Teach a person to fish and they’ll eat for a day. Teach a person to use a flamethrower and, uh, they’ll set everything on fire? Sorry, that was pretty weak.
On Saturday, Elon Musk invited 1,000 people to Los Angeles to get their hands on the $500 flamethrowers they’d bought through his new company, The Boring Company. People were pretty excited and they’ve been showing off their new toys.
Musk started selling the devices earlier this year, which he says are “not a flamethrower” to get around some legal loopholes. In total 20,000 were sold, raising a cool $10 million for the billionaire.
The devices are essentially blowtorches that have been shaped like a gun. They’re fitted with a propane tank and look pretty snazzy, but otherwise, they don’t operate too differently to cheaper devices you can by elsewhere.
They are, of course, somewhat dangerous. They are restricted in California, and banned completely in Maryland. And while you can purchase blowtorches elsewhere, putting them in the hands of thousands of Musk-cheering fans might not be the most amazing idea ever.
That’s perhaps been highlighted by some of the posts to come out of social media so far. It’s safe to say people aren’t using the flamethrowers too responsibly just yet, using them for things such as lighting a joint, a tiki torch, and cooking steak.
Some people were pretty concerned about Musk selling flamethrowers, including lawmakers in California. They attempted to pass a bill to control the sale, but the bill got stuck in committee and didn’t make it through in time, facing opposition.
This has let people go wild so far with the flamethrowers. This is despite them, you know, producing huge flames that could cause a lot of damage or injury. At the moment, no issues have been reported, but they’ve only been in the hands of people for a few days.
The remaining 19,000 devices that were sold will start shipping in soon, according to Musk, hinting they may be personally delivered by employees of The Boring Company. At the moment it doesn’t look like he has plans to sell any more.
Musk hasn’t been too far from controversy lately. He went on a bit of a bizarre rant against the media a few weeks ago (that got weirder by the day), while not everyone was happy about him launching his car to space back in February.
Now he has put flame-wielding devices in the hands of thousands. And so far, people are doing with them exactly what you’d expect – having fun, precariously so, perhaps not with safety too much in mind.