+
More

Parkland teen survivor just shined a light on a hidden way 90 million people support guns.

David Hogg knows a thing or two about boycotts.

The 18-year-old Stoneman Douglas High School senior and Parkland shooting survivor has put Fox News host Laura Ingraham in the hot seat after orchestrating a hugely successful boycott of her show.

Before that, he helped bring attention to companies that have business deals with the NRA, leading to some companies like Hertz to end those partnerships.


Now he's calling out some of the country's biggest investment firms for enriching the gun industry.

On April 17, Hogg tweeted to his 700k followers that Vanguard and BlackRock "are two of the biggest investors in gun manufacturers; if you use them, feel free to let them know. Thanks," adding “#BoycottVanguard #BoycottBlackrock,” in a series of follow-up tweets.

This is far bigger than his boycott of Laura Ingraham because it affects millions of people with retirement funds — probably including you.

According to some estimates, around 90 million Americans invest in gun manufacturers through their retirement plans, resulting in $1.51 billion in yearly earnings for the industry. That means the average American with a 401(k) plan has around $17 invested in gun manufacturer stocks, whether they know it or not.

Both Vanguard and BlackRock are major contributors to this phenomenon. Blackrock is the leading shareholder of at least two gunmakers — Ruger and American Outdoor Brands (formerly known as Smith & Wesson) — as well as the second-leading shareholder in Vista Outdoor, which carries a number of firearm-related companies under its corporate umbrella. Vanguard is right behind, as the second-leading shareholder in Ruger and the third-largest holder in both American Outdoor Brands and Vista Outdoor.

Simply put, if Hogg and his supporters can convince Vanguard and BlackRock to reduce or divest their gun stocks, it would have a major impact on the industry.

BlackRock is now offering customers a fund free of gun investment and said it's talking to gun manufacturers.

Both companies pushed back against Hogg's boycott call without specifically criticizing Hogg or any other student activists.

BlackRock has already created an investment plan for customers that is specifically free of stocks tied to gun manufacturers and said it has engaged with some of those gun manufacturers about public policy issues surrounding gun safety in a larger reassessment of its relationship with those companies following the Parkland shootings.

Vanguard also released a statement claiming that "359 of its 388 funds do not directly invest in ... Ruger, American Outdoor Brands, or Vista Outdoor." They noted that customers can request an investment fund that does not contribute to gun manufacturers and echoed BlackRock's decision to engage directly with gun manufacturers over policy discussions.

"Importantly, Vanguard is taking action, meeting with the leaders of gun manufacturers and distributors," the statement read. "We want to know how they will mitigate the risks that their products pose and how they plan to help prevent such tragedies from happening again."

If you're unsure where your retirement funds are being invested, here are twoguides that can help you ensure your funds aren't going to gun companies.

As awareness of corporate responsibility grows, Hogg is proving that our retirement funds don't have to come at the cost of others' lives.

Hogg is showing activists and concerned consumers alike how they can use their voices and their wallets to affect the gun violence epidemic in the U.S.

While progress continues to stall on actual gun safety legislation, businesses and larger corporations are not immune to economic pressure. Investing in gun manufacturers has been good business for fund managers, but it certainly isn't the defining source of their income.

So if the boycott continues, it could prove to be a headache that far outweighs any financial gain they previously enjoyed.

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

Keep ReadingShow less
Architectural Digest/Youtube

This house was made with love.

Celebrity home tours are usually a divisive topic. Some find them fun and inspirational. Others find them tacky or out of touch. But this home tour has seemingly brought unanimous joy to all.

“Stranger Things” actor David Harbour and British singer-songwriter Lily Allen, whose Vegas wedding in 2020 came with an Elvis impersonator, gave a tour of their delightfully quirky Brooklyn townhouse for Architectural Digest, and people were absolutely loving it.

For one thing, the house just looks cool. There’s nothing monotone or minimalist about it. No beige to be seen.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Buffy Sainte-Marie shares what led to her openly breastfeeding on 'Sesame Street' in 1977

The way she explained to Big Bird what she was doing is still an all-time great example.

"Sesame Street" taught kids about life in addition to letters and numbers.

In 1977, singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie did something revolutionary: She fed her baby on Sesame Street.

The Indigenous Canadian-Ameican singer-songwriter wasn't doing anything millions of other mothers hadn't done—she was simply feeding her baby. But the fact that she was breastfeeding him was significant since breastfeeding in the United States hit an all-time low in 1971 and was just starting to make a comeback. The fact that she did it openly on a children's television program was even more notable, since "What if children see?" has been a key pearl clutch for people who criticize breastfeeding in public.

But the most remarkable thing about the "Sesame Street" segment was the lovely interchange between Big Bird and Sainte-Marie when he asked her what she was doing.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to run their YouthLine teen crisis hotline

“Each volunteer gets more than 60 hours of training, and master’s level supervisors are constantly on standby in the room.”

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to man YouthLine teen crisis hotline

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

Mental health is a top-of-mind issue for a lot of people. Thanks to social media and people being more open about their struggles, the stigma surrounding seeking mental health treatment appears to be diminishing. But after the social and emotional interruption of teens due the pandemic, the mental health crises among adolescents seem to have jumped to record numbers.

PBS reports that Oregon is "ranked as the worst state for youth mental illness and access to care." But they're attempting to do something about it with a program that trains teenagers to answer crisis calls from other teens. They aren't alone though, as there's a master's level supervisor at the ready to jump in if the call requires a mental health professional.

The calls coming into the Oregon YouthLine can vary drastically, anywhere from relationship problems to family struggles, all the way to thoughts of self-harm and suicide. Teens manning the phones are provided with 60 hours of training and are taught to recognize when the call needs to be taken over by the adult supervisor.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Mom shares her brutal experience with 'hyperemesis gravidarum' and other moms can relate

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe case of morning sickness that can last up until the baby is born and might require medical attention.

@emilyboazman/TikTok

Hyperemesis gravidarum isn't as common as regular morning sickness, but it's much more severe.

Morning sickness is one of the most commonly known and most joked about pregnancy symptoms, second only to peculiar food cravings. While unpleasant, it can often be alleviated to a certain extent with plain foods, plenty of fluids, maybe some ginger—your typical nausea remedies. And usually, it clears up on its own by the 20-week mark. Usually.

But sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes moms experience stomach sickness and vomiting, right up until the baby is born, on a much more severe level.

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), isn’t as widely talked about as regular morning sickness, but those who go through it are likely to never forget it. Persistent, extreme nausea and vomiting lead to other symptoms like dehydration, fainting, low blood pressure and even jaundice, to name a few.

Emily Boazman, a mom who had HG while pregnant with her third child, showed just how big of an impact it can make in a viral TikTok.

Keep ReadingShow less

The cast of TLC's "Sister Wives."

Dating is hard for just about anyone. But it gets harder as people age because the dating pool shrinks and older people are more selective. Plus, changes in dating trends, online etiquette and fashion can complicate things as well.

“Sister Wives” star Christine Brown is back in the dating pool after ending her “spiritual union” with polygamist Kody Brown and she needs a little help to get back in the swing of things. Christine and Kody were together for more than 25 years and she shared him with three other women, Janelle, Meri and Robyn.

Janelle and Meri have recently announced they’ve separated from Kody. Christine publicly admitted that things were over with Kody in November 2021.

Keep ReadingShow less