Literally every human being to whom I have spoken recently is flat-out exhausted.
The balance of work and life, especially as a parent of a young child, has been challenging to achieve under quarantine conditions.
In fact, I’m writing this piece while simultaneously printing out today’s Kindergarten assignment sheet, logging in to several educational apps, setting up the computer for a reading group Zoom call, and organizing three months of my 6-year old daughter’s work to turn in to her teacher this weekend.
It’s a lot.
But the garden-variety frustrations of coronavirus cabin fever pale in comparison to the visible, visceral outrage now being expressed across the country.
When these tragedies and conflicts happen, I’m reminded of an interview Mr. Rogers once gave where he said to, “Always look for the Helpers … just on the sidelines. Because if you look for the helpers, you’ll know that there’s hope.”
But frankly, government response to this unrest – which should be measured and consistent – has instead been an incoherent mess, ranging from welcome displays of unity and solidarity to moments of unspeakable horror.
That’s incredibly concerning to me, considering that the Constitution quite literally guarantees individuals the right to protest, and prevents government from depriving citizens “of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”
When government doesn’t adequately defend those rights, it erodes the people’s trust. And indeed, data from the National Election Study bear that out, showing trust in government falling from roughly 75% at its inception in 1958, to just 17% today.
Source: Pew Research Center, National Election Study
Well, in an existential crisis like that, who helps the helpers?
Sadly, the process of restoring that faith in government is likely to take generations, as it takes trust to build trust. And moreover, building trust will require ready access to reliable information, which is much easier said than done in the social media age.
But from time to time there are things that get done in a shorter timeframe – particularly if centered on a prominent news event.
For instance, a friend in the natural resource business once explained to me, “if you have a mining accident, you’re probably going to get new mining laws.”
As such, both new restrictions on law enforcement activity and demilitarization seem likely at this point. And while both would go a long way toward reducing lethality, implementing them nationwide will not be a speedy process.
There is one organization, however, that might be able to help a little sooner.
Wrap Technologies (NYSE: WRTC) is a company that colleagues and I encountered at a networking event a few years ago. Their Executive Chairman, Scot Cohen, is a longtime financial industry veteran who also has some direct experience in the oil and gas sector – essentially the topic that initiated our conversation.
But when he showed us WRTC’s BolaWrap Remote Restraint – basically a weighted Kevlar rope with hooks designed to wrap around and restrain a target’s legs or torso – my initial thought was that they might have a chance to forever change law enforcement for the better.
Since then, I’ve had a chance to see the product up close – and a couple of friends even had the opportunity to be “wrapped” themselves.
The verdict? Fast, effective, and most importantly… non-lethal.
In addition, Axon (NYSE: AAXN) has had problems with Taser of late, and the 65% of market share they control in this space represents a huge upside for WRTC over the longer haul. Just as a comparison, AAXN’s quarterly revenue is more than 100x that of WRTC.
Shareholders know it, too, as the company just announced US$12.4 million in new financing from existing investors at $6/share to scale engineering and product development.
The stock has obviously taken off on recent events and has positively skyrocketed since that announcement – rising briefly to over $9 in today’s session for nearly a 200% gain in just a couple months.
Because of that, I would wait for a pullback before entering – perhaps a first ¼ tranche somewhere below $8/share.
Now, obviously I aim to be completely agnostic when I write here, but full disclosure – this is a company I am rooting for to succeed.
And given the events of last week… I think we really need them to.
Stay safe and be kind to each other, everyone.
All the best,