Few boys in American history made it through adolescence without at some point embracing the common pastime of pretending to shoot guns. With the advent and prevalence of Nerf brand toys in recent generations, that childhood propensity has become both safer and more fun for millions of kids.
Naturally, however, the push to erase any semblance of firearms – no matter how innocent – from communities across the U.S. has led to a crackdown on even the most harmless of playthings.
Such was the apparently the case in Wausau, Wis. recently, when six high school seniors were confronted by police and issued disorderly conduct citations for wielding Nerf guns. These toys are immediately distinguishable from any legitimate weapon; however, since someone reportedly complained about being frightened by the teens, authorities immediately got involved.
The students were taking part in an extracurricular game called ‘Senior Shootout,” which seniors in the community have taken part in for years. According to the game’s rules, kids join teams and shoot the soft Nerf pellets at each other in an effort to eliminate competing players.
School officials sent a note home with the teens last week in which they acknowledged seniors would be playing the popular game but warned of potential consequences should the fun become too boisterous.
Wausau West High School spokesperson Jeff Lindell explained that the “game just keeps evolving,” and officials wanted to make sure participants remained civil.
According to reports, though, cops were somewhat quicker to react than school administrators.
“Our dispatch said there were three people with firearms,” recalled Wausau Police Capt. Ben Bliven, “so we had to respond appropriately. We wanted to do everything as safe as possible for us and for the citizens in the area.”
Scott Hansen, the father of one of the students charged, said the ordeal “traumatized my kid,” explaining that he feels “the issuing of citations was really out of hand.”
Fortunately for the students’ academic career, the school district reports that none will face suspension. Still, the fact that kids with Nerf toys are now considered criminals is a startling sign to many Americans of increasing authoritarianism that continues to spread across the nation.
Photo Credit: Facebook/Nerf
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom