Some organizations spend their entire history trying to convince the world they're badass. Nobody would dare mess with a bunch of Navy SEALs, for instance, and if your girlfriend says her dad is a member of the Hells Angels, you're going to watch your ass. But some of the most badass groups on the planet don't put nearly as much effort into maintaining that kind of reputation.
Therefore, we shall do it for them.
When we think about the Salvation Army, we get a heartwarming image of little old ladies in red aprons doing their bit to serve the community one bake sale at a time, which is why you'll probably be alarmed to discover that the "Army" part of their name isn't just a metaphor.
The roots of the Salvation Army play like something out of Gangs of New York. Although founded as a Christian mission by Reverend William Booth in 1865 in East End London, their "salvation" caused so much trouble for local pimps, brewers and other ill-merchants that they armed themselves and formed an anti-Salvation Army gang they called The Skeleton Army.
The Salvation Army's eternal foe.
At a time when the Salvation Army was in its infancy and essentially fighting to stay alive, they were forced into a confrontation with the Skeleton Army gang on August 17, 1884, who rioted and tried to burn down their headquarters. The soldiers of the Salvation Army managed to outlast their adversaries, first with hope, and then with gunshots.
Then, presumably, with bells and buckets.
And they were victorious.
But even that doesn't trump the action they saw in the trenches of World War I. It was during this time that the Salvation Army deployed 1,065 women onto the battlefield, "in the face of danger, with death striking all about them."
Although this meant having to offer their services while "under fire, day after day and night after night" from a host of technological terrors ranging from machine guns to planes to poison gases, these young soldiers in the Salvation Army "coolly went about their work, giving first aid to the injured or, as the occasion offered, serving hot drinks and sandwiches."
"Did she say BLTs?"
Sound pretty ballsy? Try doing all that while unarmed and wearing a dress.
The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show and Due South combined did enough of a job on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to make them fodder for our mockery well into the 21st century.
Though the Dudley Do-Rights of the Canadian border may dress like nutcrackers in Crocodile Dundee hats, many Americans tend to forget that silly costumes and funny nicknames aren't necessarily an accurate gauge of strength or ability.
When you consider just how vulnerable the vast Canadian border is to everything from syrup-smugglers to bears, you have to figure that it must take one hell of a security system to keep Canadians sleeping soundly at night. Especially when you consider that the USA has tried to conquer Canada several times, and each time the Canadians kicked our flag-waving asses.
And took our belt!
The RCMP are actually something like the FBI of Canada. If they ride into any crime scene, anywhere in the country, they have automatic authority to boss everyone around. You'll want to listen to them not just because they're the highest authority, but also they're armed with MP5 submachine guns because "it is hard as hell to hit someone with a handgun."
If you commit a crime in Canada and try to evade the Mounties by slipping over into the States, then you've fundamentally misunderstood the power of the Mounties. They can just gallop over the border and shoot you in Maine, because they have international jurisdiction. Not to mention their paramilitary hoard of weaponry and vehicles including trucks, snowmobiles, aircraft, sea vessels and a goddamn train.
Apparently, they also have camels.
In short, the Mounties alone compose a force fear-worthy enough to, at the very least, conquer Alaska if Sarah Palin ever tries to make a comeback.
Of the words that come to mind when we hear "Boy Scouts," "badass" isn't one of them. Words like "nerdlinger" and "snot-nosed little knot-tying wieners" are probably closer to the mark. Don't say it to their pimply little faces though or they might cut you up with a Swiss army knife. Or without one.
We could regale you with all kinds of stories about Scouts who went beyond the call of duty to achieve feats that grown men couldn't dream about--like 13-year old Jimmy Kennedy, who saved his entire family when Hurricane Katrina struck his home; Chris Malasics, 14, who survived a run-in with a bear; or when two unknown Boy Scouts in 1921 fought against the worst flood in Colorado history to save a half dozen people from a burning, "exploding" lime plant... using canoes.
In the original draft of Die Hard, John McClane was a boy scout trying to get his pottery badge.
But that all somehow pales in comparison to the time the Boy Scouts answered the call to fight in the biggest worldwide free-for-all in history. Back before the Scouting organization was even in its teens, the world came down with a fever known as World War I. After boning up on their emergency preparedness skills, the Scouts competed for their Hun-killing merit badges under a sky black with artillery shells.
Tales abound of junior MacGyvers putting their scouting skills to the task of ruining Germany's day, such as the case of 12-year-old Ukrainian scout Andrew Mironenko, who crossed over enemy lines in the dead of night, unscrewed the bolts of a bunch of artillery guns and wheeled them right the hell back to the Russian front line. Or consider the Belgian Scout, Leyson, who "killed one of the enemy with his own hand and captured no fewer than 11 spies."
And finally, there's Boy Scout Mohammed Jaisham Ibrahim. While in full Boy Scout uniform, he spotted and seized an assassin's knife just as he was about to plunge it into the stomach of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the President of the Maldives. The Boy Scout, who instantly became a Man Scout, received serious injuries and had to be airlifted, but he gets to spend the rest of his life with all of the Maldives knowing that he saved the president's life. At age 15.