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  1. #1

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    Default At least someone understands

    Killed in the line of duty
    By CHRIS BRENNAN
    Posted 19 days ago

    Did you hear about it or read about it? There's a good chance you probably didn't.

    It wasn't in the Expositor. In was in the National Post, buried on page A10 in a column two inches wide and eight inches long.

    I'm speaking of the death of two Sudbury miners on Wednesday, June 8.

    Now just imagine if it had been two police officers or firefighters who had been killed. It would have been front-page news across the country.

    Why is that?

    Is it because being a cop or firefighter is such a dangerous occupation? The only problem with this explanation is that it isn't true. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2009 the 10 most dangerous jobs in America were:

    1. Logging. 2. Aircraft pilot. 3. Fishers. 4. Iron and steel workers. 5. Garbage collectors. 6. Farmers and ranchers. 7. Roofers. 8. Power line installers/repairers. 9. Truckers and drivers/sales workers. 10. Taxi drivers and chauffeurs.

    So why is it when a logger or miner or fisher or farmer dies it rarely makes the news, but there's a big hullabaloo when it's a cop or firefighter?

    I'll venture to guess that popular culture has something to do with it. Cops carry guns and deal with criminals. Crime is a staple of books and movies and TV shows. You don't see a lot of movies about fishers hauling in their catch or loggers cutting trees down. It's mundane. Dangerous, but not thrilling. Perhaps if they shot fish with a hand gun or felled trees with a bazooka there would be more movies about them.

    Funny thing is, on the grand scale of things , our foremost priorities are food and shelter. So theoretically, when a farmer or fisher (food) or logger or construction worker (shelter) dies on the job we should lament their death equally, if not more. Without them we would literally starve or freeze to death.

    Maybe it's got something to do with the idea of "heroism." Chasing down a gun-toting criminal seems "heroic." Rushing into a burning building and emerging with a child seems "heroic."

    Plowing a field doesn't conjure images of heroism. Neither does cutting down a tree. Or hauling in a net full of fish.

    Nevertheless, the fact of the matter is these endeavors, while not exactly "heroic" or daring, are far more dangerous and potentially lethal than fighting crime or fires.

    Cops and firefighters are happy to propagate the myth, especially at contract time, that their jobs are exceedingly dangerous. It's self-serving but disingenuous.

    Ah, but they selflessly sacrifice themselves for the "public good." Ditch the martyr complex. Growing broccoli or roofing a house is just as socially beneficial as apprehending a shoplifter.

    Another thing: The massive funeral processions for fallen comrades is getting a little stale and self-indulgent.

    Enough, already. If every profession or occupation marked the death of one of its members the way cops and firefighters do the streets would be jammed with marching mourners 24 hours a day and the economy would grind to a halt.

    Furthermore, an unintended consequence of the big funeral as public spectacle is that it serves to highlight how relatively rare it is when one of them to dies doing their job.

    A particular uniform or occupation doesn't entitle one to de facto hero status. All sorts of people in all sorts of jobs do courageous things everyday. So the next time a cop or firefighter dies and it's all over the news take a moment to remember all the other people killed 'in the line of duty' doing jobs that are far more dangerous, but less glamorous. The only difference is you probably didn't read or hear about them.

    Chris Brennan's column appears every other Friday.

    He can be reached at chrisjbrennan@bell.net.


  2. #2
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

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    Ok. I'll admit that I'm not the brightest light out there, but I was wondering this: Johnny what is your point? Are you saying this mutt is right? or are you pointing out that he is a mutt?

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    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmattdvc View Post
    Ok. I'll admit that I'm not the brightest light out there, but I was wondering this: Johnny what is your point? Are you saying this mutt is right? or are you pointing out that he is a mutt?
    I'm betting tongue firmly planted in cheek.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

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    Quote Originally Posted by cmattdvc View Post
    Ok. I'll admit that I'm not the brightest light out there, but I was wondering this: Johnny what is your point? Are you saying this mutt is right? or are you pointing out that he is a mutt?
    Johnny... answer cmattdvc's question.... inquiring minds want to know.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyChiefGonzo View Post
    Johnny... answer cmattdvc's question.... inquiring minds want to know.
    Just noticed the post count for "johnnyirons". 1

    This is not the jonnyirons2, from Cupcake, NY. So, who knows what this poster meant.

    Nice first post though.
    Last edited by ChiefKN; 07-07-2011 at 07:40 AM.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Isn't there already a JohnnyIrons on this forum?
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnnyirons View Post
    Killed in the line of duty
    By CHRIS BRENNAN
    Posted 19 days ago You don't see a lot of movies about fishers hauling in their catch or loggers cutting trees down. It's mundane. Dangerous, but not thrilling. Perhaps if they shot fish with a hand gun or felled trees with a bazooka there would be more movies about them.
    Obviously not a fan of the Discovery Channel. That's all they seem to play now is shows about logging, fishing, trucking, and mining.. I'd argue that that shows like Deadliest Catch make a much broader impression on popular culture than shows or movies about firefighters, which are actually pretty rare. (Cop shows, on the other hand are much more prevalent).
    So you call this your free country
    Tell me why it costs so much to live
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    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyChiefGonzo View Post
    Isn't there already a JohnnyIrons on this forum?
    Ya, not sure if this is meant to cause confusion or just a coincidence.

    No matter, happy to clear up any confusion.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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    The difference between public safety and the professions you mention are that none of those professions have individuals who go to work prepared to throw themselves into a potentially uncontrolled situation that requires a risk of life and limb.

    With cops the danger is even more pronounced given there elements of our society that wish to do violence upon them strictly because of their clothing.

    I've never read of a case where a lobster fisherman was murdered by a complete stranger because of his attire.
    Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."

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    Quote Originally Posted by scfire86 View Post
    The difference between public safety and the professions you mention are that none of those professions have individuals who go to work prepared to throw themselves into a potentially uncontrolled situation that requires a risk of life and limb.
    I would imagine that miners and fishermen would disagree. Certainly the situation deep in the Earth, or out in the Bering Sea, is just as uncontrolled and dangerous to life and limb yet those workers still board the elevator or boat.

    I believe there is a difference between the professions but I don't think your statement describes it completely.
    So you call this your free country
    Tell me why it costs so much to live
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    Dying to put crabmeat on my table while trying to make as much $$ as possible v.s. dying trying to save my kid trapped in his upstairs bedroom.....

    Both cases are tragic, however I think there is a huge difference when it comes to the sacrifice.

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    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bossteen View Post
    Dying to put crabmeat on my table while trying to make as much $$ as possible v.s. dying trying to save my kid trapped in his upstairs bedroom.....

    Both cases are tragic, however I think there is a huge difference when it comes to the sacrifice.
    That is the critical difference.

    Its not about what jobs are dangerous, it is about putting yourself in harm's way to save another human.

    Overall, it is a really stupid thing to argue and the fact that this moron took time out to slam the fire service is bizarre.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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    Truckie SPFDRum's Avatar
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    I would imagine that miners and fishermen would disagree. Certainly the situation deep in the Earth, or out in the Bering Sea, is just as uncontrolled and dangerous to life and limb yet those workers still board the elevator or boat.
    I didn't know that self sacrifice for the sake of others rated so poorly in your mind.

    And johnnyirons, if you believe that crap, what a tool.
    Last edited by SPFDRum; 07-07-2011 at 12:07 PM.
    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
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    Quote Originally Posted by SPFDRum View Post
    I didn't know that self sacrifice for the sake of others rated so poorly in your mind.
    Note I never mentioned the motivation, and neither did the post I quoted. In fact, that's the key discriminator that was missing. In all of the jobs mentioned the workers put their lives on the line by going into risky situations. But firefighters and cops do so to directly help others.

    The article implies that fishermen, miners, etc also help others but that is a much less direct way that the comparison is a bit of a strawman.
    So you call this your free country
    Tell me why it costs so much to live
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    Default ".....Understands"?

    I felt compelled to write this "journalist" to explain to him that he had no idea what he was talking about. Here's a part of what he wrote back:

    "Mike: You, like many of your brethen, think that pointing out the fact many other occupations are more dangerous than yours somehow "devalues" your occupation. But facts are facts. I never said being a cop or firefighter wasn't dangerous, only that other occupations are more dangerous.
    I find it amazing that so many people find opinions more threatening than the dangers they purport to face on the job. I thought you guys were strong and tough and had thick hides. Apparently not.
    Chris Brennan"

    Of course, I replied once more that, no - he didn't just point out some facts, he seemed to want to explain that making a big old deal about public safety workers dying is just much ado about nothing, given the "rankings" he quoted. I'd say that comments like his just devalue our member's sacrifies, and fall nicely in line with those in the US (see Wisconsin Republicans) who feel that money spent, and conversations with, public employees is wasted money and wasted breath.

    While my comments to him were polite, I feel I communicated that I feel he is one of the biggest a**holes around. I guess I wasn't the only one to do so, given his last paragraph. I did question him about the last full-page spread he pushed for giving the details of the most recent taxi driver (one of the dangerous professions) death. He didn't address that. Again, what an a-hole!

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    Forum Member RyanEMVFD's Avatar
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    Somehow I just can't picture the brotherhood of farmers being anything close to the brotherhood of firefighters or police officers.
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    ljm
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    I think that the media (or whoever it is) that publishes these lists of "the most dangerous jobs" define it wrong. To simply state that logging is the most dangerous job this year is because they had the most deaths in 2010 is really undercutting the advancement that other fields, such as the fire service, are achieving by learning from things such as LODDs.

    I think it is fairly obvious to most that the environments that firefighters and cops work in are much more dangerous then almost any other profession. Do to the fact that we have established rigid training criteria and study/learn from our losses does not lessen the dangers we all face; it just makes us better prepared to survive and excel in these environments.

    Lastly the author’s distain for large funeral processions actually is a point of pride for me. To know that everybody in this field (and obviously many outside the fire service community) cares and feels strongly enough to show up at the death of another firefighter really highlights how close knit this brotherhood really is.

    With that stay safe everybody!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ljm View Post
    I think that the media (or whoever it is) that publishes these lists of "the most dangerous jobs" define it wrong. To simply state that logging is the most dangerous job this year is because they had the most deaths in 2010 is really undercutting the advancement that other fields, such as the fire service, are achieving by learning from things such as LODDs.

    I think it is fairly obvious to most that the environments that firefighters and cops work in are much more dangerous then almost any other profession. Do to the fact that we have established rigid training criteria and study/learn from our losses does not lessen the dangers we all face; it just makes us better prepared to survive and excel in these environments.

    Lastly the authorís distain for large funeral processions actually is a point of pride for me. To know that everybody in this field (and obviously many outside the fire service community) cares and feels strongly enough to show up at the death of another firefighter really highlights how close knit this brotherhood really is.

    With that stay safe everybody!
    Not for nothing, I see the authors point. It is going to **** off many but oh well.

    What are we learning? That over half of our LODD's are because we have fat out of shape or people with known health issues? Yet each year the number increases?

    Rigid training criteria? That is why we have people in the fire service who continue to pontificate that basics are too advanced for them, or "it's worked for us so far"?

    As for the funerals? We've literally watered down the meaning of LODD to the point where mowing your lawn in a FD Tee Shirt is considered a LODD. Crap like that, the non-fireground LODD's or LODD's directly associated with fireground duty, that are giving LODD funerals. Outsiders are viewing it like the author. Sorry. We have thrust ourselves if the face of the public, to the point where we are now involved with selling 4G cell phones.

    It is time we get ourselves out of the lime light and stop drawing attention.
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    'The fire went out and nobody got hurt' is a poor excuse for a fireground critique.

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    ljm
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnVBFD View Post
    Not for nothing, I see the authors point. It is going to **** off many but oh well.

    What are we learning? That over half of our LODD's are because we have fat out of shape or people with known health issues? Yet each year the number increases?

    Rigid training criteria? That is why we have people in the fire service who continue to pontificate that basics are too advanced for them, or "it's worked for us so far"?

    As for the funerals? We've literally watered down the meaning of LODD to the point where mowing your lawn in a FD Tee Shirt is considered a LODD. Crap like that, the non-fireground LODD's or LODD's directly associated with fireground duty, that are giving LODD funerals. Outsiders are viewing it like the author. Sorry. We have thrust ourselves if the face of the public, to the point where we are now involved with selling 4G cell phones.

    It is time we get ourselves out of the lime light and stop drawing attention.
    I'd like you to tell me the what you think the authors point is. Because the only point I see is a guy sick of seeing news articles about a firemans death on the front page as opposed to thrown back on the 10th.

    I think there is a lot to learn from LODD's including those 'fat out of shape people' that are dropping. First off we are getting a better understanding of what continued stress can do to cardio vascular system (as most people do not endure the stresses of being toned out at 0245 for a MVA) and how the benefits of diet and exercise can actually turn even the effects of those stresses around. I do not think that every cardiac LODD is due to somebody being out of shape...but I do not have the numbers on that to back it up, I'm guessing you do?

    The basics that we are taught during academy and then drilled on and continually refreshed on through out the years are exactly what I'm talking about when I speak of rigid training. I know that we are required to keep X amount of training hours through out the year, there are some that choose to simply fly by while a great majority go above and beyond.

    Lastly I have no clue what you are talking about with LODDs and mowing a lawn...

    I agree with you about keeping out of the spotlight, unfortunately that is largely not up to the men and women who work in the fire service. I think by the nature of what we do (emergency work), there is an inherent interest by the media and the public. Can we make our selves look better by our actions? Of course. But I think you'd be hard pressed to find firefighters out there simply looking to get in the lime light.

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