Boy Scouts train for badge in anti-terrorism
They have the merit badges in camping and woodcraft, now American Boy Scouts are able to prove their proficiency in anti-terrorism.
Thousands of teenagers are participating in a law enforcement programme designed to give them the skills to counter terrorism, illegal immigration and gunmen on university campuses.
Around 35,000 “Explorer” scouts aged from 14 to 21 are currently in the “law enforcement exploring” programme across America.
Dressed in combat fatigues and armed with air guns firing tiny plastic pellets, they are taught how to assault buses, raid marijuana fields and rescue terrorist hostages from buildings.
The project is run by Learning For Life, a subsidiary of the Boy Scouts of America organisation, and open to both girls and boys who want to learn the ropes of modern policing.
Exploring units, called “posts”, usually focus on a single career field such as police, engineering, health or aviation.
Law enforcement is by the most popular option and often involves an attachment with the local FBI or police.
Many agencies, such as the Border Patrol, are heavily involved in shaping the activities and admit they see the programme as a useful recruitment tool.
Although law enforcement exploring originally stuck to learning the policing basics, organisers say the training has become more specialised since the September 11 attacks and growing violence on the Mexican border.
“This is about being a true-blooded American guy and girl. It fits right in with the honour and bravery of the Boy Scouts,” AJ Lowenthal, a sheriff’s deputy and Explorer leader in Imperial, California, told the New York Times.
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