As if the politically correct world isn't ridiculous enough already, now the Boy Scouts equate squirt guns to real firearms.
Do you ever think that political correctness is sometimes so ridiculous that someone must be putting us on? A recent story about the Boy Scouts of America forbidding boys from engaging in squirt gun fights is the latest example of political correctness run amok.
Eagle Scout and BSA leader Bryan Wendell posted on Bryan on Scouting: A Blog for the BSA's Adult Leaders an entry that has garnered a good deal of critical backlash and ridicule of the BSA.
Wendell wrote that with the approaching summer is "a good time to remind you that BSA policies prohibit pointing simulated firearms at people. Yes, that includes water guns."
You might be tempted to write this off as either a humorous parody of extreme political correctness or even just a curious opinion of one individual. But Wendell is correct and accurate, the BSA does indeed prohibit squirting water from plastic toy water guns at other people.
He cites the official "2015 Boy Scouts of America National Shooting Sports Manual" to back up his declaration that squirt guns are to be treated the same as real semi-auto handguns or rifles.
Wendell points to page 99 in the manual, where it reads: "Water guns and rubber band guns must only be used to shoot at targets, and eye protection must be worn."
This begs the question of what boy, what human being, would buy a squirt gun with the sole intention of shooting at a stationary target? How exactly would that work, anyway? Are boys to use paper bullseye-type targets? Wouldn't one squirt from a water gun pretty well render the rest of the target useless? How does one judge where precisely the target was hit if half the target is soaked from the first shot?
Also, if target shooting is the only allowable use for a squirt gun, why must eye protection be worn? Would an accidental misfire (is it even possible to have an accidental misfire with a squirt gun) result in...a wet shoe? Water on your shirt? Wetting the pant leg of the Scout next to you?
We might envision a troop of Boy Scouts standing with disciplined precision on a shooting line, aiming at already water soaked targets, and arguing whether the inside edge of a four-inch diameter splash is on the first, second or third ring. Disagreement ensues and tempers flair. Suddenly we've got an incident of carelessness, and...Jimmy purposely shoots Billy in a spot that makes it look like Billy wet his pants.
Boys and squirt guns. It's a recipe for anarchy, I tell you!
But the rules in the Scout manual go even further.
Page 61 of the "Guide to Safe Scouting" reads; "Pointing any type of firearm or simulated firearm at any individual is unauthorized. Scout units may plan or participate in paintball, laser tag or similar events where participants shoot at targets that are neither living nor human representations."
So even pointing a simulated (read "imaginary") gun at a simulated (read "imaginary") human figure is forbidden? Does this mean that making a gun shape with the fingers of your hand (a "simulated firearm") while pointing your index finger at Yosemite Sam (a "human representation") on a television cartoon show constitutes an unauthorized breach of conduct? Better not say "pew! pew!" when you point that finger gun!
I am hesitant to recount this final excerpt Wendell offers from the BSA Shooting Sports Manual. It almost seems like piling on.
But here it is: Page 100 of the manual adds, "For water balloons, use small, biodegradable balloons, and fill them no larger than a ping pong ball."
That's right, water balloons...no larger than the size of a ping pong ball. If you needed a final indicator that civilization as we know it is at the doorstep of complete absurdity, look no further.
Wendell summarizes the BSA position by anticipating the inevitable blowback:
"Why the rule? A Scouter once told me this explanation I liked quite a bit: 'A Scout is kind. What part of pointing a firearm [simulated or otherwise] at someone is kind?'"
I'd answer that by declaring that yes, playing and having fun with your friends in one of the long-standing summertime games that kids of all ages have long enjoyed is indeed kind. Water gun "fights" promote all sorts of positive Scout-worthy attributes: team building, competition, camaraderie, physical activity, and fun in the great outdoors.
What could be more "kind" than friends allowing one another the opportunity to laugh and "shoot" each other with cold water on a hot summer day?
It's hard to figure out what the BSA organization is thinking here. Do they think boys squirting water at one another from plastic toy guns may result in violent tendencies when they become adults? Do they see squirt guns as a gateway toy to future mass murder shooters?
The BSA has responded to the overwhelming criticism and ridicule they've received by saying that this water gun prohibition is not a new rule, but has been around for a few years. My response would be, "So what? It's still a silly policy."