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Point And Shoot

Point and Shoot

Open Source Defense churns out some of the most thoughtful, engaging content in the world of armed self-defense. It’s not about training or gear, but rather, how that training/gear/lifestyle is impacting American society. Their latest article, on how guns are for hobbyists, really hit a nerve. 

Imagine a spectrum titled “How much do users have to know or care about how this thing works?” You can map all technology onto that spectrum. From left to right:

  • Institutional professionals only
    • The technology exists. It’s big, expensive, and typically requires a team to run.
    • Examples: MRI machines, jet airplanes, mainframes, artillery

Side note: some tech abstracts away a lot of complexity over time but stays in this spot on the spectrum. See fonr example the elimination of the role of flight engineers from modern jets.

  • Prosumers
    • You can access the technology as an individual. You have to invest a lot of time and money.
    • Examples: high-end home automation, specialized vehicles (e.g. racing cars, offroading trucks, Cessnas), night vision
  • Hobbyists

    • Cost isn’t a major barrier. The users are people who spend enough time learning and tinkering that they can get the thing working right.
    • Examples: apps for professional uses (e.g. video editing, design), comms equipment, old school home heating technology (e.g. wood stoves), guns
  • Mainstream

    • Most people can use the tech without knowing or caring how it works.

    • Examples: electric cars, modern home HVAC, the internet, phone apps

I’ve made comparison after comparison to guns and photography, and it’s valid here as well. Photography as a hobby didn’t exist until Kodak made celluloid-based roll film available to the masses, and even after that, it took a lot of effort to get a decent-looking shot. It wasn’t until the invention of cartridge-based 126 and 110 film where it gained mainstream appeal, and now, well, literally everyone has a camera with them all the time, built into their smartphone. 

Guns aren’t mainstream yet because the process of using them correctly takes too much time to learn, and honestly, I’m not sure I want it to get much easier. Taking a bad photo is one thing. Taking a bad shot? That can be literally life-changing.