John Colson: Hit and Run
For a couple of weeks Ive been digesting a lot of Internet chatter about a lovely new trend in Boy Scouting teaching kids to do work as anti-drug agents along the borders, cops in inner-city gang wars and other fun activities.Reportedly, this story has been brewing for about seven years and has become an Internet staple, outraging mostly the right wing. The harbingers of hate see this as a government plot to train kids to kill disgruntled Gulf War veterans, take away household guns and in other ways enforce President Barack Obamas agenda to help usher in a new world order run by communists and racially impure thugs.The cause of all this alarm, I should point out, are stories about the Explorers, a co-educational outgrowth of the Scouts that started half a century ago, training teenagers as if they were agents of federal law enforcement.Once upon a time the Boy Scouts were about camping, backpacking, and canoeing. Boy Scouts were into high adventure and sporting activities, declares one website commentator. Scouts were about preventing forest fires and Do a Good Deed Daily. Now the Boy Scouts have a new mission fighting terrorism, rounding up illegal aliens, search and destroying marijuana fields, and embracing the SWAT mentality.Its as if we were learning from the tinpot dictators of Africa, training our children to kill because we cant get enough easily brainwashed adults to do our killing for us.In a way, this trend is the culmination of years of hard work by the military-industrial-infotainment complex, which for decades has been trying to get kids hooked on the idea of killing from an early age. Remember GI Joe, the toy soldier that was all the rage during the Vietnam War era? All those cops & robber, cowboy & Indian, spy versus spy games that toy manufacturers flooded the shelves with at about the same time?It has always seemed to me as though the brain trust that was running the U.S. at the time was thinking ahead, realizing that the war in Southeast Asia could quite easily evolve into George Orwells 1984. And with the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. fighting proxy wars endlessly, that would require an endless supply of young blood to grease the gears of the war machine.So, get em used to shooting at each other quick, so when you put a real gun in their hands they know what to do with it.Not that we needed a lot of encouragement. The human race seems singularly equipped, among the higher ape species, to make war instead of love. From early on we fell easily into the role of fighters, whether with guns, or bow and arrow, or knives. It fascinates us to fantasize about ending the life of another, probably in deeper ways than we would care to delve into here. But, I digress.According to some of the online chatter, the basics of the Explorer story first surfaced in the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2002, in which an article described something called SecureCorps, which was said to be a division of AmeriCorps, that trained middle schoolers in weapons use and the disarming of certain types of troublemakers.Interestingly, one website takes note of the fact that a lot of these young Explorers are Hispanic, which is seen as proof that the government is aligning with non-whites to eradicate the white supremacists. The loops of circuitous logic in all this are enough to make your head spin.Now, I dont often agree with anything coming out of the mouthpieces of hyper-patriotism and radical racism, but I have to say that this is a scary story on many levels.For one thing, it is fuel for the fanatical fires of paranoid delusion among the radical right, which can only push them further down the path of domestic terrorism, which in turn is likely to be used as a justification for tighter Homeland Security, which means the Constitution takes a few more hits.Im not sure what to make of all this, other than to admit to feeling vaguely uneasy, and worried that it wouldnt surprise me at all to open my front door some day and be greeted by armed 14-year-olds in fatigues, with very determined looks on their email@example.com
Top 5 most-read articles: City of Aspen considers three finalists as restaurateurs, CDOT grapples with snowplow driver shortage
We’ve rounded up the top five most-read stories on Aspentimes.com from last week.