If you’ve been keeping up with school events, chances are you’ve heard about Assassins. While I think it’s a fun tradition, there are just too many negative factors involved.
Assassins is a game played by high school students everywhere — students form teams and attempt to shoot other players with Nerf guns to become the last team standing. Sounds innocent enough, right? Wrong. One of the first rules of the game is that school grounds are off limits. This leaves players to race around the metro area hoping to get the chance to kill someone off their hit list, no matter the cost or repercussions.
So what’s the issue? As I just mentioned, school property is off-limits. One of the most common strategies players take, is to wake up as early as possible and stake out at their target’s house. This might mean hiding in their yard, waiting outside in a car or in some cases finding a way into the house. You might be able to see how this would be a major invasion of privacy.
Another of the biggest issues with this tradition is how dangerous it is. Google, “high school Nerf wars,” and a slew of articles pop up regarding injuries, accidents and deaths that have resulted from these games. A few years ago, two students at Lakeville South were killed in a car accident while playing the game. While there are rules in place to try and prevent accidents like these, there’s really no way of enforcing them. And most games are student organized with no official ties to the school, so little is done to step in and control it.
Aside from the danger of playing the game, the nature of the Nerf wars poses threat to safety as well. Running around with guns, often dressed in dark colors, usually in the dark, you can imagine what an unknowing witness could think. It would be one thing if the tradition was publicly known, but most people outside of high schools don’t know what it is. It’s gotten to a point where police departments release warnings when it’s time for the games to begin. But the thing is, the issue isn’t the nature of the game, it’s the actions the people playing it take that make it so dangerous.
Just during this year’s game, I’ve heard firsthand accounts of people getting involved in car chases — driving well over the speed limit in pursuit of a target. There was someone who got their foot run over by a careless driver. I’ve even heard a story about someone who’s entire family was blocked in by cars so they could knock someone off their list. These issues I’m talking about aren’t hypotheticals that could happen if we aren’t careful, they are things that have happened already and undoubtedly will happen again.