Saturday, 28 July 2012

Stopping a Massacre

So inevitably since the Colorado shootings at the latest Batman movie we have been seeing an explosion in arguments about gun control or less restriction on gun control and what have you. Either way idiots from both sides of the playing field have been going head to head claiming their way is the best and they can prevent gun crime. I personally live in a nation where we do have restricted gun access and as recent news has shown the official restrictions on guns do not prevent them from illegally falling into people`s hand nor from people using those guns to kill other people by one iota. I`ve always said that if people want to find a way to kill one another they would whether they had guns or not. Sad to say though that here in Canada or even in gun restrictive Europe, history has shown time and time again that no matter how much you restrict guns, some mad individual will still be able to find one and kill people.

Now on the opposite side of the fence we have the argument from those advocating no gun control are those who say that one man with a gun could have prevented that massacre in the movie theatre. Yes that's right folks, somehow one man with a gun was going to successfully engage an armored target in a dark movie theatre and save lives!

Now disregarding the obvious madness of engaging in a gunfight in a crowded movie theatre let's just review a few things shall we? One is that I am personally an advocate of the average citizens right to bear arms (baring military hardware however) and to defend himself using said firearm. I also have no qualms about having to sign a form with my guns registration and serial number and handing that form over to a government database. If you sincerely have a problem with law enforcement knowing you own a gun I highly doubt you should be trusted with one.

Back to the madness of the theatre business though. I suppose if we ignore the circumstances surrounding the incident one can actually argue that the basic premise (an armed citizen can prevent a massacre) does have some truth to it. Mind you this is something of a very small chance.

To use the theatre massacre as an example, the target was throwing smoke bombs, wearing body armor, could fire indiscriminately, and had surprise on his side, let's just say the chances of a gun user actively hitting and stopping this guy without incuring collateral damage of his own are dramatically slim. But how about if the man had been in a crowded shopping mall with better light and visibility? Well again statistically the chances are extremely small this wouldn't incur just as much collateral damage as a shoot out in a theatre. Can the average person be expected to take a good shot under stressful circumstances surrounded by blood fear and chaos? Not really. That is why we have trained professionals afterall.

Contrary to the ravings of rabid gun supporters the average person is not the most reliable gunfighter. And contrary to anti-gun nuts it means that the average person (even those that practice regularly) is not extremely reliable at shooting past a certain range.

Now I certainly agree with the gun crowd that an armed society (especially one in the West where we are not desperate) is one that is more likely to have a lower crime rate (in relation to violent or random crime at least) but what most of those people forget is that while this weeds out the less confident and more cowardly criminals from occasional acts of bravado, it does leave us with the more dangerous, hardened criminals who are more likely to ambush and kill someone rather than simply attempt to mug them. A stellar trade off? Not really. There are of course a myriad of factors which makes the statement 'An armed society is a peaceful society' quite untrue.

However, an unarmed society is one which is certainly more dangerous to live in. No means of self-defense is inevitably worse than having to deal with the occasional dangerous criminal and leaving ones self at the mercy of petty thugs.

But does this have any bearing on preventing a massacre? In reality no. There is very little one can do to prevent an indivudual from simply buying (legally or otherwise) a weapon and then turning it on his fellow man. No legislation, police force, government, or individual is capable of stopping a man from walking into a theatre and opening fire if he is determined to. The fact that both sides of the debate jump to meaningless conclusions about laws and regulations is really quite stupid. The real focus must be the tragedy and how we can help the victims.

There are a plethora of better ideas for trying to stop potential mass murderers like the ones listed here which have much more substance than the simple 'ban all guns' or 'everyone should carry one' that gets thrown around like so much monkey feces.

We must all remember that right now the most important thing is to pray for those wounded and the families of those who have lost loved ones. Because really if we can't do that, then the whole debate is moot anyways.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Paintball and the Stormrunners

Well readers it is summer once again and I am back to doing the 'sport' which I love most, or perhaps hobby would describe it better, and that is paintball. Paintball the one sport where you can hunt your fellow man for fun. I have been an avid paintballer for three years now (well three summers would be more accurate) and I have thoroughly enjoyed the sport. I started this amazing endeavour back in 2009 and have loved every minute that I have spent sweating and running on the paintball field. I'm even part of an amazing team! Check us out on Facebook!

So my dear readers today I would like to share some of my experiences and ideas of what makes a game fun and how you and your friends can make a good team and form together to both have a good time and shoot your friends without consequence (because come on what more incentive do you need?)!

So as stated I started out paintballing a few years back. My friends and I were all eager videogame players or real army enthusiasts. There were some of us going into the military or police work, and others who simply loved the Call of Duty series too much. Either way the idea of firing at one another in real life was too much of a good thing to pass up, so we all got together and went out to a little field a short drive from where I live and we had at it! Needless to say after a long, hot day of shooting at one another, cursing our rental guns, and incurring a significant number of bruises thanks to improving aim, we were were hooked. Afterwards we just had to go back again and play another game!

Thus was I to become a (part time) slave to paintball and all its attendant fun. I warn my readers right away, it is not a cheap hobby nor is it one that is for those who don't like a) pain b) being shot at in any way, or c) being cramped in an uncomfortable position for long periods or running pell mell. Now with that slight disclaimer out of the way I shall go on.

I love paintball for a number of reasons. Having a team, and a team of good friends to boot, is one reason among many. Our team started out as a random collection of friends frequenting some fairly inexpensive fields on weekends. Now we have our own Facebook page and merchandise (be sure to check out that link!!). They are all good friends or aquaintances who I talk to and get along with well. And in a shoot out it is no small thing to know you have friends who can back you up! So if one simply wanted an excuse to get together with friends or an event to meet up with friends that you don't see often (as is the case with me) then paintball really is an excellent event to go to! I enjoy bth playing with, and against my friends. We take it with varying degrees of seriousness. Some of us are hardcore into it while others feel it is a wonderful escape from the stress of things. I personally love it and take it as a challenge to be had and feel that it is a great way to unwind.

One key to having a good team is knowing you can rely on your team mates when you are playing with them (and sometimes against them as the case may be). They are the people you want at your back and they are the ones who will be watching out for you and giving you pointers when you need them. This can be people you have met infrequently or life long friends. But it is important that one know their team.

Some people say that everyone on a team needs standardized weapons. Some say its for the professional touch. I say we aren't a squad of soldiers so unless you all have the same weapons for a team gimmick of sorts it's best to go with what you like rather than what everyone else has. I for instance have a simple Tipman 98. A simple gun it was my first and I have grown very fond of it and it has never let me down when I've needed it. I do think that it is about time I upgrade to a better gun in the near future but for now I intend to play on with this particular gun for a while.

I also think I should add one more thing to finish off the article. When you are playing REMEMBER THAT THERE ARE RULES! For instance don't wipe paint off if you are hit, don't chrono your gun above the regulation level, and don't shoot people who surrender. Not only is it just dumb it invites retaliation if someone remembers. That and makes the game not fun, but a competition of who can be the biggest bastard. My friends and I always follow the rules and we have much better games for it. Remember, rules are there for safety and ensure you have a good time. Don't break them!

So until next time readers, I encourage you to get out and try new things and if you want to beat on your friends, don't do it with fists! Do it with balls!