Kids, don’t try building your own reactor at home

No, really, some grownups won’t get it if you do. Even if you are only pretending.

The Australian reports on a couple of German kids whose game of make-believe went a bit too far.

The schoolchildren in the western town of Oelde had built the nuclear reactor mock-up out of a computer casing and taped a “radioactivity warning” they had printed out from the Internet on its side.

“When the boys returned to their ‘nuclear power plant’ from a brief stop at home they were sent away again as the area and a wide radius around it had been cleared and blocked off,” police said in a statement.

The only thing that kept these kids from getting in real trouble was the parents going down to the police station and telling the cops it was a kids’ game of make-believe. I can only imagine the cops’ reaction.

Did the cops in this German town really get fooled by a simple “radioactivity warning” sticker downloaded off the Internet and taped to the side of an old computer case? I remember several contemporaries when I was a teenager pasting radioactivity and biohazard stickers on notebooks and such. Then again, that was the 1990s; this is 2009. Still, it does give credence to “common sense isn’t that common anymore.”

Too hot for Germany?

From the BBC comes this rather chilling story about how Germany may outlaw paintball and laser tag. (A similar story from Spiegel is also avaiable.) The proposed bill comes in response to a school shooting at Albertville School.

Thankfully, lawmakers in the US have had more sense than this. As far as I know, paintball and laser tag are both still legal in all 50 states. As a long-time laser tag player, not only do I think the ban is a bad idea, but I believe that when paintball is outlawed, only outlaws will have paintball.

The lumping of laser tag into the same category is a particularly troublesome one. Most laser tag centers (most notably the corporate-owned Laser Quest chain in the US and Canada) have made ever-so-slight changes to the Player’s Code or equivalents thereof, even going as far as getting rid of “play to survive.” I don’t see how anyone can get the typical laser tag game, which usually has unlimited lives, mixed up with any type of war simulation.

In short, this is an overt move toward a thought-police state, and should be reupdiated as such. If you’re in Germany, please let your legislators know just what a dumb idea this is.