3D printers have recently been getting some bad press — at least in my book (Gutenberg puns intended) — what with the whole threat of plastic not-toy guns threatening to undermine any serious effort at gun control:
A new Department of Homeland Security intelligence bulletin warns it could be “impossible” to stop 3D-printed guns from being made, not to mention getting past security checkpoints.
A May 21 bulletin distributed to numerous state and federal law enforcement agencies and obtained by FoxNews.com states that the guns, which can be made by downloading blueprints into cutting edge computers that mold three-dimensional items from melted plastic, “poses public safety risks” and are likely beyond the current reach of regulators. The guns threaten to render 3D gun control efforts useless if their manufacture becomes more widespread.
But, thankfully, the adorable story of Buttercup the one-legged duck did its part to change the conversation, somewhat:
For the first time in his life, Buttercup can walk like any other duck, thanks to a prosthesis developed with the help of a 3-D printer.
In a YouTube video posted Monday, the peg-legged duck squawks, waddles and walks on the bright red contraption as he is encouraged by his owner Mike Garey, the duck’s owner.
Since we all know (spoiler alert) Buttercup is eventually going to end up the main course at the Funke family Thanksgiving dinner*, one is forced to conclude this isn’t really a story about a duck named Buttercup at all.
You see, human interest stories about ducks are sort of ridiculous. I feel like every year around this time, there’s an onslaught of stories about a policeman or a firetruck or a preschool or a whole town that banded together to help some baby ducks cross the road or reunite with their mother or learn to fly or what have you.
But let’s face it: our love of ducks is one big charade. As of 2006, 2.3 million Americans admitted to having hunted waterfowl within the past year. Duck Hunt is widely considered a classic Nintendo game. We have an environmental organization called Ducks Unlimited that is actually dedicated to protecting wetlands so ducks reproduce so we have more of them to shoot… maybe even using a not-toy plastic gun. For god’s sake, it’s legal — in most parts of the country — to forcefeed ducks so they produce delicious fatty livers. None if this would fly if we loved ducks nearly as much as we loved dogs — and ducks don’t even bite 4.5 million Americans a year.
So I instead prefer to read the saga of Buttercup the duck as a story about 3D printing, and on that front at least it provides a welcome change of pace. Finally, we can stop talking about the right to bear arms and instead talk about the right to bare legs — even if one of them is made of plastic:
*I wonder if that plastic leg would have melted in that piece of shit Bluth model home oven. Should have tried the cornballer/babytock, I guess, for better results.