On the same day a right-wing Christian terrorist took a duffel bag full of guns into a Planned Parenthood and opened fire, Americans rushed out to stores across the country to buy up as many weapons as they could.
Economists noted that Black Friday’s sales were down this year, but one “bright” spot for retailers was the paradoxical way Americans like to go gun shopping in the wake of a mass shooting. As the standoff with the Planned Parenthood shooter consumed the news for much of Black Friday, many people ventured out to stores to buy more guns. So many, in fact, that the country hit a dubious milestone: The highest number of “background checks” for people applying for new guns conducted in one 24-hour period, nearly 2 per second.
As if to reinforce the point that many gun lovers hold their guns a little closer after a shooting, the sales record replaced the last one which was set a few days after Sandy Hook.
The previous record for the most background checks in a single day was Dec. 21, 2012, about a week after 20 children and six adults were shot to death in a Connecticut elementary school. The week following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary saw the processing of 953,613 gun background checks.
The invariable response to this depressing numbers from pro-gun activists is that people feel safer with more guns. That has been repeatedly – both statistically and anecdotal – proven not to be the case. Americans have more guns then ever, and mass shootings are on the rise. As I sat down to write this, I learned another one is taking place even as I type. It will mark the 352nd mass shooting of the year. This is the country as it is right now.
Gun store owners, of course, are doing exceptionally well in this surreal climate. After a shooting in an Oregon community college, local gun store owners told reporters they were giddy about the influx of new customers.
“I’ve just ordered some more ARs,” said the owner, Candi Kinney, referring to assault rifles. “There’s always a rush on them after a big shooting. We can’t keep the stuff on the shelves.”
Her store serves as a weapons and anti-Obama emporium.
For Roseburg Gun Shop the real danger to the community is Obama. 'He wants to leave us defenseless.' pic.twitter.com/jtSm08KvRC
— Rory Carroll (@rorycarroll72) October 2, 2015
This is the face of the right-wing pro-gun argument. A racist caricature of President Obama, mixed with fear and misinformation to sell more of the one thing we know is contributing to gun violence: The guns themselves.
As another community is left to pick up the pieces after a horrific act of senseless – but predictable – violence, America is plunging itself headlong into further tragedies. What a shame.
Feature image via Wikipedia