Saturday, October 19, 2013

"training the youth of a nation to the use of firearms..."


   In 1903 there was organized in New York the Public Schools Athletic league, an organization formed for the purpose of promoting athletics among the boys and girls of the public schools of New York, and conceded to have since become the greatest athletic organization in the world, over 150,000 having participated in its manifold competitions in all branches of athletics during the past year.

   Immediately after its organization its officers undertook the task of introducing rifle shooting as one of its activities, primarily because such instruction was of value as muscular exercise, but still more so from the improvement in nervous power, self-control and discipline which it develops.

   General George W. Wingate, president of the league, in speaking of the work, says: "If the practice which is now being carried on in the high schools of New York in instructing its pupils in rifle shooting could, as I hope and think will be the case, be made general throughout the country, so that a large number of our youths become sharpshooters, the boys, besides attaining the valuable qualities of quick perception, steady nerves and cool self-reliance, and having a good time would be led to abstain from cigarette smoking and other vices, and to live clean, manly lives."

   It is gratifying to know that in a recent article in Collier's, General Wood, chief of staff of the army, praised the work of the league in this respect.

   Many of the schools throughout the east have taken up this work, and have regular rifle practice and drill in connection with their regular studies.

   It would be very fitting that Missoula, as the seat of the University of Montana, should be the first of the western cities to take action along these lines and form cadet corps in the various schools and the university.

   The establishment of such corps in the university and in our public schools would, doubtless, meet with the hearty approval of the national government, it having been shown by the high efficiency of the Bulgarian army in the present Balkan war that training the youth of a nation to the use of firearms and military practice is of untold value when reserves have to be called out for a country's defense. With Fort Missoula right at hand it seems probable that the secretary of war could be prevailed upon to detail officers to drill and instruct any cadet companies that would be formed here.

   The "American Boy Scouts," an organization of about 300,000 members, have adopted the "Boy Scout rifle," made by the Remington Arms-Union Metallic Cartridge Co., as their official rifle. This rifle is peculiarly adapted for such organizations, being equipped with sling strap and bayonet, and accurately rifled for target shooting.

[The Daily Missoulian, Missoula, Montana, Sunday Morning, December 15, 1912. Holiday Edition, Out-Door Life, Pg. 10]

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