Re: Have You Lost Your Minds (& Hearts)?
Steve Tobin (srtobin@MIRAGE.SKYPOINT.COM)
Tue, 7 Feb 1995 01:09:00 CST
>Ken, we don't make the rules, we just try to live with them. And yes, the
>primary reason for these rules are to give an out to the insurance
>companies which agree to cover Scouting events. There have been some...
Forget the insurance companies. Let's talk about the treatment we leaders
get from our own organization. Last Sspring a Scoutmaster in my district had
false charges of child abuse brought against him, phoned in anonymously with
no support or proof of any kind. The council immediately delivered a
registered letter dismissing him from any role in the BSA. No reason why. No
explaination of any kind. No amount of pleading could get any kind of a
reason or explaination from the council as to why they dismissed him. He
went to regional, then to national before he could get anything in they way
of an explaination. They then told him of the charges, but refused to tell
him any specifics, or who made them (they didn't even know themselves) and
absolutely refused to investigate or hear any evidence of any. It took the
efforts of the entire troop committee, all the scout's parents (except one,
or course) and pretty much the entire community to get any action, and then
only because they went to the region office. They finally were gracious
enough to reinstate him. Needless to say, he is not very pleased with this
treatment. This espisode has tainted his entire life, and a formerly active,
motivated, and very effective leader is no long participating activing. And
it leaves the rest of us wondering...
Now, I realize from previous discussions on the list that this procedure is
entirely within the guidelines set out in the BSA manual (can't remember the
name right off). This person even got a copy of it (much to the chagrin of
the CE) and showed it to us. It was not very pleasant reading. Apart from
the fact that this procedure is basically unconstitutional if the government
tried to do it, it goes against every precept of fairness and human rights
ever held sacred by this country. It is justified with the reason that is is
neccessary to "protect the organization at all costs". It seems to me they
are just covering their own tails, at the expense of ours.
So, you ask how can we do scouting in an environment like this? With our
backs to the wall and constantly looking over our shoulders, second guessing
every move, and running an obsticle course of regulatory roadblocks.
Incredibly sick atmosphere? You bet it is. I fought it for years because I
felt that responsible people had to take a stand against this kind of
madness. But a person gets tired of getting blind-sided by the people that
are supposed to be supporting you.
Immoral? No more so that any other western society. But there is a good deal
of confusion and re-examination of the changing values of the last 30 years.
All of a sudden the consequenses of irresponsible sexual relationships are
becoming alarmingly apparent. So people are concerned, and they aren't sure
what to do, or think, so are are ready to jump on someone else because of it.
There is in this country the very real attitude that people are "entitled
to" a risk-free existence. It would take a team of sociologists to try and
find out where it devleoped from, but the reality is that is exists. The
logical result is that whenever anything "bad" happens, the person
automatically looks for someone to blame for it. Events that used to be
accepted as an "act of God", or the logical consequences of stupid behavior,
or just the way life is sometimes, now need a bad guy to be at fault. And to
pay. In cash.
Well, I could go on. And on. And on. But I won't. (Too, late! I already
have!) In defense, or by way of some understanding, I think the U.S. has
been, and is, going through a period of enourmous social and economic
changes that has left a lot of people uncertain and afraid. A lot of the
lessons learned from 4000 years (more or less) of human history have gotten
lost in the confussion over what to change and what to keep. I expect we
will come through it, but then I am an eternal and incurable optimist (in
spite of my better judgment).
I had expected the BSA to be one of bulwarks in the "battle" for sanity, but
I am afraid they seem to have gotten caught up in the madness, also. They
have taken the safe and easy route and sold out to the lawyers. At one time
I planned on staying with scouting after my son graduated, but at this point
I doubt that I will. I'll stay until my son and my "senior class" get their
Eagle, and then leave. It just isn't worth risking everything my family and
I have for.
Unless I change my mind tomorrow... I _do_ love Scouting.
p.s. - let's kick the bumbs out and take Scouting back from the
bean-counters and bottle-washers!!! Workers arise! Kick of your oppressors
Whoops. That's another message. Never mind...
Steve Tobin, SM Internet: email@example.com
Troop 39 Cannon River District
Cannon Falls, MN Gamehaven Council (Southeastern Minnesota)
Eagle Class of '65 OA Ordeal >>>>=========>
Member: * Minnesotans for Global Warming *
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City