posted on Sep, 1 2011 @ 03:49 PM
Just my $.02 here. I play airsoft, which I describe to people as being like paintball, but instead of bright colors and weird looking paintball
markers (guns), we wear full tactical gear, and run around with what we call replicas. They shoot 6mm plastic balls (BBs) at about 400 feet per
second. The key is that they have the look like a real gun. I have an M4 replica, that looking at even up close, an untrained person that isn’t
familiar with firearms would absolutely think it is real. They are shipped into the US with an orange tip on the end of the barrel, but the first
thing done is to remove it as it. We mostly play in the woods on land that we are allowed to play within, and it is a segregated area for us. There
certainly in city facilities too, which are typically indoor, and played in a close quarters combat style.
Now, I will say that the organization that I play within is extremely strict on letting people know the serious nature of having your replica in
public. We flat out don’t do it, ever. If there are younger kids that want to play, we always instruct them (and their parents) about safety and
legal issues, and most importantly, to never have your replica out in public. We take it as serious as you can, because the consequences are dire
here, as we have seen in this story. I would pretty much guarantee that the rifle he had was an airsoft rifle, based on how they mentioned it looked
so real. To me, a toy is bright colored, and absolutely easy to distinguish from a real weapon. That is why we refer to these as replicas.
I do want to continue to play my hobby of airsoft, but stories like this just end up ruining it, and giving the overall sport a bad name. Our sport is
based on honor, as we don’t have paint markers to tell when someone is hit, and the crowd that it attracts are typically good people, with a variety
of backgrounds. I am sorry this man got shot, but I don’t blame the officer that shot him, as he had one hell of a decision to make in a split
second. A man pointed what he thought was a real gun at him, and he reacted. I understand the man was disabled, and comments were made to effect of
the officer should have seen that and known he was disabled, and in turn they shouldn’t have shot him. To me, I don’t see how that changes things.
Now, I don’t know the nature of the disability here, but regardless, if a man points a gun at you, after telling him to put it down and he refused,
disabled or not, he will probably be shot.