With summer on the horizon, members of the Boy Scouts of America were reminded not to engage in water gun fights. The organization’s leaders said the mere fact of pointing a “firearm” isn’t kind and hardly epitomizes the values of a scout.
Bryan Wendell, Eagle Scout and senior editor of Boy’s Life, Scouting and Eagles’ Call magazines, on his official Scouting blog, reminded members that the American scouting movement only allows water toy guns during target practice. And even with that, “eye protection must be worn.” He referred to the toy water gun as a “firearm,” thus using and pointing it at any individual is unauthorized.
Wendell’s reminders immediately earned the ire of the media, but Deron Smith, BSA’s director of communications, told HuffPost the rule was not a new guideline or regulation. He clarified youth members may use water guns and rubber band guns while shooting at targets. But never towards each other, Smith stressed.
The reminder stated scout members may opt to engage instead in paintball, laser tag or similar events where the targets “are neither living nor human representations.”
As of this writing, the blog has gained 331 comments, most of which aren’t kind.
“This makes BSA look ridiculous and has little if any impact on safety,” Gary Holeiwnski wrote.
“Sometimes I just have to laugh out loud at how idiotic some things in our society have become. We can’t squirt each other with water guns because it is a ‘simulated’ gun. I can’t believe BSA is so worried about the PC police that it has a policy like this,” Gary_USMC wrote.
“So does running under a sprinkler simulate artillery fire? I suppose a slip and slide invokes trench warfare. Way overboard on the rules here. Taking the fun out of the game,” Pete said.
As if on hindsight, Wendell knew the reminder will earn nasty remarks, he directed members and kibitzers to page 61 of the Guide to Safe Scouting.