Legal Issues

Paintball Panic

Midland, Texas – A teenager entered a church building with a paintball gun to show off his new toy to his friends. A concerned neighbor saw the youth member entering the building and panicked, thinking it was a hostage situation in progress. The neighbor told police that a man with an assault rifle went into the church. She said, “We were thinking the worst. My mom started freaking out. She was crying. She was scared. She didn’t know what was going on. She didn’t want anyone to come and hurt us and there were a bunch of us.”

Police instructed those who lived next to the church to evacuate their homes and those nearby to stay inside and lock their doors. At least two dozen police cars surrounded the streets around the church, blocking people from coming close. Police erected a barricade, all the streets coming toward the church were blocked, and police were stacking up behind a nearby storage building in case they had to take the suspect down by force.

While the police acted accordingly with the information they were given, obviously it wasn’t necessary, since the teen only had a paintball gun that he wanted to show to some buddies. As a society, are we so far removed from reality that a kid can’t carry a paint gun without someone thinking it’s the start of a killing rampage? Obviously, this seems to be the case. I was finishing high school when the tragedy at Columbine took place, and I remember things started changing very quickly. The left looked at gun enthusiasts with a new level of contempt, as if they were vicariously the cause of a national tragedy.

We seem to be gravitating toward becoming scared and frightened as a people. The fact that someone can cause a panic just by seeing something that resembles a gun is reminiscent of the general feeling of uncertainty that the United States is trying to deal with. A lack of education in the public may be to blame for these types of situations. Gun sales are at record highs due to the upcoming election, wobbly economy, and general social unrest. However, a large portion of the population remains completely ignorant when it comes to even basic gun knowledge. The attitude that guns are “evil” and “scary” permeates all levels of society and it may be getting worse. My family raised me to respect and use guns for what they are, tools. Like a chainsaw or hammer, a gun is a useful tool, as long as the operator uses it properly. A vehicle is just as dangerous as a firearm when someone has it in his or her mind to take another life.

At the very least, those who don’t like guns should probably educate themselves about them, since they seem to be surrounded by people who own them. In the United States, there are about 89 guns for every 100 people, which means people who want to pretend that guns don’t exist, are fighting an uphill battle. A rise in public awareness may prevent unnecessary panic when kids decide to show off their new toys.

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Comments (15)

  1. I used to organise an Airsoft group, and it was shocking how hard it was to get the kids to understand that their “toy” needed to be treated with the same respect as any firearm. We played at a paintball field, but nonetheless we’d constantly have to chastise the kids who’d walk up from the road with a replica M4 or AK47 slung over the shoulder, and just throw it in their back seat to drive to and from the field.

  2. *grumbles* If we can’t stop calling them “Assault Rifles” ourselves, how do we ever expect the anti’s to stop calling them that? “Modern Sporting Rifle” folks. Assault rifles are selective fire, and if we’re reading this blog we should all know that by now.

  3. Just because it does not state the marker(paint ball gun) was in a bag/case does not mean anything. Most midlevel and up markers come with a gunbag for storge.The Boy obiosly very prod of it would most likely be takeing very good care of it, AKA keeping it in the bag/case, cleaning it ect. One thing of Important note about Most the the newer paitball markers is they do not use the little 1/2 oz CO2 catriges most people think about. Most are now 9 Oz or bigger.(more air to play longer) this usually takes up the entire butt of the marker or are in a holster on the players back/waist, they are roughtly the size/shape of a small fire extinguisher.With this being the case why didnt the caller say they had a bomb? guns are worst than a pipe bomb?

  4. This is why we need more education about guns. If our government spent more time educating rather than trying to make the gun laws so strict people wouldn’t make, “what I think was a honest mistake”. She was right to call the police no matter what issue anyone has with the story. She had no idea it was a paintball gun probably because she been programed that guns are dangerous and not the person carrying the gun. Therefore she had no idea what she saw, and could not properly identify what he had. I am not saying that it should be an elective in school but the government and media have made guns so taboo that the normal average Joe or mother of 4 children have no clue. If our government wasn’t so busy trying to disarm its citizens so they feel safer from us, people would know more about firearms and firearm safety. If there were more heroic messages in the media maybe people would be more educated when it comes to firearms and the second amendment.

  5. The kid wasn’t properly educated on the use of a gun bag. If it had been in a case this situation could have been avoided. And where were his parents, take some responsibility for your kids actions please.

  6. I used to be a police dispatcher in Texas …. I knew it was getting out of hand when (1) people started calling the police because they saw kids walking to the park WITHOUT AN ADULT (10 & 12 year olds), and when parents started calling us because their 8-year-old didn’t want to go to school ……..

  7. Don’t they makes cases for those things? While I agree with the tenor of the commentary here, I think perhaps a greater lesson is to have it in some sort of case/sleeve to obscure the shape when making some sort of transport. Ignorance is bliss. Most older folks I know could identify a tactical firearm from across the street (depending upon how carried) but the idea of a “CO2 propelled paint marking gun” is the last thing that will pop to mind in a moment of stress and cognitive dissonance while observing such a thing Unless it is the real thing and tactical deployment is a present consideration, I think brandishing a look-alike such as that in a common place is a good teaching opportunity (as where that young man is concerned..) A mindset for subterfuge is a good lesson to impress upon a young man given our current oppressive political climate.

  8. “honest mistazke ” is an oxymoron! no such thing! A mistake transpires when someone chooses to act upon their ignorance…be stupid! The witness became a witless person with a phone. Rather than call the church to check on the staff she instead did the stupid thing of panicing and let it drive her decision to call “911” Safety first! Gather your loved ones around you yes! Then be concerned for your neighbors,e.g., call them on the phone,then in numbers for strength visit their home. Only when their is no response call the emergency responders. Never ever Panic! panic kills more people than saves lives! Save Lives!! If saving a life is not your priority for life don’t live near me or in my community…you are a part of the problem not the solution!

  9. I personally think the neighbor did right. We don’t know how far away they were, the age of the neighbor, or other facts. Look how many church shooting there have been over the last few years. Look at the number of shootings there have been. Now I’m a card carrying, God fearing, red blooded American, and I totally support 2A. But I think I would like to have erred on the side of safety. Maybe this was an elderly person with poor eye sight. Not their fault as we’ll all be there sometime.

    How many times have police officers shot or almost shot someone with a toy gun? It’s a split second decision. I would back and support the neighbor that called.

  10. Aw Heck, it’s only a kid with a tactical paintball rifle, nothing to worry about, carry on….. Imagine if this was said and it was not the case. I would rather 15 officers walk one out than carry everyone out.

  11. Actually, I play paintball regularly-and there are a few out there that with the hopper removed, look quite realistic. That picture is accurate for maybe half of the paintball players I know.
    Chances are he went in with a woodsball setup like a BT Delta or a Tippmann X7. That I could see causing an alarming picture to the uninitiated.

  12. Honest mistake…..this blog could have a whole different message if some ass did go into that Church with a real assault weapon and Nobody Did Anything! No harm no foul….maybe some could Educate instead of belittle and have more of an Educated following instead of those that want to take Our RIGHTS away….we’ll get further as a “cause” with those that arent as knowledgeable…just sayin’ ….

  13. “We were thinking the worst. My mom started freaking out. She was crying. She was scared. She didn’t know what was going on. She didn’t want anyone to come and hurt us and there were a bunch of us.”

    Well, at least we know who could not take care of themselves…

  14. How about they start charging the people that call with these bogus incidents with inciting panic. Same with the ‘man with a gun’ calls!

  15. You know the place we should be in the American society is when some perp is trying to hold up a carryout, that the other customers will suddenly be drawing down on the perp. We don’t really need the police, except to take the perp away.

    Read “Dial 911 and Die”.


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