Firefighters Shot (Presents)

I just read that four firefighters were shot and two killed in Webster, NY this morning. What the hell is going on here?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/24/firefighters-shot-webster-fire_n_2358822.html?1356359675&icid=maing-grid7|maing7|dl1|sec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D249480

 

Update: The shooter has been identified. It looks like another nut, this one a sixty-two year old convicted murderer wh spent many years behind bars. There are so many things to be said, better I leave off, and try to enjoy my Christmas with friends and family, and try to put this aside. For now.

 

Merry Christmas!

 

I have no idea why I re-posted this Christmas story here, it just fit my mood, some hope and grace in moments of despair.

 

 

They called it home, and it was, for now anyway. Cheap cedar shingles covering rotted 3/8 plywood, that nailed to 2×3's, then a thin plaster job covering the studs. It was old, and decaying, and built in a different time, when even the destitute could afford a permanent place, but at least they had shelter.

They huddled together in the great room, the only room, a 12×14 space with a couch in the center, taken from a trash heap, all coils and springs until John covered it with his blanket. The old folks, all three sat on it, the rest of them sat on the floor. There was no Christmas tree; they needed the wood that burned in the cast iron stove that took up a quarter of the room.

Christmas dinner came in a pot, the same pot that most of their meals came in, only on this day there were scraps of meat and a few carrots, some garlic for flavor and sweet potatoes; the weevils carefully cut out, and the ones that weren't didn't taste much different from the meat.

And then they sang the songs. Rare old mountain tunes, passed down for generations. The eldest began, his voice barely audible, the words difficult to understand;

O holy night,

Our feet are bare and frozen

But we dream, oh we dream

And pray for the time to come

When Christ returns

To claim us home…

His mouth barely moved as he sang, his baritone voice a shell of what it was before the war. They inched closer, and listened, their bodies close, sharing what little warmth could be generated.

The ladies had their turn, and Margaret, who huddled close to Fred and shared the thickest, yet far too thin blanket they had, sang; her voice filling the space, enveloping her family with the softness of her voice;

Silent Night,

Holy Night

Our lives are hard

But still there's light

Bring our virgin mother to us

Bearing the savior

Whose words we must

Live by and find peace,

Live and love and peace…

The beauty of the song filled the room, and when she stopped the silence lingered, but in was a serene, comfortable quiet, and it covered them in warmth, their misery forgotten for the moment, as hope for salvation filled their hearts.

"Why do we sing these songs," the youngest asked.

"So we won't forget," said Ellen, the little girl's sister. "So we never forget."

"Forget what?" asked little Mary.

Bill answered in song;

May I hold him ba rum pa bum bum…

He is to be the King ba rum ba bum bum

To lead us from our sins ba rum ba bum bum rum ba bum bum, rum pa bum bum.

He was a poor boy too ba rum ba bum bum

He had no food to eat ba rum ba bum bum

But he smiled at me ba rum ba bum bum rum ba bum bum, rum ba bum bum

He will come…

Song filled the little house as the family huddled together, and fed their little fire scraps of wood they had gathered throughout the weeks leading to this day. Blasts in the distance seemed farther away than usual, less frightening, less likely to land on them and bring an end to their Christmas celebration.

The little ones basked in the melodies that filled their world, cherishing the fleeting moments, knowing that on the morrow, the struggle for survival would begin again. They listened to the words from the songs sang that glorious day, and remembered them the best they could, for God willing, it would some day be their turn to share the gifts of Christmas.

The songs went on into the night, when darkness descended, and the candle wax melted, and they slept, huddled together, and Christmas came and went.

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

  • Paramedic Dennis Simpson says:

    It really turns my stomach.  First, the little kids, and now, my own brother firefighters, and volunteers, at that, just doing, on Christmas Eve, what most everyday people don't have the courage or stamina for.  I can't imagine these guys would have had any idea this kind of thing might happen.  I guess, and maybe hope, that all of us will be on guard for it for awhile.  It seems such a God awful shame that things like this are becoming part of all our lives. 
    If it does happen to you, I know it goes down so fast and you won't be thinking anything but to get your bu– out of there;  HIT THE DIRT.  If you can see or somehow guage where the shots are coming from, move as quickly as you can, still on the ground, at a 45 degree angle away from the shooter, and crawl as fast as you can, to HARD COVER. That would be a tree, your fire apparatus, even parts of the fire building you can access safely.  Nobody is coming in there to get you, and perhaps, if you can do it safely, move to the back of the building to exit the area.  If you can't find HARD COVER, then go to SOFT COVER if you have to, so you can't be seen, look for hard cover, again 45 degrees away from the shooter and keep going till you are clear of the area.  The stats show that, if you can do this, your chances of being struck are reduced to about 4%. 
    If you choose to run away, the chances of being struck are much greater, but, do your best to run in a zig-zag fashion, to HARD COVER, or SOFT, to hide, again at a 45 degree angle away from the shooter. 
    The only other option would be to attack and disarm the shooter.  That takes another completely different set of skills and probably isn't the best option for guys wearing 60 lbs of turn-outs and firefighting gear. 
    There are a lot of professional companies that teach this kind of thing.  Not a bad idea to talk to some of them and get some fireground safety skills added to your daily drills.  Not that all of us already have enough to know, but it is more than apparent we now have to learn to protect ourselves from this kind of crap, too.
    Be safe, everybody.  You make the difference, everyday.
     
     
     

  • Mr618 says:

    It's a goddamned shame that firefighters now have to have the same street survival training that the cops have had for years. A few jamokes are saying that firefighters should be armed… but where would we carry? Under our bunker gear? Where we can't get at it? Or over the bunker gear, giving us one more thing to get hung up and giving the ammo a chance to cook off?
    I don't know the answer, Cap, but I do kow that we ALL have to stick together. We have to remember the children in Newtown, the firefighters in Webster, the students at Virginia Tech, the fallen in Aurora. But most of all, WE have to watch out for each other, cause I'm not sure anyone else will.
    Peace, Cap. Maybe the New Year will be a little better.

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Michael Morse

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