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Going the RE-ENACTOR way.

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Old January 22nd, 2007, 12:28   #46
MadMorbius
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerkraz View Post
Just as a bit of a redirect, consider paintball. (I know, I know)

Paintball, especially speedball, has become a sport soccer moms can get behind. Why? Because:

- You're using markers, not guns.
- You're tagging, not killing.
- You're speedballing, not skirmishing.
- You're playing tournaments, not engagements/campaigns.
- You're wearing jerseys, not camo.
- You're on a three-man team, not a fireteam.
...and so on.

I mean, it's true paintball has changed a lot over the years, but a LOT of this change is ONLY a change in terminology.

Now, I can see NO drawbacks to any change in terminology referring to airsoft. We all get to play the same game, but we just call it something a little different.

"But I don't want to be a LARPer!!"

Boo-fucking-hoo. We're all LARPers. From the moment we put on our camo, use our replica guns, etc, we're all playing a role that is not us, in live action.
You just proved my point.

Paintball has evolved into what it is today as a result of efforts to make it socially acceptable. In it's early days, it was very similar to what we do with airsoft guns today.

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Originally Posted by Greylocks
A car is no less a car if you refer to it as an automobile.
And in the public perception, a gun-toting lunactic is no less a lunatic if he refers to himself as something else.

In order to make it socially acceptable, they had to stop wearing combat fatigues, drop realistic looking guns, and start using descriptors that don't imply any association with violence. That concept doesn't work with airsoft, now does it?

At the end of the day, whatever you call it, we're still socially unacceptable as long as we're using scale replicas to stalk human prey and fire at other human beings, while dressed up in evil killing fatigues representing the baby-killers of our choosing.

No matter what you call it, we're armed to the teeth and look pretty scary.

To think that soccer moms everywhere will suddenly embrace the sport by calling it something different is assinine. At the end of the day, its the guns and the gear that are the problem, not the name of the sport. If we used "markers" that didn't look like guns and still fired plastic bb's we wouldnt have a problem with soccer moms regardless of what clothes we wear while doing it.

Re-enactment is more socially acceptable because the images of a 19th century musketteer is far less threatening, and an obvious reenactment of historical significance, than a current day representation of JTF2 or the SAS.

For the record, I don't care what you do either way. The uniforms and equipment we employ lend easily to the concept of "military role-playing", but I think you're putting too much faith in the name being the catalyst for the bad press we receive when it's clearly the realistic-looking "assault weapons" that cause us grief.

Ultimately, if you want to see airsoft protected, you have to join the fight to preserve firearms rights. The two are intimately connected; if firearms are banned outright, airsoft will follow shortly thereafter if not included in the banning legislation.

Join the CSSA, and help protect both.
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 12:41   #47
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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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Old January 22nd, 2007, 13:00   #48
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Originally Posted by MadMorbius View Post
Join the CSSA, and help protect both.
Just out of curiousity, how do real steel shooters who aren't into airsoft see the plight of airsoft? There are airsofters who aren't big on real guns, so I assume the opposite also exist. If a real harsh anti-gun bill were to be tabled, would a significant portion of the RS crowd turn their back on airsofters in exchange for negotiating room? "We represent a legit activity, those other guys are accidental shooting by cops waiting to happen"? I got the impression from the fight across the pond that British airsofters' attempt to ally with other pro-gun groups had mixed/lukewarm receptions.

Not saying that RS guys would all do that, just wondering how different groups thinks. Since if you look at it, airsoft and RS don't coexist particularly well. When either side gets into trouble, the other is unavoidably drawn in. Yet airsofting wouldn't be nearly as difficult if real guns were illegal, and RS owners can sleep a little better at night knowing that there aren't kids running around constantly pissing off the anti-gun social hypochodriacs.
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 13:06   #49
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I never underestimate the power of language, ever.

I think using different labels for what we do in public discussions could have a positive impact, and re-enactor seems as good as any approach.

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Old January 22nd, 2007, 13:23   #50
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I either write nothing or I write tones…. My apologies in advance.

Greylocks: I have seen many people argue 'lets do something, lets stop sitting around' but very few provide a direction, or plan to back that idea up. Congratulations on presenting the smartest thing I have read in terms of an action plan for airsoft. You got me to sit up and think "Hey, that’s genius... why didn’t I think of that?!?"

All: I have been deeply involved in re-enactment for the last 7 years. Roman, early medieval, late medieval, jousting, SCA, living history, etc. etc. etc. I also have a few acquaintances in black powder and later style groups. I have run my own clubs and participated in running a few legal societies, so when I speak of re-enactment, it is something that I am very intimate with. I am not by any means the world authority on re-enactment, and there are others on this forum (Greylocks I know) who have at least as much experience in this as I do if not more. At least I'm familiar enough to pretend to know what I'm talking about here.

In examining the idea proposed by Greylocks, the counter arguments presented here and the possible repercussions of this action I would say that I heartily believe this to be the best thing we could strive for at the moment.

I would hope that we can all agree that what we do APPEARS alarming to the vast majority of people. 95% of what we are and what we do is lost to the general public. What they see are people shooting up schools, drug dealers carrying replicas and crazy violent youths practicing military violence for god only knows what reason.

If I can be so bold as to presume to speak for Greylocks for a moment, I believe that what he hopes to achieve is to envelope airsoft in a way that it can be presented or seen by the public in an understandable form. People will then see the ‘re-enactor’ first, and the ‘military’ second.

Most importantly I think we need to understand how the general public views re-enactment. I have seen people dressed in Nazi staff uniforms (swastika and all), surrounded by 'SS' troopers, all armed to the teeth (a clearly unfavorable presentation) talking to members of the public (soccer moms and all) and being respected as re-enactors. It is amazing how the public’s opinion will change from "look at those crazy cooks" to at worst a boring disinterest when people are accepted as re-enactors. Re-enacting provides it’s own explanation and logical reasoning for undertaking what may be viewed as 'improper behavior'. It is absolutely socially verboten to dress like a 'Nazi' in public. Why would you? Do you hate Jews? Do you want to kill babies? These are the questions people ask in their heads. However, if you are re-enacting, this creates a different dialogue. Suddenly the exact same action comes with an explanation to your motivations for doing so. OH, you are remembering the horrible things in our past. OH, you are teaching our youth so they wont forget. Oh, you are adding depth to the culture and interest…. Whatever they think, 90+% of the time it will be drastically different.

Everything is perception. Everything. Perception, without further explanation, is your reality. People see no reason for others to run around with real looking guns except perhaps if you are re-enacting. Otherwise, if one sees others fighting with real looking weapons (which are bad), then those same people must then be bad.

One of the major arguments against this approach is the resistance to having to change everything about how we play to fit into the small niche of re-enactment. Few people have the patience, money, discipline or frankly the care to ensure all kit, weapons, and actions conform to a set standard. I understand this. However it’s not really a worry at all. There a very few groups in the medieval world who conform to such stringent standards. Every group has different levels. The largest re-enactment society in the world and likely the most recognized is the SCA. They have some of the WORST (and at times best) historically accurate presentations I have ever seen. Have you ever seen a fur clad barbarian 'Knight', fight a Samurai after beating the snot out of another Knight dressed in an industrial blue plastic barrel??? I have. Yet this is accepted by the public (very loosely at times) as re-enactment.

What we do, and the level to which many of us do it, is very easily re-enactment. If you want to stretch it a bit there is no doubt in my mind that every one here could be presented as modern and recent-history re-enactors. So, no worry there, I don’t expect anyone here to hand sew all visible seams, or mix your shield paint from daisies, and no one else will either.

Gerkraz is absolutely right in his example of how paintball has chosen to represent itself. Whether we like it or not, some words are viewed by the public as bad: Guns, Assault rifle, military, Kill, shoot, tactical, sniper etc. These words are used by military sycophants who are planning to shoot up schools or kill policemen. I personally have no problem with the term ‘Modern Military Simulation’ in fact I believe it is an adequate description of what we do. But that is not the point. I play this game. I tell most of the people at work that I play paintball or do modern and medieval re-enactment already, why? Modern Military Simulation makes them think... so you are a gun nut? So you practice what... Killing people?

We as a community are taking good steps to help drive our 'sport' in a mature way. 18+ for sales, 16+ or 18+ for games. etc. We need to be very aware of how the public views us and how we present ourselves.

Why do I play airsoft? I like to try and test all the gear to see how it works. I like to look super snazzy in all my gear. I love to learn and practice all the associated tactics and really get a feel for what skills modern combat requires. I like to do something social with my friends. I like to know the realities of war. In the end of the day I like to have a pizza with my palls and tell tall stories about how sneaky and deadly I was. The phrase re-enactor covers all the above to a T and explains it just so: ‘re-enactor’. The soccer mom rightly thinks we are unhinged violent criminals waiting to prey on the public. If we aren’t, what are we? Airsofters? Millitary smulators? A buch of guys out shooting our friends

To date re-enactors have changed laws around the world in regards to carrying weapons and handling these weapons in public. They are a growing community with world wide acceptance and recognition. They are attractive to governments as they are starting to add more value to tourism and provide increased culture and entertainment. 'Gun totting nuts' have accomplish none of the above (peacefully). Make no mistake. To most of the people out there we are 'Gun totting nuts'. In the long run either we change this or they will.

Good show Greylocks. Don’t give up on this idea. I believe it is a phenomenal chance for our sport and I applaud you on bringing it forward. Don’t abandon this easily.

That was my $.02 of rambling on.

Your mileage may vary.

Mike
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 14:27   #51
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Quote:
To think that soccer moms everywhere will suddenly embrace the sport by calling it something different is assinine.
And to think that's what we're suggesting will occur is equally asinine.

To think that changing our nomenclature will turn airsoft into a "soccer mom" sport is very myopic.

Quote:
Paintball has evolved into what it is today as a result of efforts to make it socially acceptable. In it's early days, it was very similar to what we do with airsoft guns today.
You're so willing to clump ALL paintball player into the speedball category that you FORGET that there is a community of paintball players who play the SAME game that we play, except with paintballs and markers instead of AEGs; they play the same game that you probably played before getting airsoft. I know that's true of me.

The games these player play is COMPLETELY different from speedball, but they share one thing in common: they don't have to worry about it becoming illegal and not being able to buy markers/paintballs.

The ONLY way for airsoft to get mainstream acceptance is, unfortunately, to bring it into the public eye in a POSITIVE way, using nomenclature that the public will be comfortable with.
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 14:43   #52
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I know one problem that we would have is the time era that we are re inacting.
Its one thing to grab a sword and follow a plot, but when using modern equipment, there may be some who will think we are hiding our real goal, and that is to be Terrorists. Or some crazy militia.
Sounds stupid, but the truth is that people will think that, and it only takes one voice to turn this sour.
That said, im torn, we need to do something for this sport.
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 14:52   #53
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My only concern with the reenactment angle is that 99% of the games we play, even if they have a historically-themed roleplay element, are about as much reenactment as speedball is. Face it, we may be "taking over the beaches of Normandy" but honestly, is that what people are really there for? No. I wouldn't want us to possibly be seen as taking extreme liberties with the definition of reenactment simply to fit a perceived ulterior motive.

The Manitoba Airsoft Association's standpoint is that this is a SPORT. The phrase we've used for years which has always worked is "like paintball." Like it or not the two sports are identical in practice - using a gun to shoot projectiles at other players in order to tag them out. One has received a lot more commercial success because neon jerseys and "markers" are more palatable to soccermoms. As mentioned above they were more milsim when they first got started and only enjoyed this commercial success after dropping that aspect for a while. Milsim is finally working its way back into paintball now.

The reenactment idea certainly has merit although I just don't think it's fair to misrepresent what we do. Reenactment is more niche than airsoft is and I question how much value we could put into that as a parallel. It would be awful hard to swallow that thousands of teens and young adults are suddenly interested in preserving the history of famous battles and need four figures worth of camouflage, guns, and accessories to do it.

The MAA will continue pushing this as a sporting event, and hopefully our registration as a sporting organization will help with that. I know some people have asked for more information on what we've done and I'd love to provide that, but I want to make sure it's presented in a clear and finished manner. We are still working on establishing certain things and making a lot of it up as we go along but hopefully within the next few weeks we'll have more nailed down that we can present to the community.
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 14:59   #54
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Perhaps we need more positive public enlightenment. Get some news coverage to help show the public that its a Sport, with Rules, not just kids running around shooting at each other training to be terrorists.

YouTube - airsoft on closeup

for example.
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 15:28   #55
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I also think most reenactment groups would take umbrage with us calling ourselves reenactors. A true reenactment is about demonstrating a historical event or period; there is no winning or losing, there's no points, there's no respawn. It's not a game. Airsoft is.

When we hold a "historical" op here in Manitoba, the actual event depicted and its outcome are tertiary in nature. The primary focus is on providing a safe and fun environment for people to enjoy. It's also not a public event which is another hole in the reenactment argument because we're firing live projectiles, and there isn't exactly a spectator's area where people can enjoy a smokie and a beer from the bleachers. If we reenact anything it is solely to further our own personal enjoyment of the event by providing an interesting role playing aspect, no more.
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 15:54   #56
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I also think most reenactment groups would take umbrage with us calling ourselves reenactors. A true reenactment is about demonstrating a historical event or period; there is no winning or losing, there's no points, there's no respawn. It's not a game. Airsoft is.

When we hold a "historical" op here in Manitoba, the actual event depicted and its outcome are tertiary in nature. The primary focus is on providing a safe and fun environment for people to enjoy. It's also not a public event which is another hole in the reenactment argument because we're firing live projectiles, and there isn't exactly a spectator's area where people can enjoy a smokie and a beer from the bleachers. If we reenact anything it is solely to further our own personal enjoyment of the event by providing an interesting role playing aspect, no more.

Your first point .. is not true... many re-enactment societies have combats of various types , some quite vigorous.. and much more dangerous than what we do , In lots of them there are points, and respawns... and to a degree is is a game.. and a sport... and a re-enactment... all in one..

I think it is important to not get tied up in Semantics... the point is to divorce the activity from the objects... calling what we do "airsoft" really does not provide any indication of what we do...

Picture this...

So what you got there? Um an airsoft gun...
Yeah .. what do you do with that? I airsoft with it....
Huh? you know... shoot people... you know for fun...besides the guns are cool...
Right...(backs away slowly not making eye contact)


VS

What you got there? Its a simulated firearm
Yeah What do you do with that? I participate in Modern Battle Simulations.
Why would you do that? Well mostly for fun and exercise, and I have met really great people who share my interests...
Really... can you tell me more? Sure come on over and meet my friends...


bingo... now its not about the guns anymore... it is about exercise, community, shared experiences...entertainment

But... I do agree that this will not resolve the issue with continued access to airsoft guns... all this does is take the focus off of the guns a bit..

We still need to be active in preserving our rights to access and ownership.. an issue that can not be divorced from the wider issue of gun legislation.. as it is the same body of law that will affect us.
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 16:12   #57
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I'll admit I'm not wholly familiar with reenactors aside from the fact I rarely see any. Thanks for the correction Brian.

However I still fail to see how calling us reenactors is going to be any better than calling ourselves a sport. The scenario you mentioned above works in either situation although once you establish people are playing an actual game rather than weakly attempting a historical simulation that is ostensibly a game in disguise, I think the response will be far more open. Especially if we ride the coattails of paintball's commercial success and carefully associate with it.

Personally I have nothing against paintball or speedball. It's not my cup of tea but I no longer subscribe to the mindset that one sport is any better than the other. We're both accomplishing the same objective only using different rules and equipment. By establishing similarities and emphasizing them, we show that our sport has a lot in common with something that people already relate to and understand is socially acceptable. That is why we registered the MAA as a sporting association.

I also dislike the verbiage of "simulated firearm" for several reasons which is another argument on its own. I see absolutely nothing wrong with the term airsoft.

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Old January 22nd, 2007, 16:19   #58
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Just out of curiousity, how do real steel shooters who aren't into airsoft see the plight of airsoft? There are airsofters who aren't big on real guns, so I assume the opposite also exist. If a real harsh anti-gun bill were to be tabled, would a significant portion of the RS crowd turn their back on airsofters in exchange for negotiating room? "We represent a legit activity, those other guys are accidental shooting by cops waiting to happen"? I got the impression from the fight across the pond that British airsofters' attempt to ally with other pro-gun groups had mixed/lukewarm receptions.

Not saying that RS guys would all do that, just wondering how different groups thinks. Since if you look at it, airsoft and RS don't coexist particularly well. When either side gets into trouble, the other is unavoidably drawn in. Yet airsofting wouldn't be nearly as difficult if real guns were illegal, and RS owners can sleep a little better at night knowing that there aren't kids running around constantly pissing off the anti-gun social hypochodriacs.
Don't worry buddy - membership fees are always ca$h green, I don't think they will be too put off by what you do. Just hope that your interests are included when you sign up, cause perspectives change just like underpants.

Besides, if Airsoft get's banned, who are the real steeler's going to make fun of? It would be like a giant, celestial black hole of ridicule exploding into itself. Devistating.
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 16:27   #59
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Actually, airsoft is pretty frequently made fun of in the firearms community but that doesn't really matter. As far as I know, protecting private ownership of replicas isn't something the CSSA is fighting for, but it's the same mentality that wants to see them banned and the same government that would do it if they're put back in power.

If by supporting firearms rights you provide support for airsoft by extension, who cares what they think of it?

Nothing should ever be banned because it's misused by a select few. It's the same principle at work.
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 16:48   #60
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I'll admit I'm not wholly familiar with reenactors aside from the fact I rarely see any. Thanks for the correction Brian.

However I still fail to see how calling us reenactors is going to be any better than calling ourselves a sport. The scenario you mentioned above works in either situation although once you establish people are playing an actual game rather than weakly attempting a historical simulation that is ostensibly a game in disguise, I think the response will be far more open. Especially if we ride the coattails of paintball's commercial success and carefully associate with it.

Personally I have nothing against paintball or speedball. It's not my cup of tea but I no longer subscribe to the mindset that one sport is any better than the other. We're both accomplishing the same objective only using different rules and equipment. By establishing similarities and emphasizing them, we show that our sport has a lot in common with something that people already relate to and understand is socially acceptable. That is why we registered the MAA as a sporting association.

I also dislike the verbiage of "simulated firearm" for several reasons which is another argument on its own. I see absolutely nothing wrong with the term airsoft.

I agree that re-enactor may not really encompass what we do... but neither does "Sport"
I think that many casual observers find that the fact that we have made hunting people a sport the most objectionable part of the activity.
This is exactly why paintball became long range tag. It was the proactive public manipulation of "optics" that allowed paintball to emerge from the shadows.

Many have already said that there is no way to wrap this thing up and make it look wholesome... and to that I agree, The "sportification" of violence is to the majority of people.. abhorrent.. and the people who do it.. intrinsically "different" than "normal people"

This is the catch... how do we manipulate the "optics" so that what we do has a context other than " a sport that involves hunting people with realistic imitations of lethal weapons" And keep the "game" intact?

I don't know the answer... maybe there is no answer... but I do know that continuing to "airsoft" with Airsoft guns is not the answer.

Context that can be rationalized by the uninvolved casual observer is what we need to acheive..
A tough task considering the barriers
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