When I was a kid, I wasn’t into sports. It was a lot of work and, no matter how much fun I thought we should be having, there was always a lot of angry yelling. It seemed that no one was really enjoying any of the games being played.
I played when I really had no choice especially when football and baseball were played just down the street at the intersection that provided enough area for both sports, but if I could find a way to avoid a game, I took advantage of it.
On day after school I was hanging out with my friend from up the street, who was also adverse to sports-ball games, when he suddenly announced he had to go home because his mother was in charge of some meeting at his house. I walked to his house with him, and as he entered his back door, he hesitated a second or two, he seemed to be pondering something, and then told me to wait.
He went into his house and came back with his mother who invited me in since I might be interested in what was about to happen. There was a Cub Scout meeting in the kitchen, and my friend’s mother was the Den Mother.
That afternoon was my introduction to the Cub Scouts, and at supper I presented my parents with the literature my friend’s mother had given me about the Cub Scouts, and as my mothers’ two brothers had been members of the Sea Scouts in their childhood, she thought my getting involved with scouting would be a good activity. The next day I went to my friend’s house with all the necessary paperwork to join up.
Besides the usual arts and craft activities, there was a lot of character building, and as part of that a lot of information and activities about civics and civic involvement. It was the late 1950s early 1960s, so being a good, involved citizen was important.
So as a former Cub Scout, this surprised me.
At the beginning of October, a group of Cub Scouts met with Colorado State Senator Vicki Marble and asked her about gun control, the environment, race, and the proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico because these were topics being spoken about by news outlets, members of congress, and the president.
The members of the den had been encouraged to come up with questions to ask on their trip to the capitol.
One scout asked the senator, who does not support what might be seen as common sense gun laws,
“I was shocked that you co-sponsored a bill to allow domestic violence offenders to continue to own a gun. Why on earth would you want somebody who beats their wife to have access to a gun?”
The senator defended her decision by saying that shootings in places like Las Vegas, a recent event, happened in so-called gun-free zones. She asserted that “the more guns a society has, the less crime or murders are committed.”
Five days later the Cub Scout’s mother was asked to meet the leader of the Cub Scout pack, who oversees a number of dens in Broomfield, Colorado, who inform her that her son’s den leader was upset about the question he had asked, and that as a result, her son was no longer welcome back to the den.
Along with the gun control part of what was a two minute question, the den leader had been upset by the scout’s having pointed out that the senator was a Republican and that gun ownership was considered a right while health care was a privilege.
He had also referenced the senator’s statement in 2013 about the causes of health issues among black people.
“I was astonished that you blamed black people for poor health and poverty because of all the chicken and barbecue they eat.”
Although she denied she had made such a remark, Senator Marble had said at a recorded poverty-reduction meeting with other legislators in 2013,
“When you look at life expectancy, there are problems in the black race: sickle-cell anemia is something that comes up, diabetes is something that’s prevalent in the genetic makeup and you just can’t help it. Although I’ve got to say, I’ve never had better BBQ and better chicken and ate better in my life than when you go down south and you — I love it…”
In response to the reaction of those at the meeting and after it, the senator had issued a non-apology.
“My comments were not meant to be disparaging to any community. I am saddened they were taken in that regard. I take my responsibility seriously and I hope our work on this committee will offer real solutions to the health and financial challenges of our vulnerable populations.”
After a break, the scout will join a new pack in February.
Since the scout is being allowed to join another den in the area the Boy Scouts of America issued a statement saying,
“The Boy Scouts of America and the Denver Area Council are pleased that the family will continue their participation in Scouting. We are committed to working with families to find local units that best fit their needs.”
The local Boy Scouts group in Broomfield published this statement at the top of its website,
“Our Troop was NOT involved in the Mayfield incident. As part of the Boy Scouts of America and the World Scouting Organization, we are an inclusive group regardless of politics, religion, gender and race.”
Like in those cases where, instead of dealing with the bullies at a school, the victims are transferred to another campus, an inconvenience to the victim with no negative affect on the victimizer, and having to face a den whose members may have formed a negative opinion of the scout and may treat him accordingly, this is a case where the kid is being punished and inconvenienced because of an adult’s opposing political views.
It is quite the civics lesson, but not like any I received in the Cub Scouts.