When I started in 3D printing over 20 years ago, my first project sought to create a better world by using 3D printing to reduce ocean plastic and to close the loop of production through localization.
Maybe it was a utopian idea at the time, but now, after years of experience and many attempts, I now really see that the world is far too complex for it to actually work anytime soon on a larger scale.
I’ve since adjusted my view on the topic and decided that none of this is actually possible before we live in a smarter society, where the rich aren’t getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Think about it, if you aren’t even able to feed your family, then making sure you are reducing your carbon footprint on the world is hardly your highest priority!
Thus, I firmly believe that the best we can do to make the world a better place is by providing more opportunities for those who need it most through the strongest medium possible—education. And part of that starts with carefully knowing, understanding and appropriately challenging the law.
If our government says something is legal, should we all become blind advocates of this law? For example, it isn’t illegal to shout at people, but if it causes agony and aggressions, then why would one do it? Or take a more real example, Trump recently signed a bill allowing guns to be 3D printed. Does this mean that because people have access to 3D printers, they should have the right to promote and share 3D files of guns?
Whatever the rationale is—whether a tactic to become famous (like the author of “Come and take it, the gun printer’s guide to thinking free) or making a point about the 2nd amendment—if we don’t take time to think about the consequences, how will the world ever become a better place?
By the way, “amendment” means “change” or “addition,” not something carved in stone for eternity.
Furthermore, for anyone who is not sure what the 2nd amendment states, it literally says “a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
Did you know that for most of the republic’s lifespan, from 1791 to 2008, those commas and clauses have been debated by attorneys, senators, slave owners, freedmen, judges, Black Panthers, governors and lobbyists?
For some, the word “militia” is key; others, “the right of the people,” and for others, the question of “states versus the federal government.” In the end, the supreme court has stayed out it, most likely because it is too subjective and complex to ever really find an answer.
This complexity is precisely the reason why we, as human beings, need to sometimes think for ourselves and be responsible with the laws that are written down.
The unfortunate reality is that blueprints for guns have been spreading on the web for years. The biggest problem now is the media attention given to topics such as downloadable 3D guns, which only promotes them further.
The really disheartening part of all of this is that usually the people promoting and sharing 3D printed gun files are the uneducated. The people disconnected from our society. And through the recent media frenzy, we are exposing them unnecessarily without thinking about the consequences.
We have a saying in the Finnish language, joukossa tyhmyys tiivistyy, which basically means stupidity intensifies when these people get together in a larger group.
I truly believe that until we live in a world where people like teachers are considered more powerful and important than those like the Kardashian’s, we will continue in this downward spiral. Instead, we should all take cues from the likes of Oprah, sharing stories which encourage and empower people to make a positive difference in the world!