Michael Berg, Boy Scouts, Handguns


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BenW
May 27, 2004, 07:55 PM
I don't want to start a thread destined to be locked based on what comes after the statement of interest, but I find his choice of opening comments somewhat ridiculous. I know a lot of nice people that fire handguns....
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My son, Nick, was my teacher and my hero. He was the kindest, gentlest man I know; no, the kindest, gentlest human being I have ever known. He quit the Boy Scouts of America because they wanted to teach him to fire a handgun. Nick, too, poured into me the strength I needed, and still need, to tell the world about him.
:snip:
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1221644,00.html

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Vibe
May 27, 2004, 08:14 PM
Hmmmm.
To "quit the Boy Scouts" because they wanted to teach him do do something that there is not even a merit badge for? Sounds rather suspect right there. I can see that one particular group leader might push such an agenda, but only rifle shooting and shotguns are meritbadge material, and even then they are strictly optional - so it's still up to the scout to CHOOSE to persue either one.

Baba Louie
May 27, 2004, 08:15 PM
It's still a tragedy even without any qualifying comments on BSA handgun training for the late Mr. Berg.

We neve fired handguns in MY Troop (officially). We limited our marksmanship to .22 rifles on paper targets and 12 and 20 ga shotguns for clay pigeons. All of our leaders were men who had served (back then most men either volunteered or were drafted, remember) and felt marksmanship and safe firearms handling and proficiency was not only a good idea, but something us boys would require as the draft and the war in SEA was still active.

It's still a good idea and I can't help but wonder if the outcome of Mr. Berg's demise might have been altered had he a weapon of some sort or the desire to go down swinging.

Moot point, unfortunately.

Unofficially, several of us Scouts DID learn all about handguns, but it was thanks to our Dads, all of whom I remember owning a few revolvers, 1911's and a Luger or two. All of these fathers, Dem AND Repub by the way, could not stand the idea of the 68 GCA.

My how things have changed (Understatement of the year for me so far)

boofus
May 27, 2004, 08:36 PM
There is a Rifle and Shotgun merit badge and also one for Archery. Don't think there was one for pistol, maybe it is new. But that story does sound like a bunch of hogwash. The merit badge choice is always up to the person. If they don't want to do Swimming or Rifle or Basketry they simply don't sign up for the class. No reason to quit over it.

Sounds like another naive, kumbaya-singing, lets just cooperate liberal got what was coming to him, I feel no sympathy for these berg creatures. Just anger towards the kidnappers. I can bet money that the senior berg feels no anger towards the people that actually did the cutting and instead directs it at Bush.

If he wanted to go over and be a human shield or be fodder for the insurgents, he got what he wanted. I recall several news articles where the US armed forces recommended for him to leave the country. It was his choice not to heed the warnings.

Standing Wolf
May 27, 2004, 08:51 PM
I'm supposed to believe anything written in the Guardian?

Wildalaska
May 27, 2004, 10:25 PM
Isnt the Guardian the NY Times of England?

WildonlyreadsthecomixAlaska

BenW
May 27, 2004, 11:22 PM
Well I think in cases like this it's not a matter of believability. This person is throwing his anti-gun agenda into his barrel of many other agendas. Because of the tragic circumstances that have led to him having his "15 minutes", people are listening to what he says, whether it's true or not.

What he said regarding handguns could be taken for an innocuous statement, but more than likely he, or the activists he hangs out with, put that in to further their agenda implying that guns are evil. Critical thinkers may dismiss his statements; unfortunately emotion seems to have a stronger hold on the general populace.

Standing Wolf
May 27, 2004, 11:35 PM
Isnt the Guardian the NY Times of England?

More like the Village Voice of New York: even Lenin would be embarrassed to associate with such leftist nut cases.

R.H. Lee
May 28, 2004, 12:03 AM
Just more leftist drivel. They will say anything, anytime and something different later. Whatever they deem expedient at the moment. It is a mental disorder. You can't believe any of it.

Joshua Hutchison
May 28, 2004, 12:51 AM
B) when My boy scout troop went to a range, a couple of really nice gunnies let us shoota an MP-38 :D that was FUN!
Also got to shoot a .50 (With some special practice round):)

(EDITED to add that I also got to hold an MP-44 ^_^ Now THAT was cool too :) )

DesertEagle613
May 28, 2004, 12:56 AM
According to BSA regs, scout troops are not permitted to have official events with pistols. Venture crews are allowed to, however.

The BSA is quite possibly the best hope out there for continued gun-use. I know that in my case, were it not for the Scouts I would probably have never gotten into guns. I do enjoy those 12-ga shotguns :evil:

//edit: Eagle Scout 2001

lee n. field
May 28, 2004, 09:29 AM
We neve fired handguns in MY Troop (officially). We limited our marksmanship to .22 rifles on paper targets and 12 and 20 ga shotguns for clay pigeons. All of our leaders were men who had served (back then most men either volunteered or were drafted, remember) and felt marksmanship and safe firearms handling and proficiency was not only a good idea, but something us boys would require as the draft and the war in SEA was still active.

They may have done it at some time in the recent past. Somewhere around here I have an old firearms merit badge book, from the 60's. That book, unlike the current one, covers handguns. Revolvers and autoloaders, how to clear and make safe, how to shoot.

My son's troop now, went to a gun club open house last month. The excuse was to do their rifle merit badge. They got to shoot all kinds of cool guns. And I'll be doing a reloading demo for them sometime in June.

Ben Shepherd
May 28, 2004, 10:00 AM
Those that like and support the boy scouts: Every heard of the area of the NRA called "Freinds of the NRA"? This is the non-political arm, actually a lot of donations to it are tax-deductable. I've recently been put in as chairman for one of thier dinners.

After seeing some of the financial stuff I can tell you the money they donate to BSA, 4H, and other similar groups for range upkeep is amazing!! In my state alone the figure was well over 10,000 in one year.

I went through the scout program, spent several years as assistant scout master, a couple years as a varsity team coach. Out of my 8 varsity scouts, one came in with the rank of eagle, the other seven earned it while in my group. All of them got their rifle & shotgun merit badge.

As others stated, handguns are a big no-no in the scouts, this sounds fishy to me.

DonP
May 28, 2004, 11:17 AM
Every camp I have ever been at or heard about used .22 bolt action single shot rifles on the range and safety was drilled into your head from day one.

I have never heard of any scout troop using handguns of any kind. But it does make a nice juicy liberal oreinted quote to smear both the "homophobic" boy scouts and handguns in one sound bite, huh?

To be as polite as I can be about all this, Mr. Berg has used and abused his 15 minutes.

All his anger has been of the "blame America first" type. The only things he has said, that I heard, about the men that butchered his son was; "I'm sure they knew and in some way respected my son when they looked into his eyes"

How freakin disconnected from the real world do you have to be to think that way.

OK, I'll be the jerk to say it first.

Mr. Berg is a petty, aelf important, left wing idealogue and a total jerk to use the tragic and criminal death of his son to further his personal set of agendas which his son may or may not have shared.

Sawdust
May 28, 2004, 11:33 AM
The first time I *ever* shot a gun was as a wee lad in Boy Scouts while at Scout camp.

.22 rifles on a range where safety was paramount - the ROs watched us like hawks.

What a great time...sigh. Thanks to the OP for stirring-up a long-forgotten pleasant memory... :)

Sawdust

NukemJim
May 28, 2004, 11:54 AM
I just looked into this because of my nephews. BSA does NOT allow boy scaouts to use handguns .22 bolt action rifles only, either single shot or with a single round magazine. Not sure about Shotguns.

NukemJim
Eagle Scout

shermacman
May 28, 2004, 12:53 PM
I became an Eagle Scout thousands of years ago (1974). The Rifle and Shotgun Merit Badge was one of the many optional merit badges. It was not required. We fired single shot, bolt action .22lr rifles. There were no hand guns, unfortunately. Shot guns were only covered for safety reasons, we never got to fire them. Gun safety was drilled into our little 13 year old heads. The range, Camp Sabbatis, in upstate NY, had 15 positions to shot from. No one got hurt, I don't remember anyone even messing around.
Michael Berg is a deranged, pitiful man. I have huge sympathy for his suffering the loss of his son. I also have huge contempt for his misplaced, idiotic lunatic 'thinking'.

NEtracker
May 28, 2004, 01:10 PM
No handguns in the BSA program.
I recall the rifles that we used at Camp Child were beat up old bolts with very poor sights. Too bad there weren't any DCM rifles at the camp.
I regret not getting the shotgun merit badge, but did get the Rifle & Archery. Went on to the smallbore team in High School.
-Eagle Scout, 1976

Sean Cloherty
May 28, 2004, 02:11 PM
Bolt Action .22s for me too. Although I recall a few of the adult leaders bringing their own rifles and a pistol or two for demonstration.

IIRC I think I spent more on ammo at the PX or TP than I did for chips and soda.

Eagle Scout, 1983.

fletcher
May 28, 2004, 02:22 PM
I recall using nothing but air rifles (Cub Scouts) and a .22 bolt action (Boy Scout). That's what got me interested in firearms :p (Eagle Scout - 2001)

As far as the article goes, quitting because of that has zero relevance to the point of the article. In fact, it has no relevance to any of the article. I stand with DonP in saying

I have never heard of any scout troop using handguns of any kind. But it does make a nice juicy liberal oreinted quote to smear both the "homophobic" boy scouts and handguns in one sound bite, huh?

fletcher
May 28, 2004, 02:22 PM
Doh - double post. Mod delete please?

NEtracker
May 28, 2004, 02:39 PM
I don't have the manual here right now, but the way they word the optional Cub Scout achievement is that it has to be at a Scout camp program. I was thinking of taking my Den to the range, prior to reading that. ... Just found it..

"only by a certified Cub Scout BB gun shooting director at a BSA approved camp", "Gun-shooting sports are not an approved part of the Cub Scout program, except at Cub Scout day or resident camp", "Although gun-shooting sports are not permitted as den and pack activities, leaders can help parents understand the importance of training and encourage attendance of boys at Cub Scout day camps that offer this training."

I presented the Eddie Eagle program at a Pack Safety themed meeting this year. I was pleasantly surprised that there was not an outcry from soccer Moms.

- Eagle Scout '76
- Former Assistant Scoutmaster
- Former Tiger Den Leader
- Current Wolf Den Leader
- Fall '04, Bear Den Ldr? or Asst Cubmaster?

Deavis
May 28, 2004, 03:00 PM
More like the Village Voice of New York: even Lenin would be embarrassed to associate with such leftist nut cases.

:D


My troop covered all gun types when we learned saftey. I believe the revolver they showed and allowed us to "safe" was a .38 special Taurus one of the guy's dad owned. I think it would have been better to see an autoloader since they are more complicated than a revolver. Worst case scenario that you may need to deal with. Then again, I remember in 3rd grade on kid's dad came in and gave a gun saftey course to all of us for show and tell. With a rifle and a shotgun in a public school classroom without a police officer with him. That will never happen again.

gunsmith
May 28, 2004, 03:29 PM
Before girls and rock & roll and those kind of things distracted me.

mfree
May 28, 2004, 04:46 PM
Heh, I remember shooting skeet with my troop at the scoutmaster's place one day. He had a couple of shotguns, he was using some pump with 12ga 3" shells, and I was using a single shot 20ga break, and every so often I'd take a shot with my dad's .410 bolt single. Fun stuff.

The scoutmaster brought out an old .22lr SA pistol that we all took turns with. The "target" was a 2 liter bottle set over a little sapling stick. I'd guess range to be 20 feet or so.

I can't express how proud I was when the very first shot I'd ever fired out of a pistol ended up hitting the stick inside that bottle and flipping it in the air :) Turns out I was a hell of a lot better shot when I was 13 than i am now at 25 :D

Still, that's the kind of experience you don't forget. Like firing a full size pump shotgun loaded with a 3" magnum shell and not holding it tight enough against my shoulder. I won't forget that either :evil:

RustyHammer
May 28, 2004, 06:54 PM
Hey, I've got some swamp land over here that I'll let you have for a good price. Honest! :rolleyes:

HABU
May 29, 2004, 01:15 AM
It's a bummer he got his head chopped off, no doubt. It's a bummer he didnt leave Iraq when he was offered the opportunity, no doubt.

If he was looking for an excuse to leave the BS, any excuse would do. Maybe I will encourage my son to leave BSA because they wont let homosexuals be leaders.:rolleyes: Or not.:neener:

N3rday
May 29, 2004, 01:42 AM
Just to get rid of any doubts, I am currently in the Boy Scouts. No pistol merit badge, or I would have taken it.
Rifles are .22 single shot bolts and shotguns are 12 gauge single shot breech loaders.

And after taking shotgun, you can't feel the .22 go off at all. Its almost disorienting.

TheLastBoyScout
May 29, 2004, 12:08 PM
I have staffed Boy Scout range trips, and did a stint in Shooting Sports at TISR.

The official Boy Scout policy on handguns is that Scouts are FORBIDDEN to shoot handguns as part of a Scouting program. There is no official reason given, but when questioned, my SM said it was because "handguns are designed only to kill people, not for hunting or sporting use". It was a good thing he didn't realize that the various battle rifles on the line weren't designed for deer hunting either, I guess.

HOWEVER

Venture Scouts ARE allowed to shoot handguns, I got this straight from the TI Shooting Sports Director. I never got the chance to work with the Venture program, so I don't know what they do with them.

cfabe
May 30, 2004, 05:49 AM
Eagle Scout 2000 here.

At our local camp we had a 10-stall or so range with .22 bolt action rifles. They also had a trap area set up for doing the shotgun merit badge. I went to philmont in 1999 and at one of our camps we reloaded and shot .30-06 rifles. The shooting at philmont was what really got me into guns, I think.

mec
May 30, 2004, 11:50 AM
A lot depends on the interests of the scout leaders and the community. Miles Pickens up in Ft Payne Ala. did machine gun demos for the scout troups there. In this area, 40 years ago, the scouts were more interested in Baseball than shooting and that's mainly what they did.

Back in the 1920s, Osa and Martin Johnson ran a contest that ended up with two boy scouts going on safari with them. At that time, there was a blanket scout prohibition of " harming wildlife" and it was generally taken as a prohibition of hunting. They got some sort of dispensation for their scouts so they could take some african game.

Osa Johnson wrote several books about their photographic safaris - one titled Boy Scouts in Africa. The most dangerous thing these two kids did was to catch a baboon. Nobody got bit and I don't see how they avoided it.

The Johnson books are great if they can be found. Titles include the Boy Scout thing, " I Married Adventure" and "Congorilla". There were others about africa and the amazon. The books were full of pictures. Martin would get as close as possible to a pride of lions and while he was cranking away with his hand operated movie camera, Osa would be standing off to the side with a military stock, 03 springfield in case one of the lions decided to charge.

BHPshooter
May 30, 2004, 04:25 PM
Handguns have NOTHING to do with "official" BSA business. Nothing I ever had in scouts had anything to do with Handguns, and even at that age, I wondered WTH their problem was with them. :scrutiny:

Regardless, they do introduce many people to guns (even if they are biased against those evil handguns), which eventually leads them to enjoying it as a regular hobby, as many of us do.

Wes

geegee
May 30, 2004, 04:47 PM
Mr. Berg is a petty, aelf important, left wing idealogue and a total jerk to use the tragic and criminal death of his son to further his personal set of agendas which his son may or may not have shared.
Amen to that. Each time this buffoon is interviewed, he manages to drag his own politics into the tragic death of his son. His son , for God's sake! What a lowlife. I'm surprised he hasn't said that his son was there to help improve the environment, which is being ruined by the oil companies (all owned of course by GWB's friends). :cuss: What an empty, pathetic person this guy is. Surely there is a member of the Berg family that at some point will tell him to knock it off and shut up.

MeekandMild
May 30, 2004, 05:18 PM
You guys are being overly polite and decent. Guy is a poser, probably hoping for a Darwin award by proxy.

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