Monday, May 6, 2013

Printable, Working Guns: Why You Shouldn't Panic

As BBC is reporting, U.S group, Defense Distributed plans to publicly release blueprints for a working 3D gun.

Perhaps this is one of the unintended consequences of 3-D printing.  Any product imaginable could, eventually be replicated by a consumer in her or his own home. If your like me, your first though might be...oh, shit.

But, think about this for a moment.  Is this really a game-changer?  Stay with me here for a moment.  I don't want to disturb you, but indulge me for just a moment.

Take a look around you right now.  Yes, I mean really.  Just physically turn your head to your right and tell me if you can see at least one object that you could use to harm another human being.  Can you see any?  What about that water glass?  The vase?  What about your kitchen knives?

 Now, stay with me for just another moment.  Look around again.  Is there anyone around?  What about your husband calmly cooking dinner while you read my rant? Children doing homework?  They wouldn't see it coming, would they...I bet you wouldn't see it coming, would you?

Do you see where I'm going with this?   Deadly object+human=murder.  Right?  For most of us, thank God this is not the case.

 Now, I'm sorry to have put your mind in a dark place like that, but can you explain why it is that you are not going to harm that person with that object? Can you explain why you are not looking over your shoulder right now?  (By the way, if you are, there is medication that can help)

 In my own case, I don't live with any other humans, but I do live with two beautiful kitty cats.

  As I looked around my apartment, I realized that my iron could easily be used to kill my kitties, I have several lighters which could be used to light them on fire.  I have pots and pans which I could clobber them with.  All of this is entirely possible if the will exists.
Konja, my talking cat enjoying a murder-free afternoon

I was walking back from dinner with a good friend.  He's a scientist.  We talked about some of his current and recent research.  I ranted on and on about how much I love my job.  I never once suspected that my delicious salad could have been poisoned by the workers...I never once even thought that the floor cleaner may have been added to my balsamic vinegar by a sinister cook.

Lynette on the ledge of floor nine.  I didn't push her off. 
The sun was warm and I had some time, so I walked back home.  It's a busy road.  Not one person tried to run me came close (I do live in crazy Bangkok after-all), but no one intended to kill me.  On these narrow lanes full of maniacs, I would have been an easy target.  Now, I know what you are thinking.  You are thinking that they just didn't want to damage their cars...har de har.  But much as we might fantasize about ramming the daily news paper down that rude guy in the shop's throat, we never do it.

Folks, we don't walk around killing people or kitty cats because we don't have the tools to do so. It's not lack of opportunity either.

Hopefully, you don't live in a community where many people want to cause you harm, where crazed crane operators are dropping sewer pipes on your head, where old ladies are throwing rocks out of window, where waiters are putting methyl alcohol into your g&t (methyl alcohol is highly toxic and wouldn't be noticed in many cocktails and also is difficult to trace if the person has already been drinking)

Perhaps a few of you do, and my heart goes out to you...but, that's not the normal way people live.  I'm not contesting that bad things happen...but, not as often as you might think if you watch too much TV.

I also live in a city where night markets, on the side of major roads, sell tasers, serrated long knives, ninja stars, swords and other objects which would kill so easily.  I've never heard of anyone grabbing one and then slicing up a shopper.

Has it ever happened?  Maybe...but out of the millions and millions of people...have a sense of perspective.

But, I contend the natural state of humans is to live in peace with other people.  Just because the gun is there, does not mean you need to walk around shooting people.  Will this plastic gun, printable by anyone result in murders?  Probably.  But, it's not going to really change how the overwhelming majority of us live.

Murder is very rare in almost any part of the world at any time.  There are many ways a person, who has decided to cause someone's death can do so.

If people have opportunity for success, love in their lives, the basics for life and affirmation, they will mostly live in way that causes no harm to others.  If you have a large amount of violence in your area, you have to think about what causes that violence.

I think we have a mental health problem more than we have a gun problem. Young people feel displaced.  Older people feel they are not appreciated.  We have a social illness.  That's what we need to focus more on.

 Let's look a little deeper, be a bit more introspective, a bit more understanding and heck, while we are at it... be more optimistic.  Help other people, take some time to enjoy life.  Go shoot a target or a clay disc.  You'll like it.

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