I have a friend.
He’s not a close friend; we don’t talk on the phone, and we don’t live in the same area, but in a room of people I don’t know well I’d be very likely to walk over to him and start talking. Online life breeds a lot of friendships like this, and perhaps they’re not as great as the buddy you hang out with in person all the time, but I don’t mind.
My friend and his other friends bought a toy.
It’s a very nice toy, somewhat expensive, but really cool in that way that toys built to be fashionable are. It looks nice, and the toymaker told a lot of people about it all over the world so a lot of people heard about the toy and many thought they wanted one.
The toy was broken.
Not completely broken, of course, because if the toy was completely broken my friend and his friends would have asked for their money back and gotten a different toy. But the toy was just working enough that most people would think it was working completely, or overlook any broken parts because it might be fun.
My friend fixed the toy.
Now, as it turned out, the toy was pretty broken but easily fixed. If you swapped some parts out of it, snapped off some wires and whirlygigs inside the toy, it would work properly. My friend and his friends figured out how to do this, and let a lot of people know about it. People who would buy the toy would find out they could make the toy even better.
The toymaker didn’t like this.
But the toymaker broke the toy in the first place so obviously he wanted it to stay broken, so his opinion wasn’t all that relevant to how broken it was. And anyway, it wasn’t his toy anymore. He sold it to my friend and his friends, and they paid full price for it, and so it was theirs. It wasn’t rented, borrowed, or stolen.
So some guys with machine guns showed up at my friend’s house a little while ago. At 7am.
Again… Machine guns. 7am. Because he fixed a broken toy.
Oh, sure, the toymaker makes a lot of noise and throws out a lot of numbers and can, definitely point to a law the toymaker got passed that makes fixing broken toys illegal, and I can totally understand that we’re now in a situation where fixing broken toys breaks the law and therefore my friend broke the law and so he should have guys with machine guns show up at 7am to arrest him. I don’t have to like it. I don’t have to like it at all.
What did we give away, 9 years ago?
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