Friday, October 16, 2009

Big Government Values v. Boy Scout Values

As I've probably noted previously, I'm an Eagle Scout. My namesake uncle was our family's first Eagle Scout; my oldest nephew is also an Eagle Scout. My grandfather lived long enough to see three generations of his progeny earn and wear the Eagle Scout badge (and pinned it on two of us). After a couple of decades away from active participation in Scouting, I'm presently the Troop Committee Chairman for my older son's Boy Scout Troop, and Pack Committee Chairman for my younger son's Cub Scout Pack.

So it's with a little more than passing interest that I've followed the stories of six-year-old Zachary Christie, a Delaware Cub Scout, who made the mistake of taking a camping tool to school to eat his school lunch (I am unsure whether it was his combo camping pocketknife, or his "Little Vittles" kit, available at every Scout Store, one of which I look down upon from my office window). Zachary was seen with this item --- he wasn't wielding it as a weapon --- and as a result, was sentenced to 45 days in a reeducation camp ... er, "reform school."

Then there's seventeen-year-old Eagle Scout and high school senior Matthew Whalen, godson of fellow Prince William blogger Riley at Virginia Virtucon. He is such a miscreant that he has already completed Army basic training, hoping to go to West Point. He keeps a sleeping bag, bottle of water, and an MRE in his car, just in case he breaks down. He also keeps a pocket knife in his car. School officials in Matthew's school decided to act upon an anonymous report to shake him down, and he produced the small knife he keeps in his glove box when asked (mistake, Matthew; should've made 'em get a search warrant). Matthew earned himself a five-day suspension, pending a hearing. Told he could submit a letter from the Army or the Boy Scouts saying he had to carry the knife, his Scoutmaster sent in a letter saying it was typical Boy Scout camping equipment. For this temerity, he got another fifteen-day suspension.

Now, when I was a Boy Scout, I carried my Boy Scout pocketknife --- or some other small penknife --- to school in my pocket virtually every day from the time I joined the Boy Scouts in fifth grade, until I graduated in 1982. In fact, one of the small knives that I carried was a beautifully engraved penknife that was a gift from my school choir director, a teacher!!!! I frequently used it, too: many times, to aid teachers in need of my small tool.

The Boy Scout motto is "Be Prepared." And our government schools that are making war on these Scouts for doing so.

It's little surprise. After all, the prepared have little need for big government. Which is, of course, the point.

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