Airsoft – A Safe Way to Channel Anger or a Rabbit Hole that Leads to a Violent Lifestyle?

October 16, 2021

Airsoft is a team sport in which players use guns that shoot out little plastic pellets to shoot the opposing side and win against the other team. There are various ways to play airsoft but the most commonly played game mode is a team deathmatch. There’s also speed soft, capture the flag, etc. Although the guns aren’t real and cannot shoot real bullets, they look deceptively genuine and some people question if airsoft can make people more prone to violence or if it’s just an intense type of sport in which individuals use fake guns to shoot each other with but can also bring people together.

In January of 2015, Nathan Boss, then 16 and now 22, reached out to Jacqueline Helfgott, the chair of Seattle University Criminal Justice Commission and expert in violence risk assessment, to get insight on the topic when he first entered the world of American gun culture through airsoft. Helfgott said airsoft doesn’t make regular non-violent prone people to become violent but for people who are violent prone, it could convince them to commit violent acts in the future. There are other factors that play into it like social upbringings, biological predispositions, and individual’s thought patterns.

Although airsoft at the surface just seems like a bunch of people who want to play real-life “Call of Duty”, it’s a huge community where team building and respect is a huge aspect of airsoft. Individuals have to be able to communicate with one another and respect not only their own teammates but also the opposing team whether they’ve won or lost or have gotten out. 

There is also a lot of kindness intertwined in the airsoft community. Most players are willing to give newer players tips, gear, and take them under their wing so the new player can get used to the game and be welcomed into the group. Older players also tend to let new players know what to buy and what not to buy so the new player doesn’t waste their money and can get the best gear or guns in their price range.

Most people who play airsoft don’t become violent but learn teamwork, respect, kindness, and find a warm and welcoming community. There are exceptions, but for the majority of players, violence doesn’t spark because of airsoft.

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