A high school student in Texas was arrested and charged after bringing a toy gun to school, according to a 2019 Valley Central article. As a result, students at the Texas high school believed there was an active shooter roaming their halls.
All over the U.S., fake guns are being mistaken for real guns, causing an inflation of fear — especially with the rise of real shootings. BGSU’s largest campus club is called “BG Undead” where students run around campus with Nerf guns, shooting other members in hopes of winning Students vs. Zombies. When the group was first created 13 years ago, they scared students and thus had many run-ins with campus police.
Several times a semester while walking through campus, one could come across students with bandanas tied around their arms, sometimes in huge trench coats, with a Nerf gun in hand running from building to building.
Members of the Bowling Green community have mixed feelings about BG Undead. Sophomore nursing major Lea Lopresti believes that BG Undead are actually quite frightening.
“You don’t always know they are playing the game when you see them. Sometimes you’ll just see one with a gun and for a second your heart stops,” Lopresti said.
While members of the BG community have reservations about BG Undead, the group itself tries very hard to make the community feel safe and comfortable on campus. Andy Betts, president of BG Undead, was clear on the measures the group takes to make the BG community feel safe.
“Bandanas symbolize who is part of the group on campus. If a member is playing the game, they will have a very visible bandana tied on their head or arm. Also, all of the fake guns must have an orange tip, and we enforce both of these rules very strictly,” Betts said.
Betts said the BGSU Police know what is happening at all times.
“We work with the police, so they know where we are and when we will be there. If there are ever any problems, we report these to the police, and they take care of it,” he said.
Betts explained much about the safety and precautions BG Undead takes, and previous treasurer and current moderator of BG Undead, Jessie Walton, was adamant that BG Undead is an inclusive space at BGSU.
“Some members have suffered from PTSD, alcohol or drug abuse, anger management or didn’t have a place they could fit in. They come to this physical activity and have a very positive outlet where they are accepted,” Walton said.
She added, “The BG Undead is not there to harm, it is just there to keep the kid and the nerd inside of you. If you have any interest, please join.”