I used to make fun of the guys in my high school who were still Boy Scouts. Despite being nice enough fellows, and I know some of them were, there’s just something about wearing a khaki uniform complete with sash and ascot, to AP American History that simply invites derision. And this being high school, I had plenty of derision available to heap on people.

And while I arguably have just as much derision to go around these days, I think the Boy Scouts will avoid much of it these days, based on the virtue of the organization crossing the line between simply kinda creepy and downright terrifying. 

This transition can be traced to the fact that members of the Boy Scouts Explorers Program are now being trained as the next generation of counter-terrorism agents. The Explorers program, which has traditionally trained scouts for work in law enforcement and fire departments, is training scouts for anti terrorism and border patrol work. Armed with cap guns and dressed in full border patrol gear, kids as young as 14 are earning their Counter Terrorism merit badges by participating in raids on make believe marijuana fields and assailing the positions of imaginary terrorists. You can almost smell the patriotism as on of their instructors shows them the proper way to incapacitate a suspect. “Put him on his face and put a knee in his back,” a Border Patrol agent explained. “I guarantee that he’ll shut up.” 

At least in my case, the same principle applies to people who make fun of ascots.