Sooner or later I knew it would happen. Gun violence has become an investment opportunity. Or I should say, talking about gun violence has now become a way to bring investors together who can try to make a buck by putting dough into various new ventures and other schemes.
Want to get in on the ground floor? There’s a conference being held in New York City on December 12 whose chief sponsor is an outfit called Northwell Health, which owns and operates more than 20 hospitals in New York State. Chief among these hospitals are Long Island Jewish Hospital and North Shore Hospital which, along with more than 700 outpatient clinics and other facilities, employs more than 68,000 and runs more than 50 of those cutsie, little ‘urgent care’ centers which keep popping up all over the place.
I think it’s really interesting that a medical conglomerate which doesn’t operate a single health facility in any inner-city neighborhood would get interested in health issues related to guns. If I were to take the time to analyze gun-violence rates in the areas served by Northwell’s hospitals, outpatient clinics, rehab and dialysis centers, pharmacies, imaging and everything else, the baseline number for gun-violence injuries would be somewhere around zilch. So how come a medical system which treats the patient population least likely to suffer gun injuries is all of a sudden so concerned about what their CEO refers to as ‘this public health crisis?’
Maybe it’s because Northwell has teamed up for this big deal with a private investment firm, Landmark Ventures, which holds what they refer to as ‘carefully curated’ events connecting ‘thought leaders, C-level executives, innovators and entrepreneurs.’ The purpose is to ‘build strategic relationships and partnerships with top industry dealmakers.’ In other words, Davos Lite.
So there you have it. Gun violence has now become a vehicle for talking about the latest and greatest investment opportunities that might just be relevant to the medical field. After all, the medical industry now cranks out more than $3.65 trillion every year. That’s not chopped liver even in my book.
Coming up with new medical products happens as well to be a particular end-game for Northwell Health, which runs a medical-products lab that has gone heavily into a new medical technology, ‘bioelectronic medicine’ which promises to replace pain-killing drugs with electronic impulses that will control the nerves which create pain. These products, none of which are yet on the market, also are being developed to control bleeds. Is that the connection with injuries caused by guns? Maybe they are working on some kind of electronic impulse that will inhibit all those street thugs from taking out their Glocks because ‘he dissed me.’
In any case, you may recall that back in February, the American College of Surgeons hosted a national, gun-violence ‘summit’ where representatives of more than 40 medical organizations showed up, spent a day blabbing back and forth and issued the usual laundry-list of recommendations for reducing gun violence through the application of various ‘sensible’ gun laws. Then everyone went home and that was the end of that.
Funny, but the invitation sent out by Landmark Ventures for the ‘carefully curated’ New York event went to the same groups who showed up at Chicago, along with companies like Wal Mart and Dick’s Sporting Goods, who have stopped selling black guns. Oh well, you never know what will happen when you get a bunch of sporting-goods salesmen in a room with a high-level assortment of innovators and entrepreneurs.
If you catch a slight bit of sarcasm in my text, it’s not by accident but by design. Five or six years ago, you could go to any number of conferences which bring ‘thought leaders’ together but you wouldn’t hear any discussions about guns. Now such conclaves seem to be breaking out all over the place.
There’s only one little problem. Basically, these confabs don’t accomplish a friggin’ thing. Unless what you’re just trying to accomplish has really nothing to do with the violence caused by guns.