Orbeez Challenge experiment over with in Milledgeville


It's game over for the Orbeez Challenge, as Milledgeville Police Department officers have been instructed to arrest people who are "engaging in these activities in public areas such as roadways, parking lots and parks."

The social experiment lasted for a week. There were some bright spots. Hundreds of people (perhaps more than a thousand) gathered at Huley Park on Sunday afternoon for the Summer Blast Day event, which centered around water gun fights and gel blaster gun fights on the softball field. Most people just came for the fellowship, however. Tents and grills were everywhere.  The event went off without a hitch.

"I can't ever remember that many people from different sides of Milledgeville being in the same place without something (bad) happening," said one man who attended the event. "It was nothing but love."

With the good comes the bad, however. On that same night, a DoorDash driver was ambushed by several people with gel blaster guns in the Riverbend Apartments. She sustained numerous welts to different parts of her body. On Facebook, several other delivery drivers expressed their reservations and nervousness about the trend.

At least four people were hospitalized last week at Atrium Health Navicent Baldwin with Orbeez Challenge-related injuries, although none of the hospitalizations were serious, according to Chief Dray Swicord.

Also, apparently it became popular for many participants to wrap their toy guns in duct tape or electric tape.

"The guns are all bright colors when they're taken out of the box," Swicord said. "But, we ran into the problem of folks taping them, and all of a sudden they no longer look like toy guns, but rather the real thing."

Further complicating matters were participants covering their faces with goggles and masks. Groups of people would loiter in business parking lots, gel blaster guns drawn.

"We tried," Swicord told Baldwin2k on Tuesday. "Other towns around here shut it down before it could get started, but we tried."

For those who aren't familiar with the entire phenomenon, "Orbeez" is a brand of gel-covered water pellets. 

The pellets are fired from gel blaster guns. If the pellets are frozen, which became popular for one too many participants in Milledgeville, it "almost feels like getting hit with bird shot (shotgun pellets)," according to Swicord.

The MPD initially gave the green light to Orbeez Challenge participants around town. In its first Facebook post, on June 2, the MPD took an upbeat and optimistic tone...

As we prepare to kick off the summer and have seen many different neighborhoods come together this weekend for mutual fun, there are a few things we want to go over to ensure everyone continues to have a safe and enjoyable time.

This weekend, like many across the country, kids and adults have enjoyed engaging in splatter ball games, water balloon fights, etc. While we have enjoyed watching different sides of town come together, we need to follow some basic safety guidelines:

1.) Don’t shoot at or from moving vehicles.

2.) Don’t shoot while on public roadways.

3.) For large parties, gatherings, etc., at all city parks, you must go to city hall and get a permit before the event.

4.) Don’t use gas station parking lots or other private property locations without written permission from the property owner to engage in such activities.

5.) Don’t throw water balloons, shoot water guns, splatter balls, or Orbeez at anyone who isn’t participating.

6.) Parents know where your kids are and do not let them run around in the street during the late night/early morning hours

We want everyone to continue having a good time, but we want you to be safe while doing so. All it takes is one bad incident to ruin it for everyone, and that’s what we want to avoid.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions!

By Saturday, however, the MPD was no longer feeling super upbeat and optimistic...


For those who have ignored EVERYTHING we have said. If you want to shoot splatter ball guns/Orbeez you are more than welcome to do so on private property with permission from the property owner. 

For those who are driving around on public roadways with juveniles unrestrained in cars, in the back of pickup trucks, and shooting at random people who are NOT participating…you will be charged accordingly. We tried letting everyone have fun but some are ruining it for all. 

Parents, talk to your children and for the adults who are with the kids who are doing this, you will be charged as well. 

Also, please do not let your children paint their splatter guns black to resemble a real gun. This is a dangerous situation for other citizens and law enforcement. Officers will confiscate those guns that are painted and the parents can pick them up from the police department. 

We want everyone to have fun but not at the risk of someone getting seriously injured or killed.

Then, on Monday night, the MPD posted a "Public Notice: Cease of Splatter and Orbeez Gun Games in Milledgeville" message on Facebook...

Wrote the MPD in the post: It is regrettable that what began as innocent amusement has resulted in ongoing disturbances and injuries to individuals not involved in the games. To mitigate further risks and ensure public safety, all such activities must now be conducted on private property with explicit permission from the owner."

The Monday night Facebook post was removed after several hours, after the comments became increasingly divisive and race-based.

Although statistically rare, serious incidents involving Orbeez Challenge participants have been documented. Last month, a Kansas teen with a gel blaster gun was paralyzed after being shot by a man with a real gun in a Walmart parking lot...

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Also last month, two teens in San Antonio were shot and listed in critical condition after being shot by a man with a real gun...

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Everything sounded so lovely until the end. 
“We tried”
If that’s not disheartening idk what is. I feel the need to quote my mom here. “I can’t have nothin nice”. Wiser words were never said. 

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