Ethics Dunce: Ames Mayfield’s Cub Scout Den

 

Ames Mayfield is a smart, gutsy 11-year-old, and this episode in his life may work to his eventual advantage. Nonetheless, his treatment by his Cub Scout den was nauseating, cruel and wrong, and contradicts the very values Scouting exists to imbue.

There is another likely villain here as well.

Ames’ Cub Scout den met with a Colorado State Senator, Republican Vicki Marble, last week. Ames came prepared with a long list of typed-up questions. (I wonder where THOSE came from?)  He raised his hand to ask his first one , involving gun legislation. “I was shocked that you co-sponsored a bill to allow domestic violence offenders to continue to own a gun,” Ames said, according to a video posted to YouTube by …hmmm, not Ames but his mother. “Why on earth would you want someone who beats their wife to have access to a gun?”

Ames’s questions continued until a den leader suggested that he pause and allow the Senator a chance to answer. I wonder if Marble noted the Supreme Court’s decision n Voisine v. United States, holding that a federal statute banning firearms possession by anyone convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” including individuals who have “misdemeanor assault convictions for reckless (as contrasted to knowing or intentional) conduct.” Maybe Ames, who I’m sure is an avid reader of Ethics Alarms, quoted my post on the issue, which concluded in part,

The real question, from an ethical standpoint, is whether Congress can and should remove a citizen’s Second Amendment right based on a misdemeanor conviction for domestic abuse. Is that fair? Sure it is. It is already settled law that it is constitutional to prevent convicted felons from owning  guns, even if it was a non-violent felony. From an ethical public policy standpoint, why would it be overly restrictive to ban gun ownership from those who engage in a violent misdemeanor?

…The majority covers the legal logic of the decision; the ethics logic is simpler. How difficult is it not to physicality abuse a spouse to the extent that one is found guilty of breaking the law? It shouldn’t be hard. Nor do I weep for any degree of spouse-beater who is denied the right to purchase a gun. Good, I say to such a person. I don’t trust you, and I don’t trust your judgment. If having access to a gun was so important to you, you should have thought about that before you started knocking loved ones around. If the threat of losing gun rights makes hot-heads think twice before engaging in domestic violence, that’s good too.

After the meeting, the leader of Ames’s Cub Scout pack, which oversees various dens, met with the boy’s mother, Lori Mayfield, and told her that that her son was no longer welcome in the den. Her son’s question was disrespectful and too political, Lori was told. (Her son’s question…)

Accepting for the nonce that this was all Ames’ idea, which we should know is baloney, why would he be kicked out?

Was it for daring to ask legitimate question of an elected representative? For inadvertently embarrassing an incompetent official who wasn’t prepared to defend her positions? For showing his fellow scouts what civic literacy and participation is, and how one petitions the government, a constitutional right?

Or perhaps Ames’s “crime” was not behaving like a quiet, submissive, naive and easily brushed aside 11- year-old. Was that it? Is he being censored and punished for the content of his question, which was reasonable and civil? Scouting exists in part to train young Americans to be active, informed and caring citizens. Ames’ conduct was completely consistent with that goal. There can be no justification for punishing the boy. An ethical Cub Scout pack would hold him up as a role model.

But we all know, don’t we, that Ames was just a pawn, if an admirable one. Is there any doubt that his activist mother unethically used him in her own scheme? It seems self-evident that she hijacked the den’s visit to further a political agenda. She made her son into her mouthpiece, her placard, her dummy. She wrote his script; it was her words, not his, that he read to the senator. Lori Mayfield, a cowardly exploiter of her own child, was the worst ethics offender here, and her son was her victim.

The Cub Scout pack’s leadership should have visited Mother Mayfield, all right, but to tell her that she was beneath contempt, using her innocent son as lobbying surrogate. Punishing Ames victimized the boy twice.

One can only speculate what bitter life lessons Ames has learned from this fiasco. If you can’t trust your elected representatives, your mother or the Cub Scouts, who can you trust?

 

19 Comments

Filed under Childhood and children, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Family, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement

19 responses to “Ethics Dunce: Ames Mayfield’s Cub Scout Den

  1. Scott_GF

    Did Marble answer?
    If she couldn’t see this for what it was and take the opportunity and make it her own then she failed.

  2. Greg

    I wouldn’t assume that the den is unjustified in booting him out. It’s possible that he’s a smug, overbearing creep like his mother and they’re just sick of him.

    I’m not so sure I would call him “gutsy,” either. Maybe he’s more afraid of his mother’s hectoring than he is of public speaking.

  3. luckyesteeyoreman

    I think if I was Marble, I could have (might have) answered:
    “Why on earth would I want someone in a household, where violence has been known on the inside, to be even further vulnerable to being victimized by violence from the outside? You seem ready to support a law that prohibits victims of domestic violence from owning a gun.”

  4. Steve-O-in-NJ

    Apparently Marble responded to another “gotcha” question the kid asked by telling him flat out that it was false. If I were the Cubmaster I would not be happy. However, as you pointed out, he should have leaned on mom, not the kid.

  5. Joe

    I bet you would have a different tune if voting rights were lost with misdemeanor convictions. How about abortion rights are lost with a misdemeanor conviction?

    Anyway I feel this is more about making it easier to ban guns than anything else. You act as if women don’t lie about domestic violence and men haven’t been wrongly convicted of it. It’s also funny how they say “anyone” when they mean “men” as the boy said “beat their wife” , women are just as capable of committing domestic violence.

    At the end of the day regardless of the bill/law if a domestic abuser wants to kill their spouse they don’t need a legal gun to do it. So like I said bills like this is just to make it easier to accuse someone and take away their constitutional rights. Gun Control advocates are about Gun Confiscation by a thousand cuts. Just like you guys don’t trust any bills/laws that say they are about women’s health when it comes to abortion, no one should trust any Gun Control advocates motives.

    Oh yeah and on the kid, sorry but his tone and accusatory/adversarial attitude was disrespectful and it’s clear to me his parents put him up to asking the Senator those questions. I have no doubt if a Cub Scout question a politicians views supporting abortion etc you’d be cheering them being kicked out.

    • Dear Joe: you are evidently a jackass, and I also need a name from you if you are going to get a second shot at a comment that isn’t this obnoxious and badly reasoned.

      I bet you would have a different tune if voting rights were lost with misdemeanor convictions. How about abortion rights are lost with a misdemeanor conviction?

      OK, we have established that you don’t comprehend analogies. You’re right, because there is no nexus between the right to an abortion or or voting rights and demonstrated tendencies to violence. Do you object to felons not being able to own guns? I bet you do. Felons also can’t vote, in many states (like mine). The issue is violence. People who use violence are a risk to the public, and guns increase that risk.

      You also shift the goalposts, the mark of an unethical advocate. Since the question isn’t about gun ownership being banned for all misdemeanors, “How about abortion rights are lost with a misdemeanor conviction?” is an extra- false comparison. Hence my jackass diagnosis.

      2. “Anyway I feel this is more about making it easier to ban guns than anything else.”

      MY post? Why don’t you do some due diligence and read what I’ve written about recent assaults on gun rights? HINT: I regard most of them as part of an effort to repeal the 2nd Amendment.

      3. “You act as if women don’t lie about domestic violence and men haven’t been wrongly convicted of it.”

      By that standard, convicted murderers should also be allowed to own guns. Good thinking, Corky.

      4. “It’s also funny how they say “anyone” when they mean “men” as the boy said “beat their wife” , women are just as capable of committing domestic violence.”

      Who is THEY, jerk? Your comment is to me. Again, do some research. I know that men are often the victims of domestic abuse, and have written about it here.

      5. “At the end of the day regardless of the bill/law if a domestic abuser wants to kill their spouse they don’t need a legal gun to do it.”

      Yes, also true of convicted murderers and cannibals. So what? We can decide as a culture that spousal and domestic abuse is bad enough to discourage by adding loss of gun rights to the consequences, just as convicted sex offenders lose some rights. Better yet, make all domestic abuse charges felonies.

      6. “Oh yeah and on the kid, sorry but his tone and accusatory/adversarial attitude was disrespectful and it’s clear to me his parents put him up to asking the Senator those questions.”

      He’s a kid. The response to his attitude and tone is to teach him, not to ban him.

      6. “I have no doubt if a Cub Scout question a politicians views supporting abortion etc you’d be cheering them being kicked out.”

      Really? Then you’re an idiot, and you’ve never read the blog. You don’t come here and impugn my integrity like that based on nothing but your own narrow world view and intellect. Any regualt readers here knows that my position would be exactly the same if the scout asked why a Democrat supported illegal immigrants.

      I’ve changed my mind. You don’t get a second chance. You’re banned. Read the Comments policies—one more thing you were too lazy to check–and find out why.

      Bye.
      Jerk.

  6. Other Bill

    Speaking of exploiting unwitting kids, how about the MLB commercial they’ve been running featuring kids, mostly young girls actually, bragging about the expensive official MLB hats and jerseys they’ve tortured their parents into buying for them as they taunt other kids? Awful.

  7. Steve-O-in-NJ

    Separate but related question, Jack. Do you think this removal of the kid from the den could be analogous to, say, a dance teacher or vocal teacher who kicks a kid out of her studio because the kid’s mom is a pushy stage mom and is driving her nuts? How about a skating or gymnastics coach who decides not to continue instruction of a kid whose mom has unrealistic dreams of Olympic stardom for her daughter and lets that be known in no uncertain terms? I agree with you that a kid should not be a parent’s sock puppet, however, kids’ activities by nature involve the parents, at least until teendom, and sometimes a disruptive parent IS a justifiable reason for cutting the kid loose. That said, the person doing the cutting should make it clear exactly why they are doing it.

  8. Barry Klinger

    I was curious about whether Ames Mayfield’s mother was some sort of political activist, and my internet search took me to this site. I find it troubling that a blogger writing as an “ethicist” would accuse – without presenting any evidence – a mother of manipulating her kid. Plausible that the kid is merely carrying out the mother’s agenda? Yes. “Self evident” that he was merely her “mouth piece,” and not, say, a smart kid with his own political positions who can find information on the internet? I don’t think so. Actually isn’t it unethical to express the harsh criticism the blog reserves for Lori Mayfield without actually bothering to check if the supposed bad behavior really occurred?

    • I have a son, and I was a kid myself, a damned precocious one. No kid asks those questions. The kid read from a script, which was typed, and involved issues that no child his age would understand or care about. Few kids understand what elected officials do; virtually NONE follow their votes. There is no doubt at all that Mom programmed her son. None. Look up “res ipsa loquitur.”

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