Wilson Out at Defense Distributed

The company is being taken over by Paloma Heindorff. This is very good news, because Defense Distributed continuing to exist as an entity will preserve the lawsuits that are at the heart of this whole matter. This is a huge issue for me because it touches on both the hacker, maker and gun subcultures. We have a right to tinker! There certainly is some right to be able to make and modify arms as well. But most importantly, we certainly have a right to share information, and CAD drawings are nothing but information.

The free exchange of information and ideas is the basis of a free society, and being told we can’t because some people like our Governor and Attorney General deem said information “dangerous” is a more dangerous a road to travel than any they imagine they can try to avoid.

I don’t understand all the people who think this is a setup. Why is it so hard to believe that a self-described crypto anarchist young man likes himself some hookers, frequented a site where it’s known you can find that kind of action, and either intentionally or accidentally solicited a girl who was underage? This is a known risk with soliciting prostitutes, especially in states where age-of-consent is a strict liability crime. Wilson certainly won’t be the first guy to get in trouble under these kinds of circumstances. Based on the evidence the police claim to have, I would not want to be in Wilson’s shoes.

20 thoughts on “Wilson Out at Defense Distributed”

  1. Good move for policy reasons.

    Were I on the jury though I would nullify since I disapprove of both strict liability laws and laws where the status of the victim matters (e. g. hate crimes). When you do jury nullification you have to be prepared to do it for actions you disapprove of. There is also gender disparity probably at play here since it would be extremely unlikely for a woman to face jail time for the same action.

    1. This is worse than strict liability. I don’t have a problem with strict liability for things you can check. If your barrel turns out to be 15.9″ you have nobody to blame but yourself. This is a system where no amount of due care can ensure that you are over the threshold. Even if she looks old, even if you ask, even if you check ID. If your good faith estimate is wrong, or she lies, or uses a fake ID you’re still just as criminally culpable. I can’t think of another law where there is no way that a person can check with certainty that they are in compliance. I can’t think of another area of law where someone can deliberately deceive another person into committing a felony without also committing a felony themselves.

      1. Eh, I don’t even like it necessarily for e.g. NFA SBR stuff.

        If I buy a commercial barrel that claims to be 16″, in good faith, and they make it 15.9, I shouldn’t become a felon for trusting them to be able to farkin’ measure.

        (Or even if one cuts it down oneself; .1″ can’t be meaningful for the intent of the law, and we’re not Orthodox Jews who have to Put Walls Around The Torah.

        “16” exactly or felony!!!” means in practice “16.25” or so, just to be sure”, because we’re not all perfect at measuring, or exactly sure where the BATFE will decide “barrel length” is to be measured from next week.

        After all, if 15.9″ is illegal, so is 15.999″, right? It’s less than 16

        But that’s more an argument for removing the entire SBR/SBS category, sure.)

        (“Shouldn’t” in the sense of “it is morally wrong to do so, and makes the law an even bigger ass than is necessary”.

        Obviously the law itself doesn’t care about mere things like “good faith attempts to comply”, because Scary Guns.

        Weirdly enough, Real Crimes almost always require mens rea and intent to do something known to be wrong…)

    1. Very interesting. very impressive. The new figurehead seems to be a person of substance and good character. What a contrast to the shallow ghouls we are so familiar with, who represent anti-gun groups.

  2. Very good news. It will definitely keep the fight up and away from his “issues”.

  3. Well, at least Cody resigned instead of fighting for control. That’s something to his credit.

  4. “I don’t understand all the people who think this is a setup.”

    I do. Because over recent years, almost everyone in the United States has been conditioned to accept whatever is necessary for their faction to be either without blemish, or at least forgivable, while their opponents’ faction is the embodiment of everything evil. We all are guilty of it to some degree, but it is unusual for someone to be self-aware enough to consider their own biases.

    It is analogous to the wartime mentality that requires the enemy to be reduced to less-than-human status; “Japs”, “gooks”, “goat-fuckers,” or whatever gets traction and works.

    1. Or perhaps because they (not altogether irrationally) assume the government is lying to them.

      Of course, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

    2. “I don’t understand all the people who think this is a setup.”

      – blathers on about various isms.

      It’s even simpler than that: I don’t trust the timing, I have a natural distrust of the government, and given advances in technology (see: deepfake) there are increasing reasons to distrust photos & video.

      Did he do it? Maybe.

      If he did, should it be a criminal offense? Maybe. I certainly don’t hold with the notion that it should be a “strict liability” matter, but if they can prove mens rea as well as actus reus, then I have fewer issues with prosecuting him.

      Then again, would we bother charging the adult had the sexes of the players been reversed (i.e. would we charge an adult woman meeting an allegedly-under-18 boy)? if not, isn’t that an equal protection issue?

  5. Were I on the jury though I would nullify since I disapprove of both strict liability laws and laws where the status of the victim matters (e. g. hate crimes).”

    I’ll apologize in advance for not contributing much except old stories these days, but for a variety of reasons I consider myself “out of the game” except for being the old guy in the chimney corner preaching to the whipper-snappers in a captive audience.

    I was once an eloquent arguer in opposition to “hate crime” laws. I know the rap, even if I do have to stop and think to recover some of it anymore. I believed “on principle.” Then I discovered the motivations of some of the “principled” anti-hate-crime preachers who had taught some of the rap to me were, they fully supported what were being defined as “hate crimes”, and they didn’t want to see their friends suffering for them more than they were already – which wasn’t much.

    Some years ago a personality in the conservative movement called me up and, appealing to “friendship” (he had been one of my trainers) asked for a large donation to his political campaign. Among other issues, he was an adamant opponent of “hate crime” legislation. He told me he planned to make his campaign almost entirely about gun rights, and had an “excellent chance of winning.” I gave the money, which was a bit painful for me at the time, but it was for The Cause.

    He did not make gun rights an issue in his campaign at all. Instead he sent out mailers containing photos of homosexual behavior that most people found disturbing, and attempted to link his opponent to such behavior. He had lied to me, yet after he lost, still had the gall to come back to me for more money, claiming he had “never intended to win” (i.e., what he had told me while soliciting was two lies) but that it had all been some convoluted plot to prevent a “RINO” from winning, and that had been successful.

    He never got another cent from me. But, I kept up some contact with the guy for a few years, because he was a mover-and-shaker in the “gun rights movement” and I was still inclined to hold my nose for the sake of being a “team player” for The Cause. (Today he is a mostly silent principal in a bottom-string national “gun rights organization.”) I eventually broached the issue of his utilization of hate in his campaign mailing, pointing out that it could have incited some unstable person to attack or even kill someone they thought was gay. His response was, “So what? Who cares what happens to those people?”

    So all the “principles” he had ever preached about “freedom of expression” vis-à-vis “hate crime” legislation had been utter bullshit. He was only afraid that it might someday apply to himself, or his religious comrades.

    Nothing of the above is intended to address the principles or practicalities involved with “hate crime” legislation, per se, at all. It is intended to say, don’t take people who preach “principles” to you at their word. People have a tendency to espouse principles that are self-serving. Once you think about who convinced you and why, whether or not you nullify a jury is up to you and your conscience.

    1. “whether or not you nullify a jury is up to you and your conscience.”

      Just for a heads-up for old times sake; I was at one time an area/regional contact for FIJA.

      If you contemplate “jury nullification” don’t deny it during voir dire. You can be charged with perjury if you hang a jury after denying you intended nullification. Jurors have been charged with perjury even though they were never even asked about the issue during jury selection. Those attempts at prosecution were not successful, but, take my word for it, having to defend yourself legally is almost always costly and never enjoyable. More organizations will encourage you to “stand up for our rights” than will fund you when you do so.

      I apologize if anything I’ve said here is not the best-and-latest information. I haven’t been into FIJA issues for a long time.

      1. No I would be up front about it but I don’t know how you can volunteer information to a question that wasn’t asked. My limited experience indicates that you are supposed to answer questions, not give speeches. I was on a jury panel once where the prosecutor asked me if I supported the war on drugs. I said no and he bounced me (and a bunch of other professional people). Meanwhile the defense counsel was bouncing a bunch of black women who wanted to hang the guy before the trial. I don’t know how they ever got a panel for that one.

        Judges and prosecutors obviously hate the idea though so I hear you about the risk. Just another reason we need to get rid of absolute immunity for these people.

  6. “I don’t understand all the people who think this is a setup.”

    What has the FBI, CIA or any of the enforcement arms of our government done in the last few years that make you think they’re honest and honorable, and wouldn’t set up entrapment or fraud? Not the rank and file officers and guys in the field, but the leadership? You haven’t heard enough crap about the FBI leadership and the few folks that have been fired?

    Sure it sounds like he hired a hooker who lied about her age, but why did she contact police if she was an underaged hooker? Did they offer her more than that $500 to turn evidence?

    It could just be the guy’s kinks did him in, but I take more convincing than I would have a couple of years ago.

    He did the right thing, though, in turning the company over to the new leadership. This case isn’t about Cody Wilson and the fight goes on without him.

    1. “why did she contact police”

      She didn’t contact the police. She was bragging about getting a 30-year-old to pay her for sex to a counselor (probably for shock value) who was a mandated reporter. The counselor called the police because s/he had to do it by law. The police showed up and the 16-year-old decided to spill the beans.

      Whether she knew that the counselor would have to call the police isn’t known, but most teen girls I knew at that age who acted out like this wouldn’t care. They also often don’t know who around them are mandated reporters until they end up in a situation where police are involved. Even if they do know, a number of the girls I knew who were on the radar of various mandated reporters were self-centered enough to not mind if someone else would take the fall for their actions.

  7. It’s a ‘setup’ for a VERY SIMPLE REASON. The ONLY WAY the feds could have known he paid an underage hooker is if that underage hooker TOLD THEM. ESPECIALLY since the feds NEVER get involved in such crimes…it’s a LOCAL LEO matter. Yes…..Wilson is forked…..because when it comes to sex with underage females OR Kiddie Porn the ONLY viable defense is being able to PROVE beyond that reasonable doubt that it did not happen…which in this case is probably not possible. So Wilson is hosed. But the ONLY reason he is hosed is because he was SET UP. They wanted to stop him and couldn’t do it without violating 1A rights. So they SET HIM UP. Only an idiot would think that they just “happened” to stumble across this crime by accident when THOUSANDS of times a day the exact same thing happens and they DON’T get involved.

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