[You'll notice I don't have any pictures for this post, I'm still dealing with a PC crash and still need to grab pictures etc. from my back-up and reinstall some photo editing software. So for now you'll just have to suck it up and pretend this is one of those boring blogs without pictures. - Connor]
There's been a question plaguing my mind for quite some time concerning paintball vandalism, being, "If we, as the paintball community, bring attention to paintball vandalism, does it help or hinder us?"
On one hand, by bringing attention to it and deriding them as the acts of stupid individuals largely unaffiliated with the paintball community there is a certain amount of distance created between us and them.
But by implicitly saying that there are individuals out there that shouldn't have paintball markers, are we opening ourselves up to the possibility of greater regulations on the sales of paintball markers or their removal from mainstream stores such as Wal-Mart? And if so is that a good or a bad thing? That could quickly devolve into a discussion of freedoms vs. public opinion, and we all know the quagmire that is. A drama I'm certain most paintballers would love to avoid.
Also, does the mere fact of bringing attention to vandalism on a consistent basis create a media culture surrounding paintball that portrays it only in a poor light with the occasional fluffy human interest story? If the only thing that people see in their news/RSS feed concerning paintball is someone was shot by a drive-by group of paintball marker toting rednecks (I'm not singling out rednecks, it just lends a certain je ne sais quoi to the sentence), or that a paintball marker was involved in a domestic dispute, won't it not only hurt our public image but also prevent people from wanting to play this awesome game in the first place?
I'm not advocating for the hushing up of any negative paintball news, I just think that there might be something to be said for ignoring smaller incidents and not proliferating them on the internet in a manner in which it contributes to a greater sense of paintball being a tool for vandalism.
Could I have used more rhetorical question marks in this article?