Since I peacefully, legally and openly carried an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle through the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport last July, many people have wondered, both privately and publicly, why I would do such a thing. Indeed, many have speculated on my motives in most unkind terms.

Having recently emerged from the threat of prosecution on two felony “dangerous nature” criminal charges, I can now freely address the important reasons for this protest. In brief, I must protest a now nearly institutionalized attempt to intimidate us into surrendering our civil rights to other people’s irrational fears.

We all have fears, but what do I mean by irrational fears?

Some fears are, of course, quite rational; for example, being fearful of burning your finger after touching a hot burner as a child.

But the responses to other fears are simply not based on a reasonable assessment of reality. They are are irrational.

Extreme examples can be psychotic or delusional beliefs, such as being afraid to get out of bed at night because of a fixed false belief that a ghost will emerge from the closet to harm you.

Other fears are irrational because the assessment of the likelihood of the event is completely out of proportion to reality. An example would be an unwillingness to leave the house because a meteor might strike and kill you. While a meteor could suddenly come out of the sky and kill you, it only happens 1 time in every 74.8 million years of life.

Unfortunately, our airports are now prime sites where people’s irrational responses to their fears are used as an excuse to bully, intimidate or force us into giving up our liberties.

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