Editor, The Beacon:
I was appalled to see the half-page story in The Beacon (Aug. 31-Sept. 6, 2023) “County panel endorses recreational battleground.” The article amounted to an endorsement of a “mock combat” site consisting of “five battle zones,” being proposed by a private company called XPLEX Paintball LLC.
The article describes the proposed site as “a place for the young and the young-at-heart to wage colorful and nonlethal war.” The article was accompanied by a quarter-of-a-page illustration of three figures dressed in black, wearing face masks and hoods aiming what look like guns.
War is not play, nor should it be construed as recreation in any form. I have seen war up close, and its brutality is shocking. War alters the souls of the perpetrators and victims alike. That is why combat veterans are killing themselves every 20 minutes in this country. Another gruesome statistic: Gun violence is now the leading cause of death of children in America.
Have we become so inured to violence that we endorse mock killing fields as child’s play? There are plenty of healthy, non-warlike, fun activities for children that encourage cooperation and teamwork, not using each other for target practice.
This is not a done deal. The County Council will have the final decision since the owners have requested a “special exception” due to the proximity of natural wetlands and a Duke Energy easement that runs through the property.
I hope The Beacon will let us know when this proposal is due to appear before the council so other opinions may be heard that were not expressed in The Beacon’s article.