A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Not Far, Far Away

Remember the halcyon days of Internet gundom? Gunnies operated their own blogs, forums, and news sites. You might have had an account on several of the larger gun forums as well as several local gun forums, checked a bunch of separate gun blogs for new content every day, and jumped onto one of several Internet Relay Chat channels to talk about guns in real time. Those days began to wither away as much of Internet gundom began to transition to a handful of centralized services like YouTube and Facebook. As this transition was occurring a few gunnies, myself included, asked if it was wise to move our content to services owned and operated by individuals who are hostile to gun rights. The gunnies making the transition told us that it wouldn’t be a problem.

Fast forward to today:

YouTube is cracking down on gun videos. The video sharing platform recently updated its policies on content featuring firearms. According to the updated restrictions, the site no longer allows content that, “Intends to sell firearms or certain firearms accessories through direct sales…or links to sites that sell these items.”

The list of forbidden accessories includes, but is not limited to, anything that enables a firearm to simulate automatic fire or converts a firearm to do so, and high capacity magazine kits. YouTube’s new policy also now states it will ban videos that show people how to manufacture firearms, ammunition, high capacity magazines, or even shows users how to install these accessories or modifications.

This was inevitable. Whenever you hand over control of your content to your enemy it will be censored. Maybe your enemy will pretend to be benevolent for a while but eventually they will decide to exercise their power to shut your message down.

I continue to operate this blog because I want to have a channel that I completely control. I own the hardware and the software that this blog runs on and am therefore beholden only to myself (and to my Internet Service Provider (ISP), which is why I’ve been harping on the need for a mesh network to remove control from ISPs). I also continue to encourage others to do the same. Everybody should have a channel that they completely control.

While this news was met with a great deal of screeching, gunnies have no control over YouTube. YouTube can decide to do whatever it wants with its property. If it doesn’t want to host videos explaining how to manufacture suppressors on its servers, it is under no obligation to do so. The only option is for gunnies to return to the old decentralized model where content was hosted on a number of individually owned and operated sites or to come together to create their own centralized video hosting site. I prefer the former since it’s the most difficult model to censor. But I can see the appeal of a centralized service like YouTube that is owned and operated by individuals who are friendly to gun rights. Either way, screeching isn’t going to solve anything.