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  • November 17, 2017

Cub Scout Is Exiled After Pressing Legislator on Guns and Race

Cub Scout Is Exiled After Pressing Legislator on Guns and Race

When a group of Cub Scouts met with a Colorado state senator this month, they asked her about some of the most controversial topics in the nation: gun control, the environment, race and the proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico.

But questions from one Cub Scout, Ames Mayfield, 11, got him kicked out of his den in Broomfield, Colo., according to his mother, Lori Mayfield. At the meeting on Oct. 9, for which the scouts were told to prepare questions for State Senator Vicki Marble, Ms. Mayfield recorded her son asking the senator why she would not support “common-sense gun laws.”

“I was shocked that you co-sponsored a bill to allow domestic violence offenders to continue to own a gun,” Ames said in a question that took more than two minutes. He continued, “Why on earth would you want somebody who beats their wife to have access to a gun?”

The event took place not long after the Las Vegas shooting. As part of her answer, Ms. Marble, a Republican from Fort Collins, defended her position on gun ownership, saying that shootings in Las Vegas and Aurora, Colo., happened in so-called gun-free zones, and that “the more guns a society has, the less crime or murders are committed.”

On Oct. 14, five days after the event with Ms. Marble, Ms. Mayfield was asked to meet the leader of the Cub Scout pack who oversees a number of dens in Broomfield, including the one Ames belonged to.

Ms. Mayfield and the pack leader, whom she did not identify, sat down at a Chipotle restaurant that afternoon. “He let me know in so many words that the den leader was upset about the topic of gun control,” Ms. Mayfield said in an interview on Saturday. “It was too politically charged.”

“He communicated that my son was no longer welcome back to the den,” she said.

Ms. Mayfield said the den leader’s response might have been fueled by her decision to post the videos of the senator’s interaction with the scouts online, where they were picked up by the local news media.

She also said she was told the den leader had been upset by other references in Ames’s long question, such as pointing out that the senator was a Republican and that gun ownership was considered a right while health care was seen as a privilege.

On Friday, in response to questions about why Ames was removed from the den, the Boy Scouts of America said only that Ames was now in another unit.

“The Boy Scouts of America and the Denver Area Council are pleased that the family will continue their participation in Scouting,” the statement said.

“We are committed to working with families to find local units that best fit their needs,” it said.

The organization declined to respond to multiple requests for more details about what Ms. Mayfield had been told by the local pack leader.

On Friday, Ms. Marble, the state senator, did not respond to an email or a voice mail message seeking comment.

But the meeting and its backlash sent ripples through the organization and the community. The local Boy Scouts group in Broomfield distanced itself in a short statement at the top of its website.

“Our Troop was NOT involved in the Mayfield incident,” it said. “As part of the Boy Scouts of America and the World Scouting Organization, we are an inclusive group regardless of politics, religion, gender and race.”

The incident was also covered extensively by news outlets in Colorado, partly because, in addition to gun control, Ames had asked Ms. Marble about remarks she made in 2013 about the causes of health issues among black people.

“I was astonished that you blamed black people for poor health and poverty because of all the chicken and barbecue they eat,” Ames said.

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

Ms. Marble then offered context for the remarks, which were made at a poverty-reduction meeting with other legislators in 2013. She also told Ames she had a multicultural family, of which she was “proud.”

After the Cub Scout event, local news outlets reported on the gun question but also resurfaced Ms. Marble’s remarks from 2013 and the controversy they posed at the time. Among the objections were those of an African-American state legislator, Representative Rhonda Fields.

“When you look at life expectancy, there are problems in the black race,” Ms. Marble said in 2013. “Sickle-cell anemia is something that comes up. Diabetes is something that’s prevalent in the genetic makeup, and you just can’t help it.

“Although I’ve got to say, 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,” she said.

“I will not tolerate that,” Ms. Fields, a Democrat, said in response in 2013, according to The Denver Post. “This is not what this committee is all about.” She added, “What we are trying to do is come up with meaningful solutions. This is not about eating chicken.”

Last week The Post published separate editorials about Ms. Marble’s comments and Ames’s dismissal. In one, it said Ms. Marble should have seen the event and Ames’s questions as an educational opportunity. “We’re sad to see her trying to lie them away now,” it said.

Ms. Mayfield said she had chosen a new pack for Ames, who is set to become a Boy Scout in February. She said Ames had felt let down by the den leader’s decision because he thought they shared a close relationship.

In an interview last week with 9News, Ames said, “I am really heartbroken.”

This article orginally appeared in The New York Times on

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