Can investors quell gun violence?
(The Free Press – Mankato, Minn.)
While Washington as well as state legislatures contemplate policy responses to the horrific tragedy that left dozens dead in Newtown, Conn., others weren’t waiting. Some major investment houses and pension funds began to speak with their pocketbooks.
Cerebus Capital Management, a private investment firm, announced plans to sell Bushmaster company, the maker of the rifle used in the Newtown shootings. The investment house called the Newtown massacre a “watershed event” that would presumably create new laws restricting those type of guns and change the value of the company.
While the Cerebus decision may indeed not have been an altruistic action but more a financial one, clearly, public sentiment influenced its decision. In announcing the sale, Cerebus said the shooting “raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level.”
We’re thinking that unprecedented level of discussion will go on for some time.
Cerebus invests money for large pension funds and has as one of those investments a company called Freedom Group, the largest firearms maker in the U.S. One of its investors is the California State Teachers Retirement System. The pension fund was reviewing their $600 million investment in Cerebus in response to the shooting, according to a spokesman. The fund would own, through Cerebus, 2.4 percent of Freedom Group.
Cerebus also appeared to be motivated by significant movement in public sentiment for stricter gun laws, ones that would likely outlaw the guns made by the companies that have Cerebus backing. A Freedom Group spokesperson admitted as much saying reinstating the assault weapons ban allowed to expire in 2004 would “have a material adverse effect on our business.”
Even some sporting goods stores are voluntarily taking their assault weapons off the shelves for fear of public and consumer backlash.
Cerebus for its part tried to stay above the political questions, stating: “It is not our role to take positions, or attempt to shape or influence the gun control policy debate. That is the job of our federal and state legislators.”
Whether Cerebus likes it or not, it is influencing the debate.
The power of this kind of corporate democracy may be something investors, teachers, public employees consumers and others might consider adopting, especially since it may likely work toward public policies the people want faster than Washington.
Mental health treatment
(The Joplin, Mo., Globe)
We have yet to learn exactly what mental disorder may have triggered Adam Lanza’s terrible act of violence when he shot 20 children and six adults in Newtown, Conn.
But amidst the speculation, there is agreement that just as we need discussions about the types of weapons and ammunition available for sale, we also need to talk about the treatment of mental illness in this country.
We agree with U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., an avid hunter and a lifelong member of the National Rifle Association who advocates for an honest discussion about reasonable restrictions on guns.
“This is bigger than just about guns,” he said in a news conference. “It’s about how we treat people with mental illness, how we intervene, how we get them the care they need, how we protect our schools. It’s just so sad.”
Just about every mass killing in recent decades in America has been caused by someone who we later learn was mentally ill.
The overall issue of violence in America is far more complex than simply control of firearms.
We as a nation should be able to provide effective care for the mentally ill. Unfortunately, too often their plight is handled through law enforcement, the courts and our jail system.
President Barack Obama has said he will meet with law enforcement officials and mental health professions in coming weeks.
It’s going to take a comprehensive approach to understand the root cause of mass killings like we saw last week.
Can investors quell gun violence?
Debate filled with 'hate' gives Hamas a pass
Political invective is dialed to the max, and everyone who disagrees is a "hater." But the hate police, who are so eager to cast labels, are ignoring the real wells of contempt in the Middle East.
Congress should be cheered, not blamed, for sitting on its hands
President Obama, his minions and the media wag their fingers at Congress for being unproductive, but passing more laws isn't necessarily a good thing.
Impeachment arms Democrats, doesn't end the Obama disaster
Republicans may have grounds to impeach President Barack Obama but they would be daft to pursue a case they cannot win in a Senate controlled by Democrats. Impeachment would only drive the Democrats' fundraising and potentially squander the GOP's best opportunity in years to capture both houses of Congress then, in two years, the White House.
Can black women have it all?
In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.
Inequality crisis shot with factual problems, hypocrisy
President Obama, various media and political liberals say inequality, of all things, is the defining issue of our times. Yet this message is delivered by multimillionaires and a president who jets from tee time to stump speech on the taxpayer's dime.
Zamperini, the Olympian and POW, was a hero because of his faith
Louis Zamperini collected many accolades as an Olympic distance runner and brave bombardier who spent a month adrift at sea and two years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. But faith and forgiveness are what truly distinguished him.
Hobby Lobby critics push specious privacy pitch
The violation of privacy argument by liberal detractors of the Supreme Court's decision in the Hobby Lobby-Obamacare case doesn't hold water when you consider the current collection and use of the personal details of your medical preferences.
Declare your independence from empty slogans
'Independence Day' is now an ironic celebration in a country where the president promotes government dependence over actual freedom, and where bumper-sticker slogans have replaced actual, independent thought.
Taxi owners, government patrons try forcing Uber to go 'off-duty'
Uber gives urban passengers an enticing alternative. Rides on-demand arrive faster than taxis, are cheaper and cleaner, and get rated by customers. Rather than hail innovation, government enablers are helping the heavily regulated taxicab industry freeze out the upstart.
IRS spins email yarn as Obama slips past another scandal
Forget everything you've heard about email. All digital trace of a former IRS official's email over the 25 months the agency harassed conservative groups has mysteriously, improbably vanished. Gone, too, is the White House's accountability as President Obama slips from another scandal.
- More Opinion Headlines
- Debate filled with 'hate' gives Hamas a pass