Scouts-L Mail Archive for December of 1999: Re: help with laser tag
Re: help with laser tag
Wed, 15 Dec 1999 15:41:13 -0600
You wrote and asked about Laser Tag (which is also a current discussion over
at rec.scouting.usa on the Internet's USENET):
>I'm trying to find out if laser tag is ok as a scout activity. I read the
>guss99 and the only thing it says is war game with paint balls. For those
>of you who what to read it its on page 34, 7 bullets down.
Expect that the Guide to Safe Scouting 2000 will also say something about
lasertag and all other "military-oriented wide games." Most Councils are
siding with National's Risk Management Division in saying that "war gaming,
whether with paint balls, balloons or lasers, is not an appropriate activity for
Cub Scouts, Boy/Varsity Scouts or Venturers."
Remember that the BSA is trying hard, Mike, to SEPARATE itself from
"militaristic-type activity and appearance" (no camo, no "war gaming-type wide
games", which Paint Ball and Laser Tag and their variants are considered, no
military rank). Laser Tag, with the guns and the military tactics, lend
themselves to such appearances, especially when played in a Scouting-type
environment (with uniforms or teeshirts identifying members as Cub or Boy
Scouts or as Venturers).
I would stay clear of it no matter what the *current* Guide to Safe Scouting
says, and if your unit STILL wants to do such an activity, to make SURE you
clear it with your Council's Scout Executive (and NOT your District's
Executive or senior professional). Why? Because, as discussed over there,
even if you don't suffer any injury from the usage of the laser (some say
there's a danger; others say that there's no more danger than that of using
your TV's remote control device), that there's a HIGH DEGREE of RISK with
Scouts wearing protective eyewear running headlong into each other (or
"inanimate objects" like trees, branches, or concrete) or falling into
"traps" either man-made or accidently....and when the "media" gets done with
it, it's no longer "Scout loses eye from treelimb" but "Scout loses eye from
Laser Tag event." If your Council Executive or Scout Executive is FULLY and
PERSONALLY aware of your unit's intentions, Mike, he or she can protect the
Council and the good name of Scouting from those stupid media dudes and
dudettes that want to sensationalize something as simple as a broken leg or
eye poke from a "unit activity" and not from "playing laser tag."
Or to discourage you from your unit hosting or participating in such an
event AS BOY SCOUTS. What you guys do on their own is between parents and
guardians and the individual youth involved.
>The big question is laser tag would be considered a war game?
>If it is how come.
Its considered a "wargaming-type wide game" in the sense that it makes the
most of military tactics and techniques -- those which strangely enough, we
in Scouting use to teach (you know, trailing, stalking and tracking. Yes, I
did say "stalking", and those three were Second Class skills when we taught
them until the early 80).
It is also considered a "war game" because of the fact that you are using
war gaming "weapons" (pistols, rifles), even if those weapons do not
dispense a single projectile. Some laser tag games also employ smoke bombs
or grenades which have the effect of "blinding" the "weapons" (and some of
the individuals involved as well). For the record, the military's MILES
gear is also considered a "wargaming weapon" as well as the Army's Weaponeer
which is a laser-tag type weapon which effectively teaches basic rifle
marksmanship without the expense, risk or environmental requirements of lead
bullets. It is fired at a screen from a distance which among other things
measures how accurately the weapon has been fired.
>The cor says it would be ok since there is know injuries and it is safe. I
>disagree because it teaches the scouts the wrong values.
I agree with you, Mike. Those aren't values which SCOUTING should be
teaching. Those are values left taught through Junior ROTC, in *my opinion
I expect the new Safe Guide to Scouting to be released toward the middle of
next year in most Councils, and I'm predicting that it will address "laser
tag" and other militaristic "wide games" as to their appropriateness within
or as a part of Scouting's programming.
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle)
personal inquiries via firstname.lastname@example.org,
blackeagle@SCOUTER.net or email@example.com
professional inquiries via firstname.lastname@example.org
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