BREAKING: Heckler & Koch WINS LAWSUIT Against German Gov’t Regarding G36 Sale to Saudi Arabia

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Heckler and Koch has won a major victory against the German government this week, regarding the sale of G36 assault rifles to Saudi Arabia. In the mid-2000s, Heckler and Koch sold tooling for the G36 to the Saudi government capable of producing 14,000 rifles per year. However, in 2008 the German government prevented the manufacture of rifles in that country without the exclusive production in Germany of five key components, without which the rifles could not be assembled. The company requested to export 28,000 rifle components and replacement parts to Saudi Arabia in 2013, but the government did not respond, resulting in the lawsuit from Heckler and Koch.

Before 2013, export licenses were granted to H&K for the rifles, but that year the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA) stopped answering export license requests due to concerns about instability in the Middle East. The judge presiding over the H&K lawsuit rejected this reasoning, asking (paraphrased translation) “since when has the region been stable?” However, the judge did not grant the company’s request to force the BAFA to grant the export license; therefore, the BAFA is now forced to make a decision, but they may still reject the request. It seems likely that H&K will file suit again if they do reject it.

 

Thanks to Daniel for the tip, and to Mike for help with translation!



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Joshua

    Screw the Saudis

    • Sgt. Stedenko

      If the Saudis can’t behead it or screw it, they dont know what to do with it.
      I doubt the inbred House of Saud could assemble a Lego kit for toddlers.

      • Anonymoose

        Same with the UAE. If they didn’t have Korean contractors to throw their oil-money at, Dubai would still just be a tent and a few camels.

      • Easy does it you’ll blow a fuse!

      • Division Charlemange

        I’m sure the Indonesian guest workers will be quite capable of doing so.

        They just need to figure out a way to make sure that whoever’s in control of QC (which is after all a prestigious position where one could make a lot of money) is _not_ Saudi.

    • H&K just did, they sold them G36 production tooling!

      • PK

        Third time today I’ve had to clean a drink of my damned monitor…

    • n0truscotsman

      +1

  • PK

    With any luck this is the start of the German government being reigned in so far as firearms/parts exportation goes. Various companies would love to sell to civilians in the US, but between our import restrictions and German export restrictions, very little actually makes it here.

    • Drew Coleman

      I’m fuzzy on German laws/regs – what’s stopping them from starting production in the US, aside from US regulations and the necessary capital?

      • PK

        In a nutshell, here’s my understanding of the situation… German company HK contracts with the German government. If they set up in the US and build a (non-German-law-compliant) civilian MP5, for example, the parent company is in deep trouble in Germany from the government there and stands to lose many millions of dollars by being in violation of various arms proliferation laws and so on.

        HK is very closely intertwined with the German government, for better or worse. Add in the various control/export/end-use laws there, and then the US regulations on offshore companies with import laws and requirements here, and it’s just not doable.

        They’d love to sell to this market, what company doesn’t like higher profits? An exact copy of the previously imported HK94, made by HK, would fly off the shelves even for thousands of dollars. Good luck getting them here with the same bolt carriers they used to have, or the same receiver (using the FCG box shelf to block F/A FCG is a uniquely US idea) – the government there won’t let the rifles be exported like that, too easy to convert. If they want to keep government contracts and their licensing and ability to manufacture in Germany, they can’t just set up here to sell German-controlled parts to US civilians, either.

        It’s a nightmare.

        But if HK just got the go-ahead to export those very same controlled parts… well, it’s a start, perhaps. Maybe it will eventually expand to more end-users.

        I can hope.

        • BjornTheBrave

          HK are ass heads. They could just do the same thing SIG Sauer did, yet they refuse to. SIG Sauer is a company with 2 nationalities, those two are legally separate entities. HK USA is just the US branch of Heckler & Koch GmbH. Not so with SIG Sauer USA located in New Hampshire, which, contrary to popular belief is NOT a subsidiary of the German SIG Sauer GmbH branch. All HK would have to do is set up a legally separate branch in the USA, allowing them to bypass German legislation and go about their business. As long as they don’t do exactly that HK can stick it where the sun don’t shine. YES they do hate us and we apparently suck. HK can really go piss up a rope man, I’m perfectly fine with SIG and they are superior anyway in each and every way, all the way and every day.

          • Kurt Akemann

            THIS. Even Colt has figured out how to make this sort of arrangement work. HK needs to pull its head out of its backside and make needed changes, including getting an entity set up outside of Germany.

          • Gary Kirk

            Not that I really care for H&K, but wouldn’t do well business wise.. Demand for products, ability to get said products to demand.. What are you waiting for? Don’t know if their head is up their A#$ for the warmth, or if it’s just comfortable..

          • PK

            HK can’t do this without losing their current German company/headquarters/contracts. It’s a legal nightmare, one they won’t get out of without a friendly and understanding German government.

            Don’t hold your breath.

          • BjornTheBrave

            I don’t have any need for HK products anyway 😉 I’m not impressed with their portfolio.

          • PK

            That’s one of the best parts about this hobby; there are so many choices from so many manufacturers that we can all find something to enjoy! Nor harm in having preferences for a company, or indeed, against a company.

          • BjornTheBrave

            Hear hear. To each their own of course. I like SIG, PWS and DDI. Rock solid American companies.

        • Anonymoose

          I just want PTR to come out with MP5 and HK93 clones. Is that too much to ask?

          • Richard

            Agreed

          • PK

            Actually, yes. Licensing agreements, machinery and tooling needs, and a massive legal roadblock stand in the way. The 7.62×51, 7.62×39, and the sort of pieced-together 5.56×45 don’t have those hurdles. PTR would LOVE to come out with a line of MP5s, they just don’t want to get sued into oblivion.

          • Frank

            There’s already small shops making MP5 clones. Doubt there’s any legal hurdles. Mostly financial ones. The MP5 is a 50 year old gun, the patents expired for it a long time ago.

          • Frank

            They’d have to buy tooling from people who have it now, doubt the turks or pakistanis are willing to do it and PTR isn’t doing so amazingly financially, at least at the moment, they moved during the sandy hook scare so they missed out on a lot because their guns were basically out of production during most of that time. So they’re in a weird spot.

          • Budogunner

            There are the MKE, HK licensed clones and HK’s own models slated for import. The only major problem with either is price.

            I bought my MKE back when they were priced reasonably because nobody knew if they were to be trusted. Mine runs like a sewing machine. Now toy have to pay double the original market value to get one, which is nuts.

  • BjornTheBrave

    Why are these idiots selling weapons to their own enemies? [One of] the very same government[s] that sends jihadists to Europe.

    • It’s more than a little complicated.

      • BjornTheBrave

        Come over to my current neck of the woods and see what’s happening on the other side of the Big Pond. Europe is bloody mess and going to the dogs man… And we still don’t have anything even remotely close to the 2A! But yeah sure, the Krauts prefer to arm their enemies rather than their own people. That makes sense, does it? Man, I can’t wait to move State side….

        • Uniform223

          If you’re into Firearms don’t move to Washington, California, Oregon, and New York. I’m pretty sure there are more states who have stupid laws against firearms but I am pretty sure those states are probably the worse about it… ESPECIALLY California.

          The US isn’t perfect but I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else 🙂 … except maybe Israel.

          • Big Daddy

            that’s why I moved to Texas.

          • Gary Kirk

            Really want to

          • Big Daddy

            It took many years to get here but I made it.

          • Gary Kirk

            Good on you brother, as a welder, I could get there tomorrow.. Alas, I am not single.. So the whole family thing comes into play. Slowly working on that.. Maybe we’ll be neighbors one day, hopefully with enough land to play

          • Big Daddy

            I’m retired but Texas is a place that if you have a skill and want to work there is work here. So many younger people do not want to do those types of jobs. I’m in central Texas near Ft. Hood. Plenty of work for the enterprising person.

          • Reef Blastbody

            If you have the means, I highly recommend it.

          • Gary Kirk

            Believe me brother, I would.. Hell even my beer comes from there.. 10 oz Budweiser..

          • Gary Kirk

            Maryland.. :'(

          • ostiariusalpha

            Do you mean Washington, D.C. or Washington State? We have pretty liberal (in the good sense) gun laws here in the evergreen state. I wish our knife laws were a little less restrictive, but that’s something we’re working on changing.

          • Holdfast_II

            Yeah, but your trend is in the wrong direction. Seattle and the loons that live there now control the entire state, and they will be out to f*ck those “hicks” who live anywhere but Seattle. It’s the same thing that happened to NY state a few decades ago – it used to be that the lunacy was confined to NYC and the rest of the state was a pretty relaxed place, but NYC now has all the power and so they pass the SAFE Act, etc.

          • iksnilol

            Israel which has worse gun laws than California and super bad borders?

          • Uniform223

            One of my all time fantasies/bucket list items is to hook up and or marry a smokin IDF girl.

          • jay

            Well if you are still young, get over there! They like us Americans!

          • jay

            They can’t arm the enemy within their ranks. So everyone suffers. But there is a black market. And lot’s of machine shops.

          • Reef Blastbody

            Israel’s gun laws for regular citizens are WAY worse than California. Basically, *1* rifle and maybe *1* handgun if you’re lucky, are a vet, know the right people, etc.

            Here’s a cut/paste from JPFO, a US based Jewish 2A advocacy organization:

            The Israel Dept. of the Interior makes notification to the
            general public the requirements necessary for the obtaining of a permit
            to possess a firearm:

            1. Applicant must be a permanent resident of Israel for 3 consecutive years prior to making application for a firearms permit.

            2. Applicant must be 21 years of age.

            3. The permit request must be for personal use, not to engage in the business of firearms sales.

            4. Applicant must fall into one of the following categories:

            a. Part-time reservist (volunteer) for 3 years- may own 1 handgun

            b. Such a reservist (volunteer) is a member of a gun club – may own 1 rifle

            c. Professional, licensed public transportation driver, transporting a minimum of 5 passengers – may own 1 handgun

            d. Licensed animal control officer- may own 2 hunting rifles, *not*
            full automatic weapons, or semi-automatic weapons with a limited
            capacity magazine.

            e. Full-time dealer of jewelry or large sums of cash or valuables – may own 1 handgun

            West Bank and Gaza Strip Settlers:

            1. A resident in a militarily strategic buffer zone, essential to the security of the State of Israel – may own 1 handgun

            2. A business owner in these geographic areas – may own 1 handgun

            Veterans:

            1. Veterans of the Regular Army honorably discharged with the
            rank of non-commissioned officer, and veterans of the Reserve Army with
            the rank of regimental commander- may own 1 handgun

            2. Retired law enforcement officers with the rank of sergeant – may own 1 handgun

            3. Retired prison guards with the rank of squadron commander- may own 1 handgun

            Individuals:

            Upon presenting documentation that one is about to receive a
            souvenir, a prize, an inheritance, or an award of appreciation from the
            Israel military.

          • jay

            I understand the only other option is to arm people who hate you and wish you dead, or at the very least would help, if not pull the trigger. Although, they do make allowances for old geezers who were snipers or designated marksmen in their day. You also forgot to mention the psychological interview that all firearm requestors have to go through.

          • Reef Blastbody

            That argument presumes that said people who want you dead aren’t already illegally acquiring firearms and other tools of violence, or manufacturing same.

            Same with the psych eval that they impose, I’m quite certain that the sleeper cells or sympathizers inside Israel aren’t taking psych evals prior to acquiring their tools of violence.

            I do think the middle east would be a lot more peaceful if we and the international community let Israel clean house when they need to and put the boot to Hezbollah and the intifada decisively. Kill enough of them and they’ll get the message to knock that crap off once and for all, or there’ll be none of them left, either of which options suits me just fine.

          • jay

            Yes, of course black markets go in many directions. I also agree with your idea that other nations and ngo’s can import almost anything. Above all, yes, let them clean house as they need to. However, world condemnation would ensue, as they are largely anti semite. But it would truly have to be a once and for all gambit. Would you stand with them or against?

          • Actionable Mango

            In Washington State, everything is legal except machine guns. Concealed carry is legal.

            In Oregon, all guns including machine guns is legal. Concealed carry is legal.

            I have no idea why you would lump those two states’ gun laws together with California and New York.

        • $10 says it has something to do with “foreign influence” in Europe and so called “white guilt.” However, it is merely a suspicion on my part based on what I’ve been reading on the internet and discussing it with fellow friends.

        • iksnilol

          Oh yes, those horrible refugees.

          More hyperbole I guess.

          • BjornTheBrave

            You’re in Switzerland, right? Come to the EU, and you’ll see a bit of the world. We’ve got jihadists raping and harassing our women, making war in our streets, making claims on our already stressed real estate market, costing is billions, and last but not least: killing people. In case you didn’t notice…

          • iksnilol

            Nah, I’m in Norway. Though I travel through the EU every 4-5 months so I know that stuff is for the most part made up.

          • BjornTheBrave

            “You travel every 4-5 months…..” I actually LIVE in mainland Europe. You don’t have any idea what you’re talking about, mate. Do you regularly visit Germany, Holland, Belgium and France and actually stay there for prolonged periods in order to observe what is actually happening?
            But anyway, ‘politics’….

          • iksnilol

            Halfway. I am lazy, I don’t want to burn myself out on the Autobahn. And I know enough people that staying for a week or two isn’t problematic.

    • Anonymoose

      Because they have oil money, and the US Government and NATO have determined that Sunnis are our “friends” and Shiites are our enemies because the Shiites made friends with the commies.

      • BjornTheBrave

        Either way, we’re getting screwed over.

    • Stupid European

      Why does USA sell weapons to Saudi Arabia then ? Without USA Saudi kingdom would cease to exist in 24 months.

      It is “the Shah of Iran is our friend” all again.

      • BjornTheBrave

        The US, the EU AND Russia need to stop selling weapons to all these rogue regimes.

        OT: I still find it to be a shame that HK simply refuses to set up a shop in the US in order to tailor to their American fan base. Personally, I have zero use for anything HK, but I do believe in a free market economy.

  • vwVwwVwv

    i try to do no politics here, evan if the guns somehow will point on me and my loved ones.

    it is important for HK, the german government hurts them every 10 -15 years.
    HK had the G11 program, invested lots of effort and money on this
    and went broke after german government tock back the order.

    there are great craftsman in germany but with the restrictive export law the company
    is forced to sell factorys instead of products what made pakistan, iran, turky and
    now saudiarabia a weapons manufactorer, isn’t it stupid?

    cobgratulations to the british for your independence gained today.
    independenceday.

    • Germany should leave EU as soon as possible and detach themselves from their EU Body overlords. Furthermore, imprison the traitors in Parliament such as Merkel and reinstate free speech. Last but no least, they should abandon their “white guilt” and most of Germany’s worries will be over.

      However, that is only my own opinion and someone will disagree with it which I don’t mind one bit. ¯_ツ_/¯

      • vwVwwVwv

        the EU was a good thing befor they started to regulate
        the curve of the banana, the sise of egs and
        other stupid things.

        i do not condamn the EU as a whole, but they want
        to establish a EUSSR with nonelected leaders.
        it was good as long it was the unity
        of national states with full
        suverenity each.

        they have to shut down the comission and
        return the power to the states.
        it was a nice thing to
        travel from
        gibralta to letlamd and than to greace free as a citisen.

        white guilt in the USA is something other than in germany.

        • White guilt is a powerful excuse in the world of politics. I don’t understand why politicians use that excuse to pander to minorities and weaken the country’s national identity. My money goes on “foreign identities/groups” with some sort of major influence or power in that specific country that’s encouraging governments to listen to their suggestions (i.e. open borders, progressivism).

          If you look at history itself, other ethnic groups (non-Caucasians) and religions other than Christianity have caused numerous deaths, murders, and genocides in the past. Yet the world concentrates on “white guilt.” This bothers me very much.

          Mind you, I’m Asian and have no ties with Caucasians. I’m going to leave it that because I don’t want to be accused for “hate speech.” Besides, I’m still researching and gathering information, so I don’t have a solid foundation on world history and politics yet.

          • sdf

            another asian pretender lol

          • What’s with the TFB community calling out “fake asians” on this website? This is the 2nd time already in a week.

            Like, what the heck? Throwing out random accusation is rather stupid.

          • vwVwwVwv

            what kind of asian are you, asia is large?

          • Japanese-Chinese Canadian. I align myself more as a Japanese though. For the moment, there isn’t much to be proud of being a Chinese except for my grandparent’s history. My grandpa’s history is pretty amazing.

          • vwVwwVwv

            you sound very jung, japanese are chinese settlers who came to japan,
            china had imense influence on japan and the world, evan on the
            region where i came from, if you lock on history
            china has no reason to hide in
            front of nobody.

            medicin, art, technology, whatever, china is in the game and
            was in it when great europe belived in idols….

            havent you been told that rather your country shuld be proud of
            you and most people with extrem pride of theyr country
            havent nothing else to be proud of.

            i met once a bushman, in africa, he was analphabet and the
            jung had to translate for him, he knew no pride for his country,
            he evan had no concept of country,
            but he was able to read the world he lived in. he knew how
            to hunt, where to find water and my waight seeing my
            trac in the sand, he was than 70 and
            i am proud to have met him.

            you know who invented gun powder?

          • I know what you’re trying to tell me. Old China was great and Old China lives on in Taiwan. However, present day Mainland China is garbage at best. Communism destroyed China and the China we are now living with is behind the rest of the West and other 1st world countries. China can only replicate something and perfect it to Western standards, but that is all they can do at the moment. Work lifestyle and ethics, they are bottom tier.

            Look at their Shinkansen technology. They are very capable of replicating the technology, but their work lifestyle and ethics standards are TRASH. To be a Shinkansen pilot is one of the greatest honor in Japan. This means you have to be an elite pilot with a very good record. In China? They simply give the pilot license to some noob and look what happened. Pilots not following protocol and breaking the rules. Huge accident happened. Anyways, you get the idea.

            Maybe in the next 100 years, China will catch up with the rest of the world and Japan will no longer be the best country in Asia. Who knows.

            For the time being, I can’t really be proud of being Chinese, because Mainland China is absolute garbage. I can however be proud of Hong Kong and Taiwan though.

            As for the Bushman part. I guess the man is a great survivalist… but if humanity was just like that man, then I don’t know how we’re going to evolve as a species.

    • PK

      Methinks HK has beaten wife syndrome.

      • vwVwwVwv

        the beaten wife was beaten by someon else,
        the germans do it to themselfe but
        i have to leave the discussion
        cuz of Guns no Politics
        has a very good reason.

  • Right-wing Realist✓ᴺᵃᵗᶦᵒᶰᵃˡᶦˢᵗ

    Man, the saudis have influence practically everywhere. America might even have a Saudi sympathizer in the whitehouse soon.

    • This message brought to you by the year 2007.

      • Billy Jack

        This message brought to you by the year 1979, or even 1949.
        Barry isn’t bowing in that picture. That hairy chick in the black dress just dropped a billion dollars on the floor and he’s picking it up for her. There are pics on the internet from when she was George * Bush’s girlfriend. They took long walks holding hands. Those hairy Saudi chicks get around. They’re the DC Kardassians.

    • Big Daddy

      They already do.

    • BjornTheBrave

      He’s already in and his name is Barack HUSSEIN Odrama.

      • iksnilol

    • Gary Kirk

      Already have one that sympathies everyone else that wants to kill us

  • vwVwwVwv

    from the other side i do not understand US-Manufacturers at all,
    its not a big deal to get 3-4 HK’s ingeneurs and weaponmasters
    and you produce a HK clone and other things, its like
    the whol world is in a standstill and we can
    build just 3-4 long and 3-4 short arms… 🙁

    • BjornTheBrave

      Funny thing is HK is copying the US arsenal. HK41X series=AR-15/M-16, GMG=improved MK19.

  • Ah yes the Ozark mountains—-gorgeous place to live.

    • BjornTheBrave

      Fayetteville seems to be awesome.

  • Does anyone remember people condemning Russia for selling new tech to Middle, Far or Near East? =) I’ve seen this long before anyone felt injustice for H&K’s trouble getting contracts with clients from that region. Sure, Russian contracts bear the legacy of supporting friendly regimes to certain ends (although those shipments were entirely gratis, unlike United Fruit shenanigans), but in this context things get a little bit strange however you want to cut it.

    • vwVwwVwv

      culturrelativist

  • Fruitbat44

    Politics or business? Either one is a something you need two hands for. In politics you use one hand for handshakes, and in business you use one hand to take the money. In either you use the other hand to hold your nose . . .

  • mig1nc

    Seems like Germany hates H&K as much as H&K hates U.S. civilians…. I joke! I joke!

  • Geoff

    Can’t trust German citizens with guns, but Saudis who fund and spread Islamic terrorism? Oh yeah, they’re trustworthy.

  • ProLiberty82

    H&K called the German Government racist (although everything west of Pakistan is technically white) for making the lawsuit and won by default.

  • Cmex

    Saudi Arabia is ISIS turned legit. Why does ANYONE think they’re the good guys?

  • We were strong allies of China in WWII. Only after Mao took over did we become adversaries for a time. Hey don’t worry about your english!

    • vwVwwVwv

      thanks a lot. 😀

  • You’re okay to me. I do my best to respect everyone’s opinion regardless of whether I agree with you or not. My great grandparents on my mother’s side were rich and they were just below Government when it comes to “power/political level.” However, once Mao came into power, he took them away like he did for anyone else above Middle Class and degraded my great grandparents worst than a dog. Grandma and either all, most, or some of her siblings escaped to Hong Kong, Taiwan, and in her case, Canada.

    I can’t really be proud of 20th century China because people were dumb enough to listen to Mao. People were dumb enough to accept Communism. It’s because of Mao and Communism and dumb people in China that led a great country into utter chaos, madness, and dystopia. It’s really regrettable in my opinion. My mother’s cousin’s great grandpa was a great 4 Star General in the Chinese military. I don’t know which Chinese military, but he was supplied weapons by the US. Thomspon SMG and etc. Before that, he was an University student at Tokyo University in 1930 era (maybe earlier?) and was the Chinese representative of the prestigious university. He almost won the National Kendo Match and was handed to him Prince Akihito’s kantana personally. Whether it was Akihito’s personal katana or a backup, I don’t know. To this day, the katana he was given is located at my cousin’s house in Hong Kong. When the war started, he obviously returned to China to fight for his motherland.

    Stuff like that I can be proud of, but China’s history from the time they accept communism until now is something I can not really be proud of.

    Love? Sure, I love my Chinese friends and family. There are many good things about China I like and they are improving, but it’s still a long way like I said earlier on. I just hope Maindland China don’t mess with Taiwan too hard.

    • vwVwwVwv

      this sounds different.
      very interesting, tragic and sad.
      china has faced a long line of tragedys one of
      which was the rule of queen tze chie,
      wuman as political rulers
      are desatreous.
      all of them actually when there is a critical moment.

      the drug wars of GB and other european colonisers,
      the unbelivable conduckt of japnese military there,
      hunger, devestation, war lords, each supported by
      different uotside powers. which people wuld have
      survived this without loosing the country or its unity?

      mao verymuch imitated stalin, my countryman, his
      name was djuashwili, stalin is just a nickname.
      comunists like all socialists use terror as weapon
      for pressing people in to slavery.
      mao was a great student
      of aw and horror, you
      actually did not live under socialism, people follow
      to stay alive, to safe the family and i know the chines
      family structure quite well from early age i learned
      kung fu and had lots of chinese friends, where you
      are a friend not of a person rather than of the family.

      now watch what it took to free yourself from comunism
      in any country on earth, the EU is crushing for paying
      the burdan of takeing ex-comunist countrs in.
      now china is simply freeing itselfe
      somhow and not one
      nation on the
      planet was able to do this without external force.

      is this the way to honor your respectful grandfather who
      was ready to die for his people by openly disrespect
      his sruggle and will by wrighting such hard
      words about people i was allways
      extremly impressed of?

      i hope china will overcome comunism, in its own decent
      way, wish you the best and hope you will have
      soon good reasons to be proud.

      thank you for your insights and hope i was not to much
      personal, it is a provocation system to hold
      conversation going.

      with such history other people look down on others, realy,
      you culd make some books out of it, i am
      realy impressed.

  • datimes

    Mrs. Merkel and her acolytes have been lecturing the West on the virtues of the religion of peace. How could they protest exporting these components to the epicenter of peace?

  • Ken

    When things collapse they aren’t returning to tents. They’ll become “refugees” and flood into 1st world countries while demanding free housing, food, health care, etc.

  • Steven Kaspar

    Nothing better then arming your enemies!

  • jcitizen

    Me, I like differences – none of my friends ever looked alike – feel blessed to have known every one of them. Same old same o’ would truly make life boring.