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Morale: Disarming Remembrance Day
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November 9, 2010: A hundred teenage members of the British Army Cadet Force in Plymouth have been suddenly told that they would not be able to carry rifles, as they traditionally have, during the annual November 11th Remembrance Day parade. The reason given was that it was inappropriate to have the teenage cadets carrying rifles in public because it glamorizes weapons. The cadets disagreed, but the decision stood.

The Army Cadet Force began 160 years ago as an organization for boys who were intent on eventually joining the militia (a local defense tradition dating back over a thousand years). The Cadet Corps quickly became a national organization and was supported by the British Army as a way to introduce teenage boys to the military, and help recruiting. The Army Cadet Force lost its government funding in the 1920s, but continued via donations from individuals and local organizations. The Army Cadet Force was similar to the Boy Scouts (also founded in Britain), but with a more military orientation. This included the local cadets marching in Remembrance Day parades, often with the rifles they had learned to use, and had practiced drilling with. Girls were allowed to join the Army Cadet Force in the 1980s.

Currently, there are about 1,700 Army Cadet Force detachments, with 47,000 cadets and 8,500 adult staff and instructors. With the decline in the number of veterans (conscription was abolished in the 1950s and the armed forces has been shrinking ever since), more and more of the adult staff have had no military experience. Thus the emphasis on military matters has declined, and the Army Cadet Force was increasingly described by its leadership as a youth, not military, organization. As a result of this, ten years ago, a new rule was introduced that eliminated cadets carrying rifles during parades. But the rule was not always enforced. This year, in Plymouth, it was. This got some media attention, especially since the cadets had carried their rifles in a parade two months ago. The sudden decision to enforce the "no rifles" rule was attributed to complaints from members of the public. But it's actually been a long term trend.

Remembrance Day commemorates the end of World War I, and has come to be an event that honors all war dead. Remembrance Day events are held in Britain, and most Allied countries who participated in World War I. In the U.S., November 11th is called Veterans Day, because Americans commemorate the war dead on Memorial Day in May, an occasion that dates to the 19th century custom of honoring the dead of the American Civil War (1861-5), and later modified to cover the dead from all American wars. Thus the November 11 commemorations in Europe and the British Commonwealth, are a bigger deal than they are in the United States.  


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blkfoot    And Eventually   11/9/2010 6:30:30 PM
It will become a "Gay Pride" Parade...much like St. Patricks Day has become...Gawd 2012 can't come soon enough!
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Tucci78    A good occasion to quote L. Neil Smith   11/9/2010 6:32:00 PM

If a politician isn't perfectly comfortable with the idea of his average constituent, any man, woman, or responsible child, walking into a hardware store and paying cash -- for any rifle, shotgun, handgun, machinegun, anything -- without producing ID or signing one scrap of paper, he isn't your friend no matter what he tells you.

If he isn't genuinely enthusiastic about his average constituent stuffing that weapon into a purse or pocket or tucking it under a coat and walking home without asking anybody's permission, he's a four-flusher, no matter what he claims.

What his attitude -- toward your ownership and use of weapons -- conveys is his real attitude about you. And if he doesn't trust you, then why in the name of John Moses Browning should you trust him?

If he doesn't want you to have the means of defending your life, do you want him in a position to control it?

If he makes excuses about obeying a law he's sworn to uphold and defend -- the highest law of the land, the Bill of Rights -- do you want to entrust him with anything?

If he ignores you, sneers at you, complains about you, or defames you, if he calls you names only he thinks are evil -- like "Constitutionalist" -- when you insist that he account for himself, hasn't he betrayed his oath, isn't he unfit to hold office, and doesn't he really belong in jail?

Sure, these are all leading questions. They're the questions that led me to the issue of guns and gun ownership as the clearest and most unmistakable demonstration of what any given politician -- or political philosophy -- is really made of.

He may lecture you about the dangerous weirdos out there who shouldn't have a gun -- but what does that have to do with you? Why in the name of John Moses Browning should you be made to suffer for the misdeeds of others? Didn't you lay aside the infantile notion of group punishment when you left public school -- or the military? Isn't it an essentially European notion, anyway -- Prussian, maybe -- and certainly not what America was supposed to be all about?

And if there are dangerous weirdos out there, does it make sense to deprive you of the means of protecting yourself from them? Forget about those other people, those dangerous weirdos, this is about you, and it has been, all along.

Try it yourself: if a politician won't trust you, why should you trust him? If he's a man -- and you're not -- what does his lack of trust tell you about his real attitude toward women? If "he" happens to be a woman, what makes her so perverse that she's eager to render her fellow women helpless on the mean and seedy streets her policies helped create? Should you believe her when she says she wants to help you by imposing some infantile group health care program on you at the point of the kind of gun she doesn't want you to have?

On the other hand -- or the other party -- should you believe anything politicians say who claim they stand for freedom, but drag their feet and make excuses about repealing limits on your right to own and carry weapons? What does this tell you about their real motives for ignoring voters and ramming through one infantile group trade agreement after another with other countries?

Makes voting simpler, doesn't it? You don't have to study every issue -- health care, international trade -- all you have to do is use this X-ray machine, this Vulcan mind-meld, to get beyond their empty words and find out how politicians really feel. About you. And that, of course, is why they hate it.

And that's why I'm accused of being a single-issue writer, thinker, and voter.

But it isn't true, is it?
Seems to fit this item quite well, doesn't it?  In the Cadet Force, the United Kingdom has civilians with a direct and avowed intention to defend not only themselves but their country by taking up arms, and thus the municipal government of Plymouth treats them with naked contempt.
I wonder if James Delingpole has gotten wind of this?

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arodrig6       11/10/2010 12:29:20 AM

The order to no march with rifles was not forced on the cadets by a politician, but was issued by the Devon Cadet Executive Officer, who was quoted as saying:
''There is no need for children to appear in public with weapons. It does upset some members of the public.

''There is no need for it. It doesn't reflect our aims and ethos in the Army Cadet Force. We are not soldiers.

'People say it's traditional at Remembrance parades, but there is no need to carry a weapon to remember the dead.

''I stopped it as soon as I heard they were doing it. It's not good for our image to have children carrying weapons in public.

''We are not members of the Armed Forces ? we are a youth movement sponsored by the Ministry of Defence.''

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Tucci78    At the whim of the Devon Cadet Executive Officer, eh?   11/10/2010 12:19:44 PM
So how does this corps of cadets (and their sponsors) go about removing this Devon Cadet Executive Officer, Major David Waterworth
There's no argument that the guy needs to go. If the carriage of rifles (unloaded, mark you) in a public display after long and assiduous drill therewith has nothing to do with "doesn't reflect our aims and ethos in the Army Cadet Force," then why are they wearing military uniform and why do they take the trouble to join the Cadet Force instead of the Boy Scouts and the Girl Guides? 

The people of Plymouth (and the County of Devon generally) have been sending young men and boys off to war for centuries, in both the British Army and the Royal Navy.  On what basis does this one officer speculate that it might "upset some members of the public" to commemorate the dedication and sacrifice of the youngest of these soldiers on the day set aside each year for this purpose? 

If "a ruling against children carrying rifles had been in place for ten years, but had not been enforced until now," then Major Waterworth's invocation of that ruling for this year's Remembrance Day parade becomes a matter of personal caprice on the part of one individual.

Well, the solution is simple.  Rescind the ruling, and remove the officer.

In disgrace.
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