Clair Chang: Best Count Your Blessings Son

Shop Talent, Clair Chang

Photos by Jon Coulthard. Words by Jay Riggio

Photos by Jon Coulthard. Words by Jay Riggio

Growing up in an Italian household, fully rooted in Roman Catholicism, the saying and pious reminder to, “Always Count Your Blessings,” has forever been embedded in that often stubborn, shit-filled head of mine. I have never wholeheartedly been able to “Count My Blessings” in the traditional sense–while collectively breaking-down and appreciating all of the pleasant and truly good things that have come, gone and will forever stay in my life. I am a classic example of the drifting asshole that perpetually takes everything for granted, forgetting the great things in my world and focusing on the trite unpleasantness that somehow take precedent over anything and everything else. I’m a bit of a prick. However, it saddens me to say that a lot of times it takes tragic moments or real-life horror stories in order for me to truly appreciate what it is I have.

Clair Chang’s story is one of violence, heartbreak and utter senselessness. If no other emotion but shock can come of reading Clair Chang’s story, step back and take a second to think about how in only a moments time, everything can be taken from you–both that which is good and bad. Do yourself a favor, don’t be an asshole like me. Count your blessings. Hopefully when we cross paths someday and I’ll be able to learn something from you.

Clair Chang: Best Count Your Blessings Son

Backside Flip

Last September Clair Chang and a group of friends he went to High School with were driving around California’s City of Industry. Someone suggested grabbing drinks at the nearby Puente Hill Mall, specifically at the classically culturally bland TGI Fridays chain. After drinking lots and probably downing items off the munchies list, like potato skinny dippers and tostado nachos, Clair’s crew of friends became unexpectedly rowdy. An argument erupted between two of his friends, which quickly escalated into drunken physical contact.

“My friends were arguing and one of them slapped the other and the other one just socked him,” explains Clair Chang. The guy who did the socking knew shit was about to get out of hand and proceeded to leave. The other friend chased after him into the parking lot and jumped him with the help of a few more friends. Clair and a handful of other buddies did their best to stop the brawl that had escalated into a multiple person bombardment.

Clair Chang: Best Count Your Blessings Son

Nollie flip crooks

“I tried to stop it and it was pretty much over at that point, “ says Clair. “Some guys came up and may have thought I was jumping my friend cause I was holding him and I remember just turning around and at point blank, he just shot me.” Three 21 year old strangers/fucktards who had nothing to do with the situation whatsoever, followed the fight outside and involved themselves for reasons still unclear. “They were pretending to be cops or som ething and they were like, ‘LAPD, put your hands up.” And people were like, ‘What? You ain’t no cops,’” says Chang. “And then I don’t know. They just started shooting.” After Clair was shot he remained in an obvious state of shock. “I knew I got shot but I didn’t really feel it yet. It just felt kind of numb,” he says. “Then I heard another shot so I saw the closest car–it was a black truck and I just hopped into the back of the bed and posted there for a couple of minutes.” The other shot that rang out was directed at one of Clair’s friends who had been fighting. The bullet entered his neck at point blank range, causing a gaping whole that in only minutes would take his life. “My homie, James, picked me up from the truck and carried me over to where my homie was on the ground. I knew he was gone, cause I could hear one of my friends screaming.” Shot in the bladder, Clair was helicopter lifted to the nearest Emergency room. The paramedics stayed in the lot and did their best to revive Clair’s friend but to no avail. He was dead.

 “Two of my buddies ran after the car and got the license plates of the dudes who shot us. It was three guys and two had guns and shot at us. Their other friend I guess got scared and ratted his friends out like, ‘My friends just shot a couple people at the mall.’” It turns out that the dudes with the guns worked security at an old age home and they were given guns to carry on the job. Both guys who shot are currently in jail and are awaiting the criminal case date to begin.  One is being charged with first degree murder and the other is catching a manslaughter charge. “He’s getting a first degree charge because he went to the car to get his gun, so it’s premeditated,” says Chang.

Clair Chang: Best Count Your Blessings Son

Switch flip

After five months and a shitload of physical therapy, Clair was back skating again. “I was back on the board. It took about a month to get everything back for skating.  Now I feel good, pretty much 100 percent, just skating,” he says. At the moment, Clair Chang is studying general ed at a community college, skating as much as he can, getting flowed from DC and riding for Transistions Boardshop. “I never thought I’d get shot, it just happened. It wasn’t supposed to happen,” he says. “Right now I’m just trying to do something with skating and see what happens.”

Skate everyday, hump as much as physically possible, experiment with substances and eat greasy, heart stopping food…cause you never know when shit’s gonna pop off.

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