I can't quite put my finger on why, but somehow training Boy Scouts to be the next generation SWAT teams just isn't right:
The responding officers — eight teenage boys and girls, the youngest 14 — face tripwire, a thin cloud of poisonous gas and loud shots — BAM! BAM! — fired from behind a flimsy wall. They move quickly, pellet guns drawn and masks affixed.It's part of the Explorers program, which allows girls (but probably still not atheists or gays) and has existed for decades for kids interested in becoming cops and firefighters.
'United States Border Patrol! Put your hands up!' screams one in a voice cracking with adolescent determination as the suspect is subdued.
Maybe it's the picture in the piece, with a bunch of kids made up like they're about to take down a drug den. Or the girl who waxes poetic about how she loves her gun. It's just . . . creepy!
Still, there's some interesting truths sticking out here and there:
In a simulation here of a raid on a marijuana field, several Explorers were instructed on how to quiet an obstreperous lookout.Yes, Felix, you pay attention. You'll learn all about how to violate a person's civil liberties! I wonder if they have a badge for that?
'Put him on his face and put a knee in his back,' a Border Patrol agent explained. 'I guarantee that he’ll shut up.'
One participant, Felix Arce, 16, said he liked 'the discipline of the program,' which was something he said his life was lacking. 'I want to be a lawyer, and this teaches you about how crimes are committed,' he said.