Are Semi-Automatic Water Guns Necessary for Senior Assassin?

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Andrew Rosin

RADNOR – After 80 students were shot in the first round of Radnor High School’s annual Senior Assassin game, water gun safety advocates have called for tighter regulations on semi-automatic water guns. “There’s absolutely no need for students to possess a NERF Fortnite TS-R Super Soaker Water Blaster,” argued RTSD Superintendent Ken Batchelor, “these assault style water guns are meant exclusively for the battlegrounds of summer camp, not for your everyday stake out.” 

With approximately 1,200 registered water guns, or about one water gun per student, Radnor High School’s water gun ownership rate dwarfs those of neighboring school districts. “In Lower Merion and Haverford, where there are significantly fewer water guns in the hands of students, there are significantly fewer eliminations in Senior Assassin. Less water guns, less people get out. The correlation is clear,” one expert noted after only two kills were made during the first round of Lower Merion’s Senior Assassin. 

Dr. Batchelor joins a group of activists who aim to reform what they call Radnor Township’s “inadequate and outdated” water gun laws. “If you go to the water gun show on North Wayne Avenue this weekend, you could purchase a NERF Super Soaker Soakzooka without the vendor even confirming that you didn’t shoot your defenseless little cousin at a family reunion five years ago,” Dr. Batchelor explained, adding that it is unacceptable that middle schoolers can buy water guns in certain parts of the township. 

The activists have also proposed legislation that would ban high capacity magazines like the kind found on heytech’s Super Water Gun, which holds 40 fluid ounces of water. “If you need that much water to take out your target, you’re either the worst marksman in the history of Senior Assassin or your target coated themselves in a thin layer of water repellent spray that requires a higher-than-normal amount of water to permeate,” RHS Principal Panayota Kevgas wrote in a plea to eliminate the equipment that enables mass assassinations. 

Proponents of this legislation point to the emergence of pencil regulations and the decline in pencil-related casualties that resulted: “Ever since RHS prohibited the use of lead pencils, defective mechanical pencils, and pencils that come with a built-in two-inch exacto knife, the number of students injured by pencils each year has steadily declined,” one expert commented. “Nobody said you couldn’t use your Ticonderoga #2 pencil to fill out the scantron on a standardized test. We simply took the necessary steps to make pencil use safer and feel like a similar approach could limit the number of students shot by assault style water guns during Senior Assassin.” 

Critics of these reforms argue that being equipped with a water gun is critical for self-defense kills, the caveat that allows targets to shoot their assassin if they are actively being attacked. However, a Radish News audit found that an extremely small percentage of first round kills were made in self-defense, despite the rhetoric commonly promoted by NERF. The majority of eliminations resulted from participants willingly getting out in order to cash in on deals made with their assassins. 

Regardless, enacting tighter water gun regulations is a challenge, as the water gun industry maintains strong influence over RTSD’s School Board. “One school board member’s main campaign promise was preventing parents from taking away their sons’ Nerf guns when they’re in time-out, so how can you expect her to be unbiased,” one parent questioned, “she’s practically in the pocket of Nerf toys.” Other Radnor citizens observed frequent donations of the newest, sometimes unreleased Nerf technology to this school board member’s residence during the last campaign season, and pointed out that her personal bodyguards and staffers were all armed with Nerf weaponry. 

With the third round of Senior Assassin underway, community members have turned their attention to limiting access to water guns as opposed to banning the water guns themselves. “There’s no reason why a senior boy who pees on the floor and vandalizes the locker room should be able to legally purchase a water gun,” one concerned parent commented. “We have to remember that we’re not dealing with toys here.”