves from the crossfire. The disturbing experience inspired Hernández, now 11 and a gifted student, to take action. He designed a bulletproof backpack equipped with a steel plate and showed it off at Expociencias, a science fair held in the northern Mexican state of Tamaulipas.
"You never know when a stray bullet will hit you, or when you'll find yourself in the crossfire. So I focused on designing something that could offer protection in the face of all the shootings and insecurity," Hernández told El Universal.
Gang shootouts have become so frequent in Tamaulipas that schools have developed "shootout drills" to help prepare students for threats. "Narco roadblocks," where burning vehicles create obstacles for police and civilians on major highways, have also become common in Tamaulipas.
But Hernández's invention is meant to help combat the violence and keep kids safe. The bag has a flashlight, a GPS that links to his parents' phone, an anti-theft alarm and a bulletproof vest. The brave inventor says that students can use the bag as a shield against bullets, should a situation ever arise when they are in need of protection.
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