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.

Kathy Hersh



  1. There seems to be a disconnect here. Battle is often recreational. Paintball has been around for many decades. Video games with attacking and defending groups has been around for a long time. Furthermore, sporting events in general pit two “warring” factions against each other (in case you couldn’t see through the thinly veiled rivalries in football, hockey, soccer, etc.).

    No one is claiming that war is not brutal. And I would love if there were some real reforms when it came to gun accountability. However neither of those items impacts paintball as an option for those who may want to partake in an intense and fun extracurricular activity.

    If it’s not something you would want you or your family to do then so be it. Some families will not allow their children to play baseball or skateboard or swing too high. That is there prerogative. However their fear should not stop other families from enjoying those activities, nor should your fear stop other families from enjoying paintball


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