Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The war on jarts

Do you remember Jarts? Or lawn darts, as they were also called?  Maybe if you're younger the question would not be if you remember them, but rather have you ever heard of them at all?
Jarts was a wonderful game that we had in my childhood that consisted of a set of darts similar to those you throw at a dartboard, except large enough to wrap your hand around at the tail, and heavy enough to lodge themselves in the ground when thrown up into the air. The game was played by placing a ring on the ground and throwing the darts into the air, trying to make them land in the ring the same way you would try to land a horseshoe around a post. 

Large, heavy projectiles with pointy ends, launched into the air by children or drunken adults on a summer afternoon. What could go wrong?

Look, I'm not going to pretend that there were no problems that arose from the occasional game of Jarts. Some people got hurt. But I think it's unfair that the irresponsible actions of a few Jarts players ruined the game for all of us. 

And when I say ruined, I'm not exaggerating. Try to find a set of Jarts at your local Walmart. You will fail. I don't remember exactly when it happened, but at one point the game virtually disappeared. Actually, that's not entirely true. I do know when the game disappeared - in Canada it was 1989, when they were completely banned. This was following a similar ban in 1988 in the US. It seems that in 1987 a little girl in California was killed when a game of darts went awry, and her father saw fit to petition the government until they took action. But really that's small potatoes. One child here or there - these things are bound to happen. What's important is that most Jart owners are responsible, and would never have let that kind of thing occur. 

The truth is, children should never be playing with Jarts. At least, not without proper adult supervision. And adults should never leave Jarts where children can find them. Obviously, this is not a problem anymore, since the government has taken away the Jarts.
It's too bad the founders of this country didn't know about Jarts, since they hadn't been invented at that time. They could have put something in our charter of rights to ensure that the right to play with Jarts was accounted for. However, times change: those kinds of documents omit important details just as often as they include items that might outlive their authors' intent. Like Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3.

I am frustrated by this, though. I'm disappointed that the Jart industry didn't fight more on behalf of Jart owners. I have to assume the profits available to Jarts manufacturers was just not enough to entice them to take up the fight. Because of this, you can't buy Jarts in stores at all. I believe it's probably still possible to buy Jarts if you go outside the normal channels. In the end, a law-abiding citizen can simply not get his hands on Jarts these days. 

It is a shame. Personally, I only ever used my Jarts to practice my accuracy, although I do know they could be used for self-defence. Not nearly as effective as simply avoiding Jart combat altogether, but sometimes you don't get to make that choice. After all, the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a Jart is a good guy with a Jart. And what's to say the next criminal you encounter isn't carrying a couple? I know they say that owning Jarts is more likely to be dangerous to the thrower himself or those close to him than it is to their intended target - I simply refuse to believe that. I know how well I can throw a Jart!

Maybe I'm just nostalgic. Times change, and I miss the old days. It seemed like a simpler time when we could all throw our Jarts in the air, and we never bothered to worry about where they might land. But I know that things will probably never again be the way they were then; so I will strap on my motorcycle helmet, fasten my seatbelt, and hope that the choices that are being made for me are for the best, even if I can't understand why.