Thursday 19 September 2019

Boy 'kicked out of Cub Scouts after challenging senator'

'I was astonished that you blamed black people for poor health and poverty because of all the chicken and barbecue they eat'

Senator Vicki Marble visited Cub Scouts den on October 9
Senator Vicki Marble visited Cub Scouts den on October 9

Emily Shugerman

An 11-year-old boy has been reportedly kicked out of his Cub Scouts den after asking his state Senator some pointed questions about gun control and minority communities.

Ames Mayfield of Broomsfield, Colorado, decided to do some research on Senator Vicki Marble before she visited his Cub Scouts den, his mother says. He arrived at the meeting with three questions typed up, printed out, and ready to ask his Senator.

"I was shocked that you co-sponsored a bill to allow domestic violence offenders to continue to own a gun,” Ames told Ms Marble, in a video posted to YouTube by his mother. “Why on earth would you want someone who beats their wife to have access to a gun?"

He rattled off a few statistics before an adult cut him off, saying: “OK, Ames, that is a really thorough question.”

Now, Ames and his mother, Lori Mayfield, say he's been asked to leave the den.

"I am really heartbroken that my Den leader, which I really felt like I had a pretty good relationship with, decided to kick me out," Ames told 9News.

The Boy Scouts of America Denver Area Council did not say why Ames was asked to leave, but told the Denver Post that they were “evaluating the matter closely". Marketing director Nicole Cosme added that the Boy Scouts is “a wholly nonpartisan organization and does not promote any one political position, candidate or philosophy.”

Ames has been offered membership in other Boy Scout dens, Ms Cosme said.

Ames's mother, however, said he was fond of his current den leader, and was just three months away from advancing to the Boy Scouts. More importantly, she added, it raised questions about what values the Cub Scouts were teaching.

“I felt my son followed directions. He asked hard questions, but he was not disrespectful,” she said.

In fact, even the congresswoman said she didn’t blame Ames for the tough line of questioning.

“It wasn’t much different from the questions I normally field in other meetings,” Ms Marble told the Post. “The invitation to meet with the scouts was never intended to cause friction and controversy.”

At the October 9 meeting, Ames also asked Ms Marble about controversial comments she had made in 2013 about mortality rates among black people.

At the time, she said there were "problems in the black race” related to life expectancy, including sickle-cell anaemia and diabetes.

“Although I’ve got to say,” she added. “I’ve never had better barbecue and better chicken and ate better in my life than when you go down South and you, I mean, I love it. Everybody loves it.”

At the Cub Scouts meeting, Ames asked the Congresswoman why she had “blamed black people for poor health and poverty because of all the chicken and barbecue they eat”.

“I didn’t, that was made up by the media,” Ms Marble responded. “So, you want to believe it? You believe it. But that’s not how it went down.”

Shortly thereafter, Ames was asked to leave his den, his mother said. She is currently looking for a new den for him to join.

At least one person appears to be a fan of Ames’s questions, however. Former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords tweeted a link to his story on Thursday, adding: “This is exactly the kind of courage we need in Congress. Ames, call me in 14 years. I’ll campaign for you.”

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