Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Nerf and "Assault-Style Guns"

EDITOR'S NOTE: You should only hear or read "nerf blaster" or "foam blaster" from Click Click BAMF venues in most cases. Nerf and competitors don't make guns. It's true, you can't really get around grouping these into the "toy guns" category, but as children grow older parents and communities can educated them on the differences. Banning "assault-style" toys will not solve the problems our society faces.

Warriors, you may have already seen the news circling around about this letter that a New York consumer watchdog group, Empire State Consumer Project, Inc., sent to Hasbro at the beginning of the month. The authors ask the Hasbro board of directors to "remove assault-style toy weapons from [their] product offering."

You can see the entire letter for yourself at the end of this article. Within the first paragraph of the letter, the two authors call the products appearing in a tv spot "extreme Nerf machine guns" and later deem them "emblems of mass destruction". I am impressed that these folks have undercut their own credibility so quickly. It usually takes these kinds of groups at least a couple of paragraphs to stretch their hyperbole to insane levels. The letter cites blasters from a recent Christmas commercial, none of which are automatic or represent any weapons of mass destruction.
As several others in the community have also said, I thought it was a The Onion article or similar when I first saw some of the coverage on this. There are people with a bone to pick on either side of the debate here and there are varying levels of coverage. I encourage you to read the letter for yourself, because it's better to be informed before you form an opinion (see below).

Speaking of a bone to pick, I have my own. I will say that I appreciate some groups who take issue with some of the styles Nerf has picked for their blasters. Don't get me wrong, I love me some nerf and other blasters. However, somewhere along the way, some of these blaster got a lot closer to the real thing.

Some of the Fortnite blasters have taken things over the edge. You can do you best to tell me how they are based off of a game, but several of the current Nerf Fortnite blaster get too close to the real thing for kids. We've lost a degree of separation. Is it earth-shattering? No! Am I all anti-Hasbro over it? No! But I do think it could get them into trouble down the road. Also, I feel that they have eroded a bit of the argument against the anti-gun activists. Not these anti-gun activists, mind you. However, there are people with reasoned arguments out there you could have a real conversation with.

Regardless, we aren't bothered enough to stop covering blasters or the fun we have with them. So next time someone says, "it's blaster not gun", remember why we keep some separation. This is why we don't paint blasters black and it's why many people don't like going full MILSIM in the community.

Just my two cents...

They'll likely never read this, but I want to reply and I want to focus on one question these two raise in their letter:

"How does promoting play with huge automatic weapons create joy, creativity and connection around the world, and across generations, and make the world a better place for children?"

Answers:

  1. There are no automatic weapons in the spot you refer to in your letter. It's hard to take you seriously when you cite evidence inaccurately.
  2. If we fix your errors and reframe the question to begin "How does promoting play with Nerf blasters ...", now we can get somewhere. The first answer is simple. Ask the question without the Nerf blasters part. Now answer it. There is your answer.
  3. Please feel free to peruse the many offerings of nerf groups, arenas, friendly neighborhood games and creative content available for kids of all ages across the fine invention called the internet. The evidence for creativity and connection, intergenerational play and better communities is evident.  



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