Social Darwinism refers to the theory that stupid will weed themselves out and the smart will progress to the next generation. This idea naturally comes to mind when met with the new cultural phenomenon of axe-throwing bars.
For those unfamiliar with axe-throwing bars, they are, as the name suggests, bars in which patrons can drink and throw axes for fun. The first axe-throwing bar opened in Toronto in 2011. Since then, these bars have expanded into the United States to places like Detroit, Denver, New York and Lincoln in less than a decade. This trend of axe-bar expansion is concerning because of the many potential negative consequences associated with it.
The most obvious reason axe-throwing bars shouldn’t be popping up left and right is the danger that comes with combining lethal weapons and alcohol.
It isn’t wise to give people who have ingested alcohol a weapon that could kill somebody, even if they are not drunk. Some may think this is nothing more than alarmist speculation. While it appears no known fatalities or serious injuries have occured at an axe-throwing bar, dangerous situations have already occured in the U.S. as a result of them.
In Michigan last September, investigators found concerning videos posted on a bar’s social media page of patrons throwing axes at bottles of spirits as well as another video of a man throwing axes while barefoot on a tightrope. One may as well tell the bartender they’d like one drink now and another set aside for when they return from the hospital.
While most axe-throwing bars aren’t as poorly regulated as the one in Michigan, this example nonetheless portrays the possible dangers of mixing alcohol and axe throwing. Considering how recent the expansion of these bars has been throughout the U.S., it is not unreasonable to assume that this bar is not the only one practicing its use of weapons irresponsibly. It may only be a matter of time before more bars are shown to be lax in ensuring customer safety.
One consequence that isn’t obvious at first glance is the implicit message such a bar sends its patrons: that it is okay to participate in potentially dangerous activities while under the influence of alcohol. While these bars have thus far maintained a good track record of having few injuries, their implications are nevertheless detrimental to their patrons, even if none have yet to be hurt. Cities need to have honest conversations about bars that encourage dangerous and reckless behaviors and not establish them just for the sake of providing customers with a quick thrill.
In addition to the obvious dangers these bars offer, another point to take into consideration is that these bars are most likely just part of an overarching national fad. As such, they lack the longevity necessary for creating a booming nightlife rather than a collection of foreclosed buildings.
As an example, Lincoln’s two axe-throwing bars, Tomahawks and Craft Axe Throwing, are both recent additions to the city’s nightlife. While both bars will likely be wildly popular among Lincoln residents, like all fads, they will probably lose their appeal once the novelty wears off. This is concerning because the bars may not be around in 10 to 20 years time.
By approving the opening of axe-throwing bars, cities like Lincoln aren’t planning for the future or doing what's best for themselves. Instead, cities are simply reacting to present-day trends and establishing non-permanence businesses that will not serve them in the long-term. Rather, cities should approve establishments that will become interwoven into the cultural fabric of the area. By building businesses based on fads, cities set up a future of unrealized potential and inevitable business closures instead of one teeming with opportunity and growth.
Some may say the problems associated with axe-throwing bars are overblown, and they are nothing more than a novel way to have fun. Although these bars might be an exciting activity, one must consider the consequences associated with such a bar. If these consequences aren’t taken seriously, then the community could be setting itself up for a bad deal with effects it wouldn’t want to live with.
While axe-throwing bars may seem appealing to some at the surface-level, a more in-depth analysis reveals they are far from harmless.
Instead of creating disasters waiting to happen, entrepreneurs should create establishments where people can have fun and enjoy themselves without the imminent threats associated with this reckless new fad.
Jack Borden is a senior finance major. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via @DNopinion.