Whether or not the Newtown killings persuade Congress to do something, it looks like Wall Street will. Gun industry investments are suddenly toxic.
While America continues to grieve over the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School and begins looking for answers, for Newtown-based National Shooting Sports Foundation, the gun industry's multi-million dollar trade association, it's back to business as usual.
We are paying a high price so that a few million Americans can live the fantasy that one day they can resist an oppressive government with that Bushmaster in the closet.
Last year, CalSTRS, which is the nation's second largest pension fund, adopted a policy calling for portfolio companies to annually report their expenditures on political contributions.
How fitting that Dan Quayle, a bumbling excuse for a vice president of the United States, should end up as a top executive of a $20 billion private equity firm mired in controversy.
Despite an epidemic of gun deaths, the river of gun cash never stops flowing. If you follow that river upstream you'll see that its source lies very close to Wall Street.
Instead of responding by saying no to the culture of violence, we are apparently responding by arming ourselves with more weapons. If that cycle of violence and fear is having such a deep psychological impact on adults, how do we expect our children to navigate or survive it?
Ironically, the only impact that the tragedy in Newtown has had for the Freedom Group, Cerberus and its investors so far is a massive INCREASE in sales, as gun shops are reporting their highest sales in decades.
In the wake of the Newtown school massacre, President Obama and Democrats would be wise to frame the gun control debate in a similar fashion: "You're either protecting children or you're not."
Divesting a major company from an investment portfolio is a huge move. This quick development, just days after the massacre, demonstrates the incredible power that large investment funds hold when they even mention the consideration of divestment.
Why is regulating guns so unthinkable when regulating cars isn't? There's no good answer. It's time to end the hypocrisy and be honest with ourselves about this conversation.
Where is the sense of ownership from Cerberus? Where is the sense of responsibility to society? What ownership did Cerberus and its leaders show in 2006, when they decided that investing in Bushmaster could provide a favorable return to investors and themselves? What ownership have they shown in the past 6 years?
Guns shouldn't be in the hands of crazy people who are likely to use them to commit murder. But there are two problems with this emerging "national conversation" about guns and mental illness.
In its advertisement for the type of weapon used by the child-killer Adam Lanza, Bushmaster's slogan reads: "Consider Your Man Card Reissued." Lots of people out there feel as if they're man-card-carrying alphas. Now it's time to do battle against an organization that endangers the lives of your children.
It not entirely clear whether tighter gun laws would prevent mass shootings. It is matter we need to weigh. Regardless what decision we make, if we can find a way through this debate to grow into the adults this country needs then the effort will not have been wasted.
From this day forward my first question to anyone calling or emailing or knocking on my door to solicit support will be the same: does your candidate openly and actively support a ban on the legal possession of military-style assault weapons?