After the San Bernadino shootings last December, the headlines next day was “Another day, another shooting in Gun-Crazy USA”. Since then, random shootings, police shootings and mass shootings have become so common place that one day without any of these shootings is a day for celebration.
How did this country descend into such a state of civil unrest? More Americans have died from guns in the United States since 1968 than on battlefields of all the wars in American history. Unfortunately, many of the dead in recent years have been little innocent kids caught in the crossfire or being at the wrong place at the wrong time. While there has been lots of finger pointing, easy access to guns has clearly been a factor. Shares of gun companies have outperformed the Dow and S&P since last year and every new shooting incident only serves to drive these stocks higher.
But this report is not to examine the reasons for the violence in America or endorse buying gun company stocks but instead to look at investments that are being made by government agencies and technology companies to alleviate and counteract these violent acts and how the public is coping with the violence around them.
The first major improvement has been in smart body cameras. Several companies have developed the ability to capture, transmit, store images via a small camera pinned to a law enforcement agents’ shirt. Police departments across the US are moving to outfit their personnel with these cameras and we could expect departments overseas in Europe and Asia to do the same in the near future. We believe a handful of providers of these body cameras will continue to benefit from the growth and represent good investment opportunities.
Second area of improvement has been in video imaging. Instead of relying of grainy black and white images of cameras situated in public buildings, banks, airports, parks, movie studios etc., the race to replace these cameras with high definition capabilities could drive shooters or terrorists to rethink their rash decisions. At least, that is the hope. Again, a handful of tech companies have enabled these old cameras to now capture and store crisp images and videos in high definition color.
The third area that has seen a big uptick in sales in these times of frequent violence has been in books. With shooting incidents constantly been shown on TV, people have retreated to reading more again. What a novel idea! Sales of books on race relations, family, motivation and environment have all been doing well. No points for guessing correctly where consumers are buying these books.
Future Wealth’s view
While there is no way to predict when these random acts of terrorism and violence will end, we believe there are good investment decisions to be made around these events. At Future Wealth, we look for companies that are not just taking advantage of the recent spate of shootings but are instead looking to improve the ecosystem and environment, and in the process making it hard for these events to be repeated over and over again.