Young, Vulnerable And Slapped Down

It's shameful, but not unexpected.
Dawn on the Mississippi
Dawn on the Mississippi

Let’s talk about the recent story about a young boy who was removed from a Cub Scout den in Broomfield, Colorado, earlier this month because he had the temerity to ask a most probative question of a state lawmaker.

According to the Associated Press story,

Eleven-year-old Ames Mayfield posed the questions at an Oct. 9 event in Broomfield, between Denver and Boulder. Cub Scouts had been told to come prepared to talk to Republican state Sen. Vicki Marble about issues important to them.

On the face of it, that sounds like a good assignment for a scout — Cub or otherwise — one that might cause a young boy or girl to think about the issues facing his or her community, state, or country, and work up a question or two for a politician. Well, you know what they say about the road of good intentions; for young Ames Mayfield, his well-intended question about gun control was, as far as the Scout leader was concerned, sending Ames straight to the hell normally reserved for older members of the media.

Again, quoting the AP story:

In the video showing Ames asking about gun control, he read from a printed sheet, telling the lawmaker that he was shocked that she sponsored a bill that allowed domestic violence offenders to own guns. He also rattled off a list of survey statistics about Americans’ views on the issue and spoke about the trouble Las Vegas shooting victims would have paying their bills.
‘There is something wrong in our country where Republicans believe it’s a right to own a gun but a privilege to have health care. None of that makes sense to me,’ he said.

The story also makes clear that Ames’s mother, Lori, was involved in helping Ames frame the question “in his own words,” and she typed up the sheet he read from. While I could write a much longer column on inappropriate parental help, that’s not the crux of this story.

The heart of this story is the Cub Scout den leader’s decision to cast Ames out of the den and seek another den in which to participate, solely because Ames made the political guest uncomfortable. Apparently questions asked by other scouts also added to Marble’s discomfiture, including a follow-up by Ames in which, according to AP, “… Ames told Marble that he was ‘astonished that you blamed black people’ for their health problems.

She replied, ‘I didn’t. That was made up by the media. So you want to believe it, you believe it, but that’s not how it went down.’”

Senator Marble, if ever Sarah Sanders steps down from the White House press room briefing platform, I do believe there is a job there for you.

Ultimately, young Ames was asked to pack his duffel and find another den in which to learn the Scouting ways. No, he wasn’t dismissed from scouting, only pushed out of a den of friends and fellow scouts because he and his mother held the foolish notion that politicians should be held accountable for their words and actions. Funny, huh? How quaint. How insidious. How (and not because Halloween is fast-approaching) ghoulish and ugly.

I’m sure Ames will do well wherever he lands, and I do hope he continues his inquiries into the reasons why politicians say and do what they say and do. But, in an era of indictments, this is a glaring indictment of a Colorado Cub Scout leader who didn’t have the leadership abilities to stand up for his young charge. Shame on that leader, and shame on the Scouts. But, it doesn’t end there.

This morning, I read an NPR story about a 10-year-old daughter of Mexican parents who was recently detained by U.S. Border Patrol officers shortly after her operation at an American hospital. The girl, who has cerebral palsy, was intercepted by U.S. immigration authorities, “…as she and a cousin, who is a U.S. citizen, were in an ambulance being transferred between two hospitals so that she could receive emergency gall bladder surgery.”

According to the NPR story,

Rosamaria Hernandez was brought to the United States illegally from Mexico when she was 3 months old, according to her family and immigrant advocates involved in her case. She was traveling in an ambulance to Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi when federal immigration officers stopped the vehicle at a checkpoint.

The Border Patrol agents followed the ambulance to the hospital. When the hospital discharged the child, Border Patrol agents took the 10-year-old into custody instead of allowing her cousin to take her back to her parents, who are also in the country illegally, in Laredo.

Let’s put aside the issue of illegal immigrants — which Rosamarie’s parents are — and focus on just what happened here: a 10-year-old girl, with cerebral palsy, needs an operation that can best be carried out in an American hospital (where, “First, do no harm,” is the operating principle). A desperate family, fearful of exposure, reaches out to the hospital, and the girl is admitted and treated. With barely a moment for the incision to heal, the girl is detained by U.S. authorities, and removed from the recovery care her family can offer, and sent to a detention center. At age 10. With cerebral palsy. After major surgery.

As quoted in the NPR story,

“Alex Galvez, a lawyer representing Rosamaria, tells Newsweek that “this wouldn’t have happened during the Obama administration.”

“This current administration wants to send a clear message to all undocumented immigrants — that if you want to go to [a] hospital, you better think twice about it because you might be deported,” he told the magazine.”

This is the same administration that suggests that if you are an inquisitive member of the media, or, maybe even just an appropriately curious Cub Scout, you should always be looking over your shoulder for the “authorities” who are just itching to send you away.

Shameful all the way around. Shameful, but, sadly, not unexpected.