The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has recently announced that its nearly 3 million members are not allowed anymore to take part in water gun fights. The organization says that water guns are still allowed but only on non-animate objects and with appropriate protective equipment.
The news is a little odd taking into account the organization’s semi-military roots and early practices of allowing wooden sword fighting, bottle rockets, and other props designed to turn the country’s boys into real men.
Critics complained that the switch in policy would turn the boys into a “bunch of wusses,” for the sake of political correctness.
The BSA made the announcement on its website May 6. Bryan Wendell, the organization’s spokesperson and PR expert, said that pointing a gun, be it a toy, sends the wrong message and contradicts the image of a Scout as a kind and helpful person.
According to the BSA’s National Shooting Manual, the boys can fight with water balloons, which must be biodegradable and have the size of a ping pong ball. Water guns can no longer be used in fights and boys must wear eye protection when using them.
The BSA also prohibits marshmallow shooters, boomerangs and toy potato guns or crossbows.
The Boy Scouts of America was founded by Gen. Robert Baden-Powell, an English soldier that led numerous battles in the former British colonies. He planned to educate young men to survival out-doors in various contexts and make them responsible citizens.
Baden-Powell wrote the first Scouting for boys manual, which involved harsher training that water gun fighting. The teens he had trained according to his methods even helped British soldiers to siege a South-Africa town by engaging in transporting and intelligence activities during the Second Boer War (1899-1902).
Former boy scouts recall that in their youth their training involved more violent games than a water gun fight. which involved no protective clothing.
The BSA’ blog was flooded with negative comments related to the recent change in their policy. Many blamed political correctness for the move, while others grumbled that not even boy scouts are what they used to be.
Critics were also concerned that discouraging competitiveness was not adequate for the boys that are trained to be the nation’s future leaders.
One commenter said that banning water gun fighting only made the BSA “look ridiculous,” while other called it a policy “taken to the absurd.” The general opinion expressed on BSA’s blog after the announcement was made revolved around the “PC (political correctness) police.”
Image Source: NY Post
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