Thursday, December 27, 2012
There is lots of talk about gun control on a daily basis. I try to tune much of it out, because my father once taught me something about wrestling with a pig. Sometimes, I attempt to have reasonable discourse – often it ends with folks who like to profess tolerance and acceptance telling me they are sick of arguing with me, and that they shouldn’t have to “tolerate” my kind. I always find that bit ironic.
Some of the discussion lately has gone so far as to suggest drastic restrictions on gun ownership – like the bans in the UK and Australia. News flash: The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld that the Second Amendment does, in fact, grant residents of this great country the right to keep and bear arms. If you truly want to discard the Second Amendment, I urge you to reconsider. The framers gave us 12 amendments as a proposed Bill of Rights to cover issues not addressed entirely in the Constitution (11 of those were passed as amendments, and the 12th would drastically increase the number of members of the House of Representatives, so it’s probably just as well it hasn’t passed).
Any argument that could be used to justify the repeal of the 2nd amendment could be used to justify the repeal of any of the amendments. I would fear for our country if it comes to this. What would life be like without freedom of the press, or freedom of religion? What about the protections against unreasonable searches and seizures? If we see the Second Amendment gutted, how long until we have “papers, please” checkpoints and searches throughout the country?
There’s a parable that is attributed to Martin Niemöller, a Lutheran minister and outspoken opponent of the Nazis:
First they came for the socialists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.
This particular parable speaks volumes to me because I AM a Jew. Yeah, I’m even a member of JPFO, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (http://jpfo.org/).
For my Law Enforcement and .mil friends – if you haven’t heard of the Oath Keepers (http://oathkeepers.org/oath/) , I’d strongly encourage you to look into the group. Many elected and appointed public servants SWEAR to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Oath Keepers profess “Not on our watch!” They say they will refuse unconstitutional orders, such as firearm confiscation, or the unlawful detention of Americans.
And what of lesser measures? We had an “Assault Weapons” ban for 10 years. There is no real evidence it made a difference in firearms crimes. All it did was raise market prices for things like “pre ban” magazines and firearms. Registration? Well, why does the Government need to know what guns I have… unless it is a prelude to confiscation? On top of that, once they have the information, no good can come of it. The number of times that law enforcement has successfully used registration data to trace firearms in crimes is statistically insignificant.Now What?
I’m all in favor of discussing mental health, and “keeping the crazies from getting guns”, to quote something I heard on Facebook. I’m not convinced that more gun laws are going to make a difference in preventing another mass shooting event.
One thing that many of these shootings have in common is that they occur in areas where firearms have been prohibited. Add to the fact that several recent events have been stopped, at least partially, by folks lawfully carrying concealed, and I am having a hard time understanding arguments in favor of restricting concealed carry.
As for incidents, look no further than the Clackamas Town Center shooting last week. 2 Dead, 1 injured. An individual carrying a concealed firearm says he drew down on the shooter, but held his fire because he didn’t have a clear shot. The shooter than retreated and took his own life. In the Tuscon shootings, one of the civilians that ran TOWARDS the shooting to help was carrying a concealed firearm. Since that psycho was already restrained, he didn’t need to use it.
Oh, and I’m assuming most of my readers have already seen the “RUN. HIDE. FIGHT. Surviving an Active Shooter Event” video. It’s linked here anyway (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VcSwejU2D0). Look at 0:58 in the video. The Section 30.06 Trespass warning is clearly visible. (http://law.onecle.com/texas/penal/30.06.00.html). The video illustrates the point that shooters often choose Gun Free Zones. On top of that, we are told that, as a last option, we should fight with improvised weapons – like chairs and fire extinguishers. Why must they be improvised? Oh, that’s right – we’re in a GUN FREE ZONE. So why does the shooter have a gun, again? Oh – he’s not really concerned with violating one MORE law, given that he’s planning on KILLING a whole bunch of folks. From what it sounds like, that’s exactly what at least some of the Sandy Hook staff did. And they paid for it with their lives.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Monday, December 17, 2012
Monday, August 13, 2012
Before there was a JEMS Online or an EMS1 or an EMT City or EMT Life, there was the EMS House of DeFrance, one of the most comprehensive EMS resources on the web. And the person who ran it, my friend Valerie DeFrance, did it for years via a 56k modem from Hope, AK.
Let's give Valerie a hand
If you don't know Valerie DeFrance you're missing an important piece of EMS history. Valerie was an Internet pioneer, building and hosting dozens of EMS educational websites over the years and she still maintains the EMS news and education site, the EMS House of DeFrance. Valerie is one of our most important EMS dinosaurs. Over the years she has offered her expertise and knowledge to anyone needing a hand, and doing so more often than not without charge. Valerie has always been a giver... never a taker.
Valerie lives 75 miles from the oncology clinic where she goes for her treatments. The ongoing treatments have left her unable to work and therefore without income. Just the simple act of buying gas for these trips back and forth has become problematic and is an immediate need. In the long run there will be those substantial medical bills to pay, but right now we just need to get her to the clinic and back. We need to kick in and help her get past this hurdle.
Tuesday, August 07, 2012
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Monday, April 09, 2012
Friday, March 02, 2012
Kelly's presentation was good. It wasn't anything too eye-opening, but he made a link I hadn't thought of before, and pointed out that foursquare and geotagging makes obscuring patient info much more difficult.
Next up was "Report from the Eagles" - not the football team... This is the major metropolitan medical directly group - a bunch of real winners. Topics were many, including that atropine appears to do no good in cardiac arrests, and it actually does harm in asystolic arrests. Also discussed: drug shortages and pushing drugs past the expiry dates.
Presentations from their 2012 meeting (last week) are here: http://gatheringofeagles.us/2012/2012Presentations.htm
Then it was a very interesting afternoon session put on by Doug Wolfberg and Steve Wirth of the PW&W EMS law firm (http://www.pwwemslaw.com/). They discussed the good, bad, and ugly of testifying in court and being cross examined. The class ended with an actual cross examination roleplay. They always told me there are 2 types of EMT's - those that have been to court, and those that will go to court. So while I hope I never have to - its only a matter of time, most likely. Steve and Doug are great speakers, and they lecture at a variety of local an national events. Much of their staff maintains EMS certs, and understands our field. If I ever have to go to court? I sure hope they are my lawyers.
The sessions ended with a keynote by Randolph Mantooth. Lots of "who's he" and "what did he do"?
Randolph Mantooth (Wikipedia) played Johnny Gage on Emergency! (Wikipedia). If you've never seen it, it's on Netflix. Go watch a few episodes. Emergency! did great things in advancing out profession, and the late Jim Page (the P in the PW&W law firm above) was a technical advisor to the program. Yes, it's dated, but it's a great EMS history lesson. If your service hasn't changed much since 1974, perhaps it's time to try to change things!
Actually - one more thing. Before Randy Mantooth spoke, AJ Heightman of JEMS spoke and urged everyone to support the PSOB update bills - its great to see a national publisher getting behind something so great for EMS (I'll post more about the PSOB bill once I'm home next week).
Then we hit the exhibit hall. Got to see the World Premiere of Code STEMI (http://codestemi.tv/). It's a Setla film production, and a great collaboration between PhysioControl (http://www.physio-control.com), Tom Bouthillet and the EMS 12-Lead group (http://ems12lead.com/), Ted Setla (http://setlafilms.com/), and the First Responders Network (http://firstrespondersnetwork.com/codestemi/).
It's a good start. It'll be nice to see the story continue to be told. STEMI's are something we, in EMS, can make a big difference in.
Then it was dinner and bed early - I was tired. I'm bummed I missed the MeetUp/TweetUp over at Uno's, but I needed sleep... Friday will be a long day, I'm sure
Thursday, March 01, 2012
Congrats to Tom and the rest of the award winners, and a HUGE thank to to PhysioControl for putting on the event and inviting me.
Then it was off to Pratt Street Ale House for the EMS 2.0 reunion. Gotto see Random Ward (haven't seen him for all of 3 days), MedicSBK, Ted Setla, Chris Montera, and the rest of the gang. Also got to meet a fellow Ham Radio geek that I've known online for a few years... Good actually meeting you, James!
Looking forward my first sessions on Thursday.
Friday, February 24, 2012
School's started in full, and I've got 2 EMS conferences coming up.
The first is the National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation 2012 confrence.
http://www.ncemsf.org/conf2012. It's in Baltimore this weekend. Oh, and did I mention, I'm presenting?
Second is EMS Today, the JEMS conference: http://www.emstoday.com/.
If you'll be at either conference, hit me up.
Oh, and Philosophy is a pain in the butt class to take.
More to follow - probably after this weekend.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
While I’ve met a LOT of cool Fire and EMS bloggers (and know quite a few LEO and Firearms bloggers), I’ve got a new favorite blog. Sorry, it’s not my buddy Chris at LUTL (my old favorite)… It is a new addition to the blogosphere: Joe Riffe over at Prosthetic Medic (http://prostheticmedic.blogspot.com/).
Joe’s got a pretty heartbreaking story… He’s a paramedic with Louisville Metro EMS. He was hiking one day, slipped and fell into a waterfall, and has made the tough decision to have his lower left leg amputated. His hope is that as he heals, he’ll have more function with a prosthetic lower leg than he can hope to have with his current foot. His very real dream, is to become a Prosthetic Medic, and return to full duty. He’s been posting a LOT, and I’m looking forward to following his recovery.
I’ve been following his posts for about 2 weeks, and today, he’s been admitted to the hospital to have his amputation. Joe, I’ve never met you, but you’re a member of the great brotherhood of Paramedics, so I hope you are able to achieve your goal, and I hope your operation goes smoothly.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Like many in the blogosphere, I’ve been following the DCFD saga for a while. I think it’s getting a little ridiculous now… and while both sides could be handling things better, management seems to be TRYING to piss off the IAFF members.
For those that haven’t seen it, there was this stunt this afternoon:
HT to Statter911
Yup. An estimated 100 folks in DCFD apparel made a scene and publically expressed their displeasure with their leader. Was it understandable? Heck yes. Was it right? No. The fire department is a paramilitary organization. As much as you dislike the officer, you have to respect the RANK, otherwise the whole system will start to fall apart.
Now on to the big issue: Uniforms.
As of the start of the year, the storied “DCFD” brand is gone. That change has been in the works for about 6 months… not a total surprise. In this memo Fox 5 has on their website: Chief Ellerbe says:
All permissible uniform accessories must have the “DC FIRE EMS” logo or be plain with no writing at all
Fair enough. So some guys turned their t-shirts/sweatshirts inside out, took patches off their outerwear, or bought plain blue/black coats. It sucks to have to go out and buy clothing because your boss tells you he doesn’t like the logo that was “in” last winter. But it’s life.
Fast forward 3 weeks. Now there has been another change:
"D.C. Fire and EMS views itself as a para-military organization and is striving to no longer be a homeland security risk by allowing firefighters to wear unmarked uniforms, a spokeswoman said.This latest change to the department's uniform"
The Chief’s answer in an earler interview was to say that the firefighter could always wear the “running coat” he or she is provided by the department. Yeah, that’s a BRILLIANT idea. Although turnout coats are well insulated, they are designed to keep one cool in a area of high heat… they can be awefully cold in the winter. Further – here’s a point the news media hasn’t even touched. Turnout gear is DIRTY. It gets exposed to a whole host of things, by nature. Many firehouses I’ve been in have areas like offices, the kitchen, lounge space, and the bunkrooms posted “No Turnout Gear Allowed.”
Further, wearing one’s PPE all the time is likely going to cause it to be exposed to even MORE things that can damage it over time – like light, heat, cold, and moisture. That’s not even counting the increased wear-and-tear because guys are forced to use a $700 coat instead of a $100 one. So why would a firefighter want to wear it? Further, when it’s time to replace the gear earlier than planned, that’s going to cost a CRAPLOAD of money. For more on the hazards of gear exposure: http://firechief.com/training/apparel/firefighting_keep_clean/
Yes – I see the potential for allied agencies to have confusion spotting firefighters – but here’s a big clue. They usually come on a big red vehicle with lights and sirens and “DC Fire and EMS” on it. Oh, and they are the ones that look like they are there to help. Perhaps there is a better solution. Credential everyone, and make everyone wear their ID’s on any non-fire call. That way, everyone who really wants to can see official, department-issued ID.
On the flipside, I can definitely see it from the firefighters’ viewpoint. This is apparently the 5th uniform directive in a year. If you told me I couldn’t wear the last coat I bought with the (then) Departmental Logo on it… well, I’m going to go ahead and just buy something that’s blank. That way, I don’t need to worry the next time a uniform logo gets changed. My “uniform accessories” – hats, sweatshirts, coat will be plain navy blue. I bet they are cheaper, too… Go to the discount store, and you can probably get half a dozen plain sweatshirts for what you’ll pay for 1 new jobshirt.
Next time – Schedule.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
I love the feel of an all-wheel-drive vehicle hugging the road, even through a thick white blanket. One can even practice things like resolving skids and handbrake turns without putting undue stress on vehicle parts.
Snowmen. Snowball fights. Even just walking in snow can be fun, if you're in the right mood.
I hate snow, though. It piles on you and weighs you down. It makes even the most routine responses anything but routine. It hides the street signs, and it can give you the same powerless, out-of-control feel of sledding - in an ambulance.
After its done, though, all there is to do is hate it. It goes from pretty to dirty, soot stained and yellowed in a day or two. Then, depending on how much there is, it can linger. It makes simple tasks like parking on the street, and walking down the sidewalk, a treacherous challenge. It also makes good people have accidents. They slip and they fall, and as they shovel out, they overexert and injure themselves, in some cases, they even have MI's
Tonight I get to enjoy it, though. It is only a dusting - an inch, maybe two. Someone else did the driving, and I'm off duty for my last weekend off before my (hopefully) last undergraduate semester starts next week.