Jump to content
Stosh

Guide To Safe Scouting

Recommended Posts

You are on the right track TAHAWK, but I still think BSA could do a better job of clarifying their language.  There's enough people out there looking for wiggle room, short cuts and interpretations that some sort of effort needs to be made to clarify what it is they are trying to accomplish. 

 

With all the people out there making up stupid rules for just about everything under the sun, a little sanity would go a long way to help with what is and what isn't national policy.

 

Just because one does not mention sheath knives and belt axes doesn't mean they're banned.

 

So we have the minimum requirements of G2SS.  Does that mean one can go the extra mile and be even safer?  "All adult leaders must carry handguns and pepper spray in active bear areas."  How you have added a greater degree of both safety and controversy.

 

So the real issue here is what are the rules for real and why aren't they spelled out in clearly defined language?

 

Well, they just changed the language on knives (well, since the last time I read them):

 

Knives

A sharp pocketknife with a can opener on it is an invaluable backcountry tool. Keep it clean, sharp, and handy. Avoid large sheath knives. They are heavy and awkward to carry, and unnecessary for most camp chores except for cleaning fish. Since its inception, Boy Scouting has relied heavily on an outdoor program to achieve its objectives. This program meets more of the purposes of Scouting than any other single feature. We believe we have a duty to instill in our members, youth and adult, the knowledge of how to use, handle, and store legally owned knives with the highest concern for safety and responsibility.

Remember—knives are not allowed on school premises, nor can they be taken aboard commercial aircraft.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So sheath knives are not recommended.  Fine, no problem.

 

How many GrubMasters out there prepare food with a non-sheathed kitchen knife thinking that this is safer?  Sorry, just because one carries it on their belt instead of tossing it in the chuck box does not make it less safe.  

 

And yes, one can open a can of beans with a sheath knife.  Done it many times.  And furthermore, I have cleaned fish with a pocket knife.  One year I accidentally left my sheath knife in the trunk of my car (pre-permit to carry days) and had to dress out my deer with my pocket knife.  It can be done.  :)  

 

When I see all the boys preparing food in the kitchen using only multipurpose pocket tools, I'll reconsider my opinion..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So sheath knives are not recommended.  Fine, no problem.

 

How many GrubMasters out there prepare food with a non-sheathed kitchen knife thinking that this is safer?  Sorry, just because one carries it on their belt instead of tossing it in the chuck box does not make it less safe.  

 

And yes, one can open a can of beans with a sheath knife.  Done it many times.  And furthermore, I have cleaned fish with a pocket knife.  One year I accidentally left my sheath knife in the trunk of my car (pre-permit to carry days) and had to dress out my deer with my pocket knife.  It can be done.   :)

 

When I see all the boys preparing food in the kitchen using only multipurpose pocket tools, I'll reconsider my opinion..

 

Personally, I think the whole thing is just a reaction to the "Rambo" knives of the 1990s. I will never tell a boy not to use a sheath knife, I'll just advise a reasonably sized one.  Our former SM used blade the size of your palm as a rule of thumb. I would probably say blade the size of your hand as a rule of thumb for maximum size. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Depending on the state/location there are certain legal limits on blade lengths.  Once the blade gets beyond X" then it becomes a concealed weapon.    Take your standard fillet knife.  Blade 5-6".  Usually comes with a sheath.  You buy it, clerk tosses it in a bag along with your receipt, out the store and into the car.  You head home.  Bag is on the seat next to you.  Yep, you are illegal at that point.

 

Depending on the mood of the officer, you can be in a heap of trouble.  

 

For example: In Wisconsin any blade over 2.5" is a weapon for conceal carry purposes.  Drop that little sucker in your pocket and you could be arrested or lose your job if there's a no weapons sign on your employer's front door.  Technically the boning knife the Mrs. packed in the picnic basket to cut up some fruit for the picnic belongs in the trunk, not the passenger compartment of a vehicle.

 

But in Wisconsin, you can strap on your 9mm Smith & Wesson and walk down the street no problem whatsoever. 

 

So here's the scenario:  Your local Cub Scout pack invites you to do a presentation for the Blue Gold and you show up with your rifle, unloaded, in a case, in your trunk   You take it out, sling it over your shoulder, it's illegal.  The gun is concealed in a case.  Now, take that same gun out of the trunk, take it out of the case, load it, now sling it over your shoulder.  No problem, you're legal.

 

Hey, I can't make this stuff up.  Only people who have inconsistent and stupid rules can make this stuff up.

 

Before recommending knives to boys, it would be good to check the local laws concerning knives and where and when you can carry what size.  

 

Yes, an Eagle Scout had a 1" pocket knife in his survival kit which he accidentally left in his in his truck on school property and he was suspended for 5 days.

 

The size of one's hand isn't specific enough.  Just take the time and make sure what works for your boys to keep them safe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Swooping in to say - really?    

 

http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/HealthandSafety/GSS.aspx

 

is the direct link to the most current version of the GTSS.   There are a couple of updates in process.  Should be published any day now.  

 

Let these statements found in the preface be the expectations......

 

All participants in official Scouting activities should become familiar with the Guide to Safe Scouting and be aware of state or local government regulations that supersede Boy Scouts of America policies and guidelines. The Guide to Safe Scouting provides an overview of Scouting policies and procedures rather than comprehensive, standalone documentation. For some items, the policy statements are complete. Unit leaders are expected to review the additional reference material cited prior to conducting such activities.
 
In situations not specifically covered in this guide, activity planners should evaluate the risk or potential risk of harm, and respond with action plans based on common sense, community standards, the Boy Scout motto, and safety policies and practices commonly prescribed for the activity by experienced providers and practitioners.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Before recommending knives to boys, it would be good to check the local laws concerning knives and where and when you can carry what size.  

 

Yes, an Eagle Scout had a 1" pocket knife in his survival kit which he accidentally left in his in his truck on school property and he was suspended for 5 days.

 

The size of one's hand isn't specific enough.  Just take the time and make sure what works for your boys to keep them safe.

My son and his buddy did a Philmont practice hike over the weekend while my wife and I were out of town and he used his school backpack to do the hike (not sure why he didn't use his scout backpack).  He went to school on Monday and had forgotten to take the knife out and it fell out on the floor and was laying there when a teacher came up.  She asked whose it was and he took responsibility right away and he was sent to the principal's office.  Long story short, he was suspended for ten days and we had to go into the Superintendent's office for a expulsion hearing.  Mind you knife was closed and he wasn't waving it around and my son had never been in trouble.  Thankfully the Superintendent was very reasonable after hearing the explanation and since he had taken responsibility right away and had never been in trouble (and was in scouts) and reinstated my son right away.

 

I certainly understand why they have rules but sometimes seem to be a little crazy!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, an Eagle Scout had a 1" pocket knife in his survival kit which he accidentally left in his in his truck on school property and he was suspended for 5 days.

 

 

We had a situation very close to that in my school district.  Actually (depending on who you talk to) the knife may have actually made it into the high school building in the Scout's backpack, which he had taken on a camping trip the previous weekend.

 

My understanding is that the school administration checked out the student's explanation and ended up accepting it with no disciplinary action other than a warning.  But that's just a matter of luck.  The principal or superintendent, whoever made the decision, was actually violating the rules by not imposing a suspension or worse.  The next Scout who makes that mistake might not be so lucky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At least your superintendent showed some common sense in light of the school's intolerance stand.  There have been kindergarten kids expelled from school because mom packed a table knife in with the 9 X 13 birthday treat so the teacher could cut up the cake.

 

One has to be more careful about rules of the tools, than they do about the safety of the tools.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The really sad part about all this is that I was in my high school rifle club.  The school had an indoor 22-cal range. Yes, we could bring in our small game hunting rifles in to sight them in but we had to have them unloaded and cased in our locked locker during the day.  Oh, how things have changed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At least your superintendent showed some common sense in light of the school's intolerance stand.  

 

If I am not mixing up people and stories, I think that particular superintendent had been a SM or ASM for his sons' troop, so he probably had a better understanding of what could happen.  But a student should not have to depend on that in order to get a fair shake when he makes an innocent mistake.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Depending on the state/location there are certain legal limits on blade lengths.  Once the blade gets beyond X" then it becomes a concealed weapon.   

 

Exactly. Heading across country one year we had to check everyone's pocket knife. Our state has a 4" rule....two of the seven states we drove through had 3" rules. Our entire bus would have been in violation of the law had we not checked. The PLC looked in to the average knife lengths in most states that summer, compare with BSA pocket knife/multitool lengths and then settled on 3" as the standard length. Developed a policy and told the Scouts. Everyone carries BSA standard pocket or Swiss Army knives.

Edited by Mozartbrau

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone remember the story of the brand new Tiger who was suspended because of the plastic spork that had  a cutting edge, so it was classified as a knife?

 

Or about the HS senior, who was slated to be the valedictorian, had a West Point appointment, Eagle scout who left his camp axe with his camping gear in the trunk of his car?

 

Or the story of the story of the girl who broughty a paring knife to cut her apple?

 

Common sense isn't common.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It isn't so much the loss of common sense in our society, it's the zero-tolerance, zero-diversity culture that seems to be taking over.  G2SS is out there because people need strict rules and regulations to insulate themselves from litigation. Add to that a narcissistic moralism that everyone seems to think they have a right to decide for themselves what's best, and you have a basic recipe for social decline.  One sees it all over the place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Exactly. Heading across country one year we had to check everyone's pocket knife. Our state has a 4" rule....two of the seven states we drove through had 3" rules. Our entire bus would have been in violation of the law had we not checked. The PLC looked in to the average knife lengths in most states that summer, compare with BSA pocket knife/multitool lengths and then settled on 3" as the standard length. Developed a policy and told the Scouts. Everyone carries BSA standard pocket or Swiss Army knives.

 

 

:)  In Wisconsin it's 2.5"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

.... I think the most dangerous knives out there are the non-locking (usually multitool) folders.  

 

AND ... except the best multi-tools ... many of the multi-tools break falling apart into pieces.  That itself is dangerous.  I've had that happen to multiple cheap ones including the ones I've bought from BSA scout shops.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×