when i see one of those tragic photos with a child carrying a rifle in a war torn country, i could cry. it breaks my heart to see children taught so young about the violence wielded on society by adults. well, today i see the fotos below and realize it’s going on in our own backyard. typically, i don’t think about the boys scouts, especially since they’ve gone so homophobic (hello, scout leader/homo/pedophile??), but this activity certainly caught my attention. (i fully understand this scenario could contrast with united states military programs, which accept young adults at eighteen. in that situation, it is understood who, what, where and why. one enlists TO learn these skills. aren’t boy scouts meant to wear cool sashes with merit badges? i shudder to think what this merit badge is called, or even what it looks like.)
here’s the thing: under the auspices of “the explorers program”, the scouts are getting their rifle on and are participating in a youth anti-terrorism program. WHAT???? isn’t that just another fancy name for war? scary to think of outfitting kids with rifles and coaching them “in skills used to confront terrorism, illegal immigration and escalating border violence.” does editorializing the context [of their activities] make it any different from what happens in other countries?
another quote, this from a young girl participating in the co-ed program:“I like shooting them,” a 16-year old Scout named Cathy Noriega said, referring to said guns. “I like the sound they make. It gets me excited.” read excerpts from the NYT story below. if you’re anything like me, you will be reading with your mouth agape and your eyes set on stunned. via here:
“The Explorers program,” as it’s called, “a coeducational affiliate of the Boy Scouts of America that began 60 years ago, is training thousands of young people in skills used to confront terrorism, illegal immigration and escalating border violence – an intense ratcheting up of one of the group’s longtime missions to prepare youths for more traditional jobs as police officers and firefighters.”
This training, we read courtesy of The New York Times, “can involve chasing down illegal border crossers as well as more dangerous situations that include facing down terrorists and taking out ‘active shooters,’ like those who bring gunfire and death to college campuses.” The kids, toting compressed air guns styled to look like heavy weaponry, even once “raided” a simulated marijuana-growing operation. “I like shooting them,” a 16-year old Scout named Cathy Noriega said, referring to said guns. “I like the sound they make. It gets me excited.” These and other replicant crime scenes spill out across private backyards temporarily donated for the purpose of youth-officer training. This deliberately militarized new spatial order of well-run simulations – including “building[s] rigged with tripwire, alarms and ‘poison’ gas” – seems to fall somewhere between immersive game, after-school program, sports training, and indoctrination exercise.