In the wake of America’s 18th school shooting this year (America has to be number one at something, I guess), it is important that freedom-loving Americans don’t panic: the racket that supports the firearms industry, gun lobby, and their GOP puppets in Congress is still intact and will continue to be refreshed by the blood of our children. Outside of having a black president, mass shootings are the biggest drivers of gun sales in this country — or rather the “response” to mass shootings.

It’s a pretty slick process: people who want a sane approach to gun regulation somehow dig down and find enough outrage to once again demand that those who can do something actually do something this time. The spineless cowards in the GOP get to once again offer their worthless “thoughts and prayers” to those affected, while palming donations from the gun lobby to insist that the increasingly frequent death of the innocent is the price of freedom.

Meanwhile, the NRA and other like-minded terrorist organizations get their bases all riled up about non-existent plots by the big bad government to confiscate their guns, while continuing to chip away at existing regulations and block attempts to even understand why the United States is the only developed country with this problem. They also get to push the narrative of scary foreigners, people of color, and other outsiders just waiting in the wings to mercilessly attack Real America, and how the only recourse is for all freedom-loving Americans to arm themselves to the teeth.

Of course nowadays this mainly applies to white Trump-supporters because groups that have been targeted for oppression and denial of constitutional rights by the Trump administration most often happen to fall into that outsider category. It’s sad to think about, but if every person in these groups went out and applied for a license to acquire a semi-automatic weapon tomorrow, Congress would probably pass gun control legislation the very next day.

In any scenario, the American firearms industry wins, as they always do. They have a reliably paranoid and easily manipulated base that scares the heck out of their GOP errand boys. They have unscrupulous hatchet men like the NRA to make sure everyone stays in line. But perhaps more to their advantage, they have a country that is desensitized to gun violence because violence itself is normalized. Our historic acceptance of brutality against certain groups (women, people of color, indigenous people, ethnic minorities, LGTBQ communities, etc.) is colliding with nearly two decades of valorizing war and vengeance. Add this to the uniquely American fetishization of guns and it’s impossible for the firearms industry not to prosper.

After all, they know better than anyone that as long as any idiot with a pulse can purchase a gun the cycle will take care of itself. And they are just fine with this racket as their business model; in fact, the more blood spilled the better.

Brad Wiles,


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