No matter what side of the aisle you fall on, what your belief system may be, and what you feel the correct solution is, we can all agree on one thing: there’s a crisis of catastrophic violence in America today. I refrain from calling it “gun violence” because that can be a loaded and triggering term for some people, but we all know that this violence is often expressed through the use of handguns, assault rifles, and similar weapons. The auto industry in this country has its roots in the heartland of America, and much of our nation’s prosperity has been directly tied to the growth and success of carmakers, and they know it.
Recently, I had the opportunity to hear a talk from [Name Removed], one of the chief officers at [Company Name Removed]. His statements really stirred me and demonstrated the kind of care and adoration that big corporations feel for the American people. While I was unable to record the talk, I kept some notes transcribed from his speech on paper.
A Problem, and a Solution
“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming here today. I’d like to begin by discussing – [the first 20 minutes of the speech were needless self-congratulatory nonsense that I will skip for the sake of brevity] – and for that, you can all thank me at your leisure.
“But I’d like to talk about something that’s really stirred me recently. Tragic events that we all know about have struck at the heart of our great nation and left more than a dozen children dead. All of the families involved have our thoughts and prayers, of course. In the wake of this terrible, unpreventable tragedy, I have only one thing to say to everyone here and all Americans who might hear my words: stop shooting each other! If you feel a great rage about your situation in life and have no way to express it beyond senseless violence, then please, use a car instead.”
“Look, [at this point, he presented several slides with graphs], there’s a clear correlation here between mass shootings and high-profile gun violence and the sale of guns. Americans watched horrendous events unfold as 19 little children were slaughtered with a gun, and the response was a 6.6% increase in stock price for Sturm Ruger – a 12% increase for Smith & Wesson! They didn’t even make the guns used in the massacre, but they’re reaping the benefits simply by being a manufacturer.
“I believe this is clear evidence that we can do better.”
The speaker was sweating heavily and panting at this point – I’m uncertain if it was the sight of a chart showing an increase in share price or due to the large steak and whiskey I saw him enjoying earlier. After catching his breath, he continued, “If the gun industry can enjoy these kinds of benefits from tragedy, then so can we. It’s simply a matter of messaging.
“Today, I implore you all to take my message and spread it through every avenue available to you, and my message is this: stop shooting each other. Look how small bullets are, and they can do so much damage. Imagine what a full-size SUV in the right hands could do!? How many children could be murdered by a well-trained madman with a 420-hp engine and 5,000 lbs of machinery under his control? Just imagine, IMAGINE, what would happen to our stock prices after such a mass killing and fears that the government might come after people’s cars?
“For too long, gun manufacturers have been enjoying all the benefits of being the number-two cause of deaths for young people, while we were on top and getting none of the acclaim. Now they’ve taken that from us – I say it’s high time we take something back from them. Stop shooting each other and start ramming into each other with two tons of American engineering! Thank you.”
Several comments were made after his closing remarks, but I was unable to hear them over the thunderous applause that erupted throughout the room. There was a long line of people waiting to shake the speaker’s hand, and his erection became impossible to conceal as the adulation poured over him. Ultimately, I couldn’t hide my disappointment – I ordered the fish, which was pretty lackluster, while the steak looked much better and came with roasted potatoes. I love potatoes, damnit.
Editor’s Note: Data indicates that mass shootings didn’t have an impact on share prices for gun-makers prior to 2011, likely because there were worries that legislation would actually be passed restricting gun sales. Since 2011, as it’s become clear no one cares about children murdered by gun violence, gun sales after mass shootings have increased, which has resulted in boosts to gun manufacturer stock values. Background checks for gun sales have spiked significantly since 2009 at four specific times: in December 2012 following the Sandy Hook massacre; in December 2015 following a mass-shooting terrorist attack in San Bernardino; in March of 2020 when the COVID state of emergency was declared; and in June of 2020 when Black Lives Matters protests spiked following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers. Thank you.