Every time I see something about 3D printing, the little town of Bradford, Ohio immediately comes to mind. Not that I know much about Bradford, other than the fact that my favorite uncle has been farming there for years after losing his job as a tool-and-die machinist. To this day, I’ve yet to find a way to discuss 3D printing with him or any of the members of my extended family who can rebuild a tractor using old parts they won on eBay. The geekspeak I imagined flowing from my mouth in a vain attempt to explain the importance of making cheap plastic crap just wasn’t going to happen.
It’s too bad I missed the chance to see the guys at Defense Distributed speak at South-by-Southwest this year. The guy that started it isn’t your typical gun enthusiast, but he does believe in the defense of our Liberty. As a lawyer, he understands that a little controversy can help activate citizen’s interest in the law. But unlike other campaigns around laws such as the Affordable Care Act (i.e., Obamacare) and SOPA/PIPA, 3D printing guns give you access to something tangible, simply by going down to Office Depot and picking up a printer. There are challenges that dissuade your average consumer from machining those parts, so to speak; but not when it comes to Bradford!
So if controversy can activate supporters of the Second Amendment to get involved with some techno-jargon they can do at home, could it activate local residents to get involved with the contract negotiations on RapGenius? While it’s true that open contract negotiations lack the same “bang,” if you will, that 3D guns offer, the privatization of Education and the collective bargaining rights of teachers is just as volatile. Open access to the contract allows the community to get in on the action, hopefully without anybody getting shot.
Watch the video below from Mashable and let me know if you think controversy hurts open government: