There isn’t much you can do at Oktoberfest when you’re on your own. You can wander round trying to start conversations with strangers and feel like an emotionally-stunted tool. You can spend €20 on half a grilled chicken and a glass of beer – which is never really a litre – and claw at the hot crispy skin with your index finger while trying to look like you’re waiting for a friend.
Or you can have a go at the funfair games, especially the ones that involve shooting. I have shot at plenty of things with air rifles now, including small moving metal rabbits (didn’t hit any of them – little bastards) and little plastic stars (hit quite a few of those). I even shot some heavy metal darts at apples on a card using a brutal medieval crossbow.
Being an emotionally-stunted tool, obviously I found this addictive. By the end of my lonely evening, there were 20 fewer plastic stars in the world, and my aggression had built up. I was overtaken by a patriotic duty to protect my country from the proliferation of plastic stars.
Now, thanks to horrible events in Lörrach, there is a new debate about weapons possession. It is a difficult debate, because on the one side you have a minority who like shooting holes in bits of card, while on the other you have everyone else. The minority think their constitutional right to shoot holes in cardboard is being impinged on, while the majority would prefer it if people didn’t get killed in the street so much.
Here’s the new news: the world can sacrifice shooting as a sport for the sake of few less dead people. People who like it should be persuaded to pursue other avenues of pleasure, like horse riding or having a conversation with a girl. Archery could be allowed. You couldn’t really go on an archery Amoklauf. It would just be embarrassing.
Mind you, some of those little plastic stars can get awfully troublesome.