I love technology – I can search for any information, any time, anywhere;
I hate technology – searching for information just gives me more to do;
I love technology – my phone can do all sorts of media and communication and time management stuff plus.
I hate technology – I’m not sure why I call it a phone because that’s what I use it for least;
I love technology – I can watch sports every day;
I hate technology – sports is only worthwhile if you think rich, fully grown boys playing games and wearing funny pants is worth your time;
I love technology – I can pay bills and renew my license from home;
I hate technology – I resent paying bills and renewing licenses no matter where I do it from;
I love technology – I can watch anything on TV or listen to any music at any time;
I hate technology – about 98% of what I can watch or listen to makes me want to slap the person responsible for making it;
I love technology – our car talks to us and watches the traffic around us;
I hate technology – she (yes, the car is a she) tells me where to go even though I already have other drivers doing that for me, and warning me about surrounding traffic just slows me down.
I love technology – I can buy tickets online to get on a plane and travel anywhere in the world;
I hate technology – something called an airport still stands between me and the plane.
The worst thing technology has brought us is the printer. From their earliest days, I have had a particularly low acuity and patience for them. Remember dot matrix printers and that continuous-feed paper with the perforated, sprocket edges? Remember the accordion paper jambs? I always hated working with them – so slow and stupid (so were the printers).
And don’t ask for help with your printer. Your friends and co-workers say they can help you but they can’t. They don’t know any more than you do and your problem ends up being worse when they abandon you two minutes later.
Especially don’t ask a nerd from the I.T. department for help because they will try to explain the problem to you. Believe me, you don’t want that.
Printers have attitude – they usually print, don’t seem to mind printing – but maybe, just maybe this time your printer won’t be in the mood. Don’t blame yourself, you can’t know the moods of a printer.
Isn’t it annoying to start the printer and have it decide to print those pages you couldn’t print last time – all eleven useless copies of the same thing because that’s how many times you hit the ‘print’ button in frustration? And don’t even try to stop it. Can’t be done. If the printer decides it wants to print wasted pages that is exactly what the printer will do because it’s the boss of the printing, not you.
How about those floor-standing commercial printers they make you use at work? They can copy, print, fold, staple and email anything in unnatural sizes and places. Where I worked they used to renew the copier/printer contract with a new company every couple of years forcing me to re-learn how to use another printer just as I was beginning to learn to use the old one.
Now with 3D printers I’m wondering if I can print a printer that is reliable? And can a printer print a copy of itself? Probably can, because they can print just about anything else. If it did, would the new printer treat one of it’s own kind the way it treats me?
Which brings us to one some unique current headlines – plastic guns. No, not water guns or pellet guns or single shot .22 varmint guns but hand guns as well as our old friend the AR-15. Think about it – anyone may soon be able to make a semi-(fully?) automatic gun quickly and easily in their own home on a printer. These are real guns, unregistered, untraceable, undetectable by metal detectors.
Court battles are looming over the right to upload gun plans for 3D printers and a judge has issued a temporary hold on the practice but AR-15 plans had already been downloaded 1,200 times before the order took effect. You and I both know it won’t be long until the plans are easily accessible.
The National Rifle Association finds itself in the awkward position of continuing to stand for everyone’s right to own any kind of gun (including plastic) while also remembering their supporters rely on people buying steel guns. In poorly thought-out logic the NRA issued a statement suggesting that there was no reason to control plastic guns because the U.S. already has legislation making them illegal. So apparently they feel that gun laws do work…
One thing the NRA says that I agree with is that people kill people. Of course guns are very, very, very helpful if they are accessible and one person wants to kill one or more other people but I agree that ultimately it is the individuals who use them that need to be responsible and, well, moral.
We need to recognize that some people spend an inordinate amount of energy justifying guns: marketing guns, selling guns, trading guns, smuggling guns, profiting from guns. Even today we were reminded that others simply live out their anger with guns.* Thanks to the evil printers, they can now design, upload, download and print guns. Lots of unethical people in front of and behind the scenes make it even easier for people who kill with guns to kill with guns. And now printed firearms put even more responsibility on people.
That leaves us (and by ‘us’ I mean all of us) with a bit of a sticky problem. The sticky problem is that people are the problem.
‘This cheapening of life, and the violence that inevitably accompanies it, is surely the dominant theme of our time. The ease and quickness with which we resort to violence would be astounding if it were not conventional. …Each new resort to violence enlarges the argument against our species, and the task of hope becomes harder.’ – Wendell Berry **
So what does Jesus say to us about guns? Well, nothing obviously because there weren’t guns back then. Duh.
But Jesus does tell us about people, and our truest motives. Our deepest idols.
The bad news is that I’m going to write more posts about those motives.
The good news is that I won’t be printing a gun any time soon. I can’t even print a recipe.
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* The cardiologist who treated George Bush Sr. was allegedly shot and killed by a man holding a 20 year old grudge. (https://nypost.com/2018/08/01/suspect-identified-in-fatal-shooting-of-george-h-w-bushs-cardiologist/)
** The Commerce of Violence” (2013), Our Only World https://www.amazon.ca/Our-Only-World-Ten-Essays/dp/1619027003