Wordsy by Zainab Khan
The latest mass shooting incident to take place in the Unites States is that of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which claimed the lives of 17 students. Once again, there has (in my opinion) been righteous condemnation of the fact that a 19-year-old was somehow able to obtain firearms legally in a country that does not allow people to drink until the age of 21 (Source, and for above image: Sky News).
America is a country that doggedly refuses to change its ways, any time gun reform is mentioned it is immediately shot down via reminders of the infamous ‘second amendment’ which states “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This amendment gives little comfort to the families of the Stoneman Douglas victims, nor does it help the still-grieving families of the 20 children (aged between 6 and 7) who were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
Shockingly, there are those who directly benefit from these tragedies. After every mass shooting, the price of gun stocks rise. If, like me, you didn’t know what stocks were here’s a summary – stocks are basically a small part of a corporation which are sold off so the company can use the money to invest elsewhere. In the immediate aftermath of the Stoneman Douglas shooting, some stocks rose as much as 5% which means that the makers of the gun used in the tragedy earned an extra $8.8 million.
Think of it like this: to gun companies, every victim is a dollar sign. These dollar signs are incredibly important to politicians as they are given millions by the National Rifle Association (NRA). In fact- they donated over $36 million to President Trump’s campaign back in 2016. (Source: The Independent).
The reason for this increase is down to a combination of fear and anxiety that gun control laws will be passed that make the purchase of firearms and ammunition more difficult.
I mentioned Sandy Hook earlier, well the NRA donated a cool $2.7 million to Republicans who were wondering whether to pass gun control laws that would… you know… save lives. Safe to say they didn’t do anything because four months afterwards, the US Senate voted not to pass the bill thereby proving that even the bodies of 6-year-olds fail to inspire compassion in the face of capitalist greed.
So to answer the question of who benefits from gun violence the answer is: more people than you might think. Gun companies most certainly, but also politicians who have a vested interest in maintaining the (very dangerous) status quo. Political campaigns need funding but when the platform you’re running on is built on the bodies of those who you failed to protect is it really worth it?
Read more from Zainab on her blog: Power in Prose