Eric Lefkofsky

Eric Lefkofsky, entrepreneur & professor

Eric Lefkofsky is Chairman and Co-founder of Groupon. He is also a Co-founder of Lightbank, InnerWorkings, Echo Global Logistics, Mediaocean, and Uptake.

 

Eric Lefkofsky is a Trustee of Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, Steppenwolf Theater, The Museum of Science and Industry and World Business Chicago. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago. Eric Lefkofsky graduated from the University of Michigan and received his Juris Doctor at University of Michigan Law School.

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Come On

There is a company called United Nuclear that sells uranium over the internet. For under $100, you can be the proud owner of the same radioactive isotope that's used to make nuclear bombs. And in case you don't have an account with United Nuclear, you can buy uranium on Amazon; but remember to follow the instructions and only use the uranium for scientific or educational purposes. 

For under $300, you can buy a flamethrower online that, among its many other super-safe qualities, comes packed with a 400,000 BTU torch.  

Hydrochloric acid – easy to buy. You just need $16.50.

How about a serrated metal link whip that could slice someone's head off? Yep, that too can be purchased without a license with the click of a mouse.

But there’s more. So much more.

An Avenger 36-inch Commando Blowgun that shoots metal spike darts made by a company aptly named Venom – also a click away.

And don't even get me started on guns; the list of what you can buy online would be hysterical if it weren't so sad.  Here are just a few that can be easily bought:  

• An M134 General Electric minigun that can shoot 166 bullets per second, because God knows when you’re hunting a deer you need to shoot it 166 times in one second to avoid it from getting away.

• A good old fashioned AK-47 – as in the most popular military rifle of all time that was developed by the Soviets.

• And finally a Bushmaster M4-Type Carbine, which happens to be the weapon of choice on the Iraq and Afghanistan battle fields.  

If you’re bored with buying semi-automatic military rifles online, you can always branch out. You know, expand your horizons and buy a cannon; which, as insane as it sounds, is not regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  

Deadly crossbow – easy. Katana Japanese sword – also easy.

Grenade launcher – yours, any time you want it.

In fact, with an Amazon account and a credit card, in a matter of hours you can build your own military-grade arsenal.

But what’s really crazy about the number of deadly things we allow the average citizen to buy without a license in a nanosecond on the internet is the equal number of things we don’t allow people to do.

As in…choose whether or not to wear a seat belt or eat red M&M’S.

Or take a drug that is already FDA approved - even if it could save your life; but if it isn’t yet approved for your particular disease, forget about it.

But my favorite, by far, is gathering key information regarding your health without going through a doctor. Take sequencing your genome. Let’s say I want to draw some of my own blood and have a company sequence my genome so I can figure out what’s going on inside my body at a molecular level.

NO DICE.

I can’t do it without going through a doctor for fear, I’m assuming, that I will take the information and do something harmful to myself with it – like change my diet.

I can buy an Uzi and blow my head off without any government agency getting involved, but I can’t order a report about my body, as if somehow the paper report is more dangerous than a weapon that shoots 600 rounds of ammo per minute and has a firing range of 200 meters.

Over the course of history, those who have attempted to deny forward progress and the open sharing of information haven’t done well.

Those of us who like to be free have an issue with someone telling us what we’re allowed to learn or think.

Hopefully governments around the world will reprioritize where they allocate their oversight and spend less time thinking about how to restrict citizens from gathering and collecting information about their own bodies and more time trying to figure out how to control the commercial sales of tanks and flame throwers and grenade launchers…and uranium.

The Lefkofsky Family Foundation is a charitable trust that was established in 2006 under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code exclusively for the purpose of supporting charitable, scientific, civic, and educational organizations and causes throughout the world. The trust has a special focus on the well being of women and children in need. In 2013, Liz & Eric Lefkofsky joined The Giving Pledge.

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