In small groups, the search brigades scour the countryside hoping to find the remains of those being looked for, unfaltering, by their loved ones over the course of years. They are doing the work that the Mexican government, they say, is either unable or unwilling to do. PHOTOS: Jan-Albert Hootsen.
— Ruido en la Red (@RuidoEnLaRed) November 22, 2016
Out of the mouth and minds of babes …
Primary school student Juan David Hernández Rojas didn’t bother with a baking-soda volcano or a replica of the solar system for the science expo of Tamaulipas state in northern Mexico.
Instead, the 11-year-old resident of Matamoros – across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas – presented what he called “The Security Backpack.”
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Made from bulletproof material – with a steel plate in the backpack to deflect bullets – the pack includes a GPS locator to find lost kids, an emergency battery charger for cellphones and an alarm in case someone is attempting to rob or kidnap the owner.
Earlier this week, at the Tamaulipas Science Expo and Contest of Creative and Innovative Technology, Hernández Rojas, explained that, “In many places in my city and state, robberies, assaults, kidnappings, firefights occur – that’s why [I] designed a backpack to keep us safer.”
In the case of a firefight, the owner of the backpack would get on the ground, crouching behind it to protect their head and back from stray bullets.
But the object of the bag, he added, isn’t just to protect kids, but to "keep our parents calmer."
That’s why, Hernández Rojas says, “the GPS locator would be connected to my parents’ telephone, so they could locate me easily in case I don’t show up.”
In short, as the inventor himself put it, “This backpack could make the difference between life, death and disappearance.”
Matamoros has been an ongoing battleground between the Gulf Cartel and various other criminal groups seeking to control drug smuggling routes into the United States.
Despite the obvious practicality of Hernández Rojas’ device, the director of technology promotion for Tamaulipas state said Thursday that he won an initial round at the expo but didn't make the list of finalists.
Includes reporting by the Associated Press.