Editors' Note: Guest blogger Jeremy Redlien is the author of the blog Queering the Closet and holds a bachelor degree in Philosophy with a minor in Mathematics from SUNY Oneonta.
Carl Sagen once made the following analogy with regards to the nuclear arms race in an interview with ABC News Viewpoint:
Imagine, a room, awash in gasoline. And there are two implacable enemies in that room. One of them has 9,000 matches. The other has 7,000 matches. Each of them is concerned about who's ahead, who's stronger. Well, that's the kind of situation we are actually in. The amount of weapons that are available to the United States and the Soviet Union are so bloated, so grossly in excess of what's needed to dissuade the other that if it weren't so tragic, it would be laughable.
The gun control debate has been rekindled in the U.S. thanks to the murder of 20 schoolchildren and 6 teachers in one go. Pro-gun rights individuals are once again on the defensive and throwing up all kinds of arguments about why the intrinsic right to own a tool that fires bits of metal at high velocities should exist.
Furthermore, the claim goes, if everyone had such a tool to that allowed them to fire bits of metal at high velocities, then mass shootings would be ended overnight. This is akin to arguing that if we give everyone a box of matches and a tin of gasoline, then there will no more fires.
When Columbine first occurred, I was still in high-school. I can remember that feeling of fear and confusion everyone else exhibited. Shortly afterwards, after having stayed home sick for a few days, I showed up to the Otego Elementary School parking lot, where I would then take the bus to my high-school. That was when I noticed that I was the only student in the entire parking lot wearing a back-pack. Everyone else was carrying their school supplies in their hands and looking at me as if I might have a bomb strapped to my chest. It turned out that the day before their had been an in school announcement that in an attempt to promote school safety, back-packs were now forbidden on school premises.
I have no idea how this was supposed to make us safer, nor were any of the other drills, and rules that the school board came up with after this. Perhaps this is what makes the whole situation so utterly terrifying, there are no easy solutions. I won't even pretend that there are. Not all tragedies can be eliminated.