After being downloaded over 100,000 times, the Department of Defense has demanded that the blueprints for the world’s first 3D printable gun be removed from inventor Cody Wilson’s website. The DoD is now launching a full on campaign to purge the internet of this downloadable blueprint until they determine whether or not they are legally justified in doing so.
The beautifully named “Liberator” opens a wonderful and fascinating door that cuts straight through ostensibly all government regulations and limitations on the second amendment. These blueprints allow anyone with a 3D printer and the open source blueprint to create their own printable gun free from background checks, waiting periods, and the knowledge of the state.
Upon hearing of the DoD’s futile task, all I could think was, “Good luck with that…”. This reaction came off as strange to me, until I realized that I had the exact same reaction to the Westboro Baptist Church when I heard about their plan to protest the late guitarist of legendary thrash metal band Slayer’s funeral in the face of the scorn of thousands of bereaved metal heads.
Then I understood why I couldn’t get the phrase out of my head. Normally I wouldn’t offer a solitary shred of my sympathies to anyone on such a tyrannical crusade: however, the DoD’s plans to remove something controversial from the internet are so futile that it seems to be almost in bad taste to heap my contempt onto such a sad, sad underdog.
Giving the internet controversial information is like telling a young child an unsavory word. Once it is heard, it is impossible to exorcise the information from the depths of their memory, and odds are if you try, you will have it incessantly repeated back at you like a clever parrot on speed.
I suppose the stock description for the DoD’s actions would be to compare them to a warrior slicing the head off of a hydra, just to have two more sprout up from the bloody neck. However, this image is far too romanticized for the government’s noxious task. The hydra image is misleading because it implies both that the DoD is fighting a battle that should and can be won.
The better description for the DoD trying to white wash the internet clean of these contentious plans would be a gigantic litigious game of whack-a-mole. Once the DoD goes down to smite a website hosting the Liberator’s blueprint with their giant plush hammer, the plans will disappear and pop back up somewhere else in a pastiche of a smirking gopher.
Once something has made its mark on the internet, it can never be removed, especially something as controversial as the Liberator. To anyone worried about the fate of the Liberator’s designs, rest assured they have been immortalized in the hard drives of countless computers and servers. The internet has provided a beautiful underground world free from the ravages of regulation and the perdition of the state.
While the Liberator brings up many legitimate security concerns, it is important to remember that freedom can be a tad unnerving at times. However, freedom means sacrificing the sultry comfort of living like a child under the Bastille bosom of the state for a life lived by one’s own hand and volition. We are all concerned about keeping guns out of the hands of evil people, and I would suggest to anyone who shares my concerns to start by taking these plans out of the depraved hands of the Department of Defense, and back into the public domain.
This all being said, regardless of our opinions on the printable Liberator, 3D printed weapons are here to stay. There have already been hundreds of alterations and improvements made to the openly available design, and the surge of printable firearms is only going to get more sophisticated as time goes by. While it is hard to imagine that now anyone has the power to print a gun free from limitation without picturing some harrowing scenario and shuddering: I’d gladly suffer the consequences of having freedom before suffering the consequences of having given my freedoms up.