Below The Beltway

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When Did The Boy Scouts Turn Into Jack-Booted Thugs ?

by @ 3:02 pm on May 14, 2009. Filed under Homeland Security, War On Terror


Apparently, Scouting isn’t just about campfires anymore:

The Explorers program, a coeducational affiliate of the Boy Scouts of America that began 60 years ago, is training thousands of young people in skills used to confront terrorism, illegal immigration and escalating border violence — an intense ratcheting up of one of the group’s longtime missions to prepare youths for more traditional jobs as police officers and firefighters.

“This is about being a true-blooded American guy and girl,” said A. J. Lowenthal, a sheriff’s deputy here in Imperial County, whose life clock, he says, is set around the Explorers events he helps run. “It fits right in with the honor and bravery of the Boy Scouts.”

The training, which leaders say is not intended to be applied outside the simulated Explorer setting, can involve chasing down illegal border crossers as well as more dangerous situations that include facing down terrorists and taking out “active shooters,” like those who bring gunfire and death to college campuses. In a simulation here of a raid on a marijuana field, several Explorers were instructed on how to quiet an obstreperous lookout.

“Put him on his face and put a knee in his back,” a Border Patrol agent explained. “I guarantee that he’ll shut up.”

One participant, Felix Arce, 16, said he liked “the discipline of the program,” which was something he said his life was lacking. “I want to be a lawyer, and this teaches you about how crimes are committed,” he said.

Cathy Noriego, also 16, said she was attracted by the guns. The group uses compressed-air guns — known as airsoft guns, which fire tiny plastic pellets — in the training exercises, and sometimes they shoot real guns on a closed range.

“I like shooting them,” Cathy said. “I like the sound they make. It gets me excited.”

As Brad Warbiany notes, there is so much wrong with this that it’s hard to know where to begin. The idea of teaching children to be enforcers for the state is bothersome on many levels but, then, considering the fact that we’re selling them on bowing down to the state and searching their fellow citizens at very young age, it’s really not all that shocking, is it ?

4 Responses to “When Did The Boy Scouts Turn Into Jack-Booted Thugs ?”

  1. James Young says:

    As an Eagle Scout, I find this incredibly disturbing.

  2. tfr says:

    Yes, disturbing. Extremely so. If this is true-blooded American, then I am no American, sorry.

  3. John says:

    As far as I know Explorers is only loosely affiliated with general Scouting. Explorers were more like “police-in-training” or EMT-in-training etc and not really the camping-hiking-leadership training of traditional Scouting. At least, this was my experience in the Seattle area. I am also an Eagle Scout and the sentiment expressed here by the quoted individual seems more than a bit antithetical to what we were taught. Scouts is also a disparate organization at the troop level, any Church, police department or what have you can set up a troop with their own spin on it. So sometimes you’ll get a hardcore fundamentalist church with a troop and they’ll get bad press for kicking out a gay scout or something but that doesn’t meant that everyone in Scouts is homophobic. On the other hand, you can have a troop like mine which was largely agnostic (ceremonial deism of the Pledge of Allegiance aside). We were more concerned with teaching young men leadership and outdoors skills. We were good enough that during my tenure with the troop we minted nearly 100 Eagles which at roughly 1 in 3 has to be somewhere around an average of 15 times the national rate. We did it by building a troop of young men that focused on what Scouting is supposed to be. This is not it. Unfortunately stuff like this give everyone affiliated with Scouting a bad name.

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