June 13, 2008

Be Prepared

It turns out I was a little slow on the uptake about the Tornado v. Boy Scout Camp story that broke on Wednesday night. The husband pointed it out to me, I clicked and read, said, "how awful," whilst trying to drag the location of the place out of the back of my brain. I lived in Iowa for six years. I lived next door to Iowa for eighteen more. Iowa, in relative terms, is a small state. You learn where everyone's from when you meet people at school, and you peg their general geographic location on a virtual map in your brain, for future reference. You'd think I'd have known that it was near Omaha, but unfortunately the name of the nearest town on the byline wasn't ringing a bell. However, I kept reading the stories yesterday, and low and behold, when the name of "Mondamin" came up, the bell verily went off. Mondamin's where we used to go to buy our apples in the fall, and it's only about forty or so miles from Omaha, north on 1-29. At that point, I started going to the various Omaha news organizations, and read (and watched) further.

I was chatting with my sister, Christi, who still lives there yesterday and she said it was somewhat somber around town yesterday. Three out of the four scouts who were killed by the tornado were from Omaha, while the fourth was from a small town in western Iowa. State boundaries don't have really all that much to do with how scouting---Boy or Girl Scouts---is organized in that neck of the woods, so it, sadly, didn't surprise me that there were kids from Omaha at a camp in western Iowa. Her husband, who was (is?) an Eagle Scout had been to that camp many, many times. Her eldest son, who is also a Boy Scout, has been there as well. In fact, Colin, who also happens to be my godbaby, is to head off to Scout Camp on Sunday---while it's a different camp, Christi is, somewhat understandably, freaked out about the prospect, even though she knows the odds of something untoward happening are astronomical.

While the whole thing is just horrible, I have to think that if it was a pottery camp organized by Kumbaya-singing hippies, things might have been much, much worse. They probably would have had the kids out on the front porch, to witness the awesomeness of Mother Nature, and there probably would have been more casualties and more deaths. If you go up to either of those news links, you will view interviews with many scouts who were there, and the common thread was yes, we found shelter, we prayed to God to spare us, then when the storm passed, we were on our feet with our First Aid kits at the ready and started applying pressure to bleeding wounds, and started digging out people who were crushed by walls, ceilings and debris. A few kids even broke into a shed where there was an ATV and chainsaws and went out to the main road and started clearing up the fallen trees so that the emergency vehicles could get in to help the wounded. How amazing is that? The majority of these kids are under the age of fifteen and they had the presence of mind to deliver first aid and to make sure that ambulances could get in? That's freakin' phenomenal. When most kids their age would be running around like headless chickens, crying and screaming for the benefit of the cameras, these young men were doing what needed to be done, and I have no doubt there would have been more fatalities if not for their swift action.

What kills me is that, aside from the early media rush, these young men probably won't be covered. By doing what they were supposed to do they ended the story. Katie Couric isn't rushing to western Iowa to cover the aftermath of the storm, or to celebrate the heroism of these scouts---because they didn't believe what they were doing was heroic. They all exhibited the typical Midwestern philosophy of stoicism in their interviews: here's what happened, here's what we did, pray for the kids who are injured and who died...and that's the end of that. They did not fan the flames that the MSM needs to keep a story alive, to justify 24-hour coverage. Because of that, their story will most likely be lost to the annals of time. That's just sad. There are any number of teenagers who have actually received the infamous fifteen-minutes of fame (one kid from Australia comes to mind) for, just in general, being jerks, and these kids are forgotten within the space of a twenty-four hour news cycle.

Because they did the right thing, because they were responsible, they will be forgotten---and that just pisses me off. It's yet another sign of what's wrong with this world: be an asshole, and you'll get as much media coverage as you can take, but be responsible and you'll be forgotten. If people, and the media in general, were really concerned with the state of America's youth as they claim to be, what with all the coverage they give they give these brats, you'd think they'd want to laud kids who aren't like that, who are responsible, and WHO DID SOMETHING WORTHWHILE, if for no other reason than it provides a change of pace. But the media can't be bothered. They should be ashamed of themselves, because, once again, they're proving they're just in it for the sensationalism, but, then again, I doubt they're even capable of shame at this late date.

Posted by Kathy at June 13, 2008 09:57 AM | TrackBack


Posted by: the lovely janis at June 14, 2008 03:33 PM

I quit donating to the United Way when those SOBs quit giving money to the Boy Scouts. I was a Webelos leader for a few years, and watching those 11-12 year boys become scouts and men was one of the more uplifting things I was ever privileged to be part of. My daughter, who still lives in that town periodically sends along greetings and messages from those 'boys' who now have Webelos Scouts of their own.

I would expect all Boy Scouts to react the way these fine young men did. That's why they're in Scouts and that's what they're like.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at June 15, 2008 12:58 AM

I do believe you've nailed it.

Posted by: Damian at June 15, 2008 02:15 AM

Those of us who are old Boy Scouts , in the back of our minds, knew these Boy Scouts would do exactly what they did. Its simply a Scout thing. They become the men that you can count on to do the right thing , every time. Fame or glory isnt as important as living up to the expectations that a Boy Scout or Girl Scout sets for themselves. It makes decision-making in tough times so much easier when you have rock-solid guidelines. Thanks for your post. BTW, there is no such thing as an ex or former Scout. Youre a Scout all your life!
Life Scout, Air Force Vet and Proud Parent of a SOLDIER,
A Scout is Trustworthy,Kind, Obediant, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverant!

Posted by: Rick554 at June 15, 2008 05:09 AM

The reason the left-leaning mass media hasn't swarmed all over the Iowa Flood (unlike Katrina) is precisely as you've noted: The poeople in Iowa didn't need the government, and thus there was no government for the media to rake over the coals for "inhumane" treatment of the victims.

Katrina on the other hand, with it's dysfunctional government soely reliant on it's older-brother federal government, combined with a majority population (not all of course, there were heroes in NO) knowing nothing else except government hand-outs, was a petrie dish for breeding of a largely dazed and helpless population to say with a straight face "...George Bush doesn't care about black poeple".

Which event do you think the media's gonna cover?

Posted by: James at June 15, 2008 06:31 AM

By doing what they were supposed to do they ended the story.

Brilliant assessment. Also a truly scathing indictment of what is wrong with today's 'news' media.

This deserves much repeating.

Posted by: ThomasD at June 15, 2008 07:16 AM

The M.S.M. won't cover this because they hate the scouts in general , because they don't allow gays in. As far as your article right on! And god bless these brave young men. And the men who gave them the skills.Long ago this whole country had them.

Posted by: marine 43 at June 15, 2008 07:35 AM

Excellent assessment.

Posted by: mpur at June 15, 2008 08:28 AM

And I love how these boys were able to do more on their own to help people than many (though not all, of course) NOLA people twice their age who were just sitting around waiting for the "gummit" to help them.

Posted by: eddiebear at June 15, 2008 08:47 AM

As a NOLA native and an Eagle Scout, I'm sure as hell glad someone is saying what you're saying. Well said, and I hope you and yours are all right.


Posted by: tmi3rd at June 15, 2008 09:25 AM

Bravo to the Scouts, and brava to you, madame!

Posted by: ushie at June 15, 2008 09:37 AM

Well written. But they won't be forgotten by us here. And I just told the story to my boy, 9, a Bear Cub Scout. The leaders of those boy scouts, and all who volunteer their time for that fine organization, can be proud.

Posted by: L at June 15, 2008 11:56 AM

They probably will be quickly forgotten but that does not diminish what they did nor the dignity with which they did it. God bless them.

Posted by: Jim English at June 15, 2008 01:34 PM

I do think it's noteworthy, not remarkable for reasons which are apparent to those of us who get it, noteworthy and commendable that these 12, 13, 14 and 15 year old lads took care of one another. Kept track of, protected as best, triaged and gave aid when called upon.

The finest traditions of the Scouts and God bless em.

Posted by: Dave in Texas at June 15, 2008 06:33 PM

A lot of my family lives in Iowa, mostly in the northeast, where flooding is much less than other parts of the state. I visited them most recently in '06 and was glad to see them prevailing as best they can, the farming economy and tax-dependant socialist programs of the big cities nonwithstanding.

I hope they continue to prevail, and vote accordingly in this upcoming very important November '08 election. The silent majority needs to vote.

Posted by: Jerry K. at June 15, 2008 06:58 PM

I was never interested in Girl Scouts when I was a kid; I wanted to be a Boy Scout (gender be hanged). Given the relative states of the two organizations, it seems my pint-sized gut was right.

For the record, I had to "settle" for 10 years in 4-H. Oh, the humanity. :-)

Posted by: Joanna at June 16, 2008 08:37 AM

Marine 43,

There are gay scouts. What the Boy Scouts of America organization does not need is gay activism in scouting. One critic suggested that the Boy Scouts should be required to discuss issues of gender identity with youngsters (as if they did not get enough exposure to these issues in the rest of society). Imagine the possibilities for lawsuits and enraged parents.

I think it's wonderful that there is a place where boys leaving childhood and preparing for adulthood can focus on things other than sex. The Boy Scout program pretty much ignores sex as a topic of discussion, except for issues of sexual abuse.

The Left is also upset about girls not being allowed in the Boy Scouts, though girls are welcome in Boy Scout programs for older youths, such as Venturers, Explorers and Sea Scouts. And the Left also demands that the Boy Scouts give up recognition of God in the Scout Oath. Everyone in the dominant culture must be forced to think like them. Those from certain minority groups are allowed have views far from those of the Left when the Left decides that they are proper recipients of "multicultural understanding".

But you notice that the Left does not seem able to build an organization equivalent to the Boy Scouts which incorporates their values. They can only destroy what others build.

Posted by: KarenT at June 16, 2008 08:56 AM

Perfect. And sad. Thank you.

Posted by: GuyM at June 16, 2008 10:55 AM
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