Some Questions & Comments about Jere Ratcliffe
Ed Henderson (BigEdBSA@AOL.COM)
Thu, 8 May 1997 13:43:30 -0400
* I could not help but notice that he was booked on an Air South Flight when
boarding a trip from Miami to Jacksonville. This is a very small low budget
air carrier devoid of First Class seats. (Forgetting the rest for just a
minute, the notion of the Chief Scout Executive riding in the discount
passanger section and not first class on a budget airline impresses the heck
out of me...I can give him a few points for that).
* A bad situation was made worse by the exceedingly lame comment from Jere
Ratcliffe's personal assistant, Mr. Scott Tear, who said in the Miami Herald
had not heard from Ratcliffe. ``I do know [Ratcliffe] is on the road, but I
where he is,'' Tear said. ``I've only been in this position for a few days
and don't know if he usually carries a firearm. I don't see any reason why he
would.'' I guess Mr. Tear was one of those SE's who really bombed out in the
field and so they "promoted" him to Irving to a desk job until he could get
in enough years to retire. He should have deferred comment to the National
BSA spokesperson and simply said "No Comment"
* If Mr. Ratcliffe was arrested Sunday morning and did not raise bail until
mid morning on Monday....perhaps I am reading too much between the lines
here....it sounds like he spent the night in jail? Can anyone confirm this?
* With an organization as large as ours, and with the "list" that the
National Council maintains of undesirable scouters, I can honestly understand
why our Chief Scout Executive would want to carry a gun. While none of us
are privy to these kinds of things, I can honestly envision some enraged ex
volunteer who was blackballed and has sent in death threats, etc.
Certainly, Mr. Ratcliffe might feel the need for some protection.
* I understand the context of a speech Mr. Ratclifee gave the night before in
Miami where he was honoring the retirement of a Scout Executive dealt with
obedience to the law. Last year BSA launched a national initiative on Crime
Prevention. We have programs of Gun Safety in place, a national camp school
in Shooting Sports, explicit guidelines on all kinds of firearms in the Guide
to Safe Scouting, etc. These extra committments we have made as an
organization make it all the more imperative that we be mindful of these
kinds of things. I want to forgive, but I worry that the public relations
damage has been done, and wonder how the BSA can get back on message (in my
local Monday morning TV news show they introduced the story with a sentence
from the 200 million volunteer hours project that the BSA has announced and
used that as a lead in for a news feature on the Airport affair. --- The BSA
is now seriously off message.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City