Kids do not write letters, they rarely talk on the phone, they occasionally e-mail and if you do not text, you seldom hear from them. A 16-year-old boy, a nice kid who is a relative, sent me a rare e-mail. It was a forward from one of his buddies informing the world of a new California law that was being proposed. This new law wants to make mandatory the bright coloration of toy replica guns and Airsoft guns. The teenagers are angrily claiming that this law would completely change the Airsoft game.
Not being an aficionado of Airsoft or its accouterments, my task was to educate myself via the Internet. It seems this game is an updated version of cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, good guys and bad guys… kids playing war. When I played these same games, we threw dirt clods and sticks were our pretend rifles. Today, kids have exact-replica guns that shoot large harmless BBs. They have found a way of ending the ceaseless debate that we had to endure. “I shot you.” “No you didn’t, I ducked.” “I got you man.” “No you didn’t.” “Yes I did.” Now, if you are hit with one of these BB things, then you are shot, period, argument over. Assuming that everyone wears eye protection, something we never thought about, it all seems innocent enough.
Here is the problem. It seems that a cop shot a kid, thinking that his Airsoft gun was real. Now there is a kneejerk California State Assembly bill (SB 798) that thinks they can protect everyone by mandating that all toy guns be painted bright colors. The idea is that when the cop sees the pink gun he will know that it is a toy and won’t shoot the kid. If we can, at least for the moment, let us put aside the question of police training and kids being stupid.
Charter Arms, in addition to other firearms manufacturers, makes real guns, .38 Specials in bright colors: pink, turquoise, bronze, crimson, red, lavender, gold, bright green, tiger-stripe black and silver, red and blue and probably other colors. If the law passes and toy guns are brightly colored, when a cop sees a lavender gun he will think it is a toy and if it is a Charter Arms .38 Special he is going to get shot. Once again, we get a silly law created by people who have not educated themselves on the subject.
Personally, I don’t care about Airsoft; I don’t play cops and robbers anymore. However, taking the larger view, I am concerned with the wider frame of reference. When it comes to firearms and motorcycle laws, all my life I have been assaulted by well-meaning myopic politicians who, under the guise of saving me from myself, have created a plethora of silly regulations that have stolen my freedoms.
Concerned with teenagers, I consider it my job to do a little mentoring. I have taken these kids to the desert and taught them how to ride motorcycles. With the correct riding equipment and showing them proper riding techniques, we make safer riders. I have taken them to the shooting range. Teaching them safe gun handling, we eliminate future gun accidents. Now it is time to educate these kids about their elected officials and the political process.
Getting back to the original e-mail, I responded with this e-mail of my own:
Boys: For my entire life, good-intentioned elected officials have been establishing laws that have been designed to protect me from myself. Doing so, they have taken away my rights one tiny piece at a time. Things that I took for granted as a boy are now deemed illegal by today’s strictures.
The entire Mojave Desert used to be open. I could ride from the top of the Cajon Pass, across the desert, across Nevada, into Utah, and end up in Colorado against the Rocky Mountains. Now, if you want to ride with me we have to drive over 150 miles east of Los Angeles to get to a “motorcycle dirt reservation.”
Years ago, in the open desert, camping and rabbit hunting were things you did in the Boy Scouts. Today, you camp in “existing campsites only” and if you were to shoot a rabbit the rangers would come and lock you away.
The governmental aim is to make life safe, fair and protected, not dangerous or toxic. Somehow, we will all live the good life, there will be no poor, everyone will be on a level plane, we will all be educated/propagandized and everything will be blissful. To achieve this, with protectionism as its byword, the “Nanny State” will take over and usurp all personal responsibility. Aiming towards utopia, society will purge itself of those dangerous motorcycles and perilous firearms. At first glance, this sounds noble, harmless, equal and perfect. However, by accepting the abdication of your rights, you are saying, “I am stupid; I don’t know what I am doing, I don’t know how to be responsible for myself. Please, Mr. Government, take care of me.”
I REJECT THIS!
Accept the loss of any freedom and your grandsons will not live as freely as you do. The freedoms my grandfather, my father and I have enjoyed will only live in legends. Attacking this Airsoft game that you love, they have started picking on you. Brightly colored Airsoft guns are just the start, believe me, it is not the end. It is time for you to write whoever is on the legislative committee and tell them what you think. It is your responsibility as a citizen to tell your elected officials what they should and should not be doing for you and to you. If they pay no attention, vote them out. Vote out any city, state or federal governmental officials that are inattentive. It is their job to listen to you. They are supposed to do what you tell them, not the other way around.
They started with me a long time ago. I have been fighting this crap forever and will continue to fight. Now they have started a confrontation with you and instantly you understand.
Good luck and welcome to the fight.