We demurred on posting the above YouTube video of Chris Costa quasi-lasering an audience in Japan with an Airsoft rifle because, well, ho-hum. The gunblogosphere didn’t share our Costa-related ennui. The gun guru’s antics went viral amongst the four rules set. In retrospect maybe we should have joined the critics’ chorus, what with our ongoing Facebook campaign to shame models displaying poor trigger discipline (and little else). Anyway, Mr. Costa felt obliged to respond to those who saw this as a major WTF moment. Here’s this morning’s Facebook mea culpa . . .
Recently I had an excellent opportunity to travel over to Japan in support of their Airsoft community, and While I was there our hosts had asked that my trip mate, Jimmy Hendrix and I to participate in a few rounds of indoor and outdoor Airsoft games as a show of support for the Japanese players. In conjunction with the games, our hosts had also requested that we attend several events for the airsoft community that provided us with an opportunity and venue to partake in Q&A and photo session with the fans.
Our first major event of the trip was a welcome party with roughly 500 fans (and I mean fans). There was entertainment, and electric bugaloo to get the crowd pumped, not to mention half naked girls on stage with one girl using a whip on another girl, which to us was a bit different for a public event. During our pre-show briefing my hosts had requested that I speak at the show, answer questions from press in attendance, and provide a photo op demonstration at the end for the fans. Initially I wouldn’t agree to do the photo op demonstration (ironically, hesitant for the very reason this entire issue has exploded into Costagate). Frankly, I thought the idea was a bit lame, and the runway setup was slightly out of context and a bit over the top for my liking.
Unfortunately my reluctance had greatly offended and disappointed my very kind and conciliatory hosts, which of course was the last thing I had wanted to do. They explained that nobody gets to shoot in Japan, and that an airsoft event like the one I attended is the closest they will have to firearms ownership. I was told, “They see pictures of you, Chris Costa shooting. This is their chance to be the one to get the photo.” They talked more about the fans, about how most of them will never get to fire a real gun, how most of them will never get the chance to do any firearms training that we get to experience here in the United States. They talked about how much it would mean for the people, and fans attending this party to be able to take their own pictures of an actual gun trainer in person.
Anybody who knows me knows that I don’t take myself that serious. I recognized and knew that safety measures were in place and that the fans new what to expect. I thought, what would Kenny Powers do…and in the immortal words of Bill O’Riley, I said to myself, “F$&k it, Well do it live” lol. So the next thing I knew, there I was up on stage and a little worried that my host were wrong about these guys wanting a photo shoot. The next thing I noticed-the crowd went nuts. Never would I have imagined something that simple being that big of a deal. Albeit I was hesitant, I never imagined that a 36-second clip of a 3- hour event would be taken so out of context by people who weren’t at the event or understood what was happening. Did I expect my friends to rag me later, hell YES; that’s why they are my friends, but all I ask is that you please don’t take the fun away from our community. I don’t know why the Airsoft community would hold me in this regard. Maybe its all the Magpul DVD’s over here in Japan. To my kids I’m nothing more than their dad. People we read about together and hold in high regard are MOH recipients, and as you may recall, you can watch a clip of me on YouTube reading about one of my hero’s, Master Sargent Roy Benavidez.
Let us understand and not forget that our future generations play video games like COD, or MOH and progress from there by buying Airsoft weapons for simulated war games. Coming to Japan has helped me gain a better understanding of why they are so dedicated, or what we would call fervent, about the airsoft industry. This is their lifestyle relative to our lifestyle of us carrying real weapons and protecting our families. Picture an America with no weapons, and no second Amendment rights. For us this is unthinkable, and would certainly hit on a level we couldn’t imagine or comprehend, not only because of the way our country was founded, but because of the lifestyle and freedom we can exercise as our right to protecting our family and community.
The Japanese have Airsoft and that is it. They play our LAPD, DEA, FBI, NYPD and branches of the military because they think those guys are awesome. Same as you I’ve cracked a few jokes in the past over the very people that want to be like us, to have our rights, and to be allowed to own and carry weapons.
I could agree I’m probably not the best person to send here to represent America and the gun community. However, just because something is new to me, I’ve never been one to back down or quit. I’ll try something new. I may fail and make mistakes, but that’s how I get better. I feel we’ve done a lot of good over here. We’ve changed the way they approach the game of airsoft, and I’d like to think we’ve built a bigger respect for what they like about us and our freedoms when it comes to guns.
My parting thoughts are this: If Airsoft manufacturers could develop a gun that could survive normal abuse, I believe it would eventually find its way into Armed Defense for citizens, law enforcement, and military. This could further provide additional opportunities for force-on-force training which could be a huge benefit. I appreciate all my friends and industry partners for all their support over the last week while I was in Japan. I’m getting ready to head home my body is not in it’s 20’s anymore, that is for sure. I was happy that no one out ran me……so that one is for me.