September 06, 2005

Faux Body Armor?

Many people have alternately been amused and disgusted by media hog Sean Penn's Titanic rescue performance on Sunday, where his public relations crew forgot to put the drain plug in their aluminum boat, almost sinking his entourage upon launch of "Operation Scuttle." The debacle led to this now infamous AFP photo of Penn being forced to bail out his founding craft with a red drinking cup. But is there something even more going on in this photo than meets the eye?

If you take a quick tour of top body armor manufacturers Second Chance and Point Blank, you'll quickly learn that most body armor systems are made of two or three main components:

  • a carrier
  • ballistic panels
  • trauma pads or plates
Large hard armor plate inserts stop high velocity rifle bullets and disperse impact pressures, and are common in military and SWAT body armor systems, while most civilian systems used by rank-and-file duty officers use either a small hard plate or a soft trauma plate. In either case, the armor plates typically ride over soft ballistic panels made of kevlar or other bullet-resistant fibers, and these ballistic panels are held in place by the actual vest portion of a body armor system, called the carrier.

And here is where Mr. Penn's story may become even more amusing or pathetic, depending upon your point of view. In the image above, Peen is clearly shown wearing what appears to be the carrier portion of a body armor system, by the carrier bunches and wrinkles on his back, and the dense ballistic panel that should be in the front of his vest doesn't seem to be present either.

Is Mr. Penn faking it?

In a blow-up of this image from Getty, Penn's vest can clearly be seen. The carrier material is sheer enough for Penn's gray shirt to show through and the only hint of potential ballistic protection is the center front area, which would be consistent with another layer of fabric on the carrier that could hold a trauma plate.

Is Sean Penn "faking it" by wearing a simple cloth carrier to look the part of a daring movie star rescuer? Your guess is as good as mine, but I'd make the following observation: if you can see sweat through it, it probably won't stop a bullet.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at September 6, 2005 10:01 PM | TrackBack

Reporter: Mr. Penn, are you wearing REAL body armor as a means of *self protection* and to give the impression that you know something of law enforcement??

Penn: No, it's fake, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night...

Get that loser out of there... For crying out loud, all he is, is an attention whore... Humanitarian my ass... Playing it for the camera...

Posted by: TexasFred at September 6, 2005 11:17 PM

Please delete this post. Obviously Sean Penn thinks he is wearing a real vest, please let him continue thinking this.

Posted by: The Man at September 7, 2005 07:00 AM

That vest is obviously one of the new prototype disposable body armor. This one also has a second vital automatically inflates when exposed to water. If Mr. Penn should fall into the merky deep with a real vest, what would the world do with out him?

Posted by: SE at September 7, 2005 09:15 AM

You guys have it all wrong. That's not body armor. It's an apron. I think we just found the proof of Randall Robinson's cannibalism claim.

Posted by: Liberal Larry at September 7, 2005 11:04 AM

As a retired LEO I have a deep disgust for Master Penn. I agree he is a media whore doing anything he can to promote himself. There to help the victims my ass! He went there to badmouth the President "Again". Once again ensuring his place as the #1 Bush Basher.
The main problem in this God awful disaster is the way the Government is set up! Even the Constitution demands it. Big Brother is required to stay out of things until asked for help. That means that the city first has to yell uncle and call the county. The county then has to yell uncle and call the state. THEN the state must yell uncle and call the FEDs. Then the red tape begins. Every specific detail has to approved as a national disaster before federal assistance can be sent. These things cannot be done in a few minutes. The same for calling 20,000 reserve military officers from there jobs to get home grab their gear and get to the base and prepare to leave the state there in and drive to the disaster. But the media is hell bent on laying the entire blame on the head of a single man.
Basic Americanism... Blame someone else!

Posted by: OKIE at September 7, 2005 06:02 PM

Well, you know...I wondered for about five seconds what that was. I finally decided it was an apron. He just always reminds me of a fry cook for some reason. Besides, why would anyone in N.O. waste perfectly good ammo on Sean Penn, when they could use it on the helicopters that were coming to HELP them...

Posted by: 007Scarlett at September 7, 2005 11:52 PM

of course he's faking it - it's what he's paid to do; in fact he won an oscar for playing 'pretend'

Posted by: e.ruhling at September 8, 2005 02:01 PM

Why have these pictures been cropped? I've seen previous photos that show an automobile in the background that may be in approximately 6 inches of water.

Posted by: Stan at September 8, 2005 08:40 PM

Why have these pictures been cropped?

Simple. I try to keep a maximum width on images, and other aspects of the photos were irrelevant to the subject at hand.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 8, 2005 10:49 PM

There is another more recent photo of this idiot striding through the debris carrying a pump shotgun (which the media, of course, identify as a "rifle"). I saw it on Fox this morning, and their comment was that the NRA was going to love this, and then some limp-dick on the panel discussion warned that no one knew the background of the incident so perhaps Penn just found the "rifle" in his boat and was getting rid of it.

Though generally I feel that no firearms law is worthy of enforcing unless it involves violent felons, kiddies or the mentally befuddled, this is one case where I'd have applauded if someone busted this Hollywood whore for a weapons violation. That's the problem with the ATF -- never there when you need them .. too busy murdering honest citizens in Waco and Ruby Ridge.

Posted by: MSgt G. L. White at September 10, 2005 02:04 PM

There's several levels of body armor.

This is obviously not a 2/2A or higher, but it might be a 1...worthless against any rifle bigger than a .22LR.

My guess is some slick Cajun sold idiot boy a $300 Level 1 for about $1500.

Posted by: Tony at September 11, 2005 12:34 AM

They're called "actors" for a reason. But then, considering nobody goes to the movies much anymore, their only alternative is to get on the "news". It's just buisness.

Posted by: jak at September 11, 2005 01:06 AM