Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Far More Alarming Than Any "Right Wing Militia"

...or "Boy Scouts Meet the American Police State".

As an enlisted Army Light Infantry veteran with active duty tours in two foreign theaters, one an occupied city and one a combat zone, also Airborne-qualified with prior service in the 11th Special Forces Group, and eventual officer commissioning into the Delaware National Guard, I find utterly disturbing these pictures and quotes from the New York Times May 13 article "Scouts Train to Fight Terrorists, and More".

IMPERIAL, Calif. — Ten minutes into arrant mayhem in this town near the Mexican border, and the gunman, a disgruntled Iraq war veteran, has already taken out two people, one slumped in his desk, the other covered in blood on the floor.

The responding officers — eight teenage boys and girls, the youngest 14 — face tripwire, a thin cloud of poisonous gas and loud shots — BAM! BAM! — fired from behind a flimsy wall. They move quickly, pellet guns drawn and masks affixed.

“United States Border Patrol! Put your hands up!” screams one in a voice cracking with adolescent determination as the suspect is subdued.

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.
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.”

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.

Several years ago, two University of Nebraska criminal justice professors published a study that found at least a dozen cases of sexual abuse involving police officers over the last decade. Adult Explorer leaders are now required to take an online training program on sexual misconduct.

Many law enforcement officials, particularly those who work for the rapidly growing Border Patrol, part of the Homeland Security Department, have helped shape the program’s focus and see it as preparing the Explorers as potential employees.

The Explorer posts are attached to various agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and local police and fire departments, that sponsor them much the way churches sponsor Boy Scout troops.

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

Just as there are soccer moms, there are Explorers dads, who attend the competitions, man the hamburger grill and donate their land for the simulated marijuana field raids. In their training, the would-be law-enforcement officers do not mess around, as revealed at a recent competition on the state fairgrounds here, where a Ferris wheel sat next to the police cars set up for a felony investigation.

Their hearts pounding, Explorers moved down alleys where there were hidden paper targets of people pointing guns, and made split-second decisions about when to shoot. In rescuing hostages from a bus taken over by terrorists, a baby-faced young girl screamed, “Separate your feet!” as she moved to handcuff her suspect.

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.

These pictures are, in my mind, demonstrable child abuse, in the form of militarist mind control and conditioning of young, not-fully-developed nor fully-educated adolescents to reflexively apply force to other human beings as though they are animals.

Mind you, this happy little adulteration of a national youth group into a breeding/weeding ground for aggressive little government storm trooper types is geared toward domestic activities.

[Speaking of storm troopers, the irony should not be lost that this twisted program is carried out in Imperial, California...also, surely by happenstance, the poorest county in California.]

It is one thing for someone to enlist in the military at a young age. The U.S. military has a continuous 200+ year history of professional esprit de corps, constant training and personal development, strict controls over chain of command and responsibility, SOP's out the wazoo, constant supervision especially over junior enlisted, accountability enforced by immediate superiors and line commanders through a Uniform Code of Military Justice, and a largely-limited well-honed focus on how armed force is to be carried out and by whom.

The military is an all or nothing commitment, once undertaken, and is not simply a matter of throwing faux-firearms into young hands and holding tactical training exercises in use of deadly force.

Training adolescents in tactical, realistic situations by which they are taught to employ violence and weaponry, if necessary inflicting injury and death on some nebulous opposing force, is extraordinarily misguided. Doing it behind the guise of "Scout" activities is reprehensible and insidious.

Our police/law enforcement agents are tasked to keep the peace, not to wage war on their fellow citizens.

Exposing and ingratiating children to law enforcement through the lens of tactical military-style operations is the work of law-and-order police state thuggery, not very short of what the brown shirts (the Nazi SA) did with impressionable youth.

[The SA's maxims were : "Terror must be broken by terror" and "All opposition must be stamped into the ground".]

The fact that it happens under a phony patina of "honor" and "courage" is part and parcel of this corruption of youth.

I bet you not one of these children could adequately explain the bill of rights or enumerate the essential constitutional protections owing to any and every person subjected to state force (not just Miranda warnings, either)....but then I doubt the jackbooted overseers of this outrage have much of a grasp on them either.

Yet, these children are being conditioned in how to kick down doors, shout commands, and "neutralize" human beings in a domestic civil context under the pretext of legitimate governmental authority.

Let's just hope such a travesty like this never comes to Delaware : predation on children from poor areas to turn them into loyal police state troopers.....oh, shoot, I forgot....it already has...possibly even worse.

ADDENDUM : For an interesting (true) liberal perspective check out this post by attorney Rick Horowitz on his blog Probable Cause.

ADDENDUM 2 : In an older (2006) commentary from, of all places, Popular Mechanics, law professor Glenn Reynolds enumerates the dangers of paramilitary civilian police forces.


Waldo Lydecker's Journal said...

As a one-time law enforcement Explorer post leader, I find this weird as all get-out but not terribly surprising. BSA's move from New Jersey to Dallas was a leading indicator of how it was being taken over by the Southern Baptists and the LDS Church, and their stridency on gays in Scouting has just accelerated the process of becoming a right-wing handmaiden. Pretty depressing. I spent 30 years in Scouting only to be told I was a bad role model. Who knew "morally straight" referred to sex?

Tyler Nixon said...

The anti-gay bent of the BSA's adult masters is right in line with the mindset that would inculcate children into police state fealty.

All due respect Waldo, I think there is as much leftist-oriented nuttery behind the facially-right wing nuttery.

Neo-liberals in American government are absolutely flinchless in wanting the state to be all powerful and all encompassing.

While the specific scenarios appear red-meat righty (anti-immigration, anti-Muslim, anti-drug) the whole premise is is rooted in the type of government control that is red-flag lefty at heart.

As I have said to my pure-hearted liberal friends many times over : be careful the big government you wish for. It might just get you.

Flick said...

Tyler, I agree with everything you said except for the first sentence. I think the BSA's position on homosexuality is neither here nor there regarding our bigger steps toward a police state. It's about state worship, and I see it on both the left and the right.

When the right (now no longer conservative) is in power, they hack away at the tree of liberty from the right while the left screams bloody murder about lost rights. Then, when the left comes in to power, the righties hand the ax to the lefties. The lefties then hack away at the tree of liberty from the left while the right jumps up and down and points fingers at the left for infringing on rights. They're chipping away at different rights, but their goal is the same: to reach the center of the tree and bring it down. It's a PSYOP that is working very well for them. There is no two-party system in this country any longer; it is a false dichotomy.

As globalist insider Professor Carroll Quigley in his book "Tragedy and Hope" put it:

"The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can throw the rascals out at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party, which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies."

Any more, votes for third party candidates are the only ones that count, Ron Paul being the sole exception currently.


Flick said...

Oh, I forgot to mention, I AM in the militia, and we're not as described by the SPLC, the mainstream media, or the various DHS and fusion center domestic terrorist reports. You can click on my name to see what we're really about (and not about).


City Upon The Hill said...

Get off it guys. We don't send 18 year old girls into the woods for weeks at a time being led around by 19 year old boys, that logic doesn't change when it comes to homosexuals.

LiberalGeek said...

So other tan the fact that all of their simulated missions are for right-wing causes, it is really for liberals, too? C'mon, you are really stretching here Tyler.

I agree that this is right in line with the way that BSA has gone batshit over the past decade or so. I also think that it is child abuse, but I'm guessing that it would be unwise to attempt to remove the children from the house forcefully. :(

And drug interdiction like the type practiced in this article could just as easily align with operations on foreign soil.

Ya know what we really need in Delaware, a homeland security charter school! That would be great.

Steven H. Newton said...

Don't laugh: they actually do have the equivalent of a homeland security charter school down in Tidewater Virginia run in cooperation with the National Guard. I will have to see if I can find you a link just to really ruin your day.

Tyler Nixon said...

Steve - in case you missed the link at the end, we're on the verge of having it here. I understand the DAPSS (DE Acad for Public Safety and Security) has gotten final go-ahead.

LG - did I say liberal? I wrote "red-flag lefty", I believe. I did say I warn my liberal friends about the big government they are so eager to use to further for their own idea of noble purposes of course. That sword cuts both ways, as you all found out under Bush.

And yes, I believe national statists on the left are as much at the root of having myriad federal law enforcement agencies as any other types of federal agencies, the heft and scope of which lead to these types of outrages.

Those favoring an omnipotent, omniscient national government who think it can just be limited to social safety nets, health care, economic interventionism, etc. (i.e. a "liberal" agenda) without the natural creep towards abuses of power are living in a dream world oblivious to human nature and dangerous to the rest of us.

The "left" is now fully in charge of America, and yet the police state marches on. When your leaders eliminate DHS, rein in Border Patrol mission creep, end torture, restore the 4th Amendment, and I could go on...please come back to me.

Otherwise, yeah, neo-liberals (as I call them) are just as responsible and until I see their policies and actions on the national level meet their lofty (erstwhile) rhetoric about civil liberties, privacy, etc. as far as I am concerned then their constant bitching/moaning/screaching about Bush was purely and utterly partisan.

All Bush did was take the massive national government and do things with it that the neo-liberals didn't like.

Now that the neo-liberals own it all, these things continue...only absent any substantial protest from all but the principled left.

Until I see this change significantly, the neo-left is as culpable as the jingoist law-and-order-obsessed right, only on a far more expansive level since their designs are far far far more grandiose.

This is about all about power and control, which so much of the neo-left is quite unabashed if not thrilled to exert...as long as it suits their ends.

To me the only power guaranteed not to be abused at some point by the state or its agents is the one never conferred.

LiberalGeek said...

I know the Liddy's of the world are all over the jackbooted thug mantra, but honestly, what the hell are liberals knocking down doors to do, exactly? I see this as less of a left-wing v. right-wing issue and more of a authoritarian v. libertarian (small 'l') issue. And I'm with you there.

But to say that both sides are guilty is absolute BS. There is one administration that stands out as an authoritarian, Bush 2.

You remember what the right wing called the jackbooted thug actions? Ruby Ridge, Waco and even Elian Gonzales. Don't those things seem quaint when you think of extraordinary rendition, Gitmo and DHS?

I'll tell you what, if you promise to keep Republicans away from the levers of power, the Democrats will undo these things. But they have been institutionalized and dismantling the series of ticking timebombs that Bush left in his wake will take careful planning and comprehensive legislation. This takes time.

Lest you think that this is case of "my crap don't stink." Let me say that it does, but I refuse to go in the bathroom after your guy just left. Think Jim Carrey "Do NOT go in there!"

In the meantime, thank you for pointing out the cultural legacy that Bush and his ilk have left us with. I can only hope that we can convince these folks that there are better ways to get to know your kids. Otherwise, I'll have to get DD to round 'em up.

As for the local Delaware Academy Charter, it is worthwhile noting that one Chales von Copeland is pimping that particular madrasa.


Tyler Nixon said...

"I refuse to go in the bathroom after your guy just left"

LG, that says it all right there. This is all about partisanship for you.

"Your" guy? Give. Me. A. Mother. Effin. Break.

You can keep decrying Bush! Bush! Bush! til you're blue in the face. I already did so myself...for years.

You can keep boiling it down to "Democrats wonderful, Republicans evil", "liberals morally superior human beings, conservatives human scum", blah blah freakin' blah.

I am not biting and won't be draqged into it either. Please address this crap to relevant parties, LG. You're better than this.

You'd be surprised what your mind can discover when you take off your partisan blinders for a moment. The world takes on such greater dimension and reality becomes so much clearer if you can see beyond the Bush-Obama, Democrat/Republican, neo-liberal/neo-conservative bipolarity.

And I don't mean window-dressing designed to make one look even-handed versus merely a rank partisan, as in : "See, we go after Democrats/Republicans too" (depending on who's at the other end of your pole).

You did touch on one thing at the crux : chice/liberty versus control. That is all that matters.

All this partisan nonsense just masks the fact that control is winning.

LiberalGeek said...

My point was not a partisan one, per se. It was that using Bush as a measuring stick for how BOTH parties abuse power is a BS argument. Democrats' crap does, indeed, stink. However, when I look at the damage done to this country by the Bush administration I know how the native American in that old littering commercial felt. It makes me want to cry.

So while you and I agree that abuse of power and authoritarianism is inherent in all people in power, the outlier here is GWB. I know that you are anti-Bush, and good for you. But this third party mentality that there is no difference between the left and the right in this realm is a stands in stark contrast to what we have seen.

I am in favor of limiting the ability of individuals (anyone) having the unfettered authority that Bush and Cheney claimed as their own. I believe that Obama has made the right noises about this issue. If he stops making progress on the issue, I'll be all over him.

What I am asking of you is that you not paint both ideological sides with the same brush if only one of them has earned the paint job.

Tyler Nixon said...

"But this third party mentality that there is no difference between the left and the right in this realm is a stands in stark contrast to what we have seen."

There you go, again. Right back to the partisan. Third "party" mentality?

Really, please.

It's hard to have a substantive policy or ideological conversation with people who never ever truly step out of their yin/yan black/white all/nothing partisan short-hand and simplification, if not reduction. Not saying this is you, in particular, LG...but I see it rampant amongst your compatriots.

"What I am asking of you is that you not paint both ideological sides with the same brush if only one of them has earned the paint job."

I don't view this all as bipolar, all about "sides"...which is what you don't seem to get here, LG.

But if you want...yes, I blame your "side" as much as the "side" that gave us the last 8 years, and this blame goes beyond policy and politics...into the realm of furthering nasty corrosive partisanship and absolutist orthodoxy.