It all seems harmless. What’s a little water splashed here and there? What’s wrong with having a little fun senior year? What’s wrong with teaming up with a best bud, or significant other, to make use of all that extra time (some) second-semester seniors now have on their hands?
My answer: nothing. Assassin, however, seems vastly out of place in today’s sociopolitical climate, and in more ways than one.
Let’s begin with the basic premise of the game: seniors pair up, on their own will, into couplets that will act as a team. At the start of the game, each team is assigned another two people as their targets – the people they must “shoot” with a water gun, thus eliminating them from the game.
But I skipped the first major concern fundamental to the game – the gambling. Sure, it’s all fun and games, but requiring each player to pay $10 up front and then promising a $500 award at the end leaves a lot of room for legal trouble, even though it technically does not fall in the gambling category according to Florida state law.
The big and ominous problem with Assassin, just two weeks after the tragic shooting in Parkland, is its nature. Two weeks of high school seniors standing up in front of rallies and road-tripping up to the Tallahassee legislature, determined to send lawmakers their message about gun control in America – two weeks of our own high school seniors organizing walkouts and promoting proactive actions. Now, those same people are stalking around Pinecrest with water guns in their hands, using the exact language we are told to report as “warning signs.” I highly doubt I stand alone as the only student who flinches when I hear the words “I shot so-and-so last night,” not to mention the paranoia that understandably comes with hearing my own classmates talk about who they will “shoot” next. This language, especially just days after Palmetto had two separate false unidentified threats, makes it all the more inappropriate.
On top of that, the game leads to people essentially stalking their targets, whether that means asking fellow friends for an address or taking more desperate measures, including the Find My Friends iPhone app, searching up parents’ names on the internet, and yes, the notorious Snapchat Map. Sorry, I will happily decline the invitation to have somebody sitting outside my bedroom window at 6 in the morning.
And the list goes on! Already at least three car crashes have resulted from Palmetto students playing Assassin. All high school seniors have two, at most three, years of driving experience under their belt – which is nothing in the grand scheme of things. Top it off with a distracted high school senior obsessing over their attackers behind them in the rearview mirror, or better yet, speeding through residential neighborhoods, and suddenly parents have the best gift of all: higher insurance rates!
To most of them, I’ll seem like a dimwit writing this, but this year, the game calls special attention to the fine line between enjoying the time we have left together on one side, and hypocrisy on the other. Teenage kids running around Pinecrest – or elsewhere – with water guns at night makes it even more difficult to discern whether or not those are actual guns, which presents quite an obvious problem.
Okay, I’ll admit: seniors should have some kind of outlet, especially given the T-3 months left we have before the hems of our graduation gowns will drag along the University of Miami arena carpet, a soft ending to our long twelve years of hard work. But playing a game based on make-believe planned murder? Not the wisest choice in the book.