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Teen Scouts Learn to Fight Terrorists and Illegal Immigrants

When I was a Girl Scout, we spent most of our time working on badges, preparing for camping trips, or selling delicious cookies. Well you can forget all that. Today's girls (and boys) involved in the Explorers program, an affiliate of the Boy Scouts of America, learn how to combat terrorists, illegal immigrants, and border violence. Since 9/11, Homeland Security has worked closely with the program, with the hope of creating more agents.

Cathy Noriego, a 16-year-old participant, told the New York Times that the guns attracted her to the program. During exercises, the group uses compressed-air guns that fire plastic bullets — but they also fire the real stuff at the range. Cathy said of the guns, "I like the sound they make. It gets me excited."

I feel uneasy about training kids as young as 14 to become armed border patrolmen and women or anti-terrorist vigilantes. The potential for extreme nationalism — brought on by teaching children that non-Americans are a threat — also worries me.

Do you think the Explorers program offers valuable life lessons about leadership and discipline, or does the program perpetuate a culture of violence?


Join The Conversation
janneth janneth 8 years
You go, girl (scout). Seriously, this is awful. No guns. No.
kh61582 kh61582 8 years
I think this is great! If this had been going on when I was a kid I would have done it so I could learn something worth while instead of how to put up a tent. Clearly the New York Times wants to portray this as a bad thing because to them pro-American thought is a bad thing. Think about it this way, this is just balancing out all of the anti-American/pro-terrorist/illegal immigrant thought they are taught in the public schools they attend. It's only fair.
jessy777 jessy777 8 years
Gun use aside, can we say 1984. The scout organization in that novel was trained to find and turn people into the thought police. Seems like a stepping stone to me.
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
Autumns: "However being taught to hunt down terrorists is insane. I would prefer it if these kids were taught how to recognize suspicious behavior and how to report it." Exactly! I'm all for wilderness survival training (I think more people, adults included, need this). I'm all for learning to spot suspicious behavior and report it to the proper people. I am NOT for teaching a 14yr how to raid a building possibly full of terrorists or how to shoot illegal immigrants (how do you know 100% of the time what their status is by looking at them?). This country should not be on the list of countries that employ child-soldiers.
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 8 years
I think kids should be shown how dangerous guns can be, I learned that the hard way when I shot myself in the foot at 13. If they want to carry one they should be taught by a professional how to use it safely for their own protection and only when they can show that they know how dangerous it can be. However being taught to hunt down terrorists is insane. I would prefer it if these kids were taught how to recognize suspicious behavior and how to report it.
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 8 years
* I should add in reference to my first sentence: I believe those that learn how to use a gun for personal safety, should be 18+ years of age. I feel people any younger will most likely ignore the seriousness of the weapon. ("Cathy" included.)
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 8 years
While I am not pro-fire arms, I do feel in this crazy society, you should at least know how to use one. However what this group is teaching to young teens is disturbing; how to raid a building with terrorists and how to shoot another human being... that crosses a line. Teach them ( especially at such a young age) to avoid such weapons because of the power they carry. It also bothers me that they are "recruiting" 14yr olds in hopes of gaining more agents. I believe this does teach violence instead of prevention.
hithatsmybike hithatsmybike 8 years
Good call, USA. Fail #597297291.
Pistil Pistil 8 years
Now that I've actually read the NY Times article, they actually do emphasize hunting down terrorists... I think for a kid who's interested in the military or law enforcement, something similar to this would be a great opportunity, but this in itself seems way to mature and focused on setting up real scenarios (marijuana raids??) for 14-year-olds.
sontaikle sontaikle 8 years
This is sick. Sure, teach them discipline, whatever..but don't have the whole thing focus around hunting down terrorists and illegal immigrants! This is just going to create wrong and racist attitudes in young people.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
LMAO! Uhm that was meant to be (a deer) not (a dear) although sometimes our respective dears make us crazy enough to have such
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
I have no problem with youth learning hunting skills in the boy/girl scouts it's part of survival training. The issue is training them to take out another human life. Not killing a dear so that they don't starve to death in the woods.
sprinkibrio sprinkibrio 8 years
90% of the preteen boys I know are really into guns and hunting and it's pretty common in girls too. I'm a vegetarian, so I have my own little take on it, but the American culture is a culture of guns. Is that really surprising to any of you unless you're from Cali or the NE?
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
Hey doesn't this violate child labor laws they're basically in job I'm really uneasy about this. Fourteen year olds have no business learning fire armed assault against another human being.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 8 years
GKitty, whether "Cathy" turns into a homicidal adult really has nothing to do with gun, wilderness, and defense training. they're vastly different things.
margokhal margokhal 8 years
I was a member of the Medical Explorers program [also part of BSA] in high school shortly after 9/11 [from 2001 - 2004], and I certainly don't remember ANYTHING about this kind of training. It's a bit weird that the Boy Scouts would be involved with trying to recruit more cadets that early [14's a bit young for me], but there's been a crop of more programs like this geared toward getting more minors and adults into military-like training or specific training for specialities in the military.
hinkey hinkey 8 years
I'm all for learing gun safety, leadership, and discipline; however, I don't think that should be mixed in with anti-terror and border patrol lessons. I know how to use a gun, but I can't imagine teaching or have someone teach anti-terrorism along with the use of a deadly weapon, especially to a 14 year old.
GKitty GKitty 8 years
Well, the NRA is the sponsor of all this? I guess we'll be reading about "Cathy" and her unsuspecting future husband...
Ac2366 Ac2366 8 years
I think it's a great idea to teach kids to respect guns. The only way to do that is through education. I'm for it. There is nothing wrong with learning leadership and discipline.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
"I like the sound they make. It gets me excited." Wow, that's so disturbing to me.
Pistil Pistil 8 years
In Canada we've had the Cadets program for ages, and no one is up in arms over that, so to speak. I agree with mamasita... I don't think the program's mission is to brainwash kids into killers.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 8 years
I think proper education about guns is only good news. kids will learn how powerful they are and how to properly use them (and when). I personally feel that discipline and training does not inspire violence, rather hate, ignorance, greed, revenge etc. If someone learns discipline, leadership, teamwork, etc. through the use of weapons, so be it. means to an end.
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