Rotten Reporting: James Holmes Was Not Wearing a Bulletproof Vest

One of the the most reported facts about the Aurora shootings was that James Holmes was wearing a “bulletproof vest” yet like so many other things the media says this is simply not true. Ace of Spades links to a .pdf of the receipt for Holmes’ “bulletproof vest”  which shows that it was actually a “tactical” vest of the type used by paintballers, mall ninjas and people who play too much Call of Duty. It was a Blackhawk Urban Assault Vest which is the kind of thing you buy on Amazon for about $100.

This is important for two reasons. One is that despite the narrative of of people who claim we need more regulations there is not a regulation that can be passed that would stop people from owning a cheap vest with big pockets. Depriving me of the ability to own a kevlar vest (which I do own in the form of a German flak jacket I keep as a collector piece) would not effect people like Holmes buying the vests he used in the crime.

More importantly the media is trying to build a narrative that suggests that people who were armed couldn’t have stopped the massacre – because Holmes was wearing a “bulletproof vest” but frankly you can stick a box cutter through one of these vests. Gun free zones (like movie theaters) are picked by mas murderers specifically because they know people are helpless. Some media folks are so invested in trying to become another legislative branch that they use tragedies to push their pet laws. The argument that if someone had a gun they could have stopped Holmes is too hard to argue around so the media is trying to defuse it by claiming Holmes was bulletproof anyway.

Not that bulletproof vests will actually stop bullets – nothing will 100% of the time. But the problem is that people watch the news for facts and yet again we see that the media is not interested in actually finding out facts just making up information as they go along. And this can have consequences both legislatively and in an emergency. Imagine some of these suckers being confronted by some rapist in a paintball outfit and thinking that the person is “bulletproof” so they can’t defend themselves with their car keys even though a hard punch with the keys will go right through the vest. Or how some of these shmos will panic when some kid out playing airsoft goes to buy a soda.

Facts matter.


19 Responses to “Rotten Reporting: James Holmes Was Not Wearing a Bulletproof Vest”

  1. spaz on July 26th, 2012 10:48 pm

    Actually, just because the receipt from is for a tactical vest, it does not mean that Holmes was NOT also wearing bulletproof protection underneath it. The FACT is that neither you nor the media have all of the facts yet (and we likely won’t for quite some time, given the judge’s gag order on the case), so you maybe you should slow your roll and your silly pro-gun proselytizing until we do?

  2. Rob Taylor on July 26th, 2012 10:53 pm

    Do you know what “proselytizing” means?

  3. spaz on July 27th, 2012 2:57 pm

    Yup. Do you? Check out the second definition from You’re unlikely to recruit many people to your anti-gun control cause when you’re simply arguing from ignorance. Initial police reports were that he was wearing a ballistic vest, as you can also see from the Aurora government news updates page:

    Again, just because he didn’t buy a bulletproof vest from doesn’t mean he wasn’t wearing one. It’s really not that complicated a point to understand. I’ll trust the initial police reports over your empty conjecture any day.

  4. spaz on July 27th, 2012 3:25 pm

    Oops, actually the first (and only) definition from works. The second definition at is what I was talking about (although even the first definition there is pretty appropriate, as well). Even *you* can google the definition of words! It’s not hard.

  5. Rob Taylor on July 27th, 2012 4:19 pm

    So then you understand I’m not prostelitizing by pointing out factual errors in reporting and opining about why such errors are made, right? I’m not “recruiting” for anything just pointing out that my actual kevlar vest, if it was banned, is very different from a paintballers load bearing vest which would still be legal. Also that people thinking that such vests are “bulletproof” (and there’s no such thing as a bulletproof vest, only vests that are slightly resistant) could lead people to not defend themselves from murderers and rapists that went all mall ninja.

    Someone could have shanked Holmes from behind and saved some lives – but because they assumed he was armored they didn’t try. I hope the info I just provided will be of use if some home invader kicks in some gunless schlub’s door wearing such a vest – because the schlub will know they could ram a screwdriver, kitchen knife or skeewer right through the vest and into the criminals gibblets.

    But you can’t jerk off at DU or DailyKos after arguing that point with me so feel free to pretend I’m the High Priest of the Temple of Scary Objects. Just remember what Freud said about fear of weapons.

  6. Rob Taylor on July 27th, 2012 4:22 pm

    Also initial police reports can be … wrong! I find it dubious at best that he had a Kevlar vest under another vest – since most “ballistic vests” these days are “plate carriers” which you can look up. Cops aren’t anymore knowledgeable about these things than you or me.

  7. Rob Taylor on July 27th, 2012 4:22 pm

    You also get a kevalr vest isn’t a gun right? Your comments seem to equate the two.

  8. spaz on July 27th, 2012 4:41 pm

    Uh, yeah, most of your silly website is little more than veiled proselytizing for right-wing nonsense. Yes, a kevlar vest is different from a paintball vest with pockets. Wow, great insight there. You are a powerful defender of truth.

    Incidentally, if “facts matter,” why is the title of this post “James Holmes Was Not Wearing a Bulletproof Vest”? You have no evidence whatsoever to back up that declarative statement or fact. I guess facts only matter when you make them up to support your silly rants?

  9. spaz on July 27th, 2012 4:49 pm

    If you would like facts to matter and you want to eliminate “rotten reporting,” I would suggest you change the title of this post to: “James Holmes did not buy a bulletproof vest from on July 2, 2012″ That’s the only fact you actually know (or for which you’ve provided any sort of evidence).

  10. Rob Taylor on July 27th, 2012 5:33 pm

    Yes yes, blogging about chow evil people who collect child snuff is “silly right wing” nonsense. Pointing out that buying bonds from Greenville is not a good investment is right wing nonsense. Covering armed gangs robbing escorts is right wing nonsense. Advocating for victims of crime is right wing nonsense, telling people how to stay safe during a crime is right wing nonsense.

    I suggest you prove that he was wearing a kevlar vest since that’s what you’re concerned with. Or deal with my actual point – a person confronted with a person in one of these “tactical” has more options to protect themselves and their families than hysterical hipsters like yourself would have them believe. I want people to know how to defend themselves which requires knowledge of how crooks works. You want to troll blogs that don’t toe the line of the imaginary world you created in a “progressive” forum.

    Funny, you haven’t left comments on the post I just did about people being found trading pictures of a decapitated child that had been cooked online. I guess that’s not enough to get you angry because trading child snuff porn isn’t “right wing nonsense”

  11. OkBluzMan79 on July 28th, 2012 7:02 pm

    “One of the the most reported facts about the Aurora shootings was that James Holmes was wearing a ‘bulletproof vest’…”

    The “media” did not report this. Feel free to watch starting at 10 minutes 7 seconds in.

  12. Rob Taylor on July 29th, 2012 10:07 pm

    So the cops have their own way to distributed statements? Cops saying things still need fact checking, period.

  13. truthseeker on July 30th, 2012 4:29 am

    Wow, Rob, you’re kind of an irrational, defensive, childish idiot, aren’t you? You still don’t know that he WASN’T wearing a kevlar vest.

  14. Rob Taylor on July 30th, 2012 9:27 pm

    You don’t know I’m NOT 10 ft tall. Except there is no evidence I am, right?

  15. truthseeker on July 31st, 2012 2:30 am

    Correct. I do not know how tall you are. That is why I would NOT title a post “Rob Taylor Is Not 10-Feet Tall.” Because I don’t know. Why is this so confusing for you?

  16. Rob Taylor on July 31st, 2012 3:21 pm

    And you know that there is a receipt for a non-ballistic vest, there isn’t one for a “bulletproof” one, have basic spacial recognition skills so know that he’s not wearing one over the other without it being so noticeable witnesses would have reported it (like wearing a jacket over a jacket) and most importantly can see that aside from a comment by a cop who had NOT YET CONDUCTED AN INVESTIGATION there is no evidence of a bulletproof vest. Why can’t you understand that? Because you don’t want to, right?

  17. Killers in Kevlar on August 14th, 2012 2:30 pm

    [...] gun-control opponents poured into Slate’s comments forum. They used the shooter’s receipt to dismiss the body-armor problem as a myth. And they insisted that armor doesn’t protect shooters from being incapacitated by a shot to the [...]

  18. Joan on October 1st, 2013 12:05 pm

    We don’t know for sure if we didn’t know him and we weren’t there and saw him put one on or he told you. I myself can understand why he would wear one especially if he has had trouble with some people in the past. If it was poorly made than it would not be effective and you could mess it up. If someone actually took the time to make one out of quality, sturdy material, than that would make it more worthwhile, otherwise it’s a waste of time. I think we all know that if whatever part of the body is exposed, it can be messed up. That is pretty much common sense. If anyone has ever been attacked very badly or more than once, it instills within them a desire to defend themselves. I think that is called “instinct”. They are trying to preserve their own life. I don’t know all the details of this. Sometimes I guess people pick innocent people as their target, but I would think more times than not they would choose those who have threatened or attacked him. That’s just what I think though. Anyway, I think a bullet proof vest/outfit is worthwhile if it’s put together right. Sometimes people are know thing that others don’t. Some have been through very bad experiences and they retaliate to the horrible circumstances in self defense against those that harmed them in order for survival or called “self defense”. That I can understand. Very much.

  19. Brady Center Sues Online Retailer For Selling Ammo To Movie Theater Shooter - Downtrend on September 15th, 2014 6:11 pm

    [...] James Holmes was not wearing body armor; he had on a non-ballistic tactical vest. He also didn’t have anything bulletproof on his head or [...]

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