I know it is probably unwise to criticize a band of people trying to 3D print their own firearms. But, I feel I must state this, if only for the record, if only to let me sleep better at night someday in the future.
The people at Defense Distributed are sociopaths who by refusing to consider any possible consequences of their actions are exhibiting an almost childlike asinine level of irresponsibility. The media, by giving young Cody a platform to express their views and obtain funding, are culpable in letting a lone gunman not only hijack their editorial pages, blogs and TV for his own ends but also in letting him build his gun. Without media attention the “3D printed gun” would not have been possible. Through their irresponsible reporting they have made from a non-event a deadly device that will at one point kill someone. The most likely victim, one of the people making this thing.
It is through media attention that we see Cody’s pathology emerge. If you see the YouTube videos the student becomes a leather jacketed sunglasses wearing “eating Diane Finestine’s lunch”, “Joe Biden this is no country for old men”, “How’s that national conversation going” corny one liner bad boy who AR-15 in hand interjects himself into the US national gun debate. Look at the changes coming over him in the videos, ever more bombastic, self-absorbed and macho. Driven with a desire to be famous he has grabbed his 15 minutes of fame with a secure pistol grip and Rambo stare. Motivated by a wish to delta his Twitter followers and be someone he is driven to complete his mission. Not a student of law but rather an actor on the world stage, a mayor influencer in a grand national debate a Navy Seal in the culture wars. The New York Times, CNN, NBC, BBC News, etc. He is somebody. Somebody who has a natural gift for PR. A deadly troll wants to be famous and has found his shtick in making guns. A quote from Cody and co. describing their inspiration, “We could be like arms manufacturers”, “That’d be cool.” “What about 3D printing?” A quote from me, “this will end well.”
Dear reporters, you have created this monster, this self promotional manipulator who bereft of any engineering or 3D printing sense will probably end up hurting himself. Everything they’ve done so far could have been done better by a few experienced engineers & 3D printing people over a weekend. The real tragedy here is that the most likely short term outcome of this entire thing is that Cody will on live TV lose several fingers and may suffer from severe burns once his poorly designed excuse for a firearm explodes in his hands. Not only is the idea ill conceived but the materials are poorly chosen with heat deflection temperatures and strengths far below those required for a firearm. Some basic research would have uncovered much better suited 3D printing materials. Orientation and layer direction also does not seem to have been taken into account. The design is also in my opinion not adequate not taking into consideration the forces at play. What we can learn about the design choices they make seem bereft of a basic understanding of the plastics involved, mechanical engineering and 3D printing. The Liberator is a dangerous thing, not because it will somehow change America but because it will at one point rupture while being fired and possible really harm the operator of the weapon. The other victim will be irony. No doubt that this is going to be the worst thing thats happened to the word since Alanis Morisette.
Despite the existence of this thing, I still maintain that on current generation home machines it will not be possible to make a working reliable firearm. A gun that is better than a few things one could collect from Home Depot. There are far better production technologies available for producing arms in the home.
But, if this idea is promoted enough it will at one point lead to a 3D printed weapon being produced. This will be untraceable and you will by no means whatever be able to detect it or stop it from being produced. It may not work well but could be used to threaten, rape, kill and hijack. Because the most dangerous thing about this is that it radically lowers the barrier for a criminal to obtain something they can use to credibly threaten someone else and coerce them into doing their bidding. By mentioning this gun the media and letting them do their story we are making this outcome more likely. We should stop talking about this and ignore this entirely because that will make it less likely that such a thing will be produced and less likely that people will get hurt. Not mentioning this will at least slow its development. You can not unmake an idea. Eventually with 3D printing everything that can be made will be made. We need to realize this and as a society be responsible. And promoting a dangerous idea just because it is hip and interesting is not being responsible.
This is akin to in 1995 giving a gigantic amount of media attention to someone who wants to publish the Anarchist’s Cookbook online. Imagine all the fear then? And now terrorists can use the internet to exchange lots of information but I am betting that this level of exchange and the ensuing dangers are far lower than what we would have feared back then. But, the simple mentioning over and over again of this possibility would be enough to make it self-fulfilling just like the internet itself was a self- fulfilling prophecy. Will the internet make it possible to exchange all information? Yes. Is this inherently dangerous? No, unless people who want to do dangerous things seek and find this information.
We are basically good people and so far the 30,000 people who have 3D printers at home haven’t been making guns, because they don’t want to kill people but make nice lovely things. This idea has been around for decades but no one (outside R&D for the military) has picked this up, why? Because these people were intelligent enough to realize that the outcomes of this would be negative. Being grown ups, they were able to think about the consequences of their actions.
This entire “3D printed gun’ story is akin to there being no occurrences of anyone stabbing anyone in the eye with a fork. Someone coming up with the idea to stab people in the eye with the fork because they believed that in general you are free to do what you want. That someone then detailing how to stab people in the eye with forks. That person then repeatedly explaining the concept to the mass media over and over again. And…all of a sudden people start getting stabbed in the eye with forks. Will this mean that forks are dangerous? No, it means that if you give someone a stage from which to shout their dangerous idea, you make it more likely that this idea will come about. This is not true of all ideas, some can be stopped because they are aired. But, others like the “stabbing people in the eye with forks” or “you can now 3D print a gun” idea can not be stopped because once the genie is out of the bottle there only remains the inspiration for the individual to carry out the act in isolation. This is similar to the “lone school shooter” idea whereby mentioning this in the media causes more school shooters to emerge.
It is much easier to make a weapon with CNC, and plans for CNC weapons have been online for a while now.
If you were really interested in making guns at home aren’t there many tools that would be much better suited for the purpose than a 3D printer? Reamers? Drills? CNC?
Could you make a gun out of clay by using that as a mold? Yes. Should we regulate pottery wheels?
This thing has the functionality of a zip gun (maybe) and would not be up to the standards of a weapon made with pipe and other materials from your local hardware store. So what is the story exactly?
This just the perfect storm of “new technology 3D printing”+fear+guns=story.
How will this help American gun owners? They can buy guns? So why would they want to make them?
Isn’t there a risk that criminals and the insane, who can not buy weapons will use them?
Isn’t the best possible use case for this weapon the hijacking of an aircraft?
In the interests of liberty should you do product development for Al Qaeda? A group much more likely to benefit from this technology than NRA loving Americans?
How many aircraft can Al Qaeda hijack using this weapon for it to still be a victory for liberty?
If Americans die due to terrorists using this weapon will it still be a victory for liberty? What number of deaths will be OK?
Does the risk that a person unable to obtain a firearm because they are insane or a criminal using this to kill someone outweigh the perceived benefit to American gun owners?
Does lack of criticism from the NRA imply that the NRA thinks it is a good idea that the criminally insane and convicted or active criminals will have an ability to produce their own firearms?
“The goal was, the political goal was, universal access to the firearm.” So this is a political goal that may kill someone? Is it worth it, did you get to the part in your course about proportionality yet?
Would this project be worth it if someone died? Would the people at defense distributed be able to live with that? From interviews it seems they have not considered this or do not mind.
Does something like the precautionary principle or any kind of reasonable weighing of the outcomes apply here?
“If the police can have it, if the military can have it, then you can have it.” Isn’t the modern state based on a monopoly of violence by the authorities?Is a asymmetry in weaponry needed to keep a stable society? So I should also be allowed poisonous gas? Nothing is to be forbidden or restricted? How about basic laws that we’d like to make so that we all get along?
He seems to imply that he’s read the Leviathan, has he?
“The political “discussion” about mental health, the background check, and gun control is invidious and follows a disciplinary desire. Remember that power produces truth. Individual subjects are made administrative objects through a documentary process: The mental health evaluation, the questionnaire, the application. The tendency is toward an ultimate result where no one really meets an artificial behavioral “norm,” and all are unfit to own a weapon. Case in point.
This is not a discovered truth about reality. Power produces.”
Read that few times and tell me what you think. Does this imply that because at one point maybe the criteria for insanity will become broader it is a good idea to give weapons to insane people now? Because maybe at some different future “the government may take our guns away”, we should make them available to bank robbers and psychopaths now? In other words, we may at some point reach a slippery slope so we must now do something that endangers people?
“Don’t we all have the capacity for evil within us, is an essential question and I think yes of course, …. this ability to do harm that lies in all of us. But regardless of if there will be more murders in the end or more gun crime in the end we still think there is a liberty interest in allowing you to have access to those things.”
Is anyone actually listening to what this guy is saying? How can someone say this and still be considered to be of sound mind? He is accepting of the fact that a certain number of people may die but thinks that regardless of the number of these deaths “the liberty interest” outweighs the number of deaths be they 1, 10 or 100,000? He accepts that what he is doing will kill people but wants to press on regardless? Regardless. His idea of what liberty is and his actions in bringing this about outweighs any possible consequence? If I think that something promotes liberty I can do it regardless? More importantly I should let nothing stop me? Someone should tell these guys that we live in a world with consequences. There is no save game, no do over. What if we disagree on what liberty is? What kind of 3rd grader man is the measure thinking is this? So by the amazing logic driving these people someone who wanted to detonate a nuclear weapon would be justified in doing this as long as they thought there was a “liberty interest” involved? And even if 300,000 people died it would totally be OK because the abstract idea of liberty is much more important than any number of human lives. What are the criteria for liberty interests and who sets them? Its like someone gave a third grader access to a thesaurus, Hobbes and 3D printing and they understood none of those things but were able to parrot a few things just enough to get invited to all the TV channels.
“Oh Definitely, this is the problem of liberty generally, people are gonna be free to be stupid, they’re gonna be free to mess up, they won’t build it right, and they might hurt themselves.” Finally I think he’s said something I can agree with.