Mike changed it and I forgot the new name - long posting
Chris Haggerty, Sierra Vista, Arizona (CHAGGERTY@ARIZBPA.BITNET)
Sat, 21 Aug 1993 13:33:00 MST
Yale and others,
I generally try to stay away from these topics because they become
to emotional on all sides and as others indicate, we end up like
REC.SCOUTING (I have decided to stay away from Rec.Scouting because
of the comments about it and the fact that I do not have sufficient
time to waste reading emotionally silly arguments.)
From the information Yale presented, I understand he is trying to
get several things done. One is trying to get scouting to get rid
of the bad apples. I fully support him in this activity. Because
of his situation, he is working outside the organization. There
are many of us on the inside who are doing the same thing. He took
on "BSA, INC." and they pushed him out. What did he expect them
to do, give him a medal and say thanks for making us look like the
morons we are? (Forgive my sarcasm, I live in Arizona and we are
fond of DRY HUMOR!) I have on occasions taken on "XXXX district"
in an attempt to keep things in line in my corner of the world and
in line with my interpretation of the Scout Law and Oath. I have
made a number of people mad, upset others, and embarrassed still
others. I am sure I am still in scouting because of my politics
and how I execute them.
In case someone is not aware of this, BSA is an organization.
Organizations by nature tend to be political. If you do not
believe me, move away from the troop level and get involved in the
district level for a few years. Politics in scouting goes on at
all levels, including the unit level, but in the unit it is just
the parents fighting over things and not called "politics".
I had a wonderful experience with scouting as a youth. My goal as
an adult is to help the youth in scouting TODAY grow and learn.
It is my hope that some of them will enjoy it and have as much fun
as I did. I feel I can best do this from within the organization
and will express myself when I feel it will help, not hurt. The
BIG QUIET Chris is notorious for shocking people. When he sees a
fight worth fighting and when he feels it will have an impact he
grabs onto it and really sinks his teeth in. Along with Mike who
offered his help, I too want to get rid of anyone who abuses the
program. Yale, we do not have to be associated with you to do this
(since you feel that will hurt us) because (I am assuming Mike W.
will agree with me here) we have been doing just this for years on
our own. Although I tend to think both Mike and I would prefer the
approach of trying to mold and change people before finding a way
to move them out of the organization. Yale I know you deal
specifically with child molesters and getting them out is the best
approach, but both Mike and I, and for that matter just about
everyone in scouting (as you should know) has to deal with a lot
more than just that.
However, I am very much against anything that smells of a witch
hunts. These are totally unjust in my book. One example, I know
a scouter who by accident told me he was an atheist under stressful
circumstances. The way BSA feels about religion, I could have this
person out before he knew what happened. Have I done so? Of
course not. My interests are the youths. This man is helping the
movement not hurting it. The youth benefit from his presence. I
could never tell he is an atheist and I am sure most others cannot
tell as well. The entire point is moot. He statement never went
beyond me. (He has been in scouting in the same place so long, I
doubt very much that he has ever filled in one of the new adult
Another point that Yale seems to be making is that he wants
Scouting to acknowledge the problem and how big it is. They did
that years ago. Let me explain.
I was an Assistant Scoutmaster in Hermosa Beach, California when
the McMartin Pre-School arrests were made. The arrests were for
child molestation and the case received national attention. The
pre-school was located in Hermosa Beach. (It may have been one of
the neighbor beach communities, my memory is fading with age, but
the point is, the pre-school was in our community.) It was not
long after this when we first saw the YPP guidelines. It was also
during the time after this that we saw things like the guidelines
for being rated a National Standard Cub Day Camp go from four to
eight pages in only one year. I saw a number of long time scouters
quit, because they were suddenly scared. They saw what these
people were put through, they lost their careers, respect, in short
everything they had. In the end only one or two were convicted.
(Please no speculation on if the others were really guilty or not,
the jury said no, without the information they had, no one else has
the right to second guess their judgments.)
YPP and increased rules and regulation are all an acknowledgement
on the part of BSA that there is a problem out there. Some may say
they developed all this as a preventive measure. True enough, they
are preventive, but lets be real for a moment. In the 80's there
was a lot of National and local publicity related to child
molestation. You will never get me to believe that BSA decided
they wanted to develop these guidelines and prevent bad publicity
because child-molesting MAY SOMEDAY HAPPEN IN BSA. Contrary to
popular belief, the people at National are not morons. You cannot
have an organization the size of BSA and not have some of this
going on. Their most logical motive was to put an end to it and
prevent it from happening as much as possible. You may never get
them to admit this in as many words, but their actions speak loud
enough for me to hear them.
Why didn't they do this before. Again lets be real. It was one
of those things (right or wrong) you just did not talk about,
PERIOD. (Well, maybe a little bit in country music?-lighten up
people I will lose you if I am serious all the time.) People, in
particular those under thirty do not realize how fast things have
been changing in this country and the world. They tend to think
that activities like the civil rights movement happened ages ago
(like a 100 years ago - ask some AVERAGE high school students,
their answers will kill you).
The last item I saw that Yale is looking for is the apology from
BSA. I have to go along with Mike here, he knows more about this
than I do.
Last (is he almost done finally, don't count on it!)
I would like to thank Yale for being brave enough to stick his neck
His actions have opened the eyes of many people and the more eyes
he opens, the more people there are who may help prevent the
problems from happening in the first place. His Calvin and Hobbes
quote (I remember reading the specific comic) is right on the
money. We may not like what we see, but we can't change what we
don't see. Just remember, Yale, your batting average is not 100%.
No one bats that good (myself included). Yale, please try to be
very cold in your searches, do not get too emotional, a witch hunt
will only hurt the good you are trying to do and from your
position, it would be easy to turn you actions into a witch hunt.
If you could work at this from the prospect of making BSA better,
would that not re-enforce some of the training you got from BSA as
a youth? Isn't that what this is all about? Making better
citizens for a better tomorrow? Be that better citizen, be above
their petty ways.
Look, I know, you tried that once and you got drummed out of
scouting. Guess what, they cannot kick you out of scouting now.
Remember, when you have your own boys, even if they won't let you
join you can still participate as a parent. I know of one dad who
is doing this right now. He was booted-unjustly I think. His boys
moved to another troop, this troop knows of the incident and he
regularly drives and goes on outings. As a parent, he does not
have to be a registered member of the unit (as long as the unit
follows the guidelines for having registered adults along).
I hope they catch the blankity, blank that is calling and making
death threats against Yale. That is a cowardly and un-scout like
thing to do. If they do catch this person and this person is in
scouting, I would like to be first in line to drum (read that kick)
We all need to respect the right of others to disagree with us.
But we also need to recognize our right not to have the beliefs of
someone else forced upon us.
In this paper I present a lot of opinions and thoughts which I believe are
real based upon simple common sense. Think about them, you may not agree
with all the thoughts, I know I do not, but then, what does reality have to
do with our opinions? Even more thought provking, whose reality are we
going to accept if any?
Sorry to be so long, but it has been a while since I opened my big
mouth and I felt it was time again.
Sierra Vista, Arizona
Maybe the folks at National should read more Mark Twain (nawww,
he's being banned in too many schools-besides we really don't want
more mistakes of this type).
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemmens): "Always acknowledge a fault. This
will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an
opportunity to commit more."
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City