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  • laser tag

    I just found out that Laser tag is a forbidden activity. Can anyone please explain to me WHY? This makes absolutely NO sense to me. Thanks.

  • #2
    It's because there are no BSA laser-rangemasters (just kidding).

    It's probably one of those touchy-feely PC rules based on the "violence" of the activity, which is kind of ironic as "Scouts" was founded in part on activities related to B-P's man-hunting-man scouting skills.


    • #3
      This has been discussed at length on another Scouting e-mail list.

      The National Health and Safety group does not believe it appropriate to have any game or activity in which Scouts (or any human beings) are real or simulated targets or in which real or simulated harm or injury is done to the Scout (or any human being). This is why laser tag and paintball are prohibited and why all offensive types of martial arts are prohibited.


      • #4
        If you do some searching on the board you will find a couple of old threads that went over this very heavily. I won't go over all those arguments again, but here is the core of it:

        "Pointing any type of firearm (including paintball, dye, or lasers) at any individual is unacceptable. However, law enforcement departments and agencies using firearms in standard officer/agent training may use their training agenda when accompanied with appropriate safety equipment in the Law Enforcement Venturing program."

        Many have determined that laser tag equipment qualifies as a laser firearm. Beyond the obvious contradiction in terms, laser tag equipment in no way resembles a firearm. However, most councils read this part of the Guide to Safe Scouting as prohibiting laser tag. So weather that was the intention when it was written or not, laser tag has affectively been banned. There are even some that think it may be necessary to ban the use of water pistols. Next thing you know any IR device such as a TV remote will be banned because it "shoots" a "beam".

        As for an actual official reason, there is none. BSA does not by any means explain why it does what it does. Even if you get someone from the national council to comment on it, all that most of them can do is give you their personal opinion. So the real reason behind the rule (or the reason why the rule has be interpreted as it has) will most likely remain a matter of speculation.


        • #5
          "As for an actual official reason, there is none. BSA does not by any means explain why it does what it does."

          How can you say that when you printed their reasoning?

          "Pointing any type of firearm (including paintball, dye, or lasers) at any individual is unacceptable."

          That is the official BSA position and their reasonong behind it.


          • #6

            I can say that quite easily and without any reservations. That is an example of WHAT the rule is, not WHY the rule was written that way.


            • #7
              I think you misunderstand Proud Eagle.

              The "What" is the rule that Laser tag is a prohibited activity.

              The "Why" is the BSA has determined that "the pointing any type of firearm (including paintball, dye, or lasers) at any individual is unacceptable". They make one exception, that of law enforcement training.


              • #8
                Bob, I think we aren't really very far apart, we are just applying terms a bit differently.

                Why is pointing a firearm at someone unnacaptable? That is pretty easy to answer. It is unsafe to point a firearm at a person.
                Now the more difficult question is why have they decided that laser tag equipment is an example of a firearm? That is more difficult to answer since a firearm is a very well defined device and that definition does not under any normal circumstance include laser tag equipment. Also, there is no clear danger from pointing a laser tag device at someone.
                Or why have the decided to ban laser tag? There are all sorts of potential reasons why the think laser tag is innapropriate, but they don't bother to tell us what that reason is.


                • #9
                  Proud Eagle, you should have learned by now that Bob White will never go beyond the current BSA writings. They said it and that is good enough. That is with the exception of medical forms and the instructions in G2SS.


                  • #10
                    I guess it was a silly question and it had me all riled up when I read it, that is why I asked. Sorry to stir up the pot. I did read their policy and their reason, and I still say it makes no sense to me. I think it is one of the stupidest rules I have ever heard.

                    Now what happens if you do it anyway? My son's troop did a laser tag overnighter this year (after the rule change). I am going to assume they had not heard of the rule change. I only heard of it this week at a training. How are they getting the word out, and what happens if you do it anyway (innocently or on purpose)?


                    • #11
                      We have had this discussion before but just to recap it is a matter of behavior modeling. It is a function of the BSA to model behavior for scouts that reflect the scout Oath and Law as well as its principles of safety and training in it activities. It is not logical to think that you can teach scouts that you can point weapons at people as well as targets and still maintain the level of safety that the program maintains for its participants.

                      AS far as how this information is spread, there has been information in scouting magazine, it is on line and in print in the Guide to safe scouting. Trained leaders have been instructed to have a copy of the G2SS at ALL activities and to read the appropriate regulation PRIOR to the acvtivity.

                      The leaders of the unit should have read the G2SS before participating in the prohibited activity.

                      As to what can happen.. Violation of the Safety regulations of scouting first and foremeost endangers the health and safety of the particpants. Beyond that you risk the loss of the Liability protection provided for the registered adults and the Charter organization, needlessly exposing yourselves to financial losses resulting from lawsuits. Lastly it engangers the adult leaders' membership in the BSA.

                      (This message has been edited by Bob White)


                      • #12
                        You ask a very good question, Eaglewings. If I were you, I'd be very alert for the SWAT team from Irving TX parachuting into my next meeting

                        Somewhat more seriously, there really is no need to worry. If you inadventently didn't follow the Guide to Safe Scouting, there is no problem. The G2SS provides guidance on what to do particularly to run a safe unit and to ensure insurance coverage for you and continuing coverage for the BSA. You now know about the guide and what it contains. You can follow the rules next time.


                        • #13
                          I'd be concerned about the unspoken messages received by the boys:

                          "It's a stupid rule and we don't have to follow stupid rules."
                          "We won't get caught, so its OK".
                          "Another pack did it, so it must be OK."
                          "We didn't know about the rule, so we're exempt."
                          "Rules are for other people; we're above rules."

                          BSA will not issue a tour permit for a laser tag event. Units that decide to proceed anyway do so at the sole risk of the unit leaders. BSA will not support or defend unit leaders that do not have an approved tour permit. Its more than liability from pointing a laser gun at someone. Its liability for the entire event. Mom/driver crashes her car in transit and sues. Billy Cubscout gets injured in the crash. Or eats a dirty hot dog and gets food poisoning. Or trips in the parking lot and breaks his arm. Or gets into a fight with another Cub and gets a tooth knocked out.

                          If sued by a parent or anyone else, you are on your own.


                          • #14
                            The BSA doesn't always give a reason for the rules it imposes. I think the intention is not to point any weapon at an individual. But it would be nice if the BSA would tell us that!

                            And yeah it could be considered a stupid rule (no laser tag) but we still must follow the rules stupid or not. And our Scouts need to know that! We have the ability to try to change the rules we think are stupid. So we should follow the rule even if it is stupid & work to change it for the future.

                            Ed Mori
                            Troop 1
                            1 Peter 4:10


                            • #15
                              So a group of boys want to play laser TAG, they shouldn't because BSA says it's detrimental to their mental health. Prove it, Didn't you play cops and robbers, cowboys and indians.
                              They'll teach you how to shoot rifles and shotguns, and the Eco people tell you not to shoot animals to put food on the table. I'm surprised that you don't have to wear helmets to push/pull a klondike sledge.
                              Knock it off, boys learn from experiencing their mistakes.
                              Don't climb that tree, we don't have a BSA certified climbing instructor. Who wrote the book on climbing safety? Probably somebody that climbed and learned how. OSHA, insurance companies, and parent lawyers, have stifled a once exciting program. Next we'll be hiking with a rope between us, someone might get lost. We'll teach you CPR but don't use it the victim could die and you could be sued for trying to save them. Mr White loosen up, did you write G2SS or what?
                              If Johnny gets a bruise, it will heal, and he will be more careful next time.