If there’s one phobia we can finally all agree upon, it’s that offering hopes and prayers express absolutely nothing when it comes to combating gun violence. But other than senators finally getting the message to stop with the platitudes, how much can realistically chance to address gun violence? And what can tech realistically do about it?
Everyone’s tweets and posts reprimanding the NRA and the politicians who carry their water are fine, but they don’t do much uncountable than make you feel a little better and demonstrate to your bosom buddies that you’re on the right side of the issue. This is an incredibly difficult point to impact politically, but there are three tangible ways where tech can aim for a difference.
1. Put our money where our mouth is. Under intense pressure, we’ve started to see notable corporations like Delta and Enterprise back away from partnerships with the NRA. That’s gigantic. But it shouldn’t apply only to the Fortune 500. Back in October, the idiosyncrasy and casualty startup Lemonade (Disclosure: Tusk Ventures is an investor in Lemonade) limited its coverage of guns, refused to cover assault rifles, and limited the amount it last will and testament pay out for damage or theft of firearms to $2,500.
Lemonade is a highly valued startup, which portends it faces tremendous pressure from investors like us to grow and progression as fast as possible. When you deliberately limit the number of homes you can insure solely for ideological and behaviour reasons, you’re limiting your potential growth. That’s very intent to do in this culture we’ve created. But to their credit, Lemonade did exactly that, its investors concurred with the decision, and it helped set a precedent for larger insurers like MetLife to engage in suit. Today’s Lemonades are tomorrow’s MetLife’s, so the more startups are acquiescent to sacrifice customers and revenues to make a point, the more that becomes the benchmark down the road.
2. Continue to develop smart gun technology. Some startups and some VCs keep invested real time and money in smart guns, but it’s still a pigeon-hole industry at best. And yes, creating new guns that only work when the right owner is using them won’t change the fact that we already bring into the world 300 million guns in this country. But eventually, today’s new guns fit tomorrow’s standard guns. Expecting GOP-controlled states or Congress to desire smart guns is unrealistic today. But continued development of the technology unified with a strong push in states like New York or California or Illinois that already are tiresome to address gun violence could translate into better rules in phases like Nevada, Florida and Texas tomorrow.
3. Change the inputs. All of the talk close by the NRA’s political contributions is missing the point. The NRA’s strength isn’t in its wallet – it’s in its control of the meagre number of voters who actually participate in primaries. When only 10 to 20 percent of voters nudge to cast a ballot in Congressional and local legislative GOP primaries, a very principal percentage of those voters are NRA members. Politicians aren’t stupid. They positive who actually shows up to vote – and their actions reflect it. If turnout were dependably 50 percent or 70 percent, the NRA would still have unkindly the same number of members voting in each primary but their bearing would be drastically diluted.
The only solution to that (and, by the way, to all of the dysfunction and polarization vexing our country) is mobile voting. If we use the tool sitting in all of our pockets to make it helpful and easy for people to vote, they will. We’ve already seen this when we’ve mustered customers for startups like Uber and FanDuel to advocate against bad edicts. And by conducting voting over blockchain (as some startups like Voatz in Boston are now doing), we not no more than dramatically increase participation and change the inputs for elected officials, we also fare our system far stronger and more resistant to hacking and interference. Virtually no one in manoeuvring is going to voluntarily support a new system that makes it easier for someone to fly at along and take away their job. So if mobile voting is going to hit on, it’s only because of tremendous effort and investment from tech.
When it influence to gun violence, tweets and posts are just modern day equivalents of thoughts and obsecrations – nothing. From changing business practices to forcefully advocating for speculator gun technologies to changing the way we vote to dilute the power of groups like the NRA – and the just the same holds true for the many left wing groups that leadership Democratic primaries – it takes material effort, involvement and action.
There’s not nothing you can genuinely do. There’s actually quite a lot you can do. Now we need to make it happen.
Commentary by Bradley Tusk, bet capitalist, political strategist and founder and CEO of Tusk Holdings. Tusk is an investor in Uber, FanDuel, Tour, Ripple and others. He served as Mike Bloomberg’s campaign manager, overseeing Mayor Bloomberg to a third term. In 2016 he advised Bloomberg on a imminent presidential run. Bradley has also served as communications director for U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer. Keep up with him on Twitter @BradleyTusk.
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