The well-rehearsed reactions to mass gun violence in the United States are playing out yet again following the murders of 14 innocent people in San Bernardino, California. As usual, politicians offered their "thoughts and prayers," media outlets observed that this happens all the time and people turned to Google for information about "gun control."
Google Trends data for the past week reveals that, in the hours following the Wednesday shooting spree, searches for "gun control" eclipsed searches for "gun shop," a comparison the search giant has drawn before to illustrate attitudes in the United States.
There's only so much you can conclude from the data. A mass shooting occurs, then there's a relative increase in searches for "gun control."
Like clockwork, searches for "gun control" return to normal levels in the days that follow, when they're outweighed by queries for "gun shop."
If you're curious about why one term is more popular than the other, you might consider the number of politicians who receive major donations from gun rights groups like the National Rifle Association. Despite repeated urging from President Barack Obama, officials have failed to pass comprehensive gun control measures.