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Oct 21 2013

How about a new rule: no idiots allowed in our parks?

This is appalling: a couple of Boy Scout leaders knocked over a rock formation in Goblin Valley. And they were so stupid that they recorded the act and put it on youtube. Here it is; skip it if you don’t think you could bear watching a couple of man-children whooping and hollering while they vandalize a state park.

They now claim that they were acting to protect visitors to the park from a hazard, that the rock could have fallen at any time and hurt someone. Well, golly, I guess that means they ought to go romping through the park and knocking over all those amazing teetering rock formations. Maybe a little dynamite, just to be sure?

106 comments

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  1. 1
    rturpin

    Do you realize how much gate receipts would decline?

  2. 2
    NitricAcid

    Nice of them to make sure the state prosecutors have enough evidence.

    Of course, judging by recent events, the prosecutor will drop the charges, claiming that the rock was not cooperating as a witness.

  3. 3
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    It takes a special kind of clueless dumbfuckery to make that excuse and think people will buy it.

  4. 4
    marcoli

    Last I have, heard, they are under criminal investigation for defacing a state park. There is also no sympathy for them out there.

  5. 5
    NitricAcid

    Rev. DumbChimp- sadly, he’ll be judged by a jury of his peers.

  6. 6
    Rowan vet-tech

    Even better is one of them claimed to be permanently disabled due to a car accident.

  7. 7
    clarker86

    As rowanvt pointed out the guy that pushed the boulder over claimed permanent disability in a lawsuit he is filing due to a car accident.

    http://www.ksl.com/?sid=27324681&nid=148&title=rock-toppling-scout-leader-filed-injury-lawsuit-weeks-before-pushing-rock&fm=home_page&s_cid=featured-1

  8. 8
    ImaginesABeach

    It’s Utah. Anyone want to bet on whether or not this is one of Lynna’s Moments of Mormon Madness?

  9. 9
    Larry

    The national BSA is also looking into this, hopefully, with the end result that these morons are thrown out of the program for life. If BSA wants to maintain any credibility as an organization that cares about the environment and the outdoors, they really don’t have much of a choice here. We’ll see…

    As far as these guys getting a pass because its Utah, I have to differ. The people in Utah do care passionately about their parks, both state and federal. As well they ought, given the amount of money that flows into the state from tourism.

  10. 10
    Anthony K

    It’s Utah. Anyone want to bet on whether or not this is one of Lynna’s Moments of Mormon Madness?

    Other stories have identified the scout leaders as leaders of their local LDS youth group. I don’t see that it particularly plays a role, though.

  11. 11
    Rey Fox

    Firing up the Lynna Signal. She has numerous stories of unqualified Mormon Boy Scout leaders.

  12. 12
    Anthony K

    As far as these guys getting a pass because its Utah, I have to differ. The people in Utah do care passionately about their parks, both state and federal.

    I work with a Mormon woman who is a Girl Guides Leader and attended BSU in Utah. I seriously doubt she’d have any sympathy for these fellows’ actions.

    I understand the members of the band 2 In A Room are suing for damages caused by this buffoon’s atonal caterwauling.

  13. 13
    gussnarp

    As a general rule, the BSA only screens leaders for criminal records, there’s not much vetting of whether anybody who wants to be a Scoutmaster is a decent human being as long as they’ve covered their ass against charges they didn’t do due diligence to keep out pedophiles.

    I was just lucky that my scoutmasters were generally decent human beings. Even at that, they were flawed, and there were a few over the years who were probably capable of pretty idiotic behavior, but most of them generally behaved as responsible adults rather than drunken frat boys.

    I had enough interaction with other troops as a camp staff member and Order of the Arrow leader to realize that this was not universally the case. Some scoutmasters behaved as badly as these even on official outings, and some outright endangered the boys in their care with stupid attempts to “make men” out of them.

    I’m disappointed, but not surprised in the least by this. But I’m disappointed anytime a person who’s had every opportunity to be a well educated adult member of society with reasonable judgement and a fully functioning fore brain behaves like this.

  14. 14
    WithinThisMind

    I played this video at my son’s boy scout meeting and turned them into an object lesson. A group of six year old kids all agreed this guy was an idiot and they should in no way emulate him. Then we went and picked up trash at the park.

    Since he refused to be a role model, we had to use him as a horrible example.

  15. 15
    drshell

    Today they’re claiming to have received death threats.

  16. 16
    Lynna, OM

    Not only are these guys mormons, but the guy who actually pushed the rock over claimed to have been “prompted” to do so.

    “Prompted” is mormon-speak for guided by the Holy Spirit; by the Holy Ghost; by God; by the still, small voice of righteous mormon penishoodishness.

  17. 17
    Lynna, OM

    The Rock Pushing Idiots were made Boy Scout Leaders and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “youth leaders” on the basis of their Bishop “calling” them to serve. Mormon Bishops claim special discernment based on the guidance of the Holy Ghost and of God. When Bishops call members to serve, it is like God deciding what role(s) the member should play in the community.

    Mormon Boy Scout troops even include training for the priesthood level conferred on boys.

    The result is that unqualified church members are often called to serve in capacities for which they are not suited, and after receiving the imprimatur of God they may not take Boy Scout leadership training as seriously as they should. This is not true of all mormon scout leaders, but it true of enough of them that it affects accident statistics and it also affects the manner in which merit badges are earned (or not really earned).

    The mormon Prophet/Seer/Revelator/LDS President Thomas S. Monson is a good example:

    Monson was given his prestigious Scouting Awards and he NEVER worked with a troop. …

    He was an apostle when he was awarded these bullshit trophies for committing OUR money to Scouting and forcing generations of YM into the program.

    Meanwhile committed and trained LDS Scout leaders get no money from the church to run decent programs. The majority of the leaders are like those three jackasses destroying history.

    Scouting has its flaws and may not survive the next five years, but it would be in their interest to dump the LDS church. …

    Link.

    Mormons think they can do no wrong, so it is hard for them to see their weaknesses and correct them.

    Some ex-mormons have joked that the Mormon Holy Spirit should be charged in court.

  18. 18
    Anthony K

    “Prompted” is mormon-speak for guided by the Holy Spirit; by the Holy Ghost; by God; by the still, small voice of righteous mormon penishoodishness.

    Perhaps the LDS should consider teaching its followers that every good prompt should include both an ‘OK’ and a ‘Cancel’ button.

  19. 19
    Lynna, OM

    Links to discussions of the negative aspects of Boy Scout troops sponsored by the mormon church:

    http://www.mormoncurtain.com/topic_boyscouts.html

    Mormonism has morphed the Boy Scouts into a religious organization in which they use to indoctrinate the young men into a lifetime of church membership. Awards and rewards are based on Mormon Priesthood rules and regulations. More emphasis is placed on indoctrination and obedience to the Mormon Gospel. Young men are accelerated through the program faster than boys outside the Mormon controlled BSA. Mormon boys can receive an Eagle Award simply by placing bags on neighbor doors to collect food for homeless shelters.

    It was a statistical fact that mormon troops graduated kids to Eagle Scout TWICE as fast as the national average. The morg allows almost nonsensical Eagle Projects, such as carpet cleaning in the local ward or Stake Center. ….

    http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,919502

    Trigger warning for molestation of young boys: http://www.theseattleinjuryattorney.com/molestation-victim-sues-boy-scouts-and-mormon-church/

  20. 20
    Lynna, OM

    A discussion of “incident” statistics for mormon-sponsored Boy Scout troops:
    http://reachupward.blogspot.com/2009/06/lds-sponsored-bsa-units-have-more.html

    BSA units along the Wasatch Front comprise a disproportionately high number of the program’s injuries, health and safety incidents, and other liability related issues. More specifically, such events occur at a statistically significantly high rate in BSA units sponsored by the LDS Church …

    http://reachupward.blogspot.com/2007/10/mediocre-lds-scouting.html

  21. 21
    Lynna, OM

    Anthony K. @18:

    Perhaps the LDS should consider teaching its followers that every good prompt should include both an ‘OK’ and a ‘Cancel’ button.

    LOL. Perfect. I think I’ll forward your analysis to a few ex-mormons.

    More tales of lame mormon Boy Scout troops:
    http://www.exmormon.org/mormon/mormon105.htm

  22. 22
    magistramarla

    This is exactly why our national monuments and parks needed to be closed to the public while many of the park rangers were furloughed. They are there to not only teach the public, but also to guard our precious parks and monuments from the idiots in the public.

  23. 23
    Lynna, OM

    One detail left out of some of the reports is that these exemplary mormon Boy Scout leaders were also allowing (encouraging) the troop of boys they brought to Goblin State Park to play a game that involved jumping from rock to rock, including I would suppose, the rock that was eventually toppled.

    We were playing a game called lava. You see who can get farthest in the park leaping from top of rock to top of rock without touching the ground.

  24. 24
    Doug Little

    It’s a shame. I’ve seen similar rock formations in Wyoming (near Rock Springs) and they truly are spectacular. The good news is they are in a pretty remote location and so are pretty well protected from humans. The bad news is that due to the remoteness not many humans will experience them.

    The first time I saw them I thought of Road Runner and Wile E Coyote.

  25. 25
    robro

    Anthony K…Which is the default?

  26. 26
    robro

    Per the news, the Northern Utah Boy Scouts Council has removed the two men from their posts. Let’s check back in a few months to see if they are still removed.

  27. 27
    idahogie

    At least they weren’t gay.

  28. 28
    kevinv

    I was in a catholic church sponsored troop. we were taught to leave nothing behind but footprints and those on marked trails as much as possible. these guys know nothing of scouting.

  29. 29
    Anthony K

    We were playing a game called lava. You see who can get farthest in the park leaping from top of rock to top of rock without touching the ground.

    As an experienced player of this game and its variants (piranha, alligator, quicksand, etc.), environmentally or historically sensitive or protected items count as ‘lava’ just as much as the ground does. Sheesh.

    @robro:

    Anthony K…Which is the default?

    I’m still working on the mental equivalent of CTRL+ALT+DELETE.

  30. 30
    davidgentile

    I’m bothered that the Chief Rock Molester didn’t consider the outcomes (idk if he was the “disabled” one). Kinda hard to lead kids when you’re under a rock.

  31. 31
    Menyambal

    If you need “muscles” to push it over, it wasn’t likely to be falling over on some little kid, unless the kid was jumping on top of it … as in playing Lava.

  32. 32
    Eamon Knight

    One shudders to think what could have happened if they had been visiting another Utah landmark, Arches National Monument. I mean, those stone bridges could come down any time, right? Maybe on someone’s head! Better do a controlled demolition, just in case….

  33. 33
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Please someone tell me this video can be taken into account in the case where the asshole who pushed the stone is claiming permanent disability.

  34. 34
    Doug Little

    Please someone tell me this video can be taken into account in the case where the asshole who pushed the stone is claiming permanent disability.

    Oh I’m sure they will. I had a buddy who was a private investigator and he used to get paid by insurance companies to follow people around and observe and document what they did. He would even go as far as to setting up elaborate sting operations to see if they were faking or not.

  35. 35
    Anthony K

    He would even go as far as to setting up elaborate sting operations to see if they were faking or not.

    “Let me tell you something else. I’ve seen a lot of spinals, Dude, and this guy’s a fake. A fucking goldbricker…This guy fucking walks. I’ve never been more certain of anything in my life.”

  36. 36
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Doug LIttle,

    He would even go as far as to setting up elaborate sting operations to see if they were faking or not.

    Huh. I thought that only happened on Ally McBeal.

  37. 37
    Brain Hertz

    Well, golly, I guess that means they ought to go romping through the park and knocking over all those amazing teetering rock formations. Maybe a little dynamite, just to be sure?

    …and don’t forget to exterminate all the wildlife! That place is full of rattlesnakes & coyotes and stuff.

    Alternatively, maybe these yahoos could just stick to Disneyland? Seems more their thing.

  38. 38
    Doug Little

    Anthony K,

    I had to type that reference in to figure out where it came from. My cult movie knowledge is severely lacking today.

  39. 39
    NitricAcid

    In Alberta, we’ve got some very nice hoodoos. Some of the most impressive and accessible ones have big signs near them saying, “DO NOT CLIMB ON HOODOOS”. This does not stop idiots from posing on them to have their pictures taken. I’ve always thought another sign should be added, “Hoodoos protected by sniper.”

    At the Royal Tyrell Museum, there are some large dinosaur statues, with a sing (DO NOT CLIMB THE DINOSAURS). My dad was almost punched in the face by a guy for pointing out the sign to him (the guy was putting his kids on them).

  40. 40
    Anthony K

    @38 Doug Little: I didn’t mean to be confusing Doug; it’s just that “tangentially related movie quotes/song lyrics” is my middle name. (My birth certificate isn’t just long-form; it comes with replacement toner.)

    @39 NitricAcid: Ugh, hoodoo-climbers are the worst. And there are all sorts of great trails around the Tyrell: there’s absolutely no reason other than ignorance to step off the paths.

  41. 41
    Lynna, OM

    …and don’t forget to exterminate all the wildlife! That place is full of rattlesnakes & coyotes and stuff.

    And spiders. Don’t forget about the spiders, and the deadly wasps.

    Most deadly creature in Goblin State Park? Mormon Boy Scout leaders.

  42. 42
    timberwoof

    “the Northern Utah Boy Scouts Council has removed the two men from their posts”?

    Maybe they should be put on posts.

    Oh, rats. That comes under cruel and unusual punishment. The BSA should not just remove them from their posts in the BSA, they should ban them forever.

    I propose that those ass hats should be made to clean National Park toilets for a few dozen years.

  43. 43
    frog

    Were they looking for a beryllium sphere? Too bad they didn’t run into the nasty little alien guys from Galaxy Quest, which filmed a memorable sequence there.

  44. 44
    throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble

    As punishment, send those people here, hand them a nail file and tell them to get to work. Some one might cut their self!

    I’d wager they’re the types to complain about a “Nanny State” too.

  45. 45
    pixelfish

    As another ex-Mormon and former Utahn, I’ve been horrified by this story. Most of us were told as children to leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures. Furthermore, any idiot knows you are supposed to watch the trails but you’re not supposed to alter them or block them, which is what these two assholes could have done. If they honestly suspected a rock was about to fall, it would behoove them to get a ranger and inform them, but certainly not to push over the monument itself. I hope they get the book thrown at them. ARGH.

    Arches have fallen inside Arches in my lifetime. Wall Arch fell a few years back–it was there when I was 16 and first saw went through Devil’s Garden. And a piece of Landscape Arch (the original Delicate Arch–their names got swapped on maps sometime back and never got fixed) fell off about a decade back. There’s even footage of it. But the thing is, they didn’t immediately knock these down for safety reasons, they just said, don’t go near them. When I was a teen, you could go all the way back under Landscape, and now they block of the trailhead and tell you why. It’s just common sense. If you suspect a formation isn’t stable, you stay away from it. And little kids should be under supervision for the most part inside National Parks. It’s not a playground. (Although it is certainly fun to play Flashlight tag in Goblin Valley, but safety first paired with care for the land.)

  46. 46
    Lynna, OM

    If you think the Boy Scouts and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not locked into an unethical relationship based on money and religion, take a look at the transcript of mormon head honcho Thomas S. Monson receiving the “Bronze Wolf” award. The award was presented during a 1993 mormon General Priesthood Conference. The setting alone is troubling.

    Excerpt:

    … It is indeed an honor for me to be at the general priesthood conference on this occasion of recognizing President Thomas Monson with International Scouting’s Bronze Wolf Award. President Monson is one of the Boy Scouts of America’s most distinguished friends and the longest-tenured member of our national executive board, having begun his service with election in 1969.

    During that period of time, the Boy Scouts of America and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have enjoyed an unprecedented partnership in the development of young men. The partnership between the LDS Church and the BSA is, to me, a precious one. It is precious because of our organizations and what they embrace in terms of similar basic beliefs—beliefs that include a commitment to religious principles and to strong, traditional family values. …

    That speech was given by Mr. Jere B. Ratcliffe, Chief Scout Executive of the World Boy Scout Organization. In the speech Ratcliffe quotes past mormon prophets such as David O. McKay.

    Here’s Monson’s full title in relation to the World Scout Organization: President Thomas S. Monson, U.S.A., Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Member, National Executive Board, Boy Scouts of America. Monson was also a member of the Canadian LDS Scouting Committee and a member of the General Scouting Committee of the LDS Church.

    http://www.lds.org/ensign/print/1993/11/scouting-award-presented-to-president-thomas-s-monson?lang=eng&clang=eng

    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/313128/PRES-MONSON-GETS-INTERNATIONAL-SCOUTINGS-TOP-HONOR.html?pg=all

  47. 47
    ChasCPeterson

    assholes.
    This is why we can’t have nice things.

    The people in Utah do care passionately about their parks, both state and federal

    I’m sure that most do.
    But not all.

  48. 48
    grumpyoldfart

    They’ll be down at the meetinghouse on Sunday, looking suitably sheepish while their peers tell them, “It’s OK, don’t worry about it, you weren’t to know it was wrong.” In the future they’ll look back on it and laugh.

  49. 49
    laurian

    Dear God. A couple chowderheads do something wrong, realize it was wrong, apologize for that wrong, seek penance for that wrong but from the howls for punitive punishment you’d think they had shat in Gaia’s mouth.

    1st World Outrage.

  50. 50
    Anthony K

    1st World Outrage.

    So what does one call being outraged by others being outraged? I mean, how empty does your life have to be that you have nothing better to do than write a comment like that, laurien?

  51. 51
    Inaji

    Chas:

    This is why we can’t have nice things.

    Stupid, festering asspimples. Can’t go two steps without a can of spray paint. :snarls:

  52. 52
    Sastra

    My first thought on watching this video wasn’t about the Boy Scouts or the Mormons. I thought “50 years ago most people wouldn’t have thought anything of this.”

    I could be wrong, of course. Could be that you have to go back 60, 70, or even a hundred years before the average person didn’t simply assume that nature was a big, giant playground and there’s no harm in pushing over a couple of rocks.

    But the general consciousness has been raised. Today, most people are rightfully appalled. It wasn’t that long ago that most people probably weren’t because education has a lot to do with it.

    One of my favorite scenes in Mad Men was where the happy picture-perfect upscale Draper family has a picture-perfect picnic beside the road in a lovely country spot — and when they’re done Mom Betty matter-of-factly shakes out the picnic blanket and gets rid of their trash, so they can now all go home in their nice car. She cleaned up.

  53. 53
    Anthony K

    My first thought on watching this video wasn’t about the Boy Scouts or the Mormons. I thought “50 years ago most people wouldn’t have thought anything of this.”

    I don’t know how homesteading works in Goblin Valley, but up here if you want to keep your free quarter section, you’d better move some boulders and start planting canola.

  54. 54
    Anthony K

    To be sure, there really isn’t much harm in pushing over a few rocks, except to future generations hoping to learn about and experience geology for themselves.

    But, as laurien notes, caretaking for future generations is a silly, 1st World Problem.

    Climate change, and the associated migration, starvation, and war, will eventulally screw our heads on straight and remind us all how silly we were to worry about trivialities such as climate change.

    [Pops another SSRI just to be able continue to function in a world full of fellow humans such as laurien]

    But, y’know me; I hate being negative.

  55. 55
    Inaji

    laurian:

    A couple chowderheads do something wrong, realize it was wrong, apologize for that wrong, seek penance for that wrong but from the howls for punitive punishment you’d think they had shat in Gaia’s mouth.

    Oh, you’re so sure they are actually sorry, eh? It wouldn’t have anything to do with them being caught at all, right? After all, I’m sure they didn’t tape it because they thought being so destructive was a really cool, awesome thing to do. Nah.

    Their behaviour is symptomatic of something going on all over the world, you arrogant fuckwit. You embody much of the attitude which enables people to commit such acts. So, don’t be showing up to Dear Muslima us and think you’re superior for doing so.

  56. 56
    Sastra

    I’ve got an idea for an appropriate punishment.

    That video has a pretty clear view of the “before” and the “after.” Those two (former) Scoutmasters (and any of the kids involved) need to go back to Goblin Valley Park and FIX IT.

    Put …the…rock…back…exactly… where…it…was.

    I don’t care how heavy it is or how much your back hurts. There are a bunch of you: figure it out. And make sure — have someone official there to make sure — that it looks as much like it did before as possible. Use the photos. If that involves picking up pieces of teeny-tiny rock and sand and re-planting grass and so forth then so be it.

    And let that be a lesson to them.

  57. 57
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Maybe someone ought to send these guys with, say, bulldozers to, oh i dunno, fill in the crater of Stromboli. Because it shoots out hot stuff and someone could get hurt.

  58. 58
    zenlike

    Shorter laurian:

    Trying to evade responsibility by all means = realising it was wrong

    Being mad about something = 1st World Outrage
    Being mad about people being mad about something = totes cool.

    Citation needed on the sincere apology and the penance-seeking.

    You what laurian, with your ‘dear god’, penance, ‘gaia’ and other bullshit you smell very much like a theist yourself. Maybe a mormon friend of these jackasses?

  59. 59
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    Seven billion people.

    Seven fucking billion people.

    We need to hold to a higher standard now or there’ll be no wilderness left at all. Making an example of them isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s vital that we do it.

  60. 60
    RFW

    @ pixelfish: “little kids should be under supervision for the most part inside National Parks”

    Try “all the time” and “careful, attentive supervision”.

    I was reading “Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon”, a catalog of every death known to have taken place in Grand Canyon National Park. One of the accounts was of a four year-old girl who was playing close to the edge. Her grandmother (iirc) called her over and said “don’t play so close to the edge, honey; it’s dangerous” — which it is, as the edge of the canyon is where active erosion takes place. Little girl was a brat and immediately ran off to do exactly what she had just been told not to do, didn’t stop in time, fell over the edge, and died.

    My conclusion: if you take a contrarian child to such a place, put a harness and leash on it.

    About that book: authors are Michael Ghiglieri and Thomas Myers. ISBN 978-0-9847858-0-3. I got to page 86 out of 586 and stopped reading. The endless accounts of people’s sheer stupidity were too much to take. There are companion volumes on Yosemite and Yellowstone.

    Another example of national park visitor stupidity at Grand Canyon: couple decide to hike rim to rim, but don’t take along anything like enough water. Their scanty supply of water runs out, they’re thirsty, they run across a small depression containing water. But ugh! it had tadpoles in it so they passed it up — and died of dehydration later on. There are times in life when squeamishness may be fatal.

  61. 61
    Inaji

    But ugh! it had tadpoles in it

    Sign of freshness, that.

  62. 62
    davidgentile

    @60, strange how the Grand Canyon, to a YEC’s horror, supports Evilution by helping to thin the herd.

  63. 63
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    Hoodoos….. itching powder. Just sayin’.

  64. 64
    frostball

    Another example of national park visitor stupidity at Grand Canyon: couple decide to hike rim to rim, but don’t take along anything like enough water. Their scanty supply of water runs out, they’re thirsty, they run across a small depression containing water. But ugh! it had tadpoles in it so they passed it up — and died of dehydration later on. There are times in life when squeamishness may be fatal.

    Just something that occurred to me, how could we know this happened if they died?

  65. 65
    Alteredstory

    My impression of the Scouts in America has been almost universally negative. When I was a kid in wilderness camp, we knew them as the ones complaining about having too much food to carry, and hiking around with coolers rather than food in backpacks (probably why they were whining). We could generally get free food off them.

    When I was in high school, I heard about a scout leader who had food in his pockets in his sleeping bag, and when a bear came up to the shelter to check it out, he didn’t try to scare it off, he just took pictures till it grabbed the sleeping bag he was in and tried to get at the food it smelled. The scout leader was unharmed, and the bear was put down.

    When I was working as a ridgerunner, there were a number of scout groups that were problems for us, but the one that stood out was the one that (a) lit fires in no-fire campsites and didn’t hide the evidence, and (b) left starburst wrappers and cigarillo butts in their firepits. They signed into the campsite registers, but we never managed to catch up with them.

    When I worked at a camp in upstate New York, there were a few Scouts from other countries that had been to an international Scout conference, and the American Scouts were the ones who wanted to stay in the hotel all day, rather than going out in the woods.

    I’ve met two eagle scouts that I respect. ALL my other encounters with the Boy Scouts of America have been on par with this video.

  66. 66
    davidgentile

    @Alteredstory, I’m sorry you have such a dim view of Scouts. I was lucky to come up in a very disciplined troop where none of that crap would have happened. Not offering excuses, but there are behavioral variations in all arenas – in plain English, all groups have assholes and slackers; Scouting’s about far more than the Outdoors, and is the only youth organization I know of that offers an achievement path like attaining Eagle rank.

    It’s actually sad that Girl Scouts don’t offer ranks, and I’m surprised feminists haven’t addressed that.

  67. 67
    A. Noyd

    davidgentile (#66)

    It’s actually sad that Girl Scouts don’t offer ranks, and I’m surprised feminists haven’t addressed that.

    Uh, why would that be a priority for feminists, even ones who put a lot of time and effort into the Girl Scouts? You’re assuming that ranks are a positive thing and feminists should want girls to emulate boys and value masculine-coded things over feminine-coded things. Maybe Boy Scouts should look into being less focused on hierarchical, methodical achievements that reflect primarily on the individual and look into inclusive achievements that are measured by things such as overall community improvement.

  68. 68
    Inaji

    davidgentile:

    Not offering excuses

    Well, yes, you are. BSA is a seriously fucked up organization, and has been for a very long time. My husband was a scout, went all the way to Eagle, fwiw, and he’s the first to admit all the fuckeduppedness in the scouts. Seems to me that you’re allowing nostalgia to do your thinking for you.

    is the only youth organization I know of that offers an achievement path like attaining Eagle rank.

    I gotta say, so the fuck what? I just went and chatted with Mister about this, and he said the same thing. Perhaps if there wasn’t so much emphasis on attaining rank, the scouts wouldn’t be so fucked up, eh?

    It’s actually sad that Girl Scouts don’t offer ranks, and I’m surprised feminists haven’t addressed that.

    Oh FFS, why in all hells is that sad? Go read this post: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/10/21/i-have-a-sudden-craving-for-girl-scout-cookies/ The Girl Scouts puts massive emphasis on people being decent human beings, and working for the greater good. They do a hell of a lot more than BSA, and are inclusive, rather than exclusive. There’s nothing for feminists to address, because they are already doing things correctly.

  69. 69
    davidgentile

    @A. Noyd, I’m assuming nothing of the sort. IMHO Boy Scouts achieve more individually and collectively than the Girls do, and I think GS’ adult leaders are failing the girls hugely by setting the bar so low. If you have evidence to the contrary, please share it.

  70. 70
    ChasCPeterson

    I was Cub Scout as a kid, up to Webelos (We‘ll Be Loyal Scouts, *eyeroll*), and it was fun enough I guess, but the BS (heh) uniforms and ranks were too military for me even at 11 years old (‘course that was 1970). I’ve never regretted that decision. There are many other ways available for male youth to achieve better accomplishments.

  71. 71
    ChasCPeterson

    I did have a friend who was an Eagle Scout though; he later got kicked out of the Navy ROTC for smoking weed.

    I think GS’ adult leaders are failing the girls hugely by setting the bar so low.

    what is that even supposed to mean?

  72. 72
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    davidgentile #69

    IMHO Boy Scouts achieve more individually and collectively than the Girls do, and I think GS’ adult leaders are failing the girls hugely by setting the bar so low.

    You’re under the impression that it’s some sort of competition? What a sad and drab way to picture the world. You have my sympathies.

  73. 73
    davidgentile

    @Caine, I am an Eagle Scout. I find the BSA’s institutionalized homophobia abhorrent, and there’s no connection between that and rank. Is there another kind of fuckedupedness I need to be aware of?

    Help me to understand why, if we were discussing getting more girls / women into STEM, talk of giving them more achievement opportunities would be welcome, but I’m pilloried for saying that Boy Scouts are challenged to achieve more than Girl Scouts are.

  74. 74
    Tethys

    davidgentile

    Life is not in fact, a competition. How is that not self evident?

  75. 75
    davidgentile

    @72, you’re right, how narrow of me. Those pioneering women in the computer science community who created all those algorithms, while their male colleagues took all the credit and kept the ladies out of their boys’ club, had nothing to complain about.

  76. 76
    Inaji

    Chas:

    what is that even supposed to mean?

    Oh, well, you can’t have girls being taught that they are full human beings, and you certainly can’t teach them how to be the best possible person you can be. And all that inclusiveness? Pffft, that can’t be good in any way.

    Structure! Ranks! Stupid Competition! Dominance Hierarchy! Keeping Patriarchal Values Alive! That’s the only way, you know. Plus, boys really, really need a haven from those dangerous queers,* by golly. How else will they grow up to be a man’s man?
     
    * And girls, of course. You can’t grow a proper man with females about.

  77. 77
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    davidgentile #75

    Where the hell did I say that workplace discrimination etc was in any way good?

    It’s your obsession with competition I commented on. The same obsession which leads to people claiming credit for work that isn’t theirs and all the rest of the “must climb that ladder at any cost” bullshit.

    Arsewipe.

  78. 78
    chigau (違う)

    davidgentile
    Do you think that the Survivor Reality™ TV franchise was modelled after the real world?

  79. 79
    davidgentile

    Daz, I missed on the workplace example. I don’t know why you think I’m obsessed with competition. I’m recommending achievement because it allows you to… achieve things. I’ve never stolen anyone’s work or got into that ladder bullshit.
    Ad hominem. How classy.

    Chigau, that’s somewhat ambiguous but I’ll say no, it’s a highly artificial environment and situation.

  80. 80
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    davidgentile #79

    I don’t know why you think I’m obsessed with competition. I’m recommending achievement because it allows you to… achieve things.

    Your comparison of the achievements of scouts and guides is framed as if it were competition, for starters. Your insistence that ranking is important is also a competition-based argument.

    With all your talk of achievement, there’s a word which is glaringly absent, especially sijce we’re talking of organisations for children. “Fun.” Why on Earth does everything have to be about striving for the next goal?

    I’ve never stolen anyone’s work or got into that ladder bullshit.

    You used the stealing of credit from women as an example of something or other. Seemed pretty much a non sequitur to me, but hey-ho.

    Please learn the difference between ad hominem and insult.

  81. 81
    sundiver

    Frostball@64: I think the case RFW refers to is the one involving Karen and Paul Stryker. RFW was mistaken in that Karen survived and hiked to Phantom Ranch. Paul died of dehydration/heat stroke. The tale is the first in “Death in Grand Canyon” chapter 2. Oddly enough, most of those who’ve fallen from the rims of Grand Canyon have been adults. Ghiglieri and Myers suggested that NPS put up a sign admonishing children: “IF YOU ARE A CHILD, PLEASE KEEP A CLOSE EYE ON ADULTS NEAR THE EDGE. ADULTS HAVE A TRAGIC TENDENCY TO BE CARELESS OR RECKLESS. DOZENS HAVE DIED HERE DUE TO LACK OF ADEQUATE SUPERVISION BY CHILDREN.

  82. 82
    chigau (違う)

    davidgentile #79

    it’s a highly artificial environment and situation

    As opposed to the Scouts‽
    Really?

  83. 83
    A. Noyd

    davidgentile (#69)

    IMHO Boy Scouts achieve more individually and collectively than the Girls do, and I think GS’ adult leaders are failing the girls hugely by setting the bar so low. If you have evidence to the contrary, please share it.

    How about you give evidence since you’re the one making the assertion. While you’re at it explain what criteria you’re using to measure achievement and why those are sound criteria. (Stop to consider that you might value what you value in a scout organization because it’s what Boy Scouts taught you to value.) Please be sure the criteria account for obvious negatives on the side of the Boy Scouts (like the widespread bigotry and religiosity), as well as any differences that gaps in external funding, support and promotion (as opposed internal organization) might make.

    And you’re begging the fucking question that the bar is higher on the boy’s side. I’m having trouble seeing it since that’s the side with all the Jesus-pimping, gay-bashing, authoritarian, nature-wrecking shitbags. Convince me that there’s more to your position than you having fallen for the belief that boy things are genuinely better rather than simply held in higher esteem by our society thanks to patriarchy.

    (#73)

    I find the BSA’s institutionalized homophobia abhorrent, and there’s no connection between that and rank.

    Right, just like there’s no connection between military rank and homophobia in the US military. You’re a fucking idiot if you think institutionalized bigotry doesn’t negatively impact gay people’s achievement within that institution (or positively impact that of the homophobes).

    (#75)

    Those pioneering women in the computer science community who created all those algorithms, while their male colleagues took all the credit and kept the ladies out of their boys’ club, had nothing to complain about.

    So, uh…I don’t get your argument. You think men wouldn’t have taken all the credit and booted the ladies out if the ladies had gone about with rank insignia and Algorithm Scout designations?

  84. 84
    A. Noyd

    Maybe “I’m an Eagle Scout” can be the new Mensa card.

  85. 85
    ftltachyon

    davidgentile:

    To me, the reason your points seem like they don’t work is because you’re focused on *ranks* rather than something real.

    There’s nothing a priori useful about listing or naming ranks. What’s useful is what’s (supposed to be) behind them – community service, personal growth, etc. People were pointing out “girl scouts do those things” and your response sounded like “but they don’t give them names and badges!”

    Now, as any developer of a stupid online flash game knows, it’s nice to give people Achievements and Ranks and Badges or whatever to keep them playing. So sure, maybe assigning ranks or things is a good idea. But life isn’t a stupid online flash game; so maybe it’s better to instill those values *without* a ranking ladder system?

    Perhaps it is, perhaps it isn’t. But you didn’t address that issue at all.

  86. 86
    sundiver

    Back to the OP, I got a sneaking suspicion the Utah parks people may have to lower the shit hammer on these assholes to prevent any more dumbfucks from making more “improvements” to the landscape. At least I hope so. Utah has some really cool “psilocybin scenery” landscapes and some people really dedicated to keeping it unspoiled. There also a lot of world-class shitheads there who’d dig the place up for money.

  87. 87
    davidgentile

    @83, 84, 85, I think I’ve derailed this thread enough. 83, I can’t meet your challenge. I’m going silent while I reflect.

  88. 88
    chigau (違う)

    davidgentile #87
    Should you return, comment here:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/10/17/thunderdome-37/comment-page-1/
    the thread is a confusing mess but jump right in
    there are no derails there

  89. 89
    Jadehawk

    But life isn’t a stupid online flash game; so maybe it’s better to instill those values *without* a ranking ladder system?

    relevant: http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/edu/73/1/83/
    there’s also some evidence that rewards don’t cause better performance, and that praising achievement actually stifles kids’ development. Despite the deeply ingrained belief that strict hierarchies and constant competition for individual achievement between peers is a positive, motivating force, the science is a lot more ambivalent on the topic; cooperation seems to serve kids better than competition.

    Further: 1)an organization that’s been pissing right-wingers and fundies off for decades is always worth more than one thoroughly infested with the selfsame right-wingers and fundies; 2)The comment about women in STEM is especially fucking stupid as some sort of dig at the girl scouts, since GS are very strongly involved in getting girls into STEM tracks; 3)GS is involved in teaching and engaging in environmental activism, something evidently somewhat lacking from at least some BS troops (another relevant incident)

    From where I’m sitting, it really seems like the boy scouts should just be scrapped and a boys (or non-gendered) division of the girl scouts should replace it. Much quicker than attempting to fix the boy scouts instead, considering how far away from tolerable they are.

  90. 90
    Inaji

    Daz:

    With all your talk of achievement, there’s a word which is glaringly absent, especially sijce we’re talking of organisations for children. “Fun.”

    Aye. Another thing, learning. Having fun learning, that’s so effing important. Much more important than working at achievements, such as merit badges and ranks. When you can light a mind on fire with a love of learning, it’s worthwhile, and the best way to do that is while you’re having fun. That takes flair and imagination, and such people who can teach and lead in that way are priceless. You end up with more balanced people altogether that way, rather than sticking sprogs in an old, stultified system.

  91. 91
    anthrosciguy

    Half the tourism industry of Utah is based on funny looking rock formations.

  92. 92
    Anthony K

    Half the tourism industry of Utah is based on funny looking rock formations.

    You mean like this one?

  93. 93
    David Marjanović

    This is why we can’t have nice things.

    …These are some of the less informative petroglyphs I’ve seen.

    About that book: authors are Michael Ghiglieri and Thomas Myers. ISBN 978-0-9847858-0-3. I got to page 86 out of 586 and stopped reading. The endless accounts of people’s sheer stupidity were too much to take. There are companion volumes on Yosemite and Yellowstone.

    Gah.

    and is the only youth organization I know of that offers an achievement path like attaining Eagle rank.

    It’s actually sad that Girl Scouts don’t offer ranks, and I’m surprised feminists haven’t addressed that.

    …I think what I’m feeling is culture shock.

    I don’t know why you think I’m obsessed with competition. I’m recommending achievement because it allows you to… achieve things.

    You equate achievement with competition! You equate achievement of a rank that allows you to do little other than say “I’m better than you” with achievement!

    Don’t you even notice?

    Those pioneering women in the computer science community who created all those algorithms, while their male colleagues took all the credit and kept the ladies out of their boys’ club, had nothing to complain about.

    So, uh…I don’t get your argument. You think men wouldn’t have taken all the credit and booted the ladies out if the ladies had gone about with rank insignia and Algorithm Scout designations?

    It sounds like he thinks the only reason anyone would “create all those algorithms” is to outcompete other people. Under that assumption, it suddenly makes sense.

    I know a competitive scientist. We call him Sphincter Mucus.

    another relevant incident

    Scouts that cut down trees?

    What?

    …And then I read on. Wow. I diagnose a case of For Teh Evulz.

  94. 94
    tealviolence

    In reply to #47 @ Lyanna.

    That speech was given by Mr. Jere B. Ratcliffe, Chief Scout Executive of the World Boy Scout Organization. In the speech Ratcliffe quotes past mormon prophets such as David O. McKay.

    Here’s Monson’s full title in relation to the World Scout Organization: President Thomas S. Monson, U.S.A., Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Member, National Executive Board, Boy Scouts of America. Monson was also a member of the Canadian LDS Scouting Committee and a member of the General Scouting Committee of the LDS Church.

    That should be Jere B. Ratcliffe, Chief Scout Executive of the BSA not the World Boy Scout Organization, the head of that organization is known as General Secretary, and I may hope feel as I do, quietly alarmed at the LDS influence in the BSA. I hope with change in membership requirements in January that this may moderate

  95. 95
    Juliana Ewing

    The Girl Scouts do in fact have a rank equivalent to BSA’s Eagle Scout, the Girl Scout Gold Award. http://www.eagletribune.com/newhampshire/x1650938516/Undervalued-gold-Girl-Scouts-top-award-less-recognized-than-Eagle-Scout

  96. 96
    davidgentile

    After the somewhat deserved wire brushing I got last night, I went to the GS site and found the GSGA. It looks laudatory.

  97. 97
    Jay McHue
  98. 98
    Inaji

    Jay McHue:

    Why don’t you just consider it an act along the lines of your wafer and book destruction?

    Because private possessions are not the same as natural formations in a National Park, where everything is under protection?

    By the way, I borrowed your and Chris Kluwe’s books from the library. I’m contemplating defiling them.

    If you bother to buy either book, defile away, no one will care. However, a library book is not your property. You seem to have trouble comprehending the concept, so you might spend some time on that before you attempt to comprehend any more books.

  99. 99
    ChasCPeterson

    Why don’t you just consider it an act along the lines of your wafer and book destruction?

    jesus, you’re an idiot.

  100. 100
    Inaji

    Chas:

    jesus, you’re an idiot.

    I suspect a sock, too. Same old tired stuff.

  101. 101
    echidna

    Well, I hope it’s a sock. Because otherwise the stupidity reeks:

    the toppling of some worthless, dime-a-dozen rock in a desert

  102. 102
    ledasmom

    Why don’t you just consider it an act along the lines of your wafer and book destruction?

    Easy to make more communion wafers – it’s not exactly a secret recipe. Easy to print more books. Not so easy to replace things that weren’t made by humans.
    Do you really think that any rock in any desert in the world is replaceable by any other rock from any other desert? One is equivalent to the other? By that reasoning we could replace the Grand Canyon with a ditch and a lot of mirrors.

    By the way, I borrowed your and Chris Kluwe’s books from the library. I’m contemplating defiling them. Haven’t quite decided how, but I’m sure you will wholeheartedly approve since nothing — not the books themselves or the fact that they came from the library — must be held sacred.

    I’m sure the library will appreciate your offer to buy new copies of both books.
    I also don’t quite understand how it’s possible to hold a fact sacred. I mean, the books came from the library. That’s not actually a matter for ethical debate, is it? They did in fact come from the library.

  103. 103
    carlie

    I saw in one story about this that the guy said that it was really dangerous, not just because the rock could fall down and hurt someone, but that it could easily fall if “someone were jumping on it”, like what they were doing with their “lava” game. And this was after all of the initial outcry – he still thinks that jumping around on potentially fragile formations is an appropriate way to interact with a state park. What a jerk.

  104. 104
    PZ Myers

    That was Jinx McHue, one of the longest banned kooks around here. He was booted off the original Pharyngula for his stupidity way back when.

  105. 105
    swbarnes2

    Did anyone see that the video is now blocked because one of the vandals is claiming he’s copyrighted it?

  106. 106
    chigau (違う)

    You can copyright evidence?

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