Posted On: Tuesday - May 22nd 2018 12:15PM MST
In Topics:   Political Correctness  Curmudgeonry
It's been over 20 years now with this crap. Need help? Call the First Responders! Peak Stupidity has a real hatred for Political Correctness, but this "First Responder" term is not even replacing any terms that people could possibly have take offense at, though, well, we've been wrong before. What is wrong with fireman, ambulance driver (OK, OK, EMT is not too bad), and cop? It's just a modern stupid term that irks the hell out of me. First Responder? OK, you're gonna come here first before we can handle this ourselves, huh? Tell ya' what, if we need you, we'll call you, but I'm pretty sure lots of people can get here before you - don't flatter yourselves.
OK, besides just plain not liking the term, it's the modern view that these people are beyond reproach, even some kind of heroes, and not just regular people (sometimes fuck-ups, like everybody else) that's a problem. Let me talk about fireman. Yeah, I've heard they're "firefighters" now, but I'll tackle that in a later post. See the room up above? That's where they hang out most of the time, or better yet, in lounges with pool tables and foosball (at least for the old-timers, right?). Now, I'm not knocking it - they've got to be somewhere on a long shift between calls, so it might as well be decent. No, the problem is that people act like firemen, along with EMS drivers, etc. have the life of a Marine on Iwo Jima, or the 82nd Airborne during operation Market Garden (yeah, I know I could have picked a thousand other examples.)
"First Responders" should not be viewed as some kind of heroes of our society. Let me define heroes then. These are guys (ALMOST ALWAYS MEN) who put their own lives in jeopardy to save the property or lives of others. It must be the case that it's not their own lives that are in jeopardy were they not to act. I'll get right back to that with an example.
What about the absolutely preventable 9/11 and the response of the NY City Fire Department? Yes, as not the only example either, these guys did a hard job, and there were probably quite a few REAL heroes there. At some point, while doing the job they were paid well to do, things started to go really bad in those buildings, and at some point these firemen had to know that. That's when the heroes would rise above the guys that were not. Into the flow of the work, these guys kept trying to get people out ... just keep saving whoever came next until... it was done. It wasn't done however, and so many of them died trying to continue the job. Yes, even if they did get out alive, of course, those guys were heroes. That's why you see the FDNY on t-shirts even to this day.
Now, as an example of what a hero is NOT, I take the passengers on the planes flown into buildings that day. Even the ones who (allegedly) knew what was going down and acted appropriately (we'll never know exactly what happened) were not heroes. They may have been great examples of good men who acted quickly to try to overcome a threat and save a bunch of lives, but the thing is: their OWN LIVES were in jeopardy along with everyone else. They could have been heroes in other situations, but whatever happened on the planes, just by definition, it doesn't make them heroes (OK, possibly if a guy got killed in the middle of a fight with one of the armed Moslems, then yes, if does fit the definition.)
Firemen today are just decent guys that get called out 5 or 10 times per shift to answer mostly (not their fault) false alarms and a few incidents most days. It's just a job. The equipment is amazing now, and with better appliances, smoke alarms, and other home and commercial safety systems, real serious fires are few and far between compared to back in the day. When it comes down to it, there may be some heroes once in a while, but most won't even get a chance to experience that kind of innate decision. Beyond firemen, ambulance drivers pretty much drive like sissies these days. I've passed 'em just because they're going too slow to a call!
I write this pretty curmudeonly, but it's not that I don't think it's cool for the kids to see the shiny pump trucks and ambulances and meet the firemen. It's honest work, but society does not need to make these First Responders into some kind of gods, that's all. It seems to be like that. I'll break out some stories and discussion on Fireman, EMTs, and cops, along with more on 911 - the phone number - into subsequent posts.