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“Second Chance”: The Dramatic and Sometimes Seedy Story of a Bulletproof Vest Innovator

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Richard Davis shot himself 192 times, usually literally shooting himself on camera while demonstrating the modern concealed bulletproof vest he invented in the 1970s. It can be said that no one in the history of mankind has shot himself so many times.

why. right. they.

Narcissistic, assertive, folksy, outwardly charming, infuriatingly stubborn and complex, as seen in Ramin Bahrani’s gripping documentary Second Chance, Davis is metaphorically I shot myself many times. Bahrani (director of films such as “Man Push Cart” and “Chop Shop”) is also an off-camera interviewer and narrator, and as he says at the beginning of this story, Davis has, on many occasions, I was risking my life to demonstrate shooting. It was part of his efforts to save thousands of people with his invention, but when he oversaw the creation and marketing of a tragically troubled new version of Vest, he eventually lost 100,000 people. risked more lives.

Along the way, Davis transformed himself into something of a folk hero, earning millions of dollars, spawning hundreds of jobs, his inventions becoming staples of law enforcement and military personnel, and becoming a part of the Great American Dream. It’s become a classic story. nightmare.

Director Bernini wisely avoids complex narratives, re-creations, or flashy graphics for time-shifting. He recognizes that he has enough material for existing archival footage and snippets from the crude Dirty Harry knockoffs that Davis produced to market his product. -His one-day interview with a number of the key players in this story. Front and center is Davis, approachable when he wants to be approachable, Cage when he wants to be Cage, always portraying himself as the down-home hero of his own story.

Davis, who owned two pizza parlors in Detroit in 1969, was detained by three gunmen during a delivery and used a . I was injured by a bullet. After one of his pizzerias burned down, Davis turned his plans to a very different kind of business. He designs, manufactures and markets relatively lightweight bulletproof vests that can be worn under clothing. (Later in the film, Davis is said to have insured the pizza parlor a week before the fire, even though he repeatedly insisted that it was not insured.) If you can’t find a credible police report or news story about an incident with a plausible origin story, ask.)

He drove from police station to police station, demonstrated his products, published a catalog called “Sex and Violence,” used bikini-clad models to sell vests, and made the aforementioned cheesy movie. Davis has made Second Chance Body Armor a multi-million dollar American success story. As Davis puts it in his typically sleazy demeanor, “I told his wife that she could go to Kmart and buy whatever she wanted… [It was] Countryman Nirvana. ”

2ND CHANCE | Official Trailer | Bleecker Street & Showtime2ND CHANCE | Official Trailer | Bleecker Street & Showtime

Based in Central Lake, Michigan, Second Chance Davis has become the biggest employer in town, puts on an elaborate annual fireworks show, and hosts a week-long shooting competition on his sprawling property. I became a bigger person than I was. (When a canister exploded at a 1997 show, killing one person and injuring 15, Davis blamed the fireworks manufacturer, saying, “Everybody’s pointing at me like it’s my fault.” complain). The number of law enforcement officials who believe his invention has saved their lives – literally hundreds of people.

After 9/11, the U.S. military and domestic law enforcement officers stocked up on vests, so Davis and Second Chance launched the next generation of vests with Zylon. By 2002, however, it became clear that Zylon was deteriorating rapidly, endangering thousands of lives.

In one of the most compelling sequences in the film, we hear that the widow of an Oceanside, California cop was shot despite wearing a Zylon vest. Richard claims the officer was killed by a bullet that landed on the vest, but official reports indicate that two bullets penetrated the vest. We paid a settlement in that matter, and we paid a total settlement of approximately $65 million. Richard lost his company, declared bankruptcy, had a heart attack, and got divorced.

Yet, even with the stacking up of obvious tropes about the fiber of the bulletproof vest and the moral fiber, he continues to paint himself as hero and victim. Successful at an armor manufacturing company.) The story of the former pizza maker who invented the modern concealable bulletproof vest is compelling. Stories about his origins and suspicions about some egregious failures he’s made along the way get in the way of the story.


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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