The Shootings Nobody Talks About
Far too often, I write on the topic of mass shootings in America.
It's not a subject I enjoy, but it is, nevertheless, something that needs to be talked about because to avoid the conversation means to normalize the phenomenon.
Unfortunately, in parts of the U.S., this state of normalization has already taken hold.
Whenever a shooting claiming more than a couple lives occurs in this country, we hear about it in the news, we're exposed to impromptu editorializing from news anchors, and we're bombarded with rhetoric from politicians and activists trying to squeeze every last molecule of promotional mileage from the tragedy.
And yet, last weekend, when over 60 shootings took place in the city of Chicago, we didn't hear so much as a peep from any of the aforementioned.
Why? Well, I have a couple guesses.
The Media Has a Product to Sell... Are You Buying?
First of all, these shootings are typically one-off events, usually claiming one life, if any lives at all — far too little damage to cause much shock.
Second of all, these shootings take place in heavily gun-controlled jurisdictions — a fact that points the finger at the failure of gun control laws as a whole, leaving the loudest voices without much to say.
Finally, and most disturbing of all, these urban shootings usually involve minority offenders as well as minority victims — a fact that takes the media's favorite scapegoat, straight white males, out of the picture.
Putting it more concisely, inner-city violence has desperately little value when your whole purpose is to drive forward a narrative that's as devious as it is carefully crafted.
The result is that we don't hear about it. We don't hear the names or see the class photos. We only see the statistics.
And yet, it's these shootings that comprise the bulk of firearm homicides in this nation, outstripping the more media-friendly mass shootings by a factor of between 10 and 20 to 1 (depending on the year).
As much as I would like to spend the next 50 pages blaming the media for this biased, callous approach to performing its function, I don't have the time or the energy.
What I do want to talk about is a solution.
And it doesn't involve more laws or fewer guns, because that solution clearly doesn't work.
Electronic Gun Control
The answer I have in mind is a pragmatic, practical one, and it's based in technology.
The issue with guns is that they can place an extraordinary amount of power into the hands of anybody capable of lifting just a few pounds of metal.
Armed with even the most compact handgun, any individual with the strength to raise his arm 90 degrees becomes infinitely more lethal than the world's most practiced martial artist.
If we found a way to detect these objects from a distance, reliably distinguishing them from other metal objects that people carry around, we've already taken a huge step forward.
If we took this approach a step further and found a way to detect all deadly objects, including knives and even non-metal devices such as bombs, then we've all but won the fight against mass violence.
Detection may seem like only half the battle, but if we took this hypothetical ability to a near-universal level, where would-be offenders knew their actions would almost certainly be preempted by public awareness and a prompt response from law enforcement, then we've achieved real-world deterrence.
Desperate, mentally disturbed individuals are often willing to sacrifice their lives for a mere chance at the catharsis and the immortal infamy that can be found at the tail end of a successful mass shooting.
How many of these same individuals would be willing to make the same sacrifice for no effect whatsoever?
I'm no psychologist, but my intuition tells me that far fewer would be compelled to act in this manner if they knew they would achieve nothing besides arrest or suicide at the hands of police.
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No Longer a Hypothetical
You may be thinking that I'm just waxing poetic about some sort of magical, deus-ex-machina technology that can give us eyes capable of peering through clothing to see what sorts of devices of mayhem people are carrying around, but what I've just described actually exists today.
It's a technology so effective that installing it in an airport, for example, would do away with all of today's security procedures.
No more lines. No more walking barefoot through scanners. No more waiting for your things to come out of the conveyer belt.
People would just walk through an otherwise unremarkable section of airport, never knowing they had just been screened.
The experience would improve, but more importantly, the security would be far more effective, as this technology has been developed to be smart enough to actually identify guns by their make and model.
You haven't seen this technology at work yet for one simple reason: it's just too new.
The small tech company that designs and builds these sensors only received approval to market its devices in the U.S. last October.
Today, it's doing advanced testing, sharpening the algorithms and making the product even better.
And for cities like Chicago, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., St. Louis, and any other urban center plagued with mass violence, it absolutely does have the potential to finally do what no law has been able to: create an immediate and reliable deterrent.
There is much, much more to learn about this technology.
Fortune favors the bold,
Coming to us from an already impressive career as an independent trader and private investor, Alex's specialty is in the often misunderstood but highly profitable development-stage microcap sector. Focusing on young, aggressive, innovative biotech and technology firms from the U.S. and Canada, Alex has built a track record most Wall Street hedge funders would envy. Alex contributes his thoughts and insights regularly to Wealth Daily. To learn more about Alex, click here.
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