A Boy Scout troop from Iowa recently had an unexpected adventure that none of them will soon forget.
The troop was in Alaska on a camping trip when one of the scouts apparently photographed a border patrol agent. In retrospect the photo was “probably” a mistake.
Boyscout Troop 111 leader Jim Fox recounted the harrowing and now memorable experience. Fox said one of the Scouts took a picture of a border official, which spurred agents to detain everyone in that van and search them and their belongings.
“The agent immediately confiscated his camera, informed him he would be arrested, fined possibly $10,000 and 10 years in prison,” Fox said.
Fox said he was told it is a federal offense to take a picture of a federal agent.
Not wanting things to escalate, Fox said he did not complain.
Another of the Scouts was taking luggage from the top of a van to be searched when something startling happened.
“He hears a snap of a holster, turns around, and here’s this agent, both hands on a loaded pistol, pointing at the young man’s head,” Fox explained.
Fox said that had them all in fear.
Honestly, none of this story really makes any sense.
First, it is not illegal to take a picture of a federal agent, especially when they are working on your dime. In fact, you have more freedom to photograph a federal agent than you do anyone else!
Secondly, why in the world did the agent pull his gun on a group of camping kids? In response to the story, the government reviewed the allegations and so far, is disputing the idea that an agent pulled his gun the way the Boy Scouts describe. So what really happened…? We may never find out.
The troop leader was understandably upset by all of this. These kids are put in his care by trusting parents, whose worlds would be shattered if anything happened to their children – he was rightfully angry. But he also told the local news station that he’s outraged simply as an American.
When he thinks about the ordeal they went through in Alaska, knowing that the border with Mexico is practically a sieve… he is outraged.
And we should be too.