The cynical genius of the National Rifle Association is its creation of a perpetual motion money machine.
In the aftermath of 27 deaths in Newtown, Conn., you might think gun buyers would be having second thoughts about the wisdom and safety of buying automatic weapons.
After all, the guns used to kill 20 six- and seven-year-old children, their teachers, principal and child psychologist were purchased by the young killer's mother. She then became the deranged young man's first victim, suffering multiple gunshot wounds to the head.
Reasonable people might conclude that these weapons are extremely dangerous in the home, even to the people who buy them.
Buyers might also be concerned about their community. There would be the constant worry the gun might be used by a family member to commit suicide, homicide or even a horrific mass slaying.
Reasonable people might see the slaying of several dozen children and educators as a reasonable reason not to buy such weapons.
Yet, when it comes to guns, this is not a reasonable nation. As they always do, gun sales will surge in the aftermath of this tragic event.
Some gun buyers will have heard President Barack Obama say government must do something to make our country safer from people intent on killing innocent people.
Even though he didn't say anything about guns or gun control, just the mention of doing "something" will kick off renewed fear of gun control.
Gun sales will also surge this week because people will fear for their own safety. You see, there is so much gun violence in America that more people will believe they need more guns, and more high-powered guns, to protect themselves.
This, despite evidence that guns are involved in way more suicides and domestic violence homicides than are fired for self defense.
Financially, gun violence and the perpetual fear of gun control are what keeps the NRA and its gun-making patrons in the money.
In 2011, the NRA listed $24 million in cash on hand and paid its director, Wayne LaPierre, $970,000.
Meanwhile, many gun dealers cannot even keep up with demand, even as they raise prices to exorbitant levels.
Together, Ruger and Smith & Wesson control nearly 30 percent of the U.S. handgun industry and their factories were running at full tilt even before this latest mass shooting.
Ruger had to stop taking orders for a couple of months this year when sales outpaced production.
Its sales have increased 86 percent since Barack Obama became president, while S&W's sales have jumped 44 percent.
"Wouldn't you want to be in a business where customers are just begging to hand you money?" a Nashville gun dealer asked the Associated Press in October.
So, even as we recoil with horror at the slayings of children, the NRA and other gun organizations are quietly mobilizing to continue putting military-style weapons in the hands of ordinary people.
The conversation will, unfortunately, be short lived. As we have done before, people will go back to their lives and Congress will soon go back to wringing its hands over something else when its members think about the implications of offending the gun lobby.
And the NRA will go back to its primary purpose, making money for itself and its inner ring of gun makers.
The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and the editorial board.