I handle my equipment carefully, and tend to buy excellent or near-mint condition gear. I think old cameras have character, but I am not a collector in the true sense of the term--perhaps I am a "user" with a "collector" tendency.
I, too, do not understand why or how folks abuse or mistreat their cameras. Being careful is not that challenging, at least for me. I would not want to purchase a piece of equipment that has been dropped or banged around.
Contemporary cameras are so ugly that all of us film fans should baby our cameras. I suppose I could buy a digital camera, but, aside from the fact that I believe film to be superior, those plastic blobs called DSLRs lack design aesthetics.