You are hereBlogs / dlindorff's blog / Killer Cops Aren't Heroes: We Need Police Who Think Like Firefighters, Not Like Soldiers in a War Zone

Killer Cops Aren't Heroes: We Need Police Who Think Like Firefighters, Not Like Soldiers in a War Zone


By dlindorff - Posted on 07 January 2012

By Dave Lindorff

 

The sad slaying of troubled eighth-grader Jaime Gonzalez in Brownsville by trigger-happy local police illustrates the sad an dangerous state we have arrived at as we turn our local police forces into SWAT team soldiers up-armed with assault rifles, black facemasks and stun grenades.

The reason Gonzalez, who had no hostages and was just armed with a pellet gun, was killed by police bullets was because the primary concern of the officers confronting him was to eliminate the threat to themselves, not to rescue a troubled kid.

To analyze this tragic situation, we need to step back and consider firefighters, that other group of uniformed public employees (or often volunteers!) who also have to rescue people and whom we expect to face life-and-death situations on our behalf. As my cousin, a retired urban police officer, once pointed out to me, police don't face anywhere near the risk that firefighters face. As he explained, police officers in truth rarely face life-and-death situations on the job, and when they do, they generally have the upper hand, given their guns and their training. Firefighters, on the other hand, know that they could die every time they respond to an alarm.

When a firefighter arrives at a burning building, her or his first thought is whether there might be someone trapped inside, or unconscious inside from smoke inhalation. If there is any possibility that this might be the case, they just rush into the burning building, obviously as safely as possible, but always aware that the whole thing could come down on them at any moment.

I've actually witnessed this kind of selfless heroism. When I lived in a large apartment building in New York City, years ago, there was a fire in another apartment several floors down. The building was considered "fire proof," in that each unit was all surrounded by concrete--the walls, the ceilings and the floors -- so theoretically the fire in this apartment, which was sending angry flames and smoke billowing out of the windows, could have safely been allowed to burn itself out. But instead, what I saw when I went down to the hall that the apartment was on, was two NYFD firefighters rush up the stairs and walk up to the door, which was so hot the paint was blistering out on it like melting lava. Then, incredibly, without even stopping to cross themselves or say a little silent prayer, they just kicked in the door. As the flames rushed out towards them, to my astonishment, they just walked into the inferno!

I talked to one of them afterwards. As it turns out there was nobody in the apartment, but he said they had rushed in right away because they were concerned that someone might have been trapped inside.

Now that is selfless heroism, yet they just saw it as all in a day's work.

If they had been acting like police officers, these guys would have waited outside in the hall, while fire trucks outside sprayed water through the window to quell the flames...

 

For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/998

Speaking Events

2016

 

March 24, Boone, NC.

 

March 25, Asheville, NC
Battery Park Apartments, 1 Battle Square, rooftop room, noon - 2 p.m.
Sign up on FB.

 

War Is A Lie: Second Edition
Published April 5, 2016
Tour begins here:

April 11, Washington, DC, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Busboys and Poets at 5th and K Streets.
Sign up on FB.

 

April 12, Baltimore, MD, 7:30 p.m. at Red Emma's.
Sign up on FB.

 

April 14, Bellingham, WA, 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship.
Sign up on FB.

 

April 15, Seattle, WA
Town Hall Seattle
1119 Eighth Ave (8th and Seneca) 
Seattle, WA 98101
7:30pm
Sign up on FB.

 

April 16 Portland, OR

 

April 24, Oneonta, NY at Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta.
5:30 discussion with students.
7:00 talk and Q&A with everyone.
Sign up on FB.

 

May 28, San Francisco, CA
11 a.m. to 1 p.m., David Swanson interviewed by Daniel Ellsberg, at San Francisco Main Public Library, 100 Larkin Street.
Sign up on FB.



May 28, Marin County, CA
4 to 6 p.m., David Swanson in conversation with Norman Solomon, at Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera, CA
Sign up on FB.



May 29, Oakland, CA
3 to 4 p.m., David Swanson interviewed by Cindy Sheehan, at Diesel: A Bookstore, 5433 College Avenue at Kales (near Manila), Oakland, CA
Sign up on FB.



May 29, Berkeley, CA
7:30 to 9 p.m., David Swanson and Cindy Sheehan at Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, sponsored by the Social Justice Committee and Cynthia Papermaster, 1606 Bonita Ave. (at Cedar), Berkeley, CA
Sign up on FB.



May 30, Fresno, CA
2 to 4 p.m., David Swanson and Cindy Sheehan at a Peace Fresno event

 


June 11 St. Paul, MN, 6 p.m. at Macalester Plymouth Church Social Hall 1658 Lincoln, St. Paul, MN.
Sign up on FB.

 

June 12 Minneapolis, MN, 9 and 11 a.m. at St. Joan's 4533 3rd Ave So, Minneapolis, MN, plus peace pole dedication at 2 p.m.
Sign up on FB.

 

Other Events Here.

CHOOSE LANGUAGE

Support This Site

Donate.

Get free books and gear when you become a supporter.

 

Sponsors:

Speaking Truth to Empire

***

Families United

***

Ray McGovern

***

Financial supporters of this site can choose to be listed here.

Buy Books

Get Gear

The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.