by Pa Rock
Back in the dark ages when I first enrolled at Southwest Missouri State College, all freshmen and sophomore males had to take ROTC. Not surprisingly, not every male was anxious to join the student corps and go to drills a couple of times a week. However, that was also when the Vietnam War was raging, and playing soldier at SMS on warm afternoons was better than the alternative.
I remember one friend who, as he was filling out enrollment forms for ROTC, came across a certain question and became quite indignant. The question was "Have you ever been a member of a fascist organization?" "Yes," he answered, "the Boy Scouts of America." Even then, it would seem, the venerable Scouts had an image problem.
I am a former Boy Scout, and I believe that the impact of scouting on America's boys has been generally positive. I don't agree with their homophobic decision to exclude gay youth from scouting, thereby marginalizing those kids and reinforcing dangerous biases and stereotypes. If scouting is a valuable experience, and I believe that it is, then it should be open to all boys and not just those claiming to be straight.
Today there was a story on the internets regarding what has been more or less been an open secret in America for decades - the pedophilia tendencies of some adults associated with scouting. Scouting, like the Catholic Church, offers a smorgasbord of young boys that is irresistible to some predatory men.
Today's story was about a scouting official who directed a national task force to protect children from sexual abuse. The man had been an employee of the Boy Scouts for 39 years when he was recently arrested and charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
In a poor effort at damage control, a national spokesman for the Boy Scouts tried to downplay the incident by stressing how unusual it was. "We're shocked and dismayed to learn of this," the spokesman said. "This is the first time ever we recall anything like this being charged against a Boy Scouts employee."
Bull hockey! Anyone who has ever been in the Scouts knows that some who volunteer to work with the kids do so primarily because that is where they can get their hands on what they desire. The same is true of some priests, some youth ministers, and even some teachers and coaches. If you are looking for kids, you go where the kids are at.
It turns out that the Boy Scout spokesman was being remarkably disingenuous. The following was taken from today's DailyKos.com:
"The Boy Scouts of America has long kept an extensive archive of secret documents that chronicle the sexual abuse of young boys by Scout leaders over the years.
The "perversion files," a nickname the Boy Scouts are said to have used for the documents, have rarely been seen by the public, but that could change in the coming weeks in a Portland, OR, courtroom.
The attorney for a man who was allegedly molested in the 1980's by a Scout leader has obtained about 1,000 Boy Scouts sex files and is expectedd to release some of them at a trial that began Wednesday. The lawyer says the files show the organization has covered up abuse for decades."
Parenting in today's world requires extra vigilance. Making the assumption that every adult a child encounters will be a good role model is dangerous folly. There are lots of bad people roaming loose in society, and many of them are anxious to work with your child. Parents beware!