Note: I'm reposting this from yesterday 'cus it seems like an important story to me, and because I forgot one vital option in the poll which I've added today
Hey, remember the guy in Tennessee who watched his house burn down, while firefighters stood and did nothing because he had refused to pay a $75 fee?
Well, welcome to the next logical step in the Republican vision of America:
Police and firemen in Alameda, California watched a man drown on Monday after realizing they did not have proper certifications for water rescue, leaving them open to possible lawsuits if they attempted to save him.
City officials reportedly blamed the incident on budget cuts and said they would have a discussion about why Alameda, an island city, does not have proper authorization to rescue people from the waters surrounding it.
The previous policy was implemented after budget cuts forced the department to discontinue water rescue training and stop maintaining wetsuits and other rescue gear, D'Orazi said Tuesday.
"The incident yesterday was deeply regrettable," he said. "But I can also see it from our firefighters' perspective. They're standing there wanting to do something, but they are handcuffed by policy at that point."
Now, here's the thing: Republicans could certainly use this incident to argue just as convincingly that the problem is "overregulation" and "trial lawyers" since the reason for the regulations preventing the cops/firemen from saving the guy are due to the fear of being sued.
On the other hand, of course, the response from the department is that if the fire/police dept. had better funding, they would be able to get their people certified. And after all, as the story notes, this is an island community, fer Chrissakes.
The pathetic thing is that both arguments are quite valid--and let's not forget that there were apparently 75 other people who weren't on the city payroll who might have tried to help...and none of them did either.
Well, except for the one woman who volunteered to fish the body out of the water.
I dunno...years ago, I was a movie theater manager at a large theater chain. Every year the management had to attend an all-day legal seminar, where the Suits from the Home Office would send out corporate attorneys to go over how to handle various situations from the Company's Perspective--you know; what to do if a customer has a slip n' fall, if the place gets robbed, if the building catches on fire, dealing with sexual harassment issues and so on...from a legal perspective. Basically, how to make sure the company doesn't get sued, or at least make sure that the company is in the clear if it does get sued.
At one point, they actually used the following example to make it clear how serious they were: We were told that if we personally witnessed a guy raping a woman in front of us, we weren't supposed to get involved; we were supposed to call the security guard, who in turn was supposed to call the police, and then we were both supposed to fill out an incident report and then, presumably, just stand around doing nothing until the cops showed up.
While the woman continued to be raped in front of us.
My response was pretty simple: Fuck that (OK, I was a bit more diplomatic about it; I didn't want to get canned on the spot). I did understand their point, but I also noted that in such a scenario, the right thing to do--assuming you even wanted to waste 2 seconds on the companies' bottom line--was to officially quit on the spot, with witnesses; remove your nametag or whatever; and then proceed to pull the rapist off of the woman and subdue him.
Thankfully, I wasn't fired (although I did quit the company later anyway, and they proceeded to disappear in the Michigan region), but I sure pissed off my boss and the district manager going forward.
I realize that this is a completely different situation, but that incident came rushing back to me when I read about it.
On the other hand, dKos member Grover, who commented on my original posting of this diary yesterday (and who suggested the addition of "The Voters" to the poll) made some valid points about the danger of the situation:
The waters that surround Alameda are cold -- the Pacific Ocean/SF Bay surface water temp is around 50-60 degrees in the middle of summer (and we're not there yet. Air temps are only 50-60 now). And that means water rescues in Alameda are dangerous.
First responders can't simply dive in without appropriate training and equipment and hope things turn out ok. I'm a really strong swimmer, but I would hesitate to dive in knowing that I could easily make the situation worse -- a panicking victim could drag me down and I would become someone else's problem.
A child? Sure. A small woman? Possibly. A larger male, which this person appears to have been, based in the photos? I really don't know what I'd do. I'd probably look around for some equipment to bring out to him, a kayak, PFD, floatation ring, etc. But if that stuff were available on the beach, I bet we'd be having a different conversation right now.
In any event, no matter how you look at it, this is a horrifying story.
I can feel it coming in the air tonight, Oh Lord
I've been waiting for this moment, all my life, Oh Lord
Can you feel it coming in the air tonight, Oh Lord, Oh Lord
Well, if you told me you were drowning
I would not lend a hand
I've seen your face before my friend
But I don't know if you know who I am
Well, I was there and I saw what you did
I saw it with my own two eyes
So you can wipe off the grin, I know where you've been
It's all been a pack of lies
And I can feel it coming in the air tonight, Oh Lord
I've been waiting for this moment for all my life, Oh Lord
I can feel it coming in the air tonight, Oh Lord
And I've been waiting for this moment all my life, Oh Lord, Oh Lord
Well I remember, I remember don't worry
How could I ever forget, it's the first time, the last time we ever met
But I know the reason why you keep your silence up, no you don't fool me
The hurt doesn't show; but the pain still grows
It's no stranger to you or me
And I can feel it coming in the air tonight, Oh Lord...