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Sunday, October 30, 2011

ChiefReason’s 2011 Halloween Spooktickle

Author’s Note: The kid in me comes out twice a year; Christmas and Halloween. I hope that I have managed to entertain you with this tale. Please enjoy the loose ends and see how many obscure references you can find as you read on.

It’s the morning of Halloween in Mockingbird Heights.

Mockingbird Heights is a sleepy little hollow that is nestled in between Haddonfield and Savoy. It has been said often that you can get there from anywhere.

With a population of 7,000 inhabitants, Mockingbird Heights has big city appeal, but with a small town’s charm.

Mayor Arnie Cunningham devotes a lot of time to his mayoral duties, but it is an elected part-time position. His “real job” is as a supervisor for a railroad maintenance crew.

It is a community that is made up of working moms and dads who have a couple of kids looking forward to going off to college upon graduation from Bates High School.

There are very few houses for sale, properties are well kept and serious crime is non-existent.

The motels in town see a steady business year-round, because Lake Crystal is nearby, where you can boat, fish, hunt, hike and ski.

Lee Brackett leads a police department of six full-time and four part-time officers.

Rick Grimes is the chief of the combination fire department, where firefighters also serve as EMTs for medical first response. The county hospital provides the ambulance service and has strategically placed paramedic ambulances throughout the county.

For the kids in town, there are playgrounds at two, city parks, baseball fields, a soccer facility, bike path and a skate park.

So, it is a city that is doing what it can to keep its residents and to attract new ones.

Chief Grimes was enjoying his Saturday, working the leaves in his yard towards his garden patch, when he got a call on his cell phone.

“Rick; it’s Lou. We have a situation here at the station”, said Lou.

“What you got?” asked Rick.

“It’s Gomez. He didn’t wake up”, said Lou.

“I’m not following you, Lou”, said Rick.

“Adam was unresponsive. He must have died in his sleep”, said Lou.

“He was in great shape. He just had his physical. He was good to go”, said Rick.

“I can’t explain it, but you need to come down”, said Lou.

“I’m on my way”, said Rick, as he put his phone away.

Chief Grimes was driving to the station and was trying to make sense of the situation. His firefighters were all in good shape; benefitting from the weight/exercise room at the fire station. Even the older guys were doing cardio, but Gomez was a stud. He was benching 350 and he could ride the stationary bike for an hour and barely break sweat! He was only 25 years old and just one year ago; he and Billy Nolan were recognized for their efforts to save a homeless person from a burning, abandoned farmhouse.

IT MADE NO SENSE!

Chief Grimes got to the station and the paramedics and coroner were already there. They recorded the death of Adam Gomez at 7:40 am.

“Any thoughts, Bob?” asked Rick.

Robert “English Bob” England had been coroner for many years and had pretty good instincts, but this death even baffled him.

“Hmm; an otherwise healthy, young male who appears to have died in his sleep? Doesn’t happen every day, for sure”, said Bob.

“I’m going to take him to the medical examiner and once the ME has done the autopsy, we’ll take him to the Goodbury and Graves Funeral Home”, said Bob.

Lou asked, “What about the Halloween Parade? Do we still want to lead things with the engine?”

“Yeah; we need to go about our business until we get some answers from the ME”, said Rick.

Jason was your typical teenager. He was a senior at Bates High School. He had a part-time job after school at Brooks and Boyle Hardware Store, but he had worked the past two summers as a counselor at Camp Crystal Lake. He had saved enough money to buy a good, used car. His dad was a certified auto mechanic, so there was no question that Jason was getting a “cherry”.

Like most Saturdays, Jason would drive over to Haddonfield, do a little shopping and eat a burger. Today, he would take Munster Road as always and pick up his costume for the Halloween party at Chucky’s.

He was listening to some Rob Zombie when his cell phone rang.

As he reached over into the seat to get his phone, he ever-so-briefly took his eyes off of the road and when he looked up, he swerved, leaving the road and striking a tree head on. Everything went black, as a hideous laugh could be heard coming from his phone.

The tones dropped at the fire station for a 10-50 PI on Munster Road.

Billy Nolan got into his gear, had his helmet in his left hand and jumped to the step on the officer’s side of the engine, as he had done countless times.

But this time, his right foot slipped, he lost his grip on the grab handle, struck his forehead violently on the step and then, he fell back and struck the back of his head on the concrete floor. Billy would not regain consciousness.

Jason was extricated and transported to Thorndike Memorial Hospital in critical condition.

Chief Grimes is having a major meltdown!

In less than 24 hours, he has lost two of his best firefighters and answers were elusive.

He was at the hospital with many of his firefighters, holding vigil over Billy, but the conversations in the hall flew between Billy Nolan, then Adam Gomez.

“How/why; how/why” was on everyone’s tongues; all questions and no answers.

Police chief Brackett was there with the county investigator, Jack Cassidy, taking statements and trying to link something/anything to this strange chain of events.

Then, Jason was brought in and immediately taken into surgery. Jason was being combative and yelling; symptomatic of a head injury.

Lewis “Lou” King thought that he heard Jason say, “I set THAT fire!”

Lou went to Chief Grimes and asked him, “Did you hear that?”

“Hear what?” asked Rick.

“What that kid said as the medics wheeled him by”, said Lou.

“Naw; too much stuff going on”, said Rick.

“I think he said, ‘I set that fire’, said Lou.

Lou and Rick looked at each other, but said not a word. Their trance was broken by Wolfie, the station dog, who was standing near an exit door and barking like crazy, but no one was there or at least one that could be SEEN.

“Rick? Rick! Do you think he was talking about that fire last Halloween at the old Otteson farm?” asked Lou.

“Well, it IS the only fire in the last couple of years…” as Rick’s voice trails off. “I’m going to the station and pull the reports.”

On October 31, 2010 at 8:15 pm, a fire was reported in the vacant house at the old Otteson farm.

As crews arrived, the house was well involved and screams with the force and fury of a train whistle could be heard coming from inside of the upstairs of the house.

With no time to lose, Adam Gomez and Billy Nolan, without benefit of a charged hose line and in full turnout, including SCBAs, entered the back door, crawled through the laundry room, kitchen, living room and to the stairway that led to the upstairs.

As they reached the top of the stairs, they could see a person laying in the fetal position on a bedroom floor.

Just as they were starting to crawl down the hallway, they heard the engine’s air horn sounding the evacuation signal. Nolan had to forcibly pull Gomez back. As he did, a badly burned head looked up and straight at them, opened its mouth and took one last breath.

As Gomez and Nolan got to the stair’s landing, they broke the window, rolled out onto a porch roof and then jumped/fell to the ground; their turnout gear and face pieces completely destroyed by the heat.

The fire was determined to be accidental in nature, caused by a transient named Edward Gein. Several liquor bottles were found in the burned out rubble, it was cold and it is believed that Gein passed out after starting a fire to keep warm.

At least; it made sense at the time.

Gomez and Nolan were both awarded medals of valor by the governor for their efforts to save the victim.

And now?

Gomez was dead, Nolan was comatose, barely clinging to life and a kid who may not survive his injuries may be admitting to setting a fire that killed a homeless person.

Was the present series of events just bad luck, coincidence or maybe, just maybe; revenge from the angry spirit of Edward Gein?

Did Adam Gomez receive a “visit” while he slept? Did something so horrific scare him into a medical emergency?

Why did Jason swerve suddenly, as if there was something in the road that he was about to hit with his car? Who called him and why were they laughing into the phone?

Did Billy Nolan “slip” while getting into the engine or was he tripped?

Why was Wolfie barking at the hospital’s exit door? Was it the wind or was it something that goes bump in the night?

Will others die in a mysterious and unexplainable manner?

It would seem that only Edward Gein would know the answers.

Say “hi”. That just might be him in the picture that was taken at the Otteson farmhouse. Really!



Happy Halloween!

TCSS.

Disclaimer: It’s all fiction and a product of my imagination. Any similarities to persons, places or ghosts are purely coincidental. This is not a teachable moment; it is escapism and entertainment. Or a reasonable facsimile thereof. Oh and it’s copyrighted under The Adventures of Jake and Vinnie© umbrella.

Monday, October 24, 2011

City Fires; Chief “Retires”

The Moline, Illinois city council, on the advice of the city administrator, plans to cut 12 firefighter/paramedic positions and privatize EMS in the city. Immediately after the decision was made, Chief Ron Miller announced his resignation/retirement. See associated links:

http://www.wqad.com/news/wqad-moline-fire-chief-resigns-101811,0,346191.story

http://www.fireengineering.com//articles/2011/10/il-fire-chief-resigns-after-ems-privatization.html

http://www.firefighterclosecalls.com/news/fullstory/newsid/147661

So that you might afford me some relative credibility, let me say that Moline is one of the "Quad” cities, I am but mere minutes away and over the years, I have come to know many firefighters from the Quad City area. They are a hearty and committed bunch. They are not a very vocal bunch unless pressed and very few run afoul with the law. They take their profession very seriously and many have started and retired from their departments.

First of all, I am of the opinion that the Moline city administrator presented information that grossly understated the impact that the decision would have on Moline residents.

Did I say grossly understated?

Now that I think about it, he never mentioned the negative impact to services; he only mentioned the positive impact to the city budget.

I honestly don’t think that many residents of Moline ever had a clue as to how much bang for their buck a firefighter in their city was giving them.

Let’s see; there would be water rescue, hazmat, technical rescue, juvey firesetter intervention programs, fire prevention, fire suppression, paramedic level emergency medical response and oh yeah; add mentors to their junior firefighters.

Their city administrator expressed his unhappiness with many firefighters who live outside the city limits, but it seems that past city negotiators haven’t included residency requirements in their collective bargaining agreement, so why all of the fuss now?

And besides; many firefighters are involved in their home communities AND the city they work. Plus, they reach out to surrounding communities.

When I was active, Moline FD’s Operation Prom Night program received wide recognition for their firefighters, who, in the beginning, reached into their own pockets to buy equipment. Did I mention that Bill Grambling and crew did it on their own time? Stop by sometime and I’ll show you a video of our Operation Prom Night production that would not have been possible without them.

You know darn well that Mr. City Boss is already thinking about closing a station. You cut 12 jobs and all of a sudden, you don’t need all of those stations, right? That’s why they call them “bean-counters”. Their common sense and their logical thinking don’t amount to a hill of beans!

You should travel to Moline and visit the “downtown” and riverfront. Between whiffs of dead carp, you can smell the money. Actually, if you know what a construction project costs in Illinois, you can see it for yourself. Plus; they just increased garbage collection fees by a couple of bucks a month. Gotta keep the curbside services going, but public safety? Please refer to “dead carp” comment.

I have to wonder how many of the private ambulance employees will be at the river’s edge throwing sandbags the next time the Big Muddy floods? Firefighters are there along with the other volunteers throwing bags, helping to treat those hurt while doing so and all the while, demonstrating their commitment to their city.

Chief Miller was hailed for standing up for his principles by stepping down. It was obvious to me that he wasn’t fond of his “bosses” for their lack of public safety priorities.

Though he made a strong statement by resigning, I have to wonder if it wouldn’t have been bolder on his part to stay and fight for a better future for the Moline Fire Department.

I’ll admit that when you reach my age, your passion for your work is still there, but your energy level and enthusiasm isn’t as high as it once was. And you can’t drink enough 5 hour Energy to get it back.

I know Chief Miller and his fire department still cares as much today as they did 30 years ago about providing the best services to their city. Unfortunately, the city “leaders” believe that they can cut into that service without affecting said services.

Chief Miller will be proven right, although he will be retired.

And a congenial relationship between fire department and their city will become contentious.

But hey; at least Moline won’t be littered with yard waste. The city picks it up for “free”.

How’s that for value added?

TCSS.

The opinions and views expressed are those of the article’s author, Art Goodrich, who also writes as ChiefReason. They do not reflect the opinions and views of www.fireengineering.com, Fire Engineering Magazine, PennWell Corporation or his dog, Chopper. This article is protected by federal copyright laws and cannot be re-produced in any form.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

May I Demonstrate?

I have stood by and watched this “Occupy Something/Anything” movement move from a crawl to almost motionless and all the while, telling myself to keep quiet.

But I cannot any longer…

Those of us who grew up in the 60s/70s have an appreciation for the protests and demonstrations that rolled through the better part of two decades. It was in those days that I spent my time as a radical. I did not consider myself a liberal, though in the strict definition, I was.

Countless books and songs were written and several documentary movies were made to memorialize a fertile history of movements that not only changed our country, but much of the Western World.

I don’t profess to be an expert of this period, but having lived through it, I believe that I have some first-hand knowledge or at least a pointed perspective of many key events.

I want to say that we owe this nation’s awakening to protest marches to our British brethren when, in the late 60s, they started the protest years with the “Ban the Bomb” marches.

In fact, I have it on good authority that the Peace symbol that adorned our clothing, flags, bumper stickers and album covers in the 60s/70s originated in Great Britain.

Does anyone remember the green Peace emblem that symbolized the “Ecology Now” movement?

The Peace symbol became the emblem for our counter culture. It separated us along generational lines and symbolized our anti-war (Vietnam), anti-establishment (parents/adults), anti-military industrial complex (government), anti-government (Washington), anti-discrimination, anti-authority (police); in addition to shepherding in the Feminist (Burn the Bra) Movement.

Please excuse me while I reflect…

Ah; those were the days.

I mean; we had very structured and very defined causes that allowed the faces of the “revolution” to move freely between them. From Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden, David Dellinger, Rennie Davis, Bobby Seale, Angela Davis and poet Allen Ginsberg to name a few; they travelled the country, addressing and leading the masses on the doctrine that identified and united a diverse population of young minds that saw their country in a different light.

As we watched the freedom of choice replaced by the military draft; our politics in the hands of the powerful few; gunboat diplomacy; ratcheted rhetoric from the nuclear powers; our freedom of speech silenced with nightsticks, tear gas and guns; demonstrations across the country grew in numbers, intensity and frequency.

There was nothing abstract about it-it was REAL! It was not a contrivance of the news media-it bled; it cried and in some cases, died.

It was ground-breaking and bone breaking. It was done without cable-vision or political action committees.

When I think about the social issues during that period of my youth, I think back to the many misconceptions that came from the “other side”; you know…the Establishment. In their eyes, us “hippies” were socialists, communists and anti-American.

What I know is that, among my college mates, there was a lot of discussion about the “Amerika” that we wanted to grow up in and how we could change it.

And we knew that we didn’t want it done through force, but rather through education.

But then our peaceful path of resistance was destroyed by the Weatherman Underground Organization (WUO).

Like many at the time, I believed that it was a “government conspiracy” to discredit and to destroy the movement. Then, the WUO published their “declaration of war”. In my mind, that was the day that the Movement died; but, not my interest in politics and that brings us to the current circumstances.

Organizers-if there are any-of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement might have benefited more from an “Occupy Sesame Street” action.

Then, the movement would have a face; someone that we could identify the issues with. Granted; it would be Big Bird, Bert or Ernie, but at least they could articulate the “cause” in terms that we could understand, because with each, new interview of a participant wherever there is an “occupation”; some disjointed diatribe tumbles off of someone’s tongue that only adds to the confusion.

I mean; the general idea is that protesters oppose Wall Street wealth, but yet; they talk about wanting to re-distribute the wealth!

Huh?

You know; in retrospect, maybe the “face” of this movement should be the bearded Peggy from the cell phone commercials. I could TOTALLY get behind Peggy.

Do I get from the news coverage that these jobless protesters simply want to receive government checks, live in their parents’ basements and dream of a day when their Link card will be replaced with a government pension to compensate them for the six weeks that they sold magazine subscriptions “back in the day”? Ah; only in America!
You know; I have a job, own my home free and clear and dabble in the stock market.

Does that make me an “enemy” of these movements?

Tell you what; I will rent a porta-potty and put it in the park across from my house.

Please; have your “movement” THERE!

TCSS.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author, Art Goodrich, who also writes under the name ChiefReason.  They do not reflect the views and opinions of www.fireengineering.com, Fire Engineering Magazine, PennWell Corporation or his dog, Chopper. Articles written by the author are protected by federal copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Kansas City Was a Ghost Town

I arrived in Kansas City on a late Tuesday afternoon and would not leave until Friday morning.
While in Kansas City on company business, I would rise early in the morning and would return to my hotel room in the late evening and would grab a cigar, go outside and call my wife. I would return to my room, turn on the TV for the day’s news, grab a bottled water from the fridge and I would sit down and read the Kansas City Star and the USA Today.
Then, I would check my emails, put my phone on charge, press my clothes for the next day and when that was done, I would watch TV from my bed until I fell asleep.
This was pretty much my routine for this trip, but something crazy was going on Thursday night in my room that I have been unable to logically resolve in my mind.
As I said; I was following my nightly routine on Thursday night, except that I packed my two bags, laid out my clothes for the drive home on Friday and put everything else in one location, so that I wouldn’t leave anything behind.
Thursday night, I wanted to catch Part 2 of the George Harrison HBO special, so I watched news until it was time for the special.
Now; here is where it gets crazy.
I want my readers to know this:
1)    I am not making this up.
2)    I did not dream it.
3)    I had not been drinking.
4)    I am not suffering from senility or dementia… to my knowledge.
As I lay on the bed, enjoying the George Harrison special, my refrigerator door opened!
I laid there for a bit looking at the fridge and thinking, “Hmmm; that’s strange”.
So, I got out of bed, shut the refrigerator door a couple of times to see if there was a problem with the door’s latch and decided that there wasn’t.
I got back on the bed and about five minutes later, the refrigerator door opened again!
I determined again that the door was not faulty, but when I closed the door this time, I put one of my bags against it just in case.
Problem solved!
I went back to watching my program, but not for long.
The TV picture started acting up. What had been an excellent high definition broadcast was now grainy and the audio was breaking up. I watched for a little while longer, hoping that it would straighten out, but it didn’t.
I had no choice but to change the channel and hope that I could catch Part 2 of the George Harrison special on another night.
As I lay there watching Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse (probably his best film ever), I heard something above the headboard of my bed.
I fought the notion that I heard something, but then, I heard it again.
It was the sound of someone scratching on the wall above my bed. I heard it at least three more times. I heard it with the lights off, the lights on and with the TV turned all of the way down.
So, I got under my covers and went back to watching Patrick Swayze and Sam Elliot beating up the bad guys.
Then, the covers moved at the end of my bed!
That is to say that it felt like something tugged on the covers at the end of my bed. Swear to God; I am not making this up!
I did not dream it, because, in order to dream, you have to be asleep and I was wide awake, trying to rationalize the refrigerator door, the scratching on the wall and now THIS!
I got up, got a drink of water and crawled back into bed, where I started to surrender to my fatigue.
I was almost asleep when I heard what sounded like radio static. I looked around the room, then got up and walked around the room, trying to find the source of this noise.
Unsuccessful at finding the cause, I got back into bed.
I heard it again and leaned over towards the clock radio that was on my bed stand. Ah Hah! It sounded like the source for the noise, so I hit the “off” button and it stopped.
Finally; I could get some sleep!
I closed my eyes.
The radio static was back!
I reached down and unplugged the clock radio, causing the static to cease. I attempted to fall asleep, but slumber was not coming very easily.
I started my drive home on Friday after about two hours sleep.
I was so troubled by this chain of events that I thought about calling my wife and telling her about it, but I was afraid that she wouldn’t take me seriously. After all; I am soon to be 59 years old and am considered by one or two people to be a reasonable person.
Anyway, I called her and described the paranormal activity. She almost sounded like she believed me. We discussed it and agreed that it was weird.
Upon reflection, this is what I know:
1) None of Thursday night’s activities occurred on Tuesday or Wednesday night.
2) When I attempted to open the refrigerator door on Friday morning to get my pop and water out, I nearly dislocated my shoulder trying to open the door.
3) The noise above my headboard was NOT coming from an adjoining room. My room was at the end of the hall and on a corner. I didn’t HAVE a neighbor on that side.
4) I checked the HBO channel on Friday morning and it was working fine.
5) I will not stay in Room 337 again, because if you add the numbers together, you get 13!
I’m not superstitious.
I’m just sayin’…
TCSS.
The opinions and views expressed are those of the article’s author, Art Goodrich, who also writes as ChiefReason. They do not reflect the opinions and views of www.fireengineering.com, Fire Engineering Magazine, PennWell Corporation or his dog, Chopper. This article is protected by federal copyright laws and cannot be re-produced in any form.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Our Incivility Ability

Whenever I take a business trip, it also gives me the opportunity to cover a wealth of issues in my mind.
As I drove to Kansas City, Missouri, I was thinking about an article that I had read in the Sunday paper.
In the article, the author attempted to identify where we lost civility and an unwillingness to compromise in our political system.
He cited the usual suspects-social media, websites, blogs, talk radio-and offered nothing new.
I can easily understand the premise of the article, but I think that a lack of civility goes well beyond politics.
Anyone who has been in the fire service since the dot com explosion can remember some of the websites’ discussion forums that quickly erupted into bashing and name-calling. At one particular fire website; many of us refer to those years as the "Flame Wars". It was all made easy because participants could do it anonymously and without fear of revealing their real identities.
Fortunately, we don’t have that problem at
When you think about how we used to settle our differences, in today’s culture; there is a lot more mental anguish than physical pain. Years ago, if our disagreements didn’t escalate into a fistfight, you could at least talk it out eyeball-to-eyeball; my preferred method for ending a dispute. You see; even back then, I could reason with the bullies.
I don’t know exactly when, after Man evolved from grunts to spoken words, when it was that we realized how powerful words could be and how much they could hurt, but if our country’s divorce rate is any indication, our society has become very prolific at it.
It is no longer the dreaded "dear john" letter, but rather a very public break up on Facebook.
My thoughts took me back to a time when kids had no choice but to follow family rules, respect the word of their parents or suffer dire consequences. Tough love; you know?
This trip took me through a part of Iowa where my parents and their families grew up. As a kid, we made many trips to Osceola, Iowa to visit with relatives.
It had me thinking about the four hour ride in our station wagon and what we did to occupy our time. That led me to explore the interaction that took place in the car and how little things had to amuse us. I believe that the time spent on those long trips strengthened our family unit. If one of us did something that did NOT amuse, it would have the offender sitting in the front seat between Mom and Dad. Ugh!
With eight of us in the car, we had to be civil to each other and respect each other’s "space". I am sure that many other families were very similar, so it is my opinion that civility began with the family unit.
That respect for authority in the home extended to the older adults, the schools and the law.
Helping the elderly to cross the street was cool; getting sent to the principal’s office was avoided at all costs and violating the law would have your parents comparing you to John Dillinger; public enemy number one during the Great Depression (some may have to Google to get the reference).
My generation also remembers the uniquely elevated status that was afforded to coaches. There was no such thing as a coach being too tough on a kid and parents intervening on behalf of their kid were non-existent. There was a code that said that the coach was always right and you NEVER questioned a coach’s decision in regards to you. Like it or not, you had to respect it. It was not an option!
Sound familiar?
It should!
I came up in the fire service at a time when we did what our instructors told us to do. We learned very quickly that questioning the instructor was not the same as asking questions. The smart ones knew it. Questioning the "whys" had its consequences. We didn’t have time to break into focus groups to discuss our feelings. You were told how to do it, shown how to do it and then, you DID it!
Subtle
Time to get back on point!
Politics is just another segment in our society where civility and compromise generally implodes.
It hasn’t cornered the market on incivility. It permeates throughout every fiber of our society; from day-care to Medicare, you will have your "could care less" about civility.
One of those defining moments where I thought that civility had completely left our country was watching the film footage of our returning Vietnam War veterans. I remember seeing them cursed at, spat on and denied their rightful place in our society. Post war care was scarce.
Yeah; there was plenty of incivility shown to our Vietnam vets. I mean; it was bad enough that they fought in a country where they weren’t sure who the enemy was, but then they returned home and were treated like THEY were the enemy.
So, I think that this current round of incivility in this country had early roots and has grown over the years. I don’t wish to cite earlier examples, because I wasn’t old enough to appreciate (?) their significance. Those older than me might say that the pre-Civil Rights years found a bounty of incivility in America.
Why, just today, as I was sitting at Ma and Pa’s Kettle in Cameron, Missouri, I was thinking about all of the uproar over the comments made by Hank Williams, Jr. on ESPN yesterday and I jotted some notes.
Though his comments are the latest example of incivility, his remarks were also taken out of context, in my opinion.
First, he compared President Obama and Speaker of the House Boehner playing golf to a meeting between Hitler and Netanyahu. He also referred to the party in power as "the enemy".
To be clear, he did NOT call the President "Hitler". He was using an outrageously, hypothetical analogy to describe the magnitude of the differences between President Obama and Republicans. It was very uncivil of Hank Jr. to mention ANYONE in the same breath as the world’s most prolific genocidal maniac.
What I find offensive is that the Media is speculating that Hank Jr. was "under the influence".
Nope; I think Jr. was under the misguided notion that his words were relevant to the political landscape; that his "celebrity" somehow commands attention.
Ironically, it DID get the attention of the ESPN bosses, who pulled Hank’s famously popular promo for Monday Night Football. I guess we live in a country where saying something that’s absurd can get you fired. I think ABC/ESPN were cowards for ending Hank’s gig; believing that they were doing "damage control". What I am hearing on talk radio is that there are more people upset with Hank’s firing than are upset with what he said, but still, my advice to Hank Williams, Jr. would be to shut up and sing!
But, alas; this is the world we live in today.
Henry David Thoreau wrote "Civil Disobedience" oh, so many years ago. I don’t think that he realized when he wrote it how timeless its pronouncements would be. It was on the required reading list for one of my early political science classes. I remember that he said,
peer pressure mixed with a large dose of respect for the senior instructors and your team guaranteed that you wouldn’t even think about bugging out. And you learned to laugh even though you were the butt of the joke.
www.fireengineering.com, where everyone must use their real names. It creates an environment that puts a discussion or a stated opinion-however poignant-on a more civil and respectful level.Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then?I believe that civility and respect are so closely aligned that you really can’t have one without the other, because; if you are respectful, you are being civil and if you are civil, you are being respectful.
Here’s hoping that the fire service can raise the quality of the debate and be the shining beacon for civility in all that they do.
TCSS
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author, Art Goodrich, who also writes under the name ChiefReason. They do not reflect the views and opinions of
www.fireengineering.com, Fire Engineering Magazine, PennWell Corporation or his dog, Chopper. Articles written by the author are protected by federal copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form.