Reporter Does 180: Buys Handgun so Enemies ‘Understand We Shoot Back’

Facebook/Trevor Hughes
Facebook/Trevor Hughes

On December 25, USA Today correspondent Trevor Hughes wrote a column explaining that he has decided to buy a handgun for self-defense and to help “enemies … understand that we shoot back.”

Hughes’ decision to purchase a handgun comes in spite of views he holds that are similar to those held by prominent gun control proponents. For example, he believes owning a gun puts him “at risk” of killing himself, and he is not sure the “good guy with a gun” theory really holds up. But after reporting on shooting after shooting, attack after attack, Hughes is convinced that having the handgun will, at least, give him a fighting chance.

Writing in USA Today, Hughes explained that one of his female colleagues actually came to him in tears, trying to dissuade him when he talked about buying a gun. But Hughes has already crossed the rubicon and describes what led to his decision to be armed:

I’ve been in Aurora, in Roseburg, in Killeen. Time and time again, mass murderers have targeted groups that were unprepared to fight back. Soft targets. What a terrible phrase.

For me, like for many people I’ve talked to, San Bernardino was the tipping point. As someone who goes to lots of community meetings and rallies, I’m all too aware of how vulnerable we are. A holiday party? Your co-workers? (For me, it started with movie theaters.) I’m not a fan of waiting for the next attack from a religious terrorist.

That’s got me thinking about that famous quote from Teddy Roosevelt: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

You don’t have to use that stick. In fact, plan on not using it. But if me carrying a concealed weapon–just like millions of my responsible neighbors in this country–deters someone from attacking my friends and neighbors, maybe that’s worth it.

Hughes said that these observations, combined with the fact that he is increasingly convinced government will not–or cannot–protect us, hardened his determination to acquire a handgun. He said, “I’m starting to feel like a soft target. I don’t like feeling like a soft target. And once again, I’m left with this idea that an armed society ends up being a very polite society–and one that’s highly resistant to attack.”

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