He’s better off out of the Cub Scouts

A young man got to participate in some civic engagement with his scout troop, and was given an opportunity to ask a question of Colorado state senator Vicki Marble. He asked, “An issue that I’m concerned about is common sense gun control. I was shocked that you co-sponsored a bill to allow domestic violence offender to continue to own a gun. … Why on Earth would you want somebody who beats their wife to have access to a gun?

Man, that kid did his research ahead of time, looked into the legislation Marble sponsored, and actually asked a cogent question. Do they give badges for that?

I guess not. The scout leader kicked him out of his cub scout den.


  1. marcoli says

    I was thinking that the kid may have been coached by his parents to ask the question, but fortunately I checked the source and learned that even if that was so, to some degree, he understood it and stood behind it. So good on him!

  2. Matrim says

    I really hope they make a stink out of it. Seriously, if that’s the reason he got kicked out that’s utterly ridiculous.

  3. ospalh says

    Hmm. I can’t find what the senator answered.
    I’d really like an answer to that question. Why should they have a gun?

  4. consciousness razor says

    Do they give badges for that?

    No. Boy scouts have specific merit badges, not for merely asking a question of course, but “Citizenship in the Nation” would probably be the most relevant one, which is also required for Eagle. (Plus, there are others like Law, Crime Prevention, Public Health, and Safety.)

    Cub scouts basically just advance in rank each year, so that first graders work toward certain goals, second graders build upon that with new goals, and so forth.

    I guess not. The scout leader kicked him out of his cub scout den.

    “Webelos”: we’ll be loyal scouts … to the Republican party.

    The story said he’ll be joining a Boy scout troop in February, so that’s something at least.

  5. Erp says

    He got kicked out of the den by the den leader but not out of the pack or scouts. Den leaders (use to be den mothers but now either sex can be in charge) tend to be pretty low level and most organizations have some idiots at that level. It is the reaction of the higher echelons that would reflect most on the Boy Scouts of America as a whole. So far the higher echelons seem to be pretty quiet. There are plenty of reasons for not joining the BSA; I’m just not sure this incident shows another.

    One guess I saw is the meeting was part of the citizen requirement for Webelos http://www.boyscouttrail.com/webelos/webelos_activity_badge_requirements.asp
    “With your Webelos den or your family, visit a community leader. Learn about the duties of the job or office and tell what you have learned.”

  6. Doubting Thomas says

    When I was a Scout, most of the leaders were recent WWII vets who seemed to think Scouting was about preping us for the Draft, inspections, marching and reciting oaths. Vietnam was just on the horizon. I quit, and later said no to the Draft.

  7. jrkrideau says

    @ 6 Doubting Thomas

    When I was a Scout, most of the leaders were recent WWII vets who seemed to think Scouting was about preping us for the Draft

    Well not the draft but, IIRC, that was roughly the reason Baden-Powell originally formed the scouts in Britain.

  8. inflection says

    I had to move troops several times before we found one that would take an atheist. Finally did and I was glad of it. I hope he finds a welcoming pack somewhere and makes the Boy Scouts better with his own continued presence.

  9. says

    Why is anyone a scout, anymore, anyhow? It’s like wanting to join the catholic church – what do you expect except fail sandwich made of fail bread with failsauce?

  10. EigenSprocketUK says

    Rather sickeningly: the senator did not answer the question, but first posed two questions: Did you know that [the Las Vegas hotel] was a gun-free zone? Did you know that the Aurora Theater was a gun-free zone? Did you know that?

    This is about as much use as saying “Did you know that murdering people in Las Vegas was a crime? Did you know that murdering people in Colorado was a crime? Did you know that? And it did not stop it happening. What we need is not murder control, but crime control.”

  11. TheGyre says

    When I was 9 I asked my mother to let me join the Boy Scouts. But she refused and wouldn’t budge on the subject no matter how much I begged. I didn’t understand it at the time, and was crestfallen and as angry as a 9 year old can be, but later I learned that the reason she objected was because she was born in 1933 in Prussia and grew up in Nazi Germany. She’d been forced to wear a uniform and she saw all of her young male friends join the Hitler Jugend. Many of them died in the final months of the war fighting Ivan. I guess the thought of seeing me in a uniform at age 9 was just too much for her. I don’t equate the Scouts with the Hitler Jugend, but I do get an uneasy feeling when I see regimented children wearing uniforms. It does seem as though they’re being groomed for something bigger.

  12. EigenSprocketUK says

    @TheGyre: Your mother’s reaction is exactly how I now feel. The (UK) cub scouts I joined was all fun and games and wholesome activities. But, no doubt about it, there was the strong undercurrent (from Baden-Powel’s original aims of grooming youth for colonial and military service) of exposing young kids to making oaths to God and Queen, getting used to mini-army regimental style behaviours, wanting to progress to positions with power and authority over other kids young and smaller than you.
    In the UK we also have “Boys’ Brigade” which is similar, but with the God-factor turned up to eleven. For tax reasons it is still not quite as mandatory-Christian as the USA, but if you’re black or notionally non-Christian it’s not the sort of place you’d feel like you fit in.

  13. rietpluim says

    @whheydt #10
    I’m not sure if I understand the expression “heart in a jar” correctly. It’s something you do with the heart of an enemy, isn’t it? I was talking about my own heart.

    I was a boy scout for most of my childhood and adolescence and I loved every minute of it. Scouting in The Netherlands, where I live, is about the most liberal and all-welcoming organization you could wish for, open to all colors and religions and genders.

    It hurts me personally to see the BSA to be so bigoted. I think they should be kicked out of the WOSM.

  14. Michael says

    I managed to boost the sound on the video I posted above. The Senator did respond to the boy’s question, but in typical politician form she didn’t actually answer it, instead talking about gun-free zones, that more guns = less crime, and the usual NRA talking points that were contrary to the facts the boy stated, before the video cuts off. That, and another interview about racism with the Senator, lead me to believe that she isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed.

    I see no reason why the den leader decided to kick the boy out of Scouts.

  15. microraptor says

    EigenSproketUK @13:

    ather sickeningly: the senator did not answer the question, but first posed two questions: Did you know that [the Las Vegas hotel] was a gun-free zone?

    Which is, in fact, a flat out lie. The hotel was not a gun-free zone, something that was widely reported right after the shooting because it meant that the perpetrator being seen taking so many guns up to his room didn’t raise the alarm it would have otherwise.

  16. kupo says

    @marcoli #1
    Why is it whenever a child says or does something intelligent there’s always someone dismissing them as having been coached? Women get that, too, and it’s beyond infuriating.

  17. says

    TheGyre — “…fighting Ivan”? Is that referring to Russians?

    It seems to have been a generic name for Russian soldiers. One book about the Red Army in these years (which I haven’t read, but which sounds interesting) is called Ivan’s War, referring to “Ivan, the Russian rifleman, the equivalent of the British Tommy or the German Fritz.” I don’t know if it’s considered offensive today.

  18. whheydt says

    Re: reitplium @ #17…
    It was an oblique reference to a remark made by a Science Fiction author. He said, “I have the heart of a small boy. I keep it in a jar in my desk.”

  19. whheydt says

    Re: “Ivan”…
    In the early 1980s, I had a colleague at work who grew up about 50 miles from the Czech border. His job of driving a delivery truck for the local grocer was deemed “essential”, so other that a 6-month stint doing occupation duty in France, he wasn’t in the military until the end of the war when he was drafted into the Volksturm. He was one of the defenders of the Siege of Breslau and spent a year in a Russian POW camp right after that.

    His opinion of Russian peasants was interesting, but not flattering.

  20. chigau (違う) says

    whheydt #23
    That *actual experience* stuff is just messy.
    Wait. Maybe I meant *anecdote*.

  21. kurt1 says

    @rietpluim #17
    Same thing in germany. Very inclusive, which is why our organisation eventually left WOSM because of the BSA, and stayed in WAGGGS only. Which makes me a girl scout i guess (fuck you, ben shapiro).

  22. davidnangle says

    The reason why there’s a powerful political machine making sure that wife-abusers can keep their guns is that they don’t want their police forces to be without guns.

    Because that’s the kind of person you hire to be a cop when you need to keep the poor down. It’s either that or draw from the prison population to replenish your police jobs.

  23. E Wolber says

    @9 jrkrideau and others: Regarding Baden-Powell’s intentions in founding the Boy Scouts: I do not know where your information is from and would appreciate it if you shared a source. My information (from biographies containing quotes fromspeeches an letters by B-P as well as several of B-P’s drawings regarding this topic) as to B-P’s motivation: Having witnessed the atrocities of war in India/Afghanistan and Africa, and having successfully formed culturally diverse youth grougs, B-P continued to look for a way to foster understanding among different groups an nations. When his military training manual “Aids to Scouting for N.C.O.s and men” became popular among boys as a guide to play in the woods (not playing war, playing explorer or adventurer), he used this proven attraction as the basis for the Scouting Movement. Scouting is aimed at peace and understanding and definitely NOT meant as pre-education of recruits.

  24. expatriarchy says

    Why is anyone a scout, anymore, anyhow?

    It is a way to have a structured environment where the kids learn new skills while being with their friends. It forms a big part of boys’ childhood in my town, where nearly every little boy is in at least the Cub Scouts; they don’t all go on to being Boy Scouts but a significant portion do. The badges are well planned and really expose the kids to a wide range of activities. The BS also culminates in the Eagle Scout award, which is nationally recognized and represents real mastery of project management skills. If the public school system could only have a project requirement for graduation, all kids would benefit greatly, instead of reserving this experience for a subset of kids. All that said, the BSA’s insistence on God-bothering and performative patriotism made it useless for my sons.

  25. charley says

    Apropos of not much, here’s my Boy Scout story. When it was time for my oldest to graduate from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts (age 12) they took the new recruits on an introductory campout in the woods which turned out to include a bizarre and terrifying prank. In the middle of the night after everyone else had turned in, the leaders staged a murder in a nearby ravine using a real gun. They then had the boys run for their lives through the woods past flaming piles of straw and an actual severed cow head tossed into the path in front of them. Ha ha, just kidding guys! One of the boys was unable to sleep alone for months afterward.

  26. chigau (違う) says

    charley #32
    Charming story.
    Is there any chance that those demented fuckwits are in jail?

  27. charley says

    @33 Don’t know. My son quit soon after that, and the leader of the troop didn’t seem too concerned about the incident when we complained.