South’s Most Influential- Annabel Eigel

Annabel Eigel, varsity lacrosse captain

After not playing in last year’s season of Paranoia, a competitive Nerf war in which many South students participate outside of school, I couldn’t wait to make a team and participate this year. Despite last year’s high-speed car chases and surprise attacks, the game continued to have a well-liked reputation among South students. I was excited to get in on the action of it- until the tragedy occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Just a short few weeks after those seventeen high school students were shot and killed, South students were putting teams together for the annual Nerf war. When I was asked to join teams, the answer was, unequivocally, no.

Though the intent of Paranoia is innocent, participating in a game that simulates shooting felt ridiculously inappropriate in the wake of such a horrific event. As the future of this country, we should be taking leadership in ending gun violence, not participating in something that essentially perpetuates the idea of gun violence among young people.

The basic concept of Paranoia, and how it is able to get a large number of students to participate in something together, really is commendable. However, we’ve come to a point in society where, sadly, games like this aren’t okay anymore. With the number of mass shootings that occur in our country, games that normalize shooting, even if it’s just a foam bullet, have become completely insensitive. It’s time to put down the Nerf guns. Stop pretending to shoot each other. Together, as students, start initiating change with gun violence.