Nuestra Familia – an interview with Robo Murray
This man needs little to no introduction. I save him from further embarrassment with lauding him with needlessly bestowing him with unnecessary platitudes and needless praise. He’s stormed Airsoft Fields and MilSim events, dealing Plastic Deth all the whilst encouraging others to go a little farther and be the best they can be on and off the field. I’ve quietly observed the man hand out hearty ‘internet’ slaps of praise on the back to biggest and smallest of players. Complimenting them on kit or blasters, or a cool shot or endeavor and neither too proud to ask for advice should he need. So, I will say he’s probably and quite possibly one of the most cheered players, flying the flag globally for all that we love that is positive about our favorite past time. Readers, I give the stage and microphone to none other than Robo Murray, Canada’s finest son (well for Plastic Deth). Before, we jump in – and whilst we’ll give no further time in the spot light, Airsoft globally has been somewhat rocked by ‘that video’. What our intention is, here today is readdress the balance and talk about the positives and virtues of our community and perhaps give a few less altruistic members something to ponder on …
GM75: Hey, thanks for coming on board to do this, I know how busy you are, and I’ve often wondered how you find the time to sleep (laughs). We’ll step off right out with the big question. That ‘video’ of the player, abusing another player using his blaster to do so, allegedly over an ongoing feud between former team members, resulting in even a team patch being set aflame as stirred controversy and enflamed argument the globe over … What was your reaction to this, and what do feel are the potential long term repercussions are for both community and industry alike?
RM: (Laughs) – I don’t get much sleep. I wear a lot of hats, and have to find the hours to get everything I have on my plate done. But it’s the life I lead, so I’m cool with it.
On to the serious business, however.
What was my reaction? That’s easy… I think it’s appalling, and I think it’s cowardly. The truth of the matter is this: I don’t care why it was done, or who was talking “smack” – the simple act of having to “revenge shoot” anyone, during a briefing (or any other time, for that matter) – makes you a coward in my world. It makes you a loser. This isn’t just an Airsoft issue – it’s a hint at a larger problem with that individual. How are they going to react when a real world problem pops up in their life; girlfriend dumps them, they lose their job, their parents die, etc. What then? If this ishow they handle some kid talking smack and burning a patch… I’d hate to see how they handle a real-life stress.
But, the thing here is – I can’t put the blame solely on the aggressor; there’s another problem here…and that’s with the “smack talker”. See – when I was a kid …we learned real quick that we couldn’t smack talk. We didn’t have Facebook to hide behind, or Internet forums. We had the playground. I come from a time before Zero Tolerance … where if I talked smack – I learned real quick why I shouldn’t, with a punch to the mouth. I learned that there wasn’t a point to talking smack, because it was just “talk”. I learned how to excel at life to prove a point, not just flap my gums sounding tough. Kids these days though think they’re being smart, tough, and “valuable” by talking on the internet, instead of spending their time actually being valuable in reality.
Both of those kids need to learn some harsh lessons. Whether it’s now, or in the future, life will hand them the textbook to learn from, whether they like it or not. I sound pretty harsh when it comes to this subject – maybe I’m just getting older – but it’s something my peer group and I fundamentally see as a serious problem with our young generations following us.
As for the potential repercussions: that’s simple. Airsoft is already a sport in which the masses don’t understand. And being so close to firearms (another topic the masses generally don’t understand), we’re subject to the same attacks as firearms. Except for one caveat: it’s much easier to do away with Airsoft in legislature, than it is firearms, and as such – in recent times – we’ve seen a lot of negative attention come to this industry. Videos like these, which are appalling to those within the industry – the people who “understand” the industry, are even more appalling to those who do not understand it. It adds fuel to the fire of attacks that try to do away with our sport. So great, kid – you’re a real man, sticking up for your patch…what a badass. You also just became apart of the “ban Airsoft” problem. Thumbs up.
GM75: I’ve encountered, overall an outcry of disgust and anger from the globe over, yet a minority Stateside (not all, a minority) have seen it fit to condone the video, and further yet seen it appropriate to continue the feud by perpetuating the very same behavior online. They, a minority seem to think it’s acceptable, and when challenged have scant regard that this could see the past time, at best regulated even further, at worst banned. The States has only just weathered several moves to threaten the industry, notably California – do people need to take more responsibility and account for their actions, or are we looking at a symptomatic problem with today’s generation having any real moral compass ?
RM: I think the two problems you propose at the end there are one in the same, really. The biggest issue is – and I say this with a heavy heart: The younger generations are growing up in a much different world that generations previous ever had. This isn’t your standard, Grandfather-story “Back in my day”; we’re talking fundamentally different.
We live, now more so than ever, in a digital environment. It’s an environment where people who knew a world before it could separate the two, but unfortunately for a lot of younger kids these days…there’s nothing BUT the digital world. Again – I say that reservedly because I myself am a tech-interested person, and obviously I take part in the digital landscape. The problem with our youth though, is that they, at least the ones in question here, no longer seem to understand a connection between action and consequence. They live in a world of CoD on Xbox Live, or putrid Reddit arguments and threads. They live in a world where they can say, do, and think anything they choose to – no matter how vile and negative – without any form of worry of consequence. And the unfortunate thing for them is this: one day – they’ll suddenly be confronted with the realization that there still is a real world out there; of jobs, relationships, bills, health, etc. And that world is ruthless; far more ruthless than they can ever be on the Internet. That world doesn’t care what theythink, or how they feel – it will just expect them to have a mastery over the coping mechanisms they should be learning now, instead of being little jerks from the anonymity of the web.
What’s that kid who did the shooting going to do when he gets a terrible review from his boss in his corporate job – walk into the break room and punch his boss in the face? That’s called the “unemployment line”, and criminal charges of “assault”. Hey Mr. Badass – hope you’re used to a term called “unemployable fro the rest of your life.”
As for the ones who “support” or “condone” the actions of the parties in the video: that’s just proof in the pudding. There are some seriously damaged humans in our world, and unfortunately – we live in a world no more than ever before where they have the means by which to reach the masses via platforms like YouTube and social media.
So as I alluded to before – yes, I do believe there may be a fundamental moral-compass problem with a fraction of our younger generations. Is it all of them? Of course not…there are still some incredibly talented and well-rounded youths out there, who are only overshadowed by the spoiled, to a degree, because we have mass media to shove the terrible ones in our face all the time.
However – we should still be very concerned.
GM75: You’ve tirelessly campaigned the good fight, encouraging players, regardless of standing, ability, gear or blasters. An ethos, I whole heartedly share that in some shape or form we are all very much part of the sane team. We’ve out each other we’d be pretty lonely on the field so, to grow the sport, build a legacy for future generations is perhaps more so than ever very important – is this perhaps also overlooked, missed by many who are either new to the game or are even long standing stalwarts ?
RM: Well – that’s a pretty philosophical question, at its heart, honestly. And a very complicated one that affects more than just Airsoft. So, with that said – I guess I’ll approach it this way:
This is just the spectrum of the human experience. Not everyone walks a path of some form of righteousness. Not everyone chooses to be a philanthropist, or a volunteer worker, etc. Some people choose to be police officers; some choose to be criminals. It’s just the way things are in an experience of free will. In terms of airsoft – some are going to choose to just play the game and ignore the intricacies; some will choose to bully people on the Internet over kit choices; and some will choose to speak out in support of others and the hobby. Is any path more valid than the other? Who knows – it depends on the observer. Speaking for only myself, it’s just my choice to try to encourage others to be better people in the long run – in whatever regard that is. I realize that whatever platform I’m on is temporary and fleeting – so while I have it, if I can affect some change, so be it. But it doesn’t make me special, just like no one is special for owning a certain piece of gear, or accomplishing a certain MilSim goal…it’s all just airsoft in the end.
Do I think there’s a lack of that kind of action in our hobby/sport? No. I think there are actually a lot of supportive voices out there; I count a lot of those voices as my peers, for which I’m very lucky. Going back to previously discussed issues – the main problem, and it always has been in human society, is that the negative ones in our tribe are always the loudest and most pervasive. Negative emotion generally seems to outweigh positive ones, and seems to carry longer, drowning out the positive voices.
For those willing to go out of their way to support others positively and grow the sport – the only thing they can do is keep stepping forward, despite the crap they may be wading through at the moment. Their hard work matters to someone, even if they don’t realize it.
GM75: I have had a long protracted conversation about that video, with my very good friends, brothers, from fellow Canadian’s The Direwolves. They too, epitomize the very best qualities of honesty and integrity. Whilst they decried the video, and equally where as upset with it contents. As is their right, they felt that removing the video and not furthering it by giving it any further time in the spot light was the way forward. Should we be self censoring, is this a slippery and dangerous road to go down, or should we remain transparent and open as much about the bad things as we are with all the good ?
First is the ability to even censor in the first place. In the case of this video – we can’t. It’s not YouTube’s responsibility to take it down, and no one can force the kid to take it down. I mean, sure – one could claim it breaks YT policy by depicting unwarranted violence, but on some level I don’t think YouTube meant that policy in this exact facet; it’s not gory, nor does it show brutal violence. So it’s a rock and a hard place.
That being said, secondly – we do need to touch on a modern concept that again, reaches far beyond just Airsoft: We live in a media society that glorifies negative actions. From the News to the Internet, brutal and negative acts are always given the limelight which on some level gives the perpetrators the attention they seek by either posting or carrying out their act in the first place.So it calls out: What would happen if we didn’t provide the attention they seek – what if we didn’t all share the video around, making it go “viral”?
Does it stop the act from happening, the one on our doorstep? Nope. It already happened. But the question does become will it be worth it to future individuals to think of posting or even doing these things knowing they will not get the attention-reward that they seek?
I don’t claim to know the answer there…but it’s an interesting question to ponder, that’s for sure.
GM75: Moving forward, new or old, what merits represent the very best of our community. What makes a player really shine and stand out as an exemplary member of our community ?
RM: In terms of gameplay, I’d have to say teamwork and honor are the two most important traits a player can exemplify. At its core, the game is about working with your team to achieve a common goal – whether that is a flag or an objective or a “kill”. The point is – you’re sharing the space with other individuals and combining your efforts. Honor is important because we do not have the luxury of a marking-system in our sport, meaning we are left to self-enforce our own hits. Without the honor of upholding accurate self-hit-calling, the entire game falls down. We’ve all seen that happen, and we all know its effects.
But why are these so important? It transcends the game of Airsoft, honestly. In life – we are nothing without the “team”. Sure, it may appear as if we live in a society that has its superstars…but those only exist on the shoulders of those who have helped them. In our daily travels, honor keeps us on the right path; a path of success and gratitude…not just success. Without it, we lose sight of what makes our successes special.
A win on the Airsoft field, without proper hit calling or respect for the team effort…is no win at all.
GM75: I’ve been part of, and seen incredible acts of altruism from our community. Raising money for charity, supporting players in times of hardship. Speaking out about the past time and collectively defending, to even arranging funerals for players who’ve sadly passed. It’s made people of all walks of life and social standing, come together, get out, engage in a physically active game, sharing our love of Blasters, Cordura and Camouflage – should this be what players focus, embrace and keep alive ?
RM: Of course it should; I’ll always be a supporter of the positive in any activity someone finds that they are passionate about. When we discuss Airsoft as an industry and hobby – we often talk about its growth. It’s comparably a newer industry than something more established like the Paintball industry, and as such – for those that enjoy it – of course we want to see it succeed, grow, and flourish.
The thing is growth never happens on the back of negative actions; it just doesn’t. Taken to the extreme – if everyone in airsoft was negative, then all you’d see in the landscape is groups eventually fracturing into smaller and smaller pieces, until at the worst case – you’d just have individuals. And those individuals would be so soured, there would be no team work, and no hope for the industry.
Remember – this is just a hobby…it’s something we enjoy and partake in our free time. It’s meant to be a release from our weekly or daily stresses of the real world. By definition – it should be fun, not negative. Those who embody the positive aspects are the ones who are truly living the activity at its core.
GM75: To the naysayers, detractors, people who inflame discourse and cause trouble, perhaps with only a passing interest in the hobby without scant regard for its history or future – what do you have to say to them ?
RM: To be honest – I don’t have much to say to them. Frankly, I don’t make time in my life to even give habitually negative people the time of day; I save all of that time for people I care about, who are positive about what they do and spend their time on.
It’s to those people, the positive ones, that I have more to say to, for it’s they who generally get far less attention in life by comparison:
Negative people exist. It’s a fact of life. Realize they exist because these types of people are generally living pretty negative lives without much to be happy about. And you can’t fix that. What you can “fix” or affect, however – is how you choose to act within any environment. You can be the example that is set for someone who doesn’t know better…you can be that positive reflection of what things can be, to a new member of the hobby. You can be a teammate to the hobby, instead of being some who just takes from it – you can give back, and inspire others to do the same.
And funny – if you’re that person in the sport, I wager you’ll find yourself that person in the rest of your life.
Again – nothing needs to be said to those who are habitually negative, for they don’t care anyways, nor can anyone change their ways anyways. Life will show them the error of their ways eventually.
GM75: Okay, back to business, and to lighten the tone, after a very busy 2015 – what have you got planned for 2016 ?
RM: Business as usual, brother haha. I plan to keep putting out apparel, Airsoft videos, and expanding any influence I have. I’ll be of course travelling in both Canada and the United States, attending events and games. I’d actually like to find a way to travel a bit more, even if for shorter trips. We’ll see how it goes. Mostly though, I would just like to maintain the positive circles I have currently: try to help grow the sport, and people’s enjoyment of it.
In terms of events, I’m still planning those out – but I’ll be at a handful of American MilSim games, starting with Copperhead 2 in New Mexico in March.
GM75: You’ve recently returned from this years inaugural Shot Show, it’s safe to say you had a well deserved ‘blast’ – but, I’m keen to find out what either caught your eye or piqued your interest with regards to kit, gear and equipment – Real Steel or Plastic Deth ?
RM: In terms of the firearms world, there was obviously a multitude of “cool stuff”, as the show is primarily based around those releases, and not Airsoft.
Grey Ghost has come out with a Precision Division (Grey Ghost Precision, go figure), which has paired up with Mega Arms to release their own line of ARs and precision rifles.
And man – do they have some hot pieces. TNVC is always a show-stopper. Anyone who’s a fan of night vision, thermals, or any of the accessories in those departments would have loved to see their display.
Lalo Tactical, a company I deal with on the regular, is set to really push the tactical footwear market this year; something I wholeheartedly think is a positive. They’re making some solid strides in both the athletic shoe and tactical boot arenas that I think are pretty progressive and positive.
In terms of Airsoft – there’s also a ton of stuff really hitting the market now and into the near future. Obviously I have to mention a personal favorite of mine: the Agency Arms / RWA training pistol; that is just one sexy sidearm. Popular items at the show were the Odin speed loader, ZShot’s A-PTWs, PTS Syndicate’s Centurion Arms GBBs and .306 GBB rifles, to name a few. And for you SMP users, ASG’s SMP’d Scorpion was a hot piece, along with their Bren rifle.
Lot’s of cool stuff coming down the pipes; too much to fully go into. Just know 2016 is already going to be awesome in terms of toys and goodies, no matter what side of the training line you’re on.
GM75: Now, this has always raised a smile, you often take the time out to pen, often out of the blue a thank you letter or send a patch. This is a fantastic way to mark a players good work, efforts on the field or acts of altruism. It’s a truly humble endeavor of gentlemanly spirit, I no doubt it’s something very important and dear to your heart to do ?
RM: Deeply to my core, man. And I say that sincerely. I’ve delved a lot into philosophy in these answers already, so I’ll keep this answer pretty simple:
I believe that the only thing that can inspire others to be good and to grow into excellent people is to recognize that in some way. Like I mentioned previously – it seems as if the negative individuals of our society get far too much “screen time”, leaving the positive members to largely go unrecognized, or otherwise feel unimportant. And frankly – it should be entirely the opposite, as positive is much more important to our world and our hobby.
I give out those gifts, or write those letters, in hopes that maybe – just maybe – some kid or person will look back one day and say “I am a better person because of that,” or “I see the importance of doing the same.” If that’s how I leave my legacy when this is all over – well, then I’ll have made my little difference in the world. And I can live with that.
Never be afraid to stand up for what you believe, and more importantly – to tell someone what they believe matters, as well.
GM75: Right, it’s only fair we let you go and get that ‘one hour of sleep’ you squeeze in between everything else your involved in – but I’ll leave you with our fan favorite question … … the obligatory last question I always like to ask (kind of a trademark), I’m a fan of 30 Rounds per mag, what’s your thoughts on this – could you see this perhaps bringing something new and fresh to game play if embraced by the masses ?
RM: Overall, I generally say “To each their own.” But – I guess I could comment on some practical applications. As long as someone is using a highly-tuned platform, such as a really high-end custom AEG or a Systema-type PTW…I see the benefits of running “real-cap” or 30-round mags. In those types of setups, the ammo expenditure can be reaching near real-firearms efficiency, so you don’t get any gameplay loss or disadvantage.
Now – that said, if you’re using anything other than those types of systems…you can be setting yourself up for a bit of a disadvantage. With stock AEGs and the like – I generally suggest you keep in mind a 3:1 ratio to that of firearms. With a firearm, within its limits and with proper accuracy…a single bullet works. In airsoft, with a stock weapon, within its limits and with proper accuracy…you can still be looking at 3-4 rounds needed for one kill. So that’s where a mentality of using a midcap (90-120 round) magazine can make some practical sense.
In the end, I still say “To each their own,” but those would be my practical thoughts on the subject.
Robo Murray can be found here:
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