All the stuff on this page was written by and is property of Durty Dan, and was used with permission.
WHAT PAINTBALL ISN'T
Paintball, like everything else, has its detractors. There are those who see paintball as a violent and politically incorrect past time. They couldn't be farther from the truth.
Many writers will tell you about what paintball is. I'm going to tell you what paintball ISN'T.
PAINTBALL ISN'T VIOLENT
To the casual observer: we carry "guns" and "shoot" people, but are those two things really violent? Violence in today's society destroys lives. The very foundational rules of paintball seeks to limit personal injury:
1. Paintball markers are restricted to low velocities.
2. Players must wear protective eyewear. The use of eyewear SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED FOR PAINTBALL, is strictly enforced.
3. Close range shooting of an opponent is discouraged and players find this type of behavior "bad form".
4. No physical contact between player is allowed. (Other than celebratory "high fives" after the successful completion of a game.)
These four things show that paintballers are not out to hurt each other.
PAINTBALL ISN'T MOCK WAR, NOR IS IT A METAPHOR FOR WAR
At first glance it may not seem this way because scenario games, revolving around historic battles and campaigns, are popular. This is not the industry's or players' way of glorifying war. It is simply playing "make believe". Many of the organizers of these events use the scenario to proclaim the gallantry shown by our fighting men and women. No one who plays paintball would relish going to war. Other than the combat veteran, the paintballer knows how quickly your luck will run out when projectiles start flying. If anything, paintball gives you a sense of your own venerability and mortality.
Durty Dan Sez:
Having witnessed the sheer, abject destruction on the modern battlefield, I know that paintball is as close to war as board gaming is.
PAINTBALL IS NOT BAD FOR KIDS
Providing the safety equipment fit them properly, I have nothing against people under the "legal age of consent" playing paintball. (With parental permission, that is.) In fact, paintball just may teach kids some important life skills. Winning doesn't matter, race/creed/age/religion doesn't matter, respect for authority, safety, and determined effort brings reward. Best of all, it teaches them to see a loss, not as failure, but as a learning experience.
PAINTBALL IS NOT DANGEROUS
The safety equipment is designed to withstand multiple impacts from paintballs that are travelling far above the industry safe standard. (In other words they hold up over and about the "worst case scenario" like all safety equipment should.) Few people have been injured playing paintball. Accident statistics show that paintball has less injuries than bowling!
PAINTBALL ISN'T TRAINING PEOPLE FOR THE OVERTHROW OF THE GOVERNMENT
We're not a bunch of paramilitary commandos. We are not using paintball to train ourselves in military tactics. In fact, military tactics don't seem to work in paintball. The reason is that military tactics require a highly disciplined group of people, that's not paintballers. We are a large collection of fierce individualists, and we don't take orders very well.
Durty Dan Sez:
Some would point out that paintball is used to train military and special police units, to counter this statement. Well, it doesn't counter what I just said. Paintball is used as an AUGMENTATION to EXISTING training. Paintball in itself cannot train you to be a soldier, but it can be used to further expand a TRAINED soldier's education.
PAINTBALL ISN'T TRAINING PEOPLE TO KILL, NOR DOES IT MAKE PEOPLE "GET USED TO" SHOOTING SOMEONE
It's only a game. Shooting someone is more representative of a tag. Besides paintball is the ONLY team sport where you can LEGALLY eliminate your opponent from play. Best of all no one gets hurt.
Durty Dan Sez:
However, I'm not going to sugar coat it for you, some players do refer to eliminations as "kills". It's just an EXPRESSION. Comedians "kill" you, that can hardly be a metaphor for murder. The basic thing is that paintballers are NOT thinking, "I'm killing this guy," when they shoot somebody.
PAINTBALL DOES NOT PROMOTE VIOLENT TENDENCIES IN PEOPLE
In fact, psychologists have seen it to be a catharsis. It is a safe and healthy way to blow off some of the everyday tensions in life. Violent tendencies? I have absolutely NO tendencies towards ANYTHING after a day of paintball. Well, no that's wrong. I actually have tendencies towards a hot bath and a warm bed!
PAINTBALL ISN'T TEACHING PEOPLE HOW TO USE FIREARMS
Paintball markers share the same basic features with firearms. Both markers and firearms have triggers, grips, barrels, sears, bolts, hammers and sights. However, you cannot learn how to use real firearms by using paintmarkers. Think of it this way, how much can you learn about a computer by using a pocket calculator? There are paintmarkers which emulate the weight, design and operation of firearms, but they are specifically designed for police and military training.
Durty Dan Sez:
They are not available to the general paintball playing public. The ones that are available have been modified to better suit paintball. The design parameters between paintball and training are totally different. What would be good for a tactical training emulator isn't necessarily good, or even desired, in a paintmarker.
I hope, after reading this, that you can see that paintball is a harmless and fun game. Over one million people in North America play paintball. Not one of them is a violent, warmongering, psychotic mass murderer. Paintball has been around since 1981 and no one has been able to link violent crime DIRECTLY AS A RESULT OF PLAYING PAINTBALL. Why? Because there is no direct relation.