The crescendo of media reports about the advent of a DIY printable firearm has caused an understandable uproar. In the wake of so many high-profile, mass-casualty incidents involving firearms — and a lot of impotent rage by our elected officials — it seems counterintuitive that, as we circle the wagons around the idea of passing rational gun legislation at the federal level, we can also literally create a gun.
When I was in high school, some classmates brought a crinkled copy of “The Anarchist’s Cookbook” that they printed off the Internet. I, being an inquisitive teenager, flipped through the pages with a certain morbid curiosity. I didn’t know you could make a tennis ball bomb, or even develop thermite plasma that could melt through steel, in your basement or garage. Of course, the rational part of me knew I would never experiment with such ingredients, but I couldn’t help but be a little concerned about the people who would.
Now, the Internet is no longer the provenance of a select, geeky few, but rather is a mainstream information source that often eclipses television and leaves radio and print media in the dust. What was once accessible only by people in the know is now highly publicized.