When I first played Paintball back in the late 80's it was very much like Airsoft today, cammo and in the bush. Not speedball with bright jersey's. And it was pretty well as underground and restricted as Airsoft today. I had to meet up with the "established" community with my parents as I was under 18, they were filled in on what paintball was and once they said okay, I was then allowed to attend and play in a game. Then about 2 years later, speedball started to take over the fields and the game changed. That when I first learned about and got into Airsoft, and back then it was much much more expensive ($1000 for an Uzi, $20 for 500rds). There was all the reports and complaints in the news about shootings and drive by's like we now see with Airsoft. They are pretty much non existant now, Airsoft has taken over. Heck even laser tag was in the news for a while when their guns went more realistic and there was those shootings in the US.
Things change, paintball evolved and became more allowed and now main stream. Airsoft will get there eventually, we just have to continue to do our best to not rock the boat, and let it grow. Give it a few years and Airsoft will do the same, as some thing new will move into the forefront.
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http://airsoftcanada.com/showthread.php?t=174161 - Honour & Respect your fellow players! #Airsofthonourandrespect