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This post was inspired by: 

Why I “Need” an AR-15


Enjoy it. 

Well done, I enjoyed your article. You did a great job explaining why millions of people love their AR-15. Your points seem indisputable to me. I'll read the other pieces you mentioned. 

I have nightmares though and I’ll tell you about that after saddling you with a little background about me. (I'm not assuming you give a shit, but just in case.)

I was born in Colorado, I started traveling when I was still in my mother’s womb and was fortunate enough to go around the world every decade of my life and I’m pushing sixty. I feel at home in our world.

I was given my first shotgun and rifle when I was 10 years old. My family hunted. My dad was a veteran of WWII and he was also assaulted in a home invasion, probably a botched robbery, he was home alone at the time; the bad guys used a knife and got away — my dad nearly died. After that, there were more guns around the house instead of locked up in the utility house where we had a workshop and stored tools and other things. 

I won’t bother to list the various types of guns I own and have owned. I will say that I sincerely loved my AR-15 and my Glock 19 for all the reasons you’ve made clear in your article. I sold them fro reasons that will become obvious should you continue reading.

I’ve lived in seven countries. I’ve never been banged up abroad. I’ve never been locked up abroad. I’ve never been mugged, and I’ve never even been pickpocketed. I must be the luckiest man alive. There should be a Guinness record for this kind of stuff. 

All of the countries I’ve lived in have very strict gun control laws, no I wouldn't call them gun owner control laws. If I shoot I have to go to the shooting club. Most have to leave their firearms at the club locked up and secure. Unfortunately, or perhaps not, my weapons won’t do me a bit of good if the proverbial excrement hits the fan in Hong Kong. If the culture suddenly becomes rife with roving thugs and gangs I’ll be stuck defending myself with my three-inch blade Spyderco folding knife. I’m doomed! 

Thankfully all of the countries I’ve lived in have been extremely safe places. To explain why would be a complex equation that I don’t have time to bore you with here. If you’re curious, have a look at Hong Kong Police Force crime statistics website to get an idea why I probably don’t need to worry too much about having to defend myself. Then just google any police website in any large city in America and weep.

You write on the subject so all this stuff will be trite old news to you perhaps.

What’s the deal? LA Crime rose in 2015? I mean, why is that? If people didn’t have any AR-15 rifles would the crime rate rise even more? What do you think?

In 2013 HK had a population of 7.188 million. It’s a crowded city. I never feel threatened here unless I’m out drinking with my British buddies. I’m just teasing. 

OK, sorry for all the background info, I just wanted you to know that I don’t have anything against guns, just against drunk Brit football fans. ...teasing again.

Now I’ll get to the point and I’d love it if you would write something on this subject because I sincerely think you’d do a great job. Yes, I'm interested in your solution.

Google this: How many good guys killed a bad guys in the USA in 2015? 

11 times a good guy with a gun stopped a bad guy, saving lives

Here’s Why A Good Guy With A Gun Always Gets Killed

Guns in America: For every criminal killed in self-defense, 34 innocent people die.

I’m not going to drill any deeper here. If Americans want Glocks and AR-15s they should have them. If Donald J. Trump wants to buy every adult in America an AR-15 he’s free to do so if he can find the money. America is still a relatively free country and our constitution is still there working for us. If San Francisco makes it hard for you to carry your pistol you can move to Oakland. But here’s the image I can’t get out of my head. Let’s say a shooter with evil intentions wandered into a crowded shopping mall armed to the teeth with enough ammunition to kill hundreds of people and just a fraction of people in the space had pistols, maybe one person has an AR-15 out in the car in the parking lot. ( Oh God, this sounds like Kenya .) The shooting starts, and before the police or security guards arrive on the scene our good citizen “soldiers” pull their weapons but in the confusion aren’t sure who fired the first shot. What happens next? Chaos, more people dead, some by “friendly fire”? Find some data on it and then analyze the heck out of it. I'm interested to see what you come up with. I am not being facetious. We the people of the USA, millions of us as you have pointed out, feel we need to be a bit tactical to be good Americans. Or maybe we just love, love, love target shooting. Those of us with various and necessary resources educate ourselves, we take the time to train with our weapons, we secure them responsibly, we practice rigorous gun safety. A few of us are preparing for — name your conspiracy or catastrophe… We are a spectrum of types of people who own guns. 

Sadly the statistics don’t lie, and yes they can be spun. In Africa and Central America, I was lucky and happy. I’ve traveled all my life armed with a camera. Yes, I have my pocket knife, I’d feel naked without it. I’m from Colorado, that’s my excuse. And, I am not a statistic, lucky me. And true, people suck at gauging probabilities.

So what happens when we all have guns? What’s next? Give everyone training and a deputy badge? I’ve said it many times, I feel blessed to have lived in Japan, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Europe and other places where I never felt I needed to worry about having a gun for self-defense. Knock wood, I’m a lucky fellow, and those cultures are profoundly good in my humble opinion. 

Was I more worried for the month I spent in Italy this year because there were refugees in the country and ISIS had shot up Paris? I wasn't. Am I just stupid? I'll tell you the military people on the streets of Rome are a thing to behold. I'm glad they are there. 

It scares me to think of walking around in a town with an armed population. I guess despite my good fortune I just don’t trust people that much, I drive defensively because I don't really trust the other drivers. l have a healthy respect for experts and professionals, though. I respect and count on our well-trained police force in Hong Kong. I feel secure here. It's a civilized place.

Anyway, enjoy your firearms, I mean this sincerely, and continue to educate and communicate around the subject. Until you roll out that solution of yours that you fear will be ridiculed we need to keep the conversation going. I reckon it will take a quiver of solutions to bring gun related deaths in America down to rates we can be proud of. 

I know one thing for sure, wisdom is more important than bullets. I’m thankful for having had the chance to live in peaceful cultures around the world. I’m looking forward to the Star Trek culture where we humans don’t have to fear other humans. Yes, I know, I’m a bit of a dreamer.

As for my friends in the US who are preparing for the worst it helps to know this: an Army is better than a Corps, a Corps better than a Division, a Division better than a Brigade, a Brigade better than a Regiment, a Regiment better than a Battalion, a Battalion better than a Company, a Company better than a Platoon, a Platoon better than a Squad, a Squad better than a Section, a Section better than an individual no matter how well trained and armed. 

Cooperation, discipline, and training are needed to effectively manage any institution, business, government or group. Values are important. I hope we all spend ample time learning what’s needed to live well together in peace. Read, “The Art of War”. It may be a cliche, but knowing where our values come from and learning from our wise predecessors is great self-defense. Reading books is good self-defense. Compassion and understanding are qualities needed for good self-defense. Mental and physical health are needed for self-defense. Respect and consideration are qualities needed for good self-defense. Love, well, love is really something special.

And yet, I know, it’s only a matter of time until the next mass shooting. I hope the next time some of the victims will bum rush the person with the gun and perhaps save a life or two through their courage and action. Maybe the next time people will get lucky because they’ll be a responsible gun holder in the crowd who’s trained well enough to stop the threat despite the chaos and confusion. Whatever happens, people are going to continue to die of gunshot wounds in the USA. I guess it’s the American way. As I get older it becomes harder for me to justify all the death and destruction caused by people with guns. 

Oh God, now I’m thinking about that Biker shootout in Waco last year. Oh man! 

Be safe. 



Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.