The Church gets all the ink, and admittedly has the far longer history, but the Boy Scouts have been coming on strong. A stat I heard while stuck in traffic last week said that over 12,000 Scouts have been molested by over 8,000 Scout leaders. Most Catholic dioceses have had only a couple hundred pedophile priests outed to the public. Altogether, they can’t possibly add up to 8,000, although when you count priests in the rest of the world, particularly Ireland, you might come up with an equal number.
But that’s not fair to America. There are no Boy Scouts of the European Union. Pedos outside our borders have to come up with some other excuse to unzip in front of little boys. Let them. In America, where we love our conveniences, a child molester does not have to go to a seminary and take a vow of celibacy, although if he really wants to wear gowns to work, he may. If he is not inclined to put in that much effort, he merely has to put on a drab green hat, knot a bandanna around his throat, take an oath to be trustworthy, loyal, brave, clean and reverent, and immediately he’s allowed to go camping with his prey. It’s like letting Donald Trump run a beauty pageant. Oh, wait…
I’ve said in these ramblings before that I survived my Catholic childhood without being molested by any of the distant, terrifying priests and nuns that made my church and parochial school places of dread for me. Their hearts were cold, but I couldn’t tell you personally how cold their fingers were.
Likewise, I was a Boy Scout, in the worst boy scout troop ever assembled—Troop 555, the Triple Nickel, out of Lenni, PA. There were no Eagle Scouts in Troop 555—anyone who aspired to be one would have immediately been pummeled by the rest of the troop. There was one First Class Scout, who was routinely bullied. I had the good sense not to rise beyond the rank of Second Class. The alpha Scout of the troop was a gigantic Tenderfoot, a kid who was taller by a foot and heavier by a hundred pounds than any of the rest of us. He had no merit badges and an instinctive hatred of anyone who did.
In winter, we went to our Catholic school gym for Scout meetings and played basketball and buck-buck and otherwise tried to injure each other. In spring and fall, we would go camping in the freezing Pennsylvania woods, accompanied by our Scout leader, a devoted beer-drinker, who was helped by his assistant Scout Leaders, who were the men he liked to drink beer with. Sometimes they would make us sing songs around the campfire—it’s where I learned the lyrics to “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt,” but mostly they just drank beer and let all of us run around the woods with knives and hand-axes, looking for stuff to kill.
In the summer, they would take us to Boy Scout summer camp, where we camped with other troops. Our leaders would abandon us, sneaking into town to drink in a bar. Those were truly 555’s glory days—we specialized in waiting for other troops to fall asleep, then raiding their camps, piling on top of their tents until they collapsed, and then holding the canvas down with our weight in the hopes of suffocating the occupants. Then, when we were tired, we’d retreat to our own encampment, where one of our number, virgin as the rest of us, would entertain us by extemporizing songs about all the vagina he hoped to eventually get.
Good times. But no molestation was involved. Maybe I was just an ugly kid.