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All we want is to have our Nerf toys back

Are you all familiar with the campus group known as BG Undead? If so, then I am sure you all know what I’m writing about. If not, allow me to give you a brief refresher:

The BG Undead student organization hosts the “Zombies versus Humans” game here once every semester. In the game, which can be classified as mock-survival meets dart tag, human players attempt to “survive” by tagging zombie players with balled-up socks and Nerf blasters for defense.

Zombie players must play offensively and turn humans into zombies by “biting” them (zombies do this by landing both hands on a human’s shoulders – no actual biting involved).

All in all, it is a great game, and it is literally quite thrilling to play. We (I play the game too) run around outside for about five or seven days, tagging each other with Nerf blasters and clamping onto each other’s shoulders, and we have a great time doing it.

This is why my fellow BG Undead members and I are disappointed and frustrated that our University administration has decided to ban us from using Nerf blasters for this upcoming BG Undead game. Human players are instead limited to using balled-up socks and marshmallows as throwing projectiles.

The University believes it to be politically and emotionally insensitive for our organization to use Nerf blasters (which somewhat resemble actual firearms) in the wake of the horrific school shootings at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University.

While I fully understand the administration’s decision to ban us from using the Nerf blasters, in no way do I agree with it.

If the University has deemed our use of Nerf toys to be politically and emotionally insensitive, then why have they permitted the game to continue?

That’s one of my arguments against the administration’s decision. By banning us from utilizing foam dart blasters, they have done nothing to change the true soul of the game; they have only changed its appearance while in action. The game is still about zombies and humans mock-attacking each other in a battle for supremacy.

Does the ban on Nerf toys make our game any less controversial? Essentially, no.

By taking away our own personal freedoms to wield Nerf blasters, those specifically responsible for the ban have only succeeded in taking away our rights and privileges. Nothing more.

Taking away Nerf blasters does not make the BG Undead games less controversial or more politically sensitive.

Furthermore, altering or removing equipment does not change the primary function of any activity.

Does taking rifles away from foot soldiers make war any less controversial? No, because people will still die in a war.

Does removing the axe from an executioner make his executions any less deadly? No, because he will resort to another method of killing those who are to be executed.

Does taking away Nerf blasters make our game more politically sensitive? No, because the game is still about a vicious mock-battle between humans and zombies! Humans versus zombies will remain controversial for as long as it is continued to be played.

The only way to make our BG Undead games any less controversial or offensive would be to ban it outright. I’m not recommending that this course of action be taken, but this ban on our Nerf toys seems to be wholly misplaced.

Why should the dreadful school shootings result in an infringement of our basic rights to play with toys? The Nerf blasters, which we use for the games are brightly colored, they fire brightly colored foam darts at low velocities and those who play with them are brightly colored with fluorescent orange armbands.

This ban on the use of foam dart blasters for the BG Undead games serves a pointless function. Our right to wield arguably controversial Nerf toys has been taken away in an attempt to make our university feel less dangerous.

My fellow BG Undead players and I do not wish to push for the right to play the game in the Oak Grove Cemetery or to be able to play indoors. We only want our Nerf toys back.

By caving into the pressure to ban our Nerf blasters, the University has done that which our founding fathers warned against: they have given up some of our liberties in order to acquire temporary, illusory safety.

That’s not what Benjamin Franklin would have wanted.

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