Wednesday, February 06, 2008

15-year-old Boy Scout massacres family

You know what they say: Be prepared.

Hey, at least he wasn't gay or an atheist. That would be immoral!


  1. I have to say I'm a bit curious about why you decided to draw attention to this. There's no obvious religious angle other than the extremely tenuous one of the boy scouts' past religious intolerance. I don't feel, though, that you can blame the BSA for failing to screen out one mentally troubled teenager, nor can you blame the killings on his being a boy scout. I don't think there's much major effort to advance the argument that you have to be a boy scout to be moral anyway. So really, I'm not sure what you want us to make of this story.

  2. My point basically was that here's an organization that discriminates against two specific groups of people — gays and the godless — expressly on moral grounds. In the article I linked to, you hear Boy Scout reps repeating the position that "the Boy Scouts can and should set the moral tone of their organization," and that "for 88 years we've taught the moral values of the Scout oath and law to American boys," and "the Boy Scouts is an expressive social organization whose primary function is the inculcation of values in its youth members." [Emphases mine.]

    So when the Scouts exclude atheists and gays from membership, their reasoning is readily apparent: they believe that atheists and gays, as a body, do not possess the moral values required to allow them to be part of "an expressive social organization," and moreover, are so entirely bereft of worth as human beings that it's pointless even allowing them to join in the hopes that the "inculcation of moral values" will develop in them the same way they presumably do in straight, theistic boys.

    So when a presumably straight, theistic scout commits an morally suspect act like slaughtering his whole family, the point isn't to tar all Scouts with the same brush, or to criticize the organization for not being sufficiently clairvoyant to have foreseen this tragedy, or especially to suggest that scouting caused it. It's to point out the fact that it's bogus as fuck to make moral assumptions about people based solely on whether or not they share such things with you as creed or sexual preference or skin color or whatever your prejudices are based on, and instead recognize that good and bad people come from all walks of life, and in addition, that when something like mental illness comes into play, it can strike anywhere regardless of religious or secular morality or upbringing or any of that. Assuming that one group of people are predisposed to be bad because they aren't like you, and the other predisposed to be good because they are, usually means you're in for a rude awakening.

    Considering this required a comment 20 times longer than the original post to explain, I must have done a monumentally bad job making the rationale behind my snark comprehensible! I should read more Jonathan Swift.

  3. Well, he *is* from "Cockeysville".

  4. Oh, I get it.
    Since he is a member of a group that excludes some things, when he does something bad, it automatically reflects on how dumb they are for not accepting the things that you think they should.

    Your logic is inescapable. Brilliant.

    You might as well inveigh against being trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, and clean. I mean, those are their values, and this guy KILLED HIS FAMILY!!!! You are all idiots for holding to such a freakish ideology!

  5. Martin, it's OK to just post a "I don't have anything to say. Sorry I've been so quiet" post.
    It's way better than displaying sorry, pitiful thinking like this.

  6. Heh, that's rich coming from you, who is nothing but pitiful thinking.

    You're a funny guy, even if you don't know it yet.

  7. I knew you were given to histrionic overreactions, Rho, but I never knew you were this unhinged.

    Any group is allowed to exclude whomever they want. Can I help it if I find it worthy of snark that the reasons the Scouts give for excluding folks like gays and atheists -- their presumed low moral fiber -- look absurd when people they do consider worthy of acceptance have those very problems? The Scout's exclusionary policies have no legitimate reasons behind them, only mindless religious bigotry. And their stated reasons for that bigotry are rendered demonstrably false whenever something like this happens.

    Maybe it would have been a better example on my part if I'd instead mentioned the Scout leader who sued the city of Berkeley because they challenged the group's ban on gays and atheists, only to be later arrested for having spent years molesting his Scouts.

    Yes, that might have made the point more clearly than some poor sick kid.

    Meanwhile, Rho, I'd suggest anger management. You have some real issues to work out, precious little of a sense of humor, and until you do a few rounds of self-improvement, you're done here.

  8. As a former scout who's quite pissed off with how non-religious scouts in (among other places, but not limited to) USA is treated, I think this post was perfectly OK.

    I was a scout from the age of 8 to 17, but my group was graced with secular leaders for most of the time. Even for Norway, I think it was more secular than to be expected. So we had all the mountain trips, and good clean fun and practically no religious stuff apart from that admittedly annoying prayer.
    It was only in the end that some Christian guy took over, and I can assure you all that it became less fun (although I of course had grown older too... ;) )

    So I support bashing the scouting organisations until they stop the discrimination. For his time, Baden Powell was progressive (why else would he want a classless organisation in 1908? ).,,2062862,00.html

    The scouting organisations, have made him into som sort of Muhammed figure. Instead of building upon his ideas, and shape them for our time, they mindlessly copy them until they're outdated.

  9. Rho comes across like the drunk who urinates on your living room carpet and then has the temerity to complain that the room stinks of piss.


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