Among America's pantheon of sacrosanct icons is that of the Eagle Scout -- incorruptible defender of honor and virtue. The Eagle Scout is the youthful guardian of our most basic values and traditions. He is simultaneously the epitome of both the dorky patriot as well as idealistic overachiever. He is America's future, destined for great things: military careerist, CIA asset, elected officeholder, captain of industry.
To maintain this Norman Rockwell image in the public mind, the Boy Scouts of America is constantly hyping the astronauts and other successful types who once earned the Eagle Scout rank. Understandably, they don't like to talk about Eagles who went wrong: the pedophiles, murderers, corporate crooks, etc. They sweep the bad apples under the rug, and pretend that they were never Boy Scouts at all.
Ironically, it is precisely this policy of quiet "unpersoning" that fosters tall tales about notorious fallen Eagles, like Charles Manson, G. Gordon Liddy, Oliver North, and Bill Gates. None of these men were actually Eagles (although Gates almost made it -- gave up sometime after earning the rank of Life Scout). These rumors won't cease as long as the BSA just pretends to ignore the whole controversy.
Eagle Scouts who have committed murder
- Daniel Altstadt, massacred his family with a hatchet in San Diego, 1975.
- Richard Angelo, male nurse/serial killer.
- Arthur Gary Bishop, serial killer.
- Lesley Lee Gosch, murderer
- Russell Henderson, one of Matthew Shepard's killers.
- Mark Hofmann, the Mormon forger, blew up two people in 1985.
- Richard Walter Holtje, baby killer
- Gerald Johnson, stabbed best friend's parents to death
- David Brian Legg, psychopath who murdered his parents for financial gain
- Larry Matthew Puckett, rapist and killer
- John Edward Robinson, serial killer.
- Ronald Scott Shamburger, convicted murderer, executed by lethal injection.
- Charles Whitman, Texas belltower sharpshooter.
- Wendell Williamson, spree killer.
otherwise notorious Eagles
- Karl Armstrong, bomber
- Marion Barry, crack-smoking mayor of Washington, D.C.
- Michael William Brescia, bank robber, white supremacist.
- Gerald Ford, doublecrossed America by pardoning Richard M. Nixon.
- Dave Foreman, cofounder of Earth First!
- L. Ron Hubbard, founded Scientology.
- Alfred Kinsey, sex researcher
- David Lynch, Julee Cruise promoter.
- Khallid Abdul Muhammad / Harold Moore Jr., Nation of Islam, etc.
- Stuart Jason Orr, convicted arsonist
- Edward Ortiz, disgraced LAPD officer in Rampart scandal, convicted of conspiracy to obstruct justice
- Ross Perot, billionaire.
- Fred Phelps, professional intolerant.
- Donald Rumsfeld, warmongering ideologue
- David Seesing, flew 12 tons of marijuana into the U.S.
- Brandon Smith, arsonist.
- Steven Spielberg, 1941, The Goonies, Hook
- John Tesh, umm, "musician".
- Sam Walton, Wal-Mart founder
|Robert Baden-Powell publishes Scouting for Boys.
|21 Aug 1912
|Arthur R. Eldred becomes the first boy to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.
|1 Apr 1924
|13-year-old Boy Scout L. Ron Hubbard receives the rank of Eagle Scout in Washington, D.C. Hubbard later claims that he was the nation's youngest Eagle Scout, despite the fact that the national office has never recorded that factoid.
|1 Aug 1966
|US Marine and former Eagle Scout Charles Whitman stabs both his wife and mother to death in their homes. Then he goes to the University of Texas at Austin and climbs the clocktower. There he spends the next 92 minutes picking off pedestrians with a sniper rifle. By the time Austin PD finally kills Whitman, he has murdered 16 and wounded 31.
|24 Aug 1970
|College dropout and former Eagle Scout Karl Armstrong drives a one-ton car bomb onto the University of Wisconsin at Madison. The blast creates a large crater in Sterling Hall, but no deaths. He is later sentenced to 23 years prison.
|Eagle Scout Daniel Altstadt picks up a hatchet and murders his parents, his sister, and paralyzes his brother in their San Diego, California home.
|1 Oct 1975
|Babysitter and former Eagle Scout Richard Walter Holtje drowns his girlfriend's 16-month-old child in scalding water.
|Aircraft salesman and former Eagle Scout David Seesing crashes a DC-6 cargo plane while trying to land at West Virginia's Kanawha Airport. 12 tons of marijuana bales are scattered over crash site. Seesing later receives a 5-year prison sentence.
|18 Sep 1985
|Former Eagle Scout Lesley Lee Gosch blows away the wife of a bank president in Alamo Heights, Texas, as part of a failed extortion plot. He later receives the death sentence.
|10 Jun 1988
|Convicted serial killer and former Eagle Scout Arthur Gary Bishop is executed by lethal injection in Utah.
|30 Sep 1994
|College student and former Eagle Scout Ronald Scott Shamburger breaks into a coed's home, kills her, and sets fire to the crime scene. He later receives the death sentence.
|26 Jan 1995
|Law student and former Eagle Scout Wendell Williamson goes on a shooting spree in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, killing Kevin Reichardt, Ralph Walker, and seriously wounding a police officer.
|30 Aug 1995
|White supremacist and former Eagle Scout Michael William Brescia carries a homemade bomb into a Madison, Wisconsin bank lobby.
|14 Oct 1995
|Eagle Scout Larry Matthew Puckett rapes and kills a woman in her Petal, Mississippi mobile home. He is later sentenced to death.
|9 Jun 1996
|Former Eagle Scout David Brian Legg murders his parents in their Ahwatukee Foothills, Arizona home. He later receives a life sentence.
|24 Apr 1998
|Convicted murderer and former Eagle Scout Lesley Lee Gosch is executed by lethal injection at Huntsville Prison, in Huntsville, Texas.
|29 Dec 1999
|Eagle Scout Gerald Johnson stabs his best friend's parents to death in their Garden Grove, California home.
|Convicted murderer and former Eagle Scout Daniel Altstadt hangs himself in his prison cell.
|9 Feb 2002
|16-year-old Eagle Scout Brandon Smith and three of his friends set fire to Wylie Junior High School, causing $1.5 million in damages. He is later tried as an adult and sentenced to 9 years in prison.
|22 Jun 2002
|Summer camp counselor and former Eagle Scout Stuart Jason Orr deliberately sets a forest fire in Arizona's Tonto National Forest. He later receives a 37-month prison sentence.
|Eagle Scout Daniel Gaynor allegedly rapes a coed at knifepoint near Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC. Gaynor ultimately pleads no contest to the crime in 2004, receiving 15 years in prison.
|18 Sep 2002
|Convicted murderer and former Eagle Scout Ronald Scott Shamburger is executed by lethal injection in Texas.
|4 Nov 2002
|Eagle Scout Darrell Lambert is kicked out of the Boy Scouts of America for being an avowed atheist.
|17 Dec 2002
|Former Eagle Scout Ryan James Frazier is charged with murdering his parents and 17-year-old brother outside Victoria, Texas.
|16-year-old Eagle Scout Bernard J. Poulin, Jr. shoots his mother Linda in the back of the head at their Whitefield, VT home. Bernard receives 25 years to life.
|30 Jan 2004
|Eagle Scout Gary M. Hirte is charged with murdering Glenn Kopitske, by blowing out his brains of with a 12-gauge shotgun and then stabbing him with an eight-inch hunting knife in Wolf River, Wisconsin.
|5 May 2004
|18-year-old Eagle Scout Shane Cubbage shoots his father Forrest in the back of the head with a .38 handgun in Chesapeake, Virginia. He then dunks his father's head in a bucket of water to guarantee his death.
|15 Jul 2004
|Eagle Scout Robert Daniel Murray is sentenced to seven years in prison for beating 56-year-old Laura White with a metal pipe inside a Mormon church in Longview, Texas.
|30 Mar 2005
|Former Eagle Scout and 39-year professional Scouter Douglas Sovereign Smith Jr. pleads guilty to possession of child pornography. Investigators found 520 files on his home computer depicting minors engaged in hardcore sex. Smith worked for the Boy Scouts national headquarters and was staff adviser of their Youth Protection Task Force.