GUNS!→ Outlaw vs. Disrupt
I have a long-time-friend named Jeff Friedman. A very sharp-minded, practical, outwardly-caring person. The man who would be President in another life and we would all be better off for it, type of good-guy.
We are always debating something or other over email, text, and outside-beers in the East Kensington neighborhood of Philly. More often still, synchronizing our head-shaking at all the political hand-wringing that goes on around entrenched civic and social problems. This past week or so, it’s been all talk of murder.
Both Jeff and I understand that we the people will NEVER outlaw guns in this country, the same as we will never outlaw gasoline cars or baseball, despite how boring it is. Thanks to a loose interpretation of the Second Amendment, and an intentionally cloaked collection of investors, and owners, willing to get rich or die trying: by making and marketing a product capable of mass destruction: Guns in the U.S. are now and forever Americana, Norman Rockwell-ian, Apple Pie with Vanilla ice cream.
So, I say, if we cannot catch up legislatively with basically every other first-world country in terms of the regulation of guns, we have to find a work around. We have to use their weapon, capitalism, against them. We have to force them to turn the gun on themselves.
Anything else, like gun-buy-back programs and stringent background checks, are a stop-gap. Straw purchasing of guns for resale is its’ own cottage industry. And let’s be honest, typically, most any local government run program is a social gesture — pure garbage. They cut the ribbon and then they are done. The funders, the charitable donors, have something to talk about at cocktail parties while the rest of society suffers. While the birth-lottery, geographic losers are left to pick up the pieces of their broken dreams, in towns and cities all across the country.
I am a capitalist. (So are you, stop lying, or go read Adam Smith) What is the capitalist approach to this problem? I suggested by email to Jeff yesterday that we might use the electric vehicle-maker, Tesla, as a case study. When Telsa started out, there were zero electric vehicles on the road. It was a wholly foolish errand that Elon Musk and his friends embarked on. Today, not even a generation later, every single auto maker in the World has an aggressive EV program. Why? Regulation? Nope. Competition, Yup!
Competition then, okay, so starting another gun company makes no sense. At least on its face. But now go back to Tesla: They make the batteries and other components for most of their competitors’ cars. What is the component in the supply or delivery chain that the gun industry cannot grow/evolve without?
I don’t know yet but I do know that the gun companies know, as does the NRA, et al., that the U.S. Governments’ lackadaisical approach to the legality and regulation of guns will not last forever. Too many other countries have outlawed or shrank the market to almost zero with restrictions and ongoing requirements, e.g., annual target practice.
And, if we stop for a second, we have to realize that mass shootings like the one in Las Vegas will happen again, and again. They will get bigger and more spectacular. That’s how serial killers work. I didn’t invent it.
Someone should make a Netflix show about whomever the PR people for the Las Vegas Casinos are because it’s like hundreds of people were never murdered at an outdoor Country Western Concert not that long ago. It’s tragic and incredible. Nothing in the mainstream media, even online, unless you really Google. When you are in Vegas, as I am as often as possible, there is zero trace of it.
Bottom line: The gun industry needs to regulate guns, and still sell just as many, ideally. That’s how they think about it. The current practice is to fight legislation because they don’t want elected officials, by way of the public outcry, making up the rules. But what if a competitor made up the rules and the regulators passively pointed to it as the standard?
This happened with Uber, Lyft, Tesla, Space X off the top of my head.
This is how I think about it so far.
Back to you.