‘The Stocks of Gun-Makers Go Up’
In the wake of the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando Sunday morning, shares of Smith & Wesson jumped 7 percent in Monday’s trading session. Though the stock stabilized in Tuesday trading, it has nonetheless managed to gain 5.5 percent in the last five days of market activity.
This is Forbes staff writer Maggie McGrath yesterday, June 16. She’s ready with the answer to the question I’ve just placed in your mind: Why would a mass killing make gun manufacturers’ stocks go up, not down?
It’s one of the more jarring market correlations that exists in finance: when a gun tragedy occurs, the stocks of gun-makers go up, because firearm enthusiasts rush to buy up that which they fear will soon be unobtainable as a result of tightened gun laws. Then, when gun control measures fail to materialize, the stocks go back down.
It’s not the purpose of Writer Unboxed to debate gun control. Nor is it our place here to ascribe motivations to armed assailants in highly publicized attacks.
Politics are not the issue here for us today, although they are for many in the United Kingdom, where official campaigning both for “Vote Leave” and “Vote Remain” has been suspended ahead of the upcoming (June 23) referendum on the UK’s membership in the European Union. That nation is trying to get to grips with the nightmare of Labour MP Jo Cox’s shooting death yesterday (June 16) in Birstall, West Yorkshire, by a man witnesses say shouted “Britain first!” or “Put Britain first!” during his assault. The organization Britain First is condemning the murder.
Those who do discuss these events as part of our political life, may understandably be inflamed and focused on them. They might very well like to engage you in the debate. So compelling is the Orlando incident, after all, that Democratic members of the Senate have staged a 15-hour filibuster, ending it when Republicans agreed to hold votes on two gun control amendments. The UK already has tight gun-control laws, which is one reason the Cox shooting is all the more shocking there. It was a year ago today that Dylann S. Roof allegedly shot and killed nine people in a church in Charleston.
Naturally, the public conversation is building. And even as we stand down from it here, we recognize its importance. However our nations work through their respective tragedies and controversies, these events and their impact are in our faces, as they must be.
What is our own “item of interest” here at Writer Unboxed is the question of response—of responsibility—in such critical moments, as writers.
The debate around gun control, whatever may be your opinions on the matter, gains traction with each of these unspeakable events. But so does the dilemma faced by many writers, especially in an era when a chatty public presence is something authors are expected to maintain on social media.
It’s my provocation for you today.