Training the Police State’s Next Generation

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Remember when the Boy Scouts were merely about helping old ladies across the street, learning how to tie a decent knot, and excluding gay people?

Meet the post-9/11 Scouts.

The Explorers program, 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 is about being a true-blooded American guy and girl,” said A. J. Lowenthal, a sheriff’s deputy here in Imperial County, whose life clock, he says, is set around the Explorers events he helps run. “It fits right in with the honor and bravery of the Boy Scouts.”

The training, which leaders say is not intended to be applied outside the simulated Explorer setting, 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. In a simulation here of a raid on a marijuana field, several Explorers were instructed on how to quiet an obstreperous lookout.

“Put him on his face and put a knee in his back,” a Border Patrol agent explained. “I guarantee that he’ll shut up.”

This is really despicable stuff.

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87 Responses to “Training the Police State’s Next Generation”

  1. #1 |  Hamburgler007 | 

    Awwww, they grow up so fast.

  2. #2 |  Dave Krueger | 

    “I like shooting them,” Cathy said. “I like the sound they make. It gets me excited.”

    In any other teenager, that would be considered a “warning sign” of a school massacre waiting to happen.

  3. #3 |  Marta Rose | 

    hitler youth, anyone?

  4. #4 |  Fritz | 

    What would have happened to Alec Baldwin if Canteen Boy were similarly indoctrinated?

    Looks like there are a lot of attempts being made to create a new army of youngsters to enforce the rules of the State. Yeah, I’m really looking forward to my son reporting me for not rinsing before I recycle or remodeling my bathroom without a permit.

  5. #5 |  Tokin42 | 

    I’m not sure what is despicable about this program, someone explain it too me.

  6. #6 |  MassHole | 

    Tokin, if you don’t get it now, you never will.

  7. #7 |  Bob | 

    Holy crap.

    The only way to make this worse would be to combine the “Explorers” with “Bible Camp” to form paramilitary youth brigades purposed with a religious ideology.

    30 Quatloos says Cathy already has her Waterboarding merit badge.

  8. #8 |  Judas Peckerwood | 

    Words fail.

  9. #9 |  MG | 

    This is the real money quote:

    “Authenticity seems to be the goal. Imperial County, in Southern California, is the poorest in the state, and the local economy revolves largely around the criminal justice system. In addition to the sheriff and local police departments, there are two state prisons and a large Border Patrol and immigration enforcement presence.”

    Look slike this is more about training kids to continue the drug war in order to preserve prison union jobs.

  10. #10 |  Chance | 

    Wow. When I was in JROTC in high school, the instructors and military guests were always extremely careful not to teach anything that could be construed as tactical training. Sure, we have small bore rifle (later pellet rifle) training, but you never fired at a human shaped target or took them off the range. We had drill team, but the rifles were demiliterized M1903s that were used only for drill practice. We had land nav, but we never were taught movement to contact or react to ambush. Even at camp we never fired weapons, and never practiced any tactical manuevers. Even in a deep south, red state, military town 10 years ago those and similiar skills would have been seen as crossing a line. Even wearing BDUs was rare, and mainly student driven.

    Now? I guess teaching kids to put a knee in the back, wear tactical vests with pellet guns, and then practicing assualt tactics is A-OK. Jeez, from the article that training looked better than what I got in the Army.

  11. #11 |  Comrade Dread | 

    Nice, but they need to be wearing their brown shirts.

  12. #12 |  Andrew S. | 

    Um… wow. Having one of these kids in a classroom with my daughter would actually worry me.

  13. #13 |  Chance | 

    @ Tokin42

    I don’t think there is anything wrong per se with having a youth organization that is associated with law enforcement. My main objection is that the types of tactical training and indoctrination mentioned in the article are not appropriate for a youth group. I think our local sheriff has a youth program, but all I ever see them do is maybe control traffic at the county fair. I need to do a little research on that.

  14. #14 |  omar | 

    @#10 | Chance

    When I was in JROTC in high school, the instructors and military guests were always extremely careful not to teach anything that could be construed as tactical training….Even in a deep south, red state, military town 10 years ago those and similiar skills would have been seen as crossing a line.

    Exactly the same experience for me as well. The instructors even went so far as to say “we are not a recruiting program, we are an patriotic educational program”. We were Air Force, so mostly, we learned about rockets and airplanes, and hell, it was the Clinton years, so preparing a group of youngins for war wasn’t on anyone’s mind really.

  15. #15 |  freedomfan | 

    From the article,

    There have been numerous cases over the last three decades in which police officers supervising Explorers have been charged, in civil and criminal cases, with sexually abusing them.

    Seems a bit unusual. Oh, wait:

    “I like shooting them,” [16 year-old Explorer] Cathy said. “I like the sound they make. It gets me excited.”

    Um… Mystery solved.

    “Our end goal is to create more agents,” said April McKee, a senior Border Patrol agent and mentor at the session here.

    [sarcasm] Wow! Federal employees who want to increase the number of federal employees. Just what the founding fathers intended. [/sarcasm]

    In a competition in Arizona that he did not oversee, Deputy Lowenthal said, one role-player wore traditional Arab dress. “If we’re looking at 9/11 and what a Middle Eastern terrorist would be like,” he said, “then maybe your role-player would look like that. I don’t know, would you call that politically incorrect?”

    Who cares about politically incorrect? It’s just stupid. Most of the 911 terrorists weren’t wearing “traditional Arab dress” and it’s unlikely any future terrorist a cop will encounter on U.S. soil will be, either. That’s like training people to be on the lookout for someone wearing a “Terrorism? Ask me how.” T-shirt.

    Authenticity seems to be the goal. Imperial County, in Southern California, is the poorest in the state, and the local economy revolves largely around the criminal justice system. In addition to the sheriff and local police departments, there are two state prisons and a large Border Patrol and immigration enforcement presence.

    1) County’s economy revolves around the criminal justice system, 2) there are two state prisons and abundant I.C.E. goons, 3) it’s poorest county in the state. Does anyone believe in coincidence? Me neither.

  16. #16 |  omar | 

    And from the article…

    Deputy Lowenthal said, one role-player wore traditional Arab dress. “If we’re looking at 9/11 and what a Middle Eastern terrorist would be like,” he said, “then maybe your role-player would look like that. I don’t know, would you call that politically incorrect?”

    Politically incorrect may be one way of describing it. Another way would be “factually incorrect”, as we know from other fear-mongering types, “they look just like you and me”. These people are either dumb as bricks or they just don’t care. My dolla’ dolla’ bill yo is on “don’t care”.

  17. #17 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Not a Scouts fan (having participated at child and parent levels). Lots of pledging allegiance, blind patriotism, and god stuff. What isn’t extremely boring is pretty much useless. Needless to say I wasn’t real fond of the parents that loved Scouts.

    Tactical training is not something that’s appropriate for immature minds. I don’t tend to give chainsaws to monkeys either.

  18. #18 |  Nacim | 

    I actually had to check the address bar to make sure I wasn’t reading an Onion article. I seem to be doing that a lot these days :(

  19. #19 |  Pete | 

    Wait, you know the Boy Scouts were set up by Baden-Powell as spy / ranger training, right?

    To be precise, British Imperialist Christian spy / ranger training.

    No joke!

    I’m with the trainers: this fits riiiiight in with the traditions of the movement…

  20. #20 |  Mattocracy | 

    It’s a new caste system. Cops and non cops. Cops can be violent and assault people, non cops are strictly forbidden to resist. Brainwash them early to fight this enemy.

    Terrorism is the state sanctioned religion in this country. Instead of missionaries going out to confront and convert, its law enforcement and the military going out to attack non-believers of the one and true American Superiority.

    I’d like to see Obama change this, but I doubt he will.

  21. #21 |  tim | 

    I was part of explorers when I was in Jr. High and they frequently partnered with various public and pseudo public (power company) to get kids exposed to jobs they wouldn’t normally be exposed to. Think of it as the technical school equivalent of the scouts (which I was also part of – they didn’t have issues with gays back then). I have fond memories of running around a construction site driving a tracked front loader scaring the hell out of the sponsor of the program. We also did some fun things with the fire department.

    But. This. Is. Stupid. The cop running this program is so completely out of touch its not even remotely funny.

  22. #22 |  DeadGuy | 

    When I was a teenager in the ’80s, I belonged to an explorer post. We were taught cross-country skiing, winter weather survival, canoeing, repelling, rock climbing, etc. We learned a bunch of fun outdoor activities that might start a life-long hobby.

    The fact that they are being taught para-military, militia-type activities is just ridiculous. It is evil that these children are being exposed to this type of thought-process, politics and morality.

    Unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable.

  23. #23 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

    Didn’t the Hitler Youth evolve the same way? Just asking….

  24. #24 |  akromper | 

    I’m now officially embarassed to say I’m an Eagle Scout. The gay thing was the first thing that drove me away personally, be exclusionary if you want but I’m not sending my own kids to put up with that. But this? I’m going see about where to send back my awards I’ve kept proudly since I was a Cub Scout. They don’t just embarass themselves as a vague corporation, they embarass everyone associated with it.
    Hitler Youth is too close to ignore. Count me out. To borrow a quote from a recent senatorial statement “The Boy Scounts have moved away from what I stand for”.

  25. #25 |  Marty | 

    ‘The training, which leaders say is not intended to be applied outside the simulated Explorer setting…’

    unintended consequences are a bitch.

  26. #26 |  Mike T | 

    You know what will cure these kids of thinking this is cool? Dress them up in black face, hide some powdered sugar or crushed up white smarties in baggies on them, and then have fat, lesbian girl scouts in uniform treat them like you’re typical black man who gets these tactics used on them.

  27. #27 |  MacGregory | 

    Don’t be alarmed. It’s just the natural progression of fascism.

  28. #28 |  John Wilburn | 

    At the risk of repeating myself -

    “Learn from history; the last time Nazis were out of control, it took over 30 million human lives to rein them in…”

  29. #29 |  Buck | 

    Damn. Why can’t they just go back to racing wooden cars?

  30. #30 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #23 Mike Leatherwood

    Didn’t the Hitler Youth evolve the same way?

    Don’t be silly. Their shirts aren’t the right color.

  31. #31 |  Tokin42 | 

    So the argument as I see it is: “kids should not be allowed, and especially encouraged, to want to grow up to be police officers and/or members of the military”, and, “if a kid wants to grow up to be a cop, he’s obviously a little nazi”. That is some seriously bad logic. If we want a truly professional police force then we should be encouraging these kids, not calling them fascist wannabe’s.

  32. #32 |  Aresen | 

    The training, which leaders say is not intended to be applied outside the simulated Explorer setting, 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. In a simulation here of a raid on a marijuana field, several Explorers were instructed on how to quiet an obstreperous lookout.

    It’s for the Fatherland America!

  33. #33 |  Tokin42 | 

    I’m letting all the anti-gun comments slide, because I’m sure none of you have issues with the 2nd ammendment, right? Power tools, which include guns, are exciting and fun to use and to try to paint some teenage girl who enjoys shooting as a brownshirt just waiting to kill an illegal immigrant or dope smoker is, well, retarded.

  34. #34 |  Matt D | 

    I’d agree that this program is wrong on many levels. I think, unfortunately, that the BSA has taken a sharp right turn over the last couple years. I was a scout when I was younger and it was obviously a fairly right-wing institution then too, but there was nothing like this.

    That said, it’s vaguely amusing to see people so up in arms about this after the guns-on-campus discussion of a few weeks ago.

  35. #35 |  omar | 

    @ Tokin42 |

    If we want a truly professional police force then we should be encouraging these kids, not calling them fascist wannabe’s.

    I don’t want a professional police FORCE. I want professional peace officers who are trained to treat people like humans, not as animals needing control. This program does not encourage kids to respect the law and the people subject to the law.

    Power tools, which include guns, are exciting and fun to use and to try to paint some teenage girl who enjoys shooting as a brownshirt just waiting to kill an illegal immigrant or dope smoker is, well, retarded.

    Please stop putting words in our mouth and please stop calling us retarded. Most of us see this in a much different light, and have articulated as such, so throwing strawmen around is, well, retarded.

  36. #36 |  Marty | 

    tokin42-

    you cannot be missing the point of these concerns- are you being argumentative just to kill time?

    these kids aren’t learning about community policing- they’re learning military tactics, how to ‘shut people up’, etc. they’re learning how to initiate violence against people- instead of protecting them. they should be learning to think- debating marijuana policy, debating immigration policy, etc- instead of learning how to initiate police-state tactics against people who are violating bad policies.

  37. #37 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Tokin- the point (at least from where I’m sitting) is that it’s further evidence of the blurring of the constitutionally-mandated distinction between a military to be deployed overseas and a police force to protect the rights of citizens. I’m already concerned about the militarization of our police force (as addressed countless times on this site); now we’re seeing it trickle down to teenage vocational training. Even if you disagree with my concern, surely you understand it, right?

    As for the fascist comparisons, I think that stems from WHAT they’re being trained to do. “‘Put him on his face and put a knee in his back,’ a Border Patrol agent explained. ‘I guarantee that he’ll shut up.’” Why are we teaching this to teenagers?

  38. #38 |  Les | 

    tonkin, if one is naturally suspicious of the government (as the Founding Fathers were) and if one recognizes that the worst aspects of government are represented in the culture of militarized law-enforcement with its hypocrisy and routine brutality, then it is simply logical to oppose methods with encourage kids to emulate, instead of question, militarized law-enforcement.

    It’s not about being anti-gun, it’s about being anti-authoritarian. The entire program is pro-authoritarian.

  39. #39 |  MassHole | 

    Tokin,

    This will be the last time I address you on this blog. You do not argue in good faith, you put words in peoples mouth and you just plain make stuff up. Where in this thread was there an “anti-gun” comment that you needed to let slide? It’s not there.

  40. #40 |  Tokin42 | 

    #35:

    #2: In any other teenager, that would be considered a “warning sign” of a school massacre waiting to happen.
    #3: hitler youth, anyone?
    #11: Nice, but they need to be wearing their brown shirts.
    #15: Um… Mystery solved.
    #20: its law enforcement and the military going out to attack non-believers of the one and true American Superiority.

    I’m not putting words in anyones mouth, i’m just reading what people think and I don’t think they’ve thought it all the way through. Personally, I hate farmers and I think a group like the FFA putting kids of freaking tractors tearing up the dirt is reprehensible behavior that borders on child abuse. I know that sounds silly, but that is the argument a lot of people on here are making, “I hate cops therefore this program is bad”. That’s why I asked at the begininng what EXACTLY is the problem with this program. Do you really believe that kids who join these programs are really little fascist wannabes?

    So yeah, suggesting people who like to shoot guns are nazi’s is retarded, especially for someone who claims to be libertarian. BTW, “peace officers”, really? That’s a joke right?

  41. #41 |  The Liberty Papers »Blog Archive » Boy Scout Training: “Put him on his face and put a knee in his back” | 

    [...] Tip: Radley Balko Share and [...]

  42. #42 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “Put him on his face and put a knee in his back,” a Border Patrol agent explained. “I guarantee that he’ll shut up.”

    Yeah, then squeeze his nut sac so he yells, then kick him hard and tell him to shut the fuck up, then taze him…oh sorry, for a minute there I lost myself (thanks to Radiohead). Man, combining teenage agression with these techniques is a bad idea. Can’t you just take them to a mosh pit?

    I agree with Omar and others that this is a very, very poor introduction to domestic law enforcement…unless you are actually trying to recruit hotshot action-oriented officers. As a person who is on one active police eligibility list and looking at a couple other departments, I’ll put it this way: If a candidate tells you that they are interested in a police career for excitement, take that candidate off the list ASAP. They are going to be disappointed, and then they may become very dangerous. They are probably not going to become the well-rounded peace officers that I and many of you wish to see staffing our nation’s police agencies.

  43. #43 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #36 Marty:

    Very well said! Thank you for the insights you bring to these discussions on law enforcement.

    As a criminal justice student, I learned about law, administration of justice, criminological theories, sociology, etc.. Essentially, I learned to think CRITICALLY about my chosen field. As a candidate for criminal justice jobs, I often get the feeling that my status as a critical thinker may be considered a liability by the agencies I am seeking employment with. This is a problem. Is there any other field out there that is so quick to discourage critical thinking? I kind of doubt it.

  44. #44 |  Tokin42 | 

    #39,

    You have to give me a little time to catch up. I’m actually working while I manage to stir the pot on this thread.

    read my last post, can you honestly read back through the comments and tell me that there isn’t an underlying issue that a lot of the other commenters have regarding a female teen liking guns. Every other comment ties these kids to fascism, 30 million deaths, how in the hell is that appropriate? This isn’t the first time I’ve noticed it around here and it always surprises me that people who want to call themselves libertarians have such an issue with guns and/or people who enjoy shooting. I’ll make it an issue to start pointing it out so that maybe you’ll recognize it also.

    Now, Not everyone is making that argument. Some like chance and marty are actually able to argue their opposition without painting people as nazi’s. My god, this thread didn’t make it 3 freaking posts before being godwined.

  45. #45 |  Matt D | 

    Do you really believe that kids who join these programs are really little fascist wannabes?

    No, but it’s important to make a distinction between their motivation for involvement in the program and what they’re actually learning. It’s not the healthiest thing in the world for kids to be taught weaponry and tactics at the hands of people who apparently enjoy deploying them against other people. I tend to think marketing these programs based on their more sensational and violent aspects is a bad idea too.

    I do think your point about the 2A is valid, though. Not to beat a dead horse, but, you know, when we discussed guns on campus, the gospel truth was apparently that only trained individuals well-versed in gun safety would have guns; of course, here’s a program giving young people just those skills, and everyone freaks out. Training and equipping people for deadly force sounds just dandy when it’s your kind of people, but once the shoe is on the other foot, the supposedly libertarian crowd here busts out rhetoric that would make even the most ardent gun control supporter roll their eyes.

  46. #46 |  Tokin42 | 

    #36

    you make a very valid point, but I obviously disagree. There is always going to be a need for these kinds of tactics and I don’t think anyone can seriously argue there isn’t. What we’re talking about is a program that is trying to show kids about possible careers within the big umbrella of the justice dept. Would you really expect them to show the true side of the story by having them sit at a desk filling out forms in triplicate while dealing with a horde of FWD emails about freaking cats?

    I don’t see the problem. My problem with cops is almost always based on their level of professionalism. Anything that might help teach kids who want to grow up to be cops that the most important part of their job is not to discredit their uniform is a good thing in my book.

  47. #47 |  Mattocracy | 

    Tokin,

    Maybe if the police actually showed restraint and maybe if there wasn’t a new story every fucking day about police misconduct and false arrests for breaking laws that don’t exist, then maybe I wouldn’t care.

    But professional law enforcement is corrupt with overwhelming evidence of their systematic disregard of civil liberties. So the comparison to Hitler Youth is not misguided. I think it holds a lot of water. So yes, these kids are fascist wannabe’s. The people who are currently cops are fascists. They may not realize it, but they are.

    They are supposed to peace officers. Cops are supposed to keep the peace at home and not wage war against their fellow citizens. I believe in protecting myself from those who wish to deprive me of my constitutional rights. The paramilitary forces of modern law enforcement are blatantly unconstitutional and deprive us of those rights. That is domestic terrorism, plain and simple.

  48. #48 |  Tokin42 | 

    #37, You too make a valid point, but you’re taking the “knee in the back” out of context. The scenario was with a vocal lookout during a raid on an illegal enterprise. What other option would you have them recommend? Asking politely? Sometimes the use of force is justified. That seems to be another thing most people here disagree with me about, there seem to be an awful lot of people around here who believe the use of force is never justified. I find that idea crazy.

  49. #49 |  Tokin42 | 

    #47

    I’ll completely agree with

    Maybe if the police actually showed restraint and maybe if there wasn’t a new story every fucking day about police misconduct and false arrests for breaking laws that don’t exist, then maybe I wouldn’t care.

    and the problem as I see it is the total lack of professionalism. Who would you rather have mistakenly kick down your door, your local PD or the Nat’l Guard? Right now you and your dogs would be much safer with the guard. The problem isn’t always with the tactics, a lot of the time it’s with the training.

  50. #50 |  Tokin42 | 

    #45 Matt,

    I’m unsure as to the “why” but for some reason almost every self-described libertarian I meet has an issue with the use of force and/or violence so I can see why people who don’t like or believe violence solves anything would have a problem with teaching kids small unit tactics. Personally I don’t share that same fear of violence, mostly because I think violent behavior is as natural as the drive for sex. It’s all about “there’s a time and a place”……

  51. #51 |  claude | 

    “You too make a valid point, but you’re taking the “knee in the back” out of context. The scenario was with a vocal lookout during a raid on an illegal enterprise. What other option would you have them recommend? Asking politely? Sometimes the use of force is justified. That seems to be another thing most people here disagree with me about, there seem to be an awful lot of people around here who believe the use of force is never justified. I find that idea crazy.”

    Or maybe, just maybe, they feel that none of that is a job for a 13 yr old? I used to win knot-tie competitions when i was in scouts back around 1979.

  52. #52 |  claude | 

    ” I can see why people who don’t like or believe violence solves anything would have a problem with teaching kids small unit tactics.”

    How about we just teach them to make a fire by rubbing 2 sticks together?

  53. #53 |  Goose-stepping Our Way to the Fourth Reich | Probable Cause | 

    [...] similarity between trends in the United States of America and the totalitarian regime of Hitler in an article about a new Boy Scout Explorer program.  It seems that we’re preparing our children to [...]

  54. #54 |  Steve | 

    @ClubMedSux (#37) As for the fascist comparisons, I think that stems from WHAT they’re being trained to do. “‘Put him on his face and put a knee in his back,’ a Border Patrol agent explained. ‘I guarantee that he’ll shut up.’” Why are we teaching this to teenagers?

    Why are we teaching grownup LEOs to automatically put people on their faces with a knee in the back? I can understand doing that if you have a violent criminal (murderer, rapist, bank robber) who has the body strength to resist. But this seems to be SOP these days, even in cases not involving violence or similar risks. I suspect that most LEOs who do this unnecessarily are on a power trip, trying to humiliate and possibly hurt people who dare to question their authoritah.

    There are a number of medical conditions (spine injuries, recent surgery, etc.) which would put the victim in a great deal of pain, if not cause harm, or in the worst case death. I’m curious if anyone knows of any incidents in which a person with a medical condition actually died from the unnecessarily rough treatment? Have any other victims sued over such treatment?

  55. #55 |  Red Green | 

    Look at the photo again. Now, is what you see what we thought the boy scouts would look like in the future? Well, I guess “the future” is here, and it does not look right to me.

  56. #56 |  Matt D | 

    Well, I don’t think people have a problem necessarily with the use of force so much as they do the frequency and circumstances of its application by the police, and the fact that there’s rarely consequences for those officers who abuse it. And I’d agree with that position–I don’t really relish the idea of cops who can beat/shoot me with the flimsiest of justifications.

    Still, there is a real disconnect in terms of attitude. You know, anyone who wants to be a cop must be a power-tripping fascist, but all gun owners are responsible, upstanding and freedom-minded citizens. Of course, there’s a huge overlap between those groups. Likewise, the notion of police w/ military experience or training is apparently frightening, but gun-toting private citizens with the same experience, training, and attitudes is always a Good Thing. And all the pop psych analysis of why people become cops (attraction to power and all that) could just as easily be applied to private gun ownership, but you’re not supposed to admit such things.

  57. #57 |  Steve | 

    @Tokin (#46) you make a very valid point, but I obviously disagree. There is always going to be a need for these kinds of tactics and I don’t think anyone can seriously argue there isn’t.

    I can. There is no excuse to jam your knee in the back of a person who won’t “shut up.” That’s the behavior of a thug and a bully, not someone who is tasked with protecting people from criminals who would harm them.

    We need more Andy Taylors. Even a Barney Fife would be somewhat tolerable, rather than the corrupt, power-hungry robots we get now. Yeah, maybe there are a number of cops who don’t engage in the worst behavior, but the reason they aren’t “good cops” is that 99.99% of them will protect the bad cops, always. Whenever a cop crosses the thin blue line, he is branded as a rat and a snitch (look at how Internal Affairs are portrayed on pop shows–as the “rat squad” who are always out to get the poor, poor cops). Oftentimes the cops who cross the line are disciplined, fired, harassed, and even prosecuted–all for doing the right thing.

    So, excuse me if I’m disgusted by your blind acceptance of a culture of thuggery, militarization, protection of corruption, and anti-thought which infects modern police forces like a cancer.

  58. #58 |  Steve | 

    @Mattocracy (#47) They are supposed to peace officers. Cops are supposed to keep the peace at home and not wage war against their fellow citizens.

    Amen!

  59. #59 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Let me make it clear that my comment in #2 was not an anti-gun comment. It was an anti-school-shooting-hysteria comment. I was simply pointing out the irony that behavior that would easily considered scary by many school administrators from one kid is being actively encouraged in others.

    I doubt you’ll find many people as anti-anti-gun as me. I don’t believe an interest in guns leads to murder anymore than an interest in women leads to rape.

    I don’t believe, however, that this program encourages an interest in guns. Gun clubs do that. This program encourages something more sinister. It’s selling violence as glamorous. It’s like trying to recruit kids into the military by telling them its an “adventure”.

  60. #60 |  Steve | 

    @Tokin (#48) Sometimes the use of force is justified. That seems to be another thing most people here disagree with me about, there seem to be an awful lot of people around here who believe the use of force is never justified. I find that idea crazy.

    I haven’t seen anyone saying that the use of force is never justified. The problem with the current law enforcement culture is that LEOs are encouraged to dress and act like occupying soldiers. They are taught to not think (always “procedure” “procedure” “procedure”), not to worry about being held accountable for using force when unnecessary (they aren’t), and to take relish in humiliating, hurting, and wrongfully arresting and charging people for the crime of Not Giving a Cop Proper Respect.

    You seem to be oblivious to this, which is the major objection of commenters (as well as Radley). Also, teaching minors actual tactics, and trying to instill in them this superior attitude is disgusting. Don’t you agree?

  61. #61 |  Steve | 

    @Tokin (#50) I’m unsure as to the “why” but for some reason almost every self-described libertarian I meet has an issue with the use of force and/or violence

    Go meet more people. A common precept of libertarianism is the non-initiation of force, not a blanket proscription on force. Indeed, many libertarians I read on this here web describe themselves as being well-armed and prepared to defend themselves.

    Another factor here, which you seem to be overlooking, is that many of the uses of force by LEOs these days is directed at people for “vice” crimes.

    Personally I don’t share that same fear of violence…

    Who fears violence, in and of itself? It’s all about initiation of the use of force, as well as use of force against non-violent “criminals” who aren’t hurting anyone else.

  62. #62 |  Wayne | 

    This program clearly does not encourage an interest in guns. I take my 7 year old down to the range and let her shoot a 22 rifle for that. I would have to draw the line at her “training” for a hostage situation and putting handcuffs on anyone, even if there were no guns involved.

    Instead of selling popcorn door-to-door, will these little kids be selling steroids?

  63. #63 |  Steve | 

    @Matt D (#56) You know, anyone who wants to be a cop must be a power-tripping fascist, but all gun owners are responsible, upstanding and freedom-minded citizens. … Likewise, the notion of police w/ military experience or training is apparently frightening, but gun-toting private citizens with the same experience, training, and attitudes is always a Good Thing. And all the pop psych analysis of why people become cops (attraction to power and all that) could just as easily be applied to private gun ownership, but you’re not supposed to admit such things.

    Straw man. I haven’t seen anyone arguing that all gun owners are good. Certainly, most people who respect the individual’s right to own the most effective means of self defense explicitly refer to the number of criminals with guns as a major reason why good people should be armed. So much for your fictional “all gun owners” and “always a Good Thing” nonsense.

    What you may be misreading is the reaction to the anti-freedom crowd who suggest that civilians can’t be trusted, that a hunk of metal has the power of mind control over anyone who holds it. Against such disgustingly false claims, it’s only natural to argue that most gun owners are peaceful and responsible, as a counter-argument.

  64. #64 |  Be Prepared…to Fight Terrorists - Think Free : Freedom Politics | 

    [...] of the commenters over at The Agitator made a very pointed observation: Wow. When I was in JROTC in high school, the instructors and military guests were always extremely [...]

  65. #65 |  Luke Johnson | 

    @Matt D (#56)

    A lot of that stems from the knowledge that a non-cop is a lot more likely to be held accountable if they do a bad thing than a cop under identical circumstances.

  66. #66 |  Tokin42 | 

    #60 Steve

    They are taught to not think (always “procedure” “procedure” “procedure”), not to worry about being held accountable for using force when unnecessary (they aren’t), and to take relish in humiliating, hurting, and wrongfully arresting and charging people for the crime of Not Giving a Cop Proper Respect.

    You seem to be oblivious to this, which is the major objection of commenters (as well as Radley). Also, teaching minors actual tactics, and trying to instill in them this superior attitude is disgusting. Don’t you agree?

    Short answer – No, I do not. My problem with the whole militarization issue is almost strictly based on training, I happen to agree with radley that the use of SWAT teams is completely out of control but that’s a different issue. The question here is why is it “reprehensible” to teach what these kids are learning? Why is wanting to become a cop/border agent/coroner fascist? I’ll say it for the 20th time in this thread, this is about professionalism. Teaching kids being a cop involves honor, duty, and sometimes the righteous use of force is a good thing, not “reprehensible”.

    Not to change the thread topic but IMO, the whole “non-initiation” of violence issue is b.s. spewed by people who are unable to defend themselves because they are either physically or mentally weak. Remember, the same non-initiation argument was made against ryan frederick….”if he had waited until the officer was through the door he would have known not to shoot”. It’s always a bad argument and a quick way to get killed, or at a minimum, get an ass beating. As a matter of fact I could easily argue that the whole problem behind our societies need of an aggressive police department is directly related to refusal of citizens to use force when necessary. Here is what’s disgusting and reprehensible, We’ve relegated ourselves to a police state because we’re too afraid to take care of ourselves.

  67. #67 |  Les | 

    Teaching kids being a cop involves honor, duty, and sometimes the righteous use of force is a good thing, not “reprehensible”.

    The fact that you think that current police culture has anything to do with “honor,” is no different than leftists who think the government can educate our kids and keep people from making bad decisions for themselves. What is “honorable” about teaching kids to put their knees on someone’s back to shut them up?

    Yours is a faith-based argument, devoid of analysis based on objective observation.

    And to suggest that I, or others hear, fear violence or think that it can’t be used for good, is disingenuous. It’s the government we fear, not violence as a tool for good. And again, to trust the government to use violence primarily as a force for good is no different than trusting it to effectively and competently hand out health-care to all its citizens. It’s ultimately a leftist’s position.

  68. #68 |  Les | 

    …others here

  69. #69 |  Ken’s Weblog » Blog Archive » History continues to repeat itself | 

    [...] Training the Police State’s Next Generation. [...]

  70. #70 |  Steve Verdon | 

    Maybe if the police actually showed restraint and maybe if there wasn’t a new story every fucking day about police misconduct and false arrests for breaking laws that don’t exist, then maybe I wouldn’t care.

    You mean like the El Monte police officer kicking a suspect in the face after the suspect was on the ground with arms and legs spread? That kind of abuse? I bet that shuts them up too.

    Tokin42,

    Here is what’s disgusting and reprehensible, We’ve relegated ourselves to a police state because we’re too afraid to take care of ourselves.

    Yes, and applauding these young Explorers for what they are doing isn’t going to help, but continue the problem. You are being amazingly inconsistent.

  71. #71 |  Oatwhore | 

    I love how they are in Imperial, CA learning how to be Imperial Stormtroopers.

  72. #72 |  Steve | 

    @ Tokin (#66) Not to change the thread topic but IMO, the whole “non-initiation” of violence issue is b.s. spewed by people who are unable to defend themselves because they are either physically or mentally weak.

    Nice ad hominem, there. Standing on the principle that you shouldn’t harm someone who isn’t hurting you is weakness? Do you realize that taking your remarks to their logical conclusion leads to justifying attacking innocent people? Maybe you better rethink this.

    … the … non-initiation argument [is] always a bad argument and a quick way to get killed, or at a minimum, get an ass beating.

    You seem to be confused about the concept. Non-initiation doesn’t mean waiting until there is actual contact. A credible threat of violence against an innocent person is the initiation of force. Point a gun at your neighbor’s wife and he has every right to shoot you. He’s not initiating force. You did that.

    I’m not even going to bother trying to discuss the rest with you. Pearls before swine.

  73. #73 |  ZZMike | 

    This is way cool! You get to wear neat uniforms, carry guns, boss people around, and make sure the Bad Guys don’t take over. And the Government will tell us who the Bad Guys are. The Government is never wrong.

  74. #74 |  chance | 

    On the other hand, when I was 16, standing next to a girl saying “I like shooting them,” Cathy said. “I like the sound they make. It gets me excited.” would have totally made my day.

  75. #75 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #71 Oatwhore

    I love how they are in Imperial, CA learning how to be Imperial Stormtroopers.

    Haha! Good catch.

    You hit the nail on the head. They aren’t being prepared to be police officers and they’re learning about law enforcement in the traditional sense. They’re really learning how to be storm troopers. They aren’t learning about solving crimes or tracking down robbers and rapists. They’re learning how to be mindless attack dogs.

    They aren’t learning how to deal with terrorism, they’re learning how to deal out terrorism.

  76. #76 |  Tokin42 | 

    72

    i was yanking your chain, kinda. I’m a firm believer that society started downhill as soon as people decided that assholes were allowed to be assholes without fear of retribution and that started because people were afraid to take care of things themselves. People want to believe they’re better than the animal in their DNA, but they aren’t.

  77. #77 |  the friendly grizzly | 

    The Police Explorer program has been around for a long time. Back in the mid-70s I had a PE working for me part time as a salesman in my Radio Shack store. Full of bravado, a lot of racist talk (REAL racist talk, not what passes for it today). And of course a Good Christian.

    Little bastard also stole out of my shop, and I proved it. I fired him, and got flack from the local police force. I stood my ground, showed proof. They backed off, but he remained in the PE.

    Imagine my shock and surprise.

  78. #78 |  Xanthippas | 

    It would be nice to find one blogger who understands the difference between the Boy Scouts and the Exploring program. Hasn’t happened yet. This ain’t exactly a new program.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exploring_(Learning_for_Life)

  79. #79 |  matthew | 

    I don’t feel like the problem is kids wanting to be cops or border agents. I’m completely fine with that, and used to play cops and robbers as a kid. I also played out that I was a doctor. I think the difference here is that telling a physician that I wanted to be a doctor would elicit a response encouraging me to read and study biology and anatomy, while these programs are the equivelant of handing me a scalpel and telling me to have at it. A rather distinct difference for such young minds…

  80. #80 |  GreginOz | 

    “Kill the pig…kill the pig…”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_of_the_Flies

  81. #81 |  Aspasia | 

    @#59: I don’t believe, however, that this program encourages an interest in guns. Gun clubs do that. This program encourages something more sinister. It’s selling violence as glamorous.

    Exactly. We all know that there are a myriad of ways to be extremely violent without any guns brought into the equation. We all also know that the presence guns do not automatically equal violence. Nothing good comes from the mentality that physical violence needs to be initiated to “shut someone up” for talking “too much” or saying something you object to.

  82. #82 |  Noumenon | 

    I don’t comment here often, but I’ve been on enough comment forums to know that Tokin is a troll. He absolutely will make it hard to form a respectful commenting community if you don’t ban him.

  83. #83 |  akromper | 

    http://www.ktuu.com/Global/story.asp?S=10366961

    Some people don’t need training to be bully’s, it came naturally. Haven’t the PD’s a large enough pool to choose from? Or are they just trying to gain credibilty by saying “over 50%” of our officers were former scouts and explorers. Can’t help but ask if Testilying is going to be a new merit badge. Only offered on Sundays.

  84. #84 |  TheHiker | 

    Had seen the news article about the “Explorer Scout” SWAT-Team Wannabe Program … which is certainly quite unlike any of the life-skills I learned as an Explorer (thank g/God!). Then I discovered this blog.site, with the range of comments.
    Seems to me that the summation of the discussion is pretty well covered — and confirms explicitly why I strongly oppose The Newly Militarized Explorer Scout program — just a click or two away:

    Posted in Police Militarization | 83 Comments »

    Fifth Circuit Says No SWAT Teams for Regulatory Inspections
    Monday, May 11th, 2009
    It’s a “Well gee, you’d hope so” sort of victory, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has ruled that using a SWAT team to conduct an administrative or regulatory search is a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
    The case stems from what was clearly a drug raid conducted on a bar in Louisiana by the Rapides Parrish Sheriff’s Department. But the raid was conducted under the auspices of an alcohol inspection, which allowed the department to get around the need for a criminal search warrant.
    The Fifth Circuit ruled such a raid violates the Fourth Amendment, and is allowing a civil rights suit against the officers involved to go forward. From the opinion:
    “Taking plaintiffs’ factual allegations as true, defendants did not enter Club Retro as would a typical patron; instead, they chose to project official authority by entering with weapons drawn in a S.W.A.T. team raid. They lacked any particularized suspicion or probable cause when they subsequently searched Club Retro, its attic, and the separate apartment and seized and searched all of its patrons and employees. Thus, defendants’ entry and search was not a reasonable acceptance of Club Retro’s invitation to the public. Any other conclusion would be an invitation for S.W.A.T. team raids by law enforcement officers of any business that is open to the public and would severely undermine the Fourth Amendment protections afforded to owners of commercial premises.
    “We are likewise not convinced by defendants’ second argument that they conducted a permissible administrative inspection. Although Louisiana statutes and Rapides Parish ordinances authorizing administrative inspections may have provided justification for an entry and inspection of Club Retro, no such law permits the scope and manner of the raid that plaintiffs allege occurred here…
    “Administrative inspections, by their very nature, require more limited, less intrusive conduct than is alleged to have occurred here. We thus conclude that defendants’ S.W.A.T. team entries and extensive searches, as described in the amended complaint, unreasonably exceeded the scope of Louisiana and Rapides Parish administrative inspection laws. Any other conclusion would allow the administrative inspection exception to swallow the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement for searches of private property.”

    Why should any sane citizen be vehemently opposed to the militarized Explorer Scout mentality? Because it leads DIRECTLY and irrevocably (learn your history, nay-sayers!!) to what this court case addressed.

  85. #85 |  TheHiker | 

    PART II:

    Where’s the Explorer Scout SWAT-Team Wannabe Program going?

    http://injusticeinseattle.blogspot.com/2009/05/national-police-misconduct-reporting.html

  86. #86 |  Raideo | 

    Let me preface this by saying, I am an Eagle Scout, I was practically raised on a gun range, I have been involved with competition rifle shooting since I was 11 including “practical” shoots , and I have several friends in the local police and SWAT team. This is not what the BSA in tradition, or even a couple years ago when I was involved, stands for, and by my recollection of the Scoutmaster’s handbook this very seriously violates a number of rules, if I had a copy handy I would be a little more specific. But even in the venture program, which had alot more leniency with what activities qualified as scouting activities, we were expressly disallowed from any activity which involved pointing any firearm (real, fake, airsoft, paintball or otherwise), anywhere but downrange at an approved target.

  87. #87 |  officer B | 

    Well, first let me tell you a little about myself. I was a scout in my youth, early 80s. Im a former member of the us navy. I have worked in emergency rescue, roadsside assistence, firefighting, and currently im a Corrections officer.
    With that being said, most folks might consider me a right winger. On the contrary it was my experience in scouting that has kept me “moraly strait” I try my best to do my duty all the time. To serve honorbly and to not discrace that flag i were on my uniform.
    All 3 of my kids are in scouting. My girls in girlscouts, soon to be crossing over to venturing. my son was a cubscout, now boyscout. the story above is about an explorers group. ages 14-20. explorers go out to job sites and lern about careers… in the story above police and border patrol.
    the explorer program explores other jobs aswell. firedepts, rescue, construction, farming and more… but what you must consider is that these groups are planned by the boys and girls that participate. in the story the local carreer market was limited to “law inforcement” so its logical for these youths to wanna learn more about that field.
    I personaly hate it when people assume that just because there are bad reports out there about cops… that we all are in some way trained to be that way. The training has a purpose. to save lives and quickly turn bad sittuations into managble ones. In my daily rutine i am respectfull of the rights of the offenders i manage, and afford them common curtesy and patience. Im aware that they could become dangerous at any moment and i need to “be prepared”.
    Its people skill training that i think is lacking. you gotta know how to talk to people without disrespecting them. everyone has a right to “life, liberty and the persuit of happyness”
    That being said, we can’t allways be 100% politicaly correct in every situation. alot of times its just following policy and following orders. but without my scout training, I would not have the Moral compass to recognize when policy and orders should be questioned.

    thanks for your time,

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