Guns

Boy Scouts Can't Squirt Squirt Guns at Each Other and Must Use Goggles

Definitely not helping the uncoolness factor of being a Scout

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Water gun
Dreamstime

Boy Scouts can't shoot squirt guns at each other. Here's the rulebook (see page 99). And here's the article for Boy Scout leaders that points out some additional (absurd) safety requirements:

 "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."

First off, I was not even aware biodegradable balloons exist. And filling any balloon to only the size of a ping pong ball is like saying, "Please do not grow a pair. Ever."

But in terms of the squirt gun rules: Why can't kids shoot each other with a stream of water?

Because it's harmless? Because it's good clean fun? Because it's a time-honored thing for kids to do?

Or is it because of a sort of blind belief that if we outlaw every activity that involves boys being boys—even an activity with the word "Boy" in its name—somehow we will have triumphed over original sin and avoided all possible lawsuits?

Boys do not end up killers because they shoot squirt guns, any more than they end up as rampaging nut jobs because they knocked down some building blocks as kids. For that matter, playing Transformers does not mean a boy grows up to become part robot. Kids are allowed to play without us reading a dark future into every shove.

And I say this as a mom who really loves the Scouts. Both my sons belong to the organization and it has been great for them. I admire the troop leaders and all the volunteer parents who help out. And at our troop, at least for as long as my sons have been involved, there has never been any anti-gay discrimination.

But there's a reason most kids don't wear their uniforms to school or even discuss their involvement much. It's the uncoolness factor. That factor is not mitigated by these rules. 

If anyone is going to go on a rampage as an adult, maybe it's the kids who were forced to wear goggles to shoot a squirt gun at a non-human target.