I'm about to talk about something that fortunately hasn't become a crisis yet.
I'm talking about cosplayers whose characters are archers.
Green Arrow, Katniss, Merida, Hawkeye, them sorts.
I did not witness this personally at Dragoncon this year, but I was told of it, and I'm starting to notice it in pictures. In onesies and twosies, and no I don't have examples and I'm hoping that's indicative of the problem really being that small.
That said, I know the fun of cosplay that involves getting stopped and posing for pictures. Which is perfectly fine (as long as you're not blocking traffic for more than 90 seconds or so, and even that's pushing it).
What's not cool is pointing weapons into the crowd while posing.
And even then, I can kinda, sorta, maybe understand waving the orange-tipped airsofts about, to a degree.
But there's that, and then there's posing with a bow.
With an arrow nocked.
At full draw.
What in the WILLIAM TELL FUCK ARE YOU PEOPLE THINKING!?!?!
I don't care how light the draw is.
I don't care if the arrow is blunt.
Unless the arrow has a fucking boxing glove on the end and the bow is strung with slack yarn, someone posing like that has their arms full of what physicists call potential energy.
And all it takes is for one photobomber to bump into someone posing this way for them to lose their grip and turn potential energy into kinetic energy.
Sending a foot-and-a-half-long, pencil thin projectile into flight.
Into a crowd of dozens.
At eye level.
Do I really need to explain why this is a bad thing?
I really want this to fucking stop. Right now. BEFORE someone gets hurt.
I'm not advocating that con weapon policies start outlawing arrows or requiring bows be unstrung or anything like that. I'm cool with bows.
I'm cool with posing with them drawn but without an arrow (and you still get good shots that way.)
I'm even cool seeing them nocked with the bow aimed at the ground (the archer's version of the "alert" carry.)
What's NOT cool are loaded weapons being aimed into a crowd for the sake of a fucking cosplay photo.
So let's cut that shit out.
And stay safe out there, ok?
A few additions need to be made, now that time has passed and con is almost upon us again.
~ First, if you're a cosplayer of an archer character who definitively HASN'T gone and put people at risk like this, you have my respect, my gratitude, and my thanks. By no means am I trying to be a buzzkill or an asshole by claiming that anyone with a bow is a walking hazard. Only those who draw one while showing no arrow awareness. (I don't even know if arrow awareness is a thing, but bows don't have muzzles, so fuck it, close enough for government work)
~ Second, I am not now nor have I ever been a member or representative of the security department at any convention. I'm just a weapons specialist who's somewhat of a stickler for safety. I have absolutely zero say as to the weapons policies of Dragoncon or any other convention.
(FWIW, from the D*con website as of the evening of Monday the 25th:
~"No functioning projectile weapons"
~"Any weapon used in an offensive manner will be confiscated and rule #7 enforced. We expect you to use good judgment" )
~ Third and final, I'm willing to put my money where my safety-conscious mouth is. If you're a Dragoncon photographer who's dead set on doing a shoot with an archer character and absolutely ~must~ have some shots of a drawn bow, I will gladly rent you one of Barbarian Labs' safety mats for use as an arrow backstop.
And I will waive my usual rental fee.
(To do so: hit the email icon and drop me a line by 5 PM EST on Wednesday, August 27th, 2014. Offer not valid at any other convention. First come, first served.)
Look, weaponry is my life's work. I love making art with implements of destruction, and I love having fun with them too.
But having fun and staying safe aren't mutually exclusive, and shouldn't be.
Have fun and stay safe out there, ok?