When you here about paintball in the news, it's always a story of someone losing an eye or committing a crime. Is this what paintball is about? Definitely not! Lets first start off by saying, that accusing the sport of paintball, for criminals vandalizing property with paintball markers (They are actually classified as markers, not guns, because they mark people, like in a game of tag), is like blaming the sport of baseball, for people that fight or injure people with bats. It's like accusing football for encouraging people to fight. Of course though, football is never blamed for that.
Some people also would like to say that paintball is too dangerous, and people get injured way too often because it's unsafe to play. The fact is, those people couldn't be more wrong. Paintball requires a mask to be worn on all public fields. Neck protectors and vests are also optional if you feel like it.
Most people would probably be surprised to learn that players and referees take extra care to make sure that all the players are safe in a game. National averages even show that paintball has a lower injury rate than bowling and golf! So how did those kids in the news loose an eye? Simple, they didn't wear the right protection and were probably playing on their own field, without refs and proper marker testing. Playing paintball without masks is the equivalent of playing tackle football with pads and helmets, which means someone could get hurt. Is football ever criticized for severe injuries? Almost never. So why should paintball be any different? So, before you decide to criticize paintball, first go to you local field (here in Utah, you can go to Paintball Planet or Army Navy Surplus) and try a game. Then create your opinion.
Most people who go actually find it very fun. It gets your adrenaline pumping and has a frantic (but fun) feel to it. It also has some value. Playing the game a lot develops excellent hand-eye-coordination, teaches teamwork, trust, and careful planning.
Some people will still criticize it, and say that paintball is not a sport. If it isn't a sport, then how come it is played in over 20 countries, and holds many tournaments including a World Cup? If you want to find out more about paintball, you can find many sites on the Net, ask a local ref (or player), or pick up a magazine like Action Pursuit Games.
In conclusion, please judge paintball carefully and play a game or two; you might have fun.