On safety and Boy Scout gay policy

Newspapers in Indiana weigh in on new U.S. Department of Homeland Security campaign and the Boy Scout homosexuality policy.
Posted on April 23, 2013 at 1:00 a.m.

Recent editorials from Indiana newspapers:

The Bloomington Herald-Times:

Here’s some advice worth passing on.

“If You See Something, Say Something.”

The sentiment comes from a national campaign of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security via the Indiana department of the same name, the Indiana State Police and the Indianapolis Police Department. Publicizing the campaign comes in reaction to the bombing at the Boston Marathon last week, and in advance of a number of major Hoosier events coming up — everything from the Indianapolis mini-marathon to the Indianapolis 500 to graduations at universities and high schools.

A release issued by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security put it simply:

“Suspicious activity reports are one of the best defenses against violent acts.”

The release notes it is important to take note of “when and where you witnessed the behavior and any description of individuals involved such as gender, age, physical description and unique characteristics. Also take note of any vehicles involved, make and model of the vehicle, and its direction of travel.

“Examples of suspicious activity include monitoring personnel, testing security, unusual or prolonged interest in security measures, or purposely placing objects in sensitive areas to observe response. ...”

The events of last week should put us all on alert. “If you see something, say something” is a good rule to follow.

The Lafayette Journal & Courier:

The Boy Scouts of America, under pressure from within and without to update its national policy on allowing gay participants, seem willing to meet critics halfway.

The problem is, this really is one of those times when halfway doesn’t do the job.

Late last week, the Boy Scouts of America announced that it would consider a proposal that would open doors to openly gay youth Scouts but would continue to exclude gay adults from being Scoutmasters or otherwise affiliated in Scouting. A National Council vote comes in May.

It’s better than nothing, perhaps, on a policy that is based on outdated thinking.

But assuming for now that the proposal is approved — no guarantee there — imagine what it says to the newly admitted Scouts: It’s OK to be gay and in Scouts now; but once you’re an adult, we’d prefer not to have you around.

Banning gay adults continues to send a message that being “morally straight” means to be sexually straight, too. It judges character by perception rather than individual actions. And it says that being gay is equivalent to being someone who can’t be trusted, particularly around youth. That’s a standard that isn’t right and simply shouldn’t hold up.

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