BB Guns. They’re a popular toy and a serious ‘sport’ here in Hong Kong and one that, despite not being REAL guns freak me out.
Coming from a nation where owning a gun is incredibly rare unless you are a farmer or hunter the whole idea of guns puts me a little on edge, especially in the big city. You can imagine the gut churning reaction I had when Bethany got invited to a BB gun birthday party…
I could have turned around and said no, but Bethany and my husband were keen to see what it was all about and prepared for the reality of getting hurt or bruised from BB pellets. My heart in my mouth as I tried to keep over-protective mum mode at bay we headed to the dark side and into the bowels of Kowloon to a low-rise industrial building. Hidden inside the building was a whole floor set up for BB gun commando combat hired out that afternoon for the exclusive use of the birthday party we were attending.
There were rooms, alleyways, brick walls to hide behind along with other objects such as old tires and even bullet ridden computer screens to shield people or use as a strategic spot to snipe out foes. We were given a walk-through of the arena the kids would be shooting in so everyone was on even ground once the game was at play.
Kids were divided into two teams for combat and dressed from head to toe in protective gear. Bethany looked like a pink Darth Vader with her face guard on. Without gloves, full length clothes and the face guard the staff wouldn’t let anyone near the entrances to the battle arena. I was impressed and set at ease (somewhat) by the professionalism of the staff and the seriousness with which they managed the setup. I suppose when you’re dealing with weapons you have to be a lot more strict and aware of the situation and these guys definitely were that.
After the first round of shooting in which I sat on the edge of my seat worried about my little girl, Bethany took it all in her stride as she learned how to control her gun properly. For kids under 10 they are only allowed to use single shot modes to lessen the risk of being hurt. Over 10 there is a semi-automatic mode which can be used.
As the second round of combat took place Bethany and her posse started to come into their own. They set up strategies to wipe out as many opponents as possible, scouring the arena in strategic groups of 3 to cover each others backs. Their tactic worked as Bethany came away having not been shot in that and several subsequent rounds. Cameras set up all over the course gave us a birds eye view of exactly what was taking place. As parents we were amazed that 8 and 9 year olds could be so tactical and work effectively in small groups.
Several kids had their fun end in tears as a wayward BB pellet hit them in a way that made them leave the game with a bruise or two, the fun gone. My fear of Bethany being hit turned to a different fear – one of her enjoying handling the gun too much as she would come out from each game with a grin from ear to ear.
Once the kids had several rounds of fun the adults got to have a turn too and bring out the big guns.
Titus delighted in heading around the arena taking out everyone in his sight… literally… as we quickly realised he had experience with a gun from his younger years. It took several rounds for someone to finally take him down in a stand off gun battle. We all stood by watching the drama unfold and laughing about the stealthiness of our men-folk.
The day achieved what it had set out to. Bethany attended one of her friends parties and got to experience first hand the reality of BB guns while Titus got the chance to go all Rambo on people …
It did leave me conflicted. As much as I loved seeing my family have fun, I really don’t like the idea of guns in the home. Seeing the fun these kids were having I can understand why some children in the US would take to their parents gun cabinet to give the real thing a whirl, probably not understanding the implications.
Conflicted as I was on letting my children attend a shooting party, I know this experience isn’t going to turn my daughter into a gun-toating maniac and that the environment was very controlled, which I truly am appreciative for. Of course the less she is exposed to weapons the happier I am but every one of these experiences will hopefully teach her a lesson to take forward in life. For this reason I have no regrets about our decision to attend.