Talk to Us
Roger Claff (Reclaff@AOL.COM)
Sun, 4 May 1997 08:30:07 -0400
The Boy Scouts of America is the largest (and best!) organization for boys in
the U.S. Through BSA generations of boys have learned, not just new skills,
but true character. The entire country views BSA as an icon, as a true
standard of boy behavior and an educator of what is right and what is wrong.
Now the head of this exemplary organization, the Chief Scout Executive, has
attempted to board a plane with a loaded handgun. And in the process, two
laws have been violated - one concerning weapons on aircraft and one
concerning carrying proper permits.
These are not scofflaws, folks. Argue all you wish, but a principle purpose
for which a loaded handgun is oft put to use is to kill people. This isn't a
As the head of the premier organization for boys in America, what message is
the CSE sending? What is he saying to the kids in Anacostia (DC), who are
shooting each other with handguns over matters as petty as sneakers and
jackets? What's he saying to the kids of Cabrini Green (Chicago) who are
doing likewise? Or kids in thousands of other like neighborhoods nationwide?
What's he saying to BSA's own membership, scouts who believe that callous
treatment of handguns is just plain WRONG, no matter the reason or
circumstances; who've been taught, and taught, and taught, that if they are
anywhere NEAR a handgun they should immediately report it to a responsible
What's he saying to the public, who, wrongly, have increasingly viewed BSA as
an extremely conservative organization preaching selective morality and
ethics; and through the laws and courts continue to restrict BSA presence
(e.g., in schools) and influence?
Mr. Ratcliffe, where's your statement? Talk to us. What went wrong here?
Tell us, NOW, that handguns must be treated with respect. Tell us, NOW,
that Boy Scouts do not, cannot, must not, break the law; and that ignorance
of the law is no excuse. Tell us, NOW, that being stupid, or unaware, or
ignorant, of circumstances concerning a loaded weapon is inexcusable.
Talk to us, please. The very moral core of our organization is at stake.
And yes, I am absolutely, decidedly, rigidly, unmovably, anti-handgun (and
pro-law abiding!). And proud of it.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City