Crisis averted: Boy Scouts ban ... water pistol fights

Via Mashable, I don’t get it. And by “I don’t get it,” I don’t mean that I’m outraged by such a blatant, ridiculous attempt to indoctrinate kids into hating and fearing guns.


I mean I genuinely don’t get it. The policy doesn’t make sense.

The official source for this information: the 2015 Boy Scouts of America National Shooting Sports Manual, available as a PDF right here.

You’ll find the relevant sentence on page 99. It reads: “Water guns and rubber band guns must only be used to shoot at targets, and eye protection must be worn.”

Water balloons, meanwhile, have a size limit: “For water balloons, use small, biodegradable balloons, and fill them no larger than a ping pong ball.” (Page 100)…

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?”

It’s not kind on a hot day to have fun with your friends by squirting each other with cold water? What? By that logic, Scouts should never play baseball since it’s not kind to throw small, dense hand-sized balls as hard as you can towards another person. And let’s not even mention football.

I know what you’re thinking: Obviously this is the Scouts’ way of teaching kids to loath guns to the point where even the thought of using a water pistol makes them shiver. But of course that’s not true. Water pistols aren’t banned, for starters; as noted in the excerpt, you’re allowed to use them to shoot at targets, which … sounds like the least fun thing ever. Imagine being a kid and having your troop leader hand you a super-soaker loaded with a gallon of water, only to be told, “See if you can hit that bullseye pinned to the tree, Jimmy.” I’d quit on principle. So no, they don’t mind kids handling fake guns. More to the point, as all you former Scouts know from experience, they don’t mind kids handling real guns either. Click and scroll down here to page two for a list of the many, many weapons Boy Scouts are permitted to handle, from BB guns to shotguns to .22 rifles. Knowing your way around a hunting weapon is part of Scouting. So is, just to take a random example, building fires. They’re willing to take a chance that a kid might burn down a forest, but lift the muzzle of a water gun and aim it at someone’s chest and you can turn in your badges, mister.


The logic here, I guess, is to train kids early that they should never, ever point anything resembling a gun at another person. If they’re going to be handling rifles when they’re 15, they need to learn when they’re seven or eight to keep those water pistols holstered. But … that’s insane. Of course the kids will be drilled on gun safety when they start handling real weapons; forcing them to follow gun-safety rules with water pistols is like forcing a kindergartener to use hand signals when he makes a turn on his Big Wheel. It’s never too early to learn basic prudence, right? In hindsight, maybe that second-grader deserved a school suspension for his gun-shaped Pop Tart after all. If only for his “unkindness.”

In short, America is done. Thanks, Obama.

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David Strom 6:00 PM | February 27, 2024