by Doctor Science
As I predicted, gun sales are up in the wake of the Newtown massacre, particularly the type of Bushmaster assault rifle the killer used. This is par for the US gun massacre course.
Gun buyers all say that such post-massacre surges in popularity are because they're afraid that weapons associated with tragedy are going to be banned, so they're getting them why they still can. No-one has talked about how very peculiar this attitude is.
Usually, when there's a horrible public tragedy, everything associated with it gets contaminated with that horror. For instance, I remember grape Kool-Aid being pulled from stores after the Jonestown massacre, because of rumors that it had been the vehicle for the mass poisoning. No-one actually thought that the Kool-Aid in stores was poison, but the association with Jonestown was repulsive on a gut level. It was better for stores if customers couldn't even see Kool-Aid on their shelves to be repulsed.
This kind of repulsion-by-association or contamination is so strong and common I'm willing to call it instinctive -- a term I do not use lightly or metaphorically. This makes it particularly striking and even weird that guns do not get contaminated this way for gun buyers. Why isn't the normal instinct being activated?
I'm not really asking why gun buyers don't make a logical or rational connection between a massacre and a particular type of weapon. I'm talking about an emotional or gut reaction, something like, "well, that's another thing ruined for me now".
This is even more peculiar because, at least in the US, gun enthusiasts tend to be politically conservative, and conservatives tend to feel issues of purity and contamination are more important than liberals do. So why do conservatives not feel an instinctive sense of contamination in this case, only? Why are your feelings about guns teflon-coated?
In both the United Kingdom and Australia gun laws were significantly tightened after horrific massacres in the 1990s. They weren't particularly difficult political decisions: both countries were united by grief, shame, and (importantly IMHO) revulsion, the urge to reject things associated with the horrors.
For the first time that I can recall, lots of Americans are starting to feel that kind of revulsion toward guns. Even though Bushmaster sales are up, some stores are pulling the weapon from the shelves. More significantly, investors are starting to reject gun manufacturers.
But I don't know if significant numbers of gun fans are starting to have that reaction, that rushing out to buy a weapon famous for slaughtering little children is -- or should be -- repulsive, not an automatic response. And I guess I'm asking those of you who *are* gun fans what it would take to break that response, to make the weapons of mass murder seem hideous, not attractive.
recalls the way lepers once bathed in animal blood in an effort to cure themselves and avoid being ostracized to the one-time leprosarium where the installation is located.Contamination, madness, blood: (part of) what we're talking about.
 In case you have seen pro-gun posts going around, about how the Australian gun laws led to an increase in crime, I refer you to Snopes. In brief, no.
 I'm not saying "gun nuts", and I'd appreciate it if other commenters refrained, as well.