Someone asked me what I thought of the terrifyingly intelligent 25-year-old subject of Vice's stunning, frightening, unforgettable new documentary "Click. Print. Gun." and I said just that. "He is scary intelligent and scary charismatic."
This person looked at me horrified and said: "Don't you think he's evil?"
I stuttered: "I didn't say how I felt about what he does or what he's doing. I'm just saying, empirically, that kid is intelligent and wildly captivating."
The first thing I told Wilson was that my father, a Vietnam vet, was shot twice in the face with a semiautomatic in Vietnam, and Wilson was irresponsible and dangerous and naive for making available this technology to "print" a gun using new 3-D printing technology (I didn't even know this was a THING until I saw the documentary last night).
Then I compared his making the technology available open source style for other people to be able to create guns in their own homes, unregulated and untraceable, for the sake of simply SHOWING THAT HE COULD was akin to dropping a bomb on Hiroshima just to show you could.
And now you know what a terrible, unfair, ridiculous arguer I am.
"That's a conversation stopper," he said.
"Yeah, well I already pulled out the blind shot dad card," I said.
I then asked him why, when this 3-D printing technology could do anything, he would go with guns.
Essentially, he said, it was to show how naive people are when it comes to the gun control debate and modern technology -- and to prove that it was possible, that it was the farthest extension of this technology and that we are being incredibly unrealistic to think that semi-automatics can be regulated the way they were back in 1994.
The producer of this incredible documentary, Erin Lee Carr, working for Vice's technology channel Motherboard, captured Wilson in uncomfortable, candid and insanely revealing moments, and honestly, when she first told me about coming to see the premiere, my mind glazed over and I nodded as she talked about "printing guns."
Being that I didn't even know a 3-D printer existed that was capable of something on this scale, I think I honestly thought she might have been talking about symbolic imagery or replicas or maybe a really wild toy version or something.
This is a terrific example of "frames." My frame of reference in my mind couldn't even conceive of what she was saying as a possibility so I didn't even allow it to exist as one.
Watching the documentary last night, I realized how incredibly naive I was to write the article I did after Sandy Hook about "banning" assault rifles.
"Click. Print. Gun." showed me in the world we live in right now THIS. ISN'T. EVEN. POSSIBLE.
Which, if your mind works like mine does, it goes to a place of ultimate conclusion.
Apocalypse. End game. Revolution.
Wilson his mission is to show that we as a society are being incredibly naive to believe that technology will be regulation-capable -- and he took a gigantic, explosive example to prove his point, and then open-sourced the knowledge to the world.
But this isn't Wikipedia.
This is mass production of semi-automatic firearms.
Untraceable. Unregulatable. Available to all.
And the man behind it, as he wheeled and dealed and joked and shimmied and said how there was so much more to learn and I complimented him on his wonderful efforts at "faux modesty," is a powerhouse.
He gives the same impression in a 5-minute encounter that Justin Timberlake does in his translation of Sean Parker in "The Social Network" when he "owns" Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg when he waltzes into their first meeting and hustles his way to the top.
Be very afraid.
Watch the video below. It's passed a million views within days of being online already.
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.