1. My own view of paintball has been this: it's a militaristic rich kids sport that fosters a social acceptance of war in children. It does this by glorifying the physicality and the adrenaline rush, the strategy and the comraderie that soldiers must engage if they want to survive. This is my position, personally informed by the support of America's foreign policy and a fascination with killing machines in general, exhibite by my economically priviledged, paintballing classmates during highschool. Also I have played the sport, once, and succeeded in grasping some of Taylor's well-spoken examples from that experience. Ross Taylor's essay did little in moving my understanding over to his position, however. The largest addition to knowledge that I took away was new appreciation for why people are attracted to the game. "Paintball is a fun, athletic, mentally challenging recreational activity that builds teamwork and releases tension," says Taylor. So are a lot of other sports that do not precisely glorify war. Taylor offers no rebuttal to this. The points and evidence of what they enjoy about paintball were relatively strong, especially the around it being mentally challenging and building teamwork. However, the teamwork building of Fortune 500 companies who bond over paintball is a joke in that it buries his poorly thought out attempt to wrestle with the main controversy nagging the sport. Fortune 500 companies are an exemplary part of the military industrial complex that paintball trains us to live for. For Fortune 500 employees, paintball reinforces the twisted Social Darwinism that our economy is paritally based on.
2. Taylor's appeals to ethos are often strong but not entirely consistent. The strength of their tone and depth of experience lend credibility. He holds fun, competition, physical fitness, collaboration and mental challenge as values, all of which are easy for Americans to relate to. He also seeks to address certain criticisms, the two which he claims that opponents of their position commonly cite. These are the possible dangers and violence of the sport. For the safety issue,Taylor gives strong examples of why paint ball can be very safe. For example, reported eye injuries are very rare, and most people who are hurt this way were not wearing the appropriate eye protection. However, they stop thinking straight when it comes time to thoughtfully reflect on the violence issue. That paragraph is a jumbled mess, and it's the most important paragraph for defending the pro-paintball position. Taylor does not mention how paintball is used as a tactical exercise in the American military, which clearly indicates that it is used to promote violence. If I ever bear offspring, I would strongly object to them marrying anyone who doesn't understand the nature of violence. It should be obvious that forms of play which mimic mortal combat are instilling violence as a value in children. This lack of clarity really disrupts the ethos of Ross Taylor.
3. Pathos, the appeal to reader sympathy, is very effective in this piece. Taylor "goes there" with drive-by paintball shootings, which are probably sensationalized television news stories. He calls such individuals rare, bad apples. During my reading of Taylors description of the physicality of their sport, I found myself getting pumped up. The chest beating and "splendor and glory" Taylor feels is contageous.
4. The Logos of the argument (the appeal to reason with evidence)is mostly solid in this piece. Taylor clearly demonstrates that paintball can have the beneficial, positive characteristics of other common team sports, like soccer, ultimate frisbee, and pickup baseball. The problems grows from the critical lack of support for how paintball doesn't usually reward violence. One result of fragging somebody is "a nice dark bruise" (my emphasis). Purposefully damaging another organism is usually, rightly considered violent behavior. I realize the players agree to this, but a lot of humans and non-human organisms living in a war zone don't have the choice to opt out of their location, and this sport encourages war more than probably any other that's commonly played in this country.
5. Ross has validated half of their argument- paintball is a sport, sharing the essential, beneficial characteristics of other American sports. Paintball is not much more dangerous than any other contact sport that result in bruises. However, the rhetoric comes apart when Taylor defends paintball as aloof and separate from other violent human expressions.