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EMS Artifact Versus The Forsythia


It’s been busy here at EMS Artifact Galactic HQ. The company I work for has picked up some new client agencies. That means that in addition to work with my regular clients, I’m doing introductory classes for a new client. Plus I’m doing my regular periodic reviews for all three of my existing clients.

In addition, my boss wants to lighten his work load, so he has asked me to pick up an existing client. This one is pretty easy as they do a good job with their EMS responses.

All of that means that I’ve been working a lot of hours and have had less time to blog. I have a couple of posts circulating in my head, and I’ll get them out as soon as I have time.

In the meantime, here is a post about nothing to do with firearms, EMS, politics, or much of anything else.

Forsythia is a deciduous shrub with upward and arching shoots that may be 10 feet tall and 15 feet wide. Forsythia is a popular cultivated plant that is used often in landscapes. Native to China, you can find forsythia throughout much of the northeastern US and Canada.

So says the online guide to Forsythia that I read in preparation for this post. “Native to China” means, at least to me that Forsythia is an invasive species that displaces native flora.

This article When Forsythia Becomes a Ground Cover describes the issue thusly.

Yes, forsythia is ‘easy to grow’; a phrase that has many meanings. But the survival of my specimen is a clue to what’s going on with Jason’s plants in Kettering: “layering”. Some plants can be propagated simply by pressing one of their branches down against the soil. Sometimes you need to put a rock on top to keep the soil contact, but with forsythia—and tomatoes—a branch that droops down low enough will do this naturally.

That’s pretty much it. Forsythia does well and can be contained if it’s pruned back on a regular basis. Guess who never knew that and before he knew it, had an infestation of ground covering, flowering, shrubbery.

If you came here from Facebook, the featured image you saw there is a “well pruned” Forsythia bush. Which looks like Harpo Marx’s hair style.

If you look at the picture above, the large patch of bare earth is where the Forsythia was up until recently. Back when we bought the house thirty-eight years ago, that was all grass. In fact, up until a few years ago, that was all grass. Then, seemingly while my back was momentarily turned, Forsythia moved and and supplanted the grass. I cut it back last year, but made the rookie mistake of not digging out the roots. The roots of the Forsythia, like roots of all plants and tree, suck up water and other nutrients from the ground. In the case of the Forsythia, they spread out horizontally more than vertically. Which means that you have to dig a big hole around the stumps of the cut of plants to get the roots out.

If you don’t get the roots out, the plants grow back. Just as if you don’t get all of a cancer out, it will grow back. That’s a good analogy, I think.

I first started cutting about three weeks ago, between rain storms. Then, about a week went by before I could get back to the job. At that point, to my horror, I discovered that shoots were sprouting up out of the recently cut branches. Soooo, I decided that the roots needed to be dug up.

The problem being that the larger the plant, the deeper and wider the roots.

Here is the biggest of the stumps which I dug out of the yard. The stump is partially hidden by the two big rocks I had to dig out to get at the roots. The trash bags give an indication of the size of the stump/root bundle. That one stump took about an hour of digging with a shovel and pick axe.

I put the big hole to use as a burn pit over the past weekend. Town burn permit in hand, I spent five hours on Saturday and six hours one Sunday chopping the previously cut Forsythia branches, along with some thick as an axe handle things  with 1/2″ thorns on them. That was just an extra bonus to the fun. I then cheerfully consigned them to the fire pit and watched with glee as they burned.

For all the world, my arms look like a someone who made an attempt to cut my wrists.

While doing all of that, I discovered some of the roots that I thought that I had dug out had left little bits behind. Guess what started to regrow? Which meant that I had to spend some more shovel time rooting out roots. Plus I found more under the leaves that had gathered on the edges of the yard.

During all of this my neighbor came over a couple of times to look at my handiwork. I get along very well with him and his lovely wife. I was a bit concerned that they might not like that I had strayed about five feet into their yard. Nope, no problem, although they did invite me to continue as far into their yard as I wanted. I politely declined.

I’m still not done with this battle. I have one more big stump/root section to dig out. Then that part has to go out into the deep woods behind the house. Where I have no doubt that they will take root.

Once that’s done, I’ll fill in the fire pit, spread some loam around, and churn it all up with my handy roto tiller. Then comes the grass seed and fertilizer. Hopefully, the grass will grow in. Then I’ll have to make sure to cut the Forsythia back.

Because I know that the Forsythia isn’t defeated, it’s just regrouping.

Hoist on His Own Petard


The saying in the title goes back to medieval times when unfortunate souls who were intending to blow up their enemies blew themselves up instead.

A Petard was a small explosive used for breaching doors or gates of fortifications. The Petard was the original shaped charge and the term was used by the British military as late as World War II.

There are two potential problems with Petards and other explosives. First, they might not go off when intended. Second, and worse, they might go off when NOT intended. Which is where the term came from. It’s actually attributed to Shakespeare and he meant it figuratively, not literally.

Which brings us to the late Benjamin Morrow.

Wisconsin Man Killed in Home Blast Had White Supremacist Materials, Stash of TATP and Guns

A search warrant filed in last month’s explosion of an apparent home explosives laboratory at a Beaver Dam, Wis., apartment complex revealed that the suspect was tinkering with TATP, an explosive used in several terrorist attacks.

“Tinkering” is not what I’d think people would do when mixing TATP, which is a very unstable explosive concoction. Richard Reid aka the “Shoe Bomber” injured himself when is TATP didn’t explode, but did cause serious burns to his nether regions. Other terrorists have been more successful, but a good number (and I do mean good) have detonated themselves when they didn’t get the mix just right.

The document, filed March 9 in Dodge County (Wis.) Circuit Court, also indicated that Benjamin Morrow was interested in or adhered to white supremacist ideology.

No details on exactly what “white supremacist” documents were found or that the late Mr. Morrow adhered to him. For all we know, he could have been doing research on “white supremacists” to help with development of his weapons. About ten years back, I was searching for information on home made target stands. The best plans I found were on a Neo Nazi website. I copied the plans, deleted as much of the history of my visit, and took a long shower afterwards. Those people are whacked.

No doubt if someone decided to do an in depth search of my browsing history, they could probably find out that I was there. Nothing ever goes away on the Internet. Which would not mean that I was Neo Nazi.

I’ll stick in one more quote and encourage my readers to go to the link and read more about this sad story. Sad not so much because Mr. Morrow killed himself. It’s sad that the entire building had to be destroyed and the occupants dispossessed.

Also found were rifle accessories, “8 handgun mags, 2 rifle mags, cordless drill, rifle case, rifle scope, ballistic helmet and vest, 680 rounds of 5..56 ammo, 110 rounds of 223 ammo, 1379 9mm, 3 loaded mags with 40 9mm rounds, bottle of BBs, pistol case, 20 rounds of 308 ammo, 3 bottle of calcium chloride” and a bottle of hydrogen peroxide.

Last time I checked, my cordless drill was not a rifle accessory. I guess it’s the intent, not the actual inanimate device that’s important. The police found at least one handgun, one rifle, and some ammunition. Not really a lot of ammunition if one is a serious shooter. Actually about two days worth for many people.

Police were also concerned about possible co conspirators, but none have been found nor presumably were there remains in the apartment that could not be identified.

I’ll also add that Mr. Morrow may have used some videos on YouTube to help him with his experiments in Kaboomery. Which, if you go to the web site you’ll still find available. Conservative views not okay, but how to videos to make very dangerous explosives are just fine.

We’ll never know what Mr. Morrow might have been up to or why. Which won’t stop some of the media from jumping to conclusions and making assumptions.

The moral of the story here is don’t play with volatile explosives. Seriously, not good can come of this. Other than his family, I don’t know that many people will really be sad that Mr. Morrow has shuffled off this mortal coil. It’s just fortunate that he didn’t take anyone else with him and he never got to carry out whatever plan he had in mind.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Robert Heinlein,

“Stupidity cannot be cured. Stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death. There is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.”


From the Land of Gun and Knife Control


London Mayor Sadiq Khan targets knives as murder rate spikes: ‘There is never a reason to carry a knife’

London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced a tough crackdown on knives Sunday as the city reels from a spike in stabbings that have led its number of homicides to top New York City’s for two straight months.

He tweeted: “No excuses: there is never a reason to carry a knife. Anyone who does will be caught, and they will feel the full force of the law.”

The tweet also included an action plan to boost police power and prevent future violence.

All of this because there has been a spike in stabbing homicides since the start of the year. Apparently, unlike what the world was promised, outlawing firearms has not reduced or slowed crime.

A friend of mine who lives and works in London (in EMS), this is due to a spike in gang activity. Most gangs over there, like most gangs over here, engage in various illegal activities. Since those activities are lucrative, the gangs are quite protective of their territories.

Gangs are really tribes, although we don’t call them that for reasons that are somewhat beyond me. Like all tribes, they see other tribes as potential enemies. So, when one gang trespasses on the territory of another, warfare ensues.

It doesn’t matter if they use guns, knives, machetes (really big knives), bats, chains, or tires filled with gasoline. It’s not the weapon, it’s the intent.

Mayor Khan likely knows that. His order is not mean to curb violence, it’s meant to placate nervous residents of London. Who, for the most part, are not likely to be victims of this sort of violence.

For a good chunk of this year, London has had a murder rate greater than that of New York City. Where guns are almost as hard to get as in England. The difference being that in free America guns are much easier to get and some of those guns make their way into New York City. Where they are used to commit crimes in furtherance of committing other crimes.

Speaking of New York City, one must not forget that the first gun control law in the norther parts of the United States was passed to protect criminals from honest citizens. The criminals didn’t like the fact that honest citizens were using guns to shoot criminals and stop criminal activity. Since the criminals had friends in the city and the state legislature, they petitioned for a law to make it harder for their intended victims to protect themselves.

Look it up if you think I’m kidding.

Back in London, I expect that Mayor Khan will next declare stronger regulations on rental cars and trucks since we’ve seen several terrorist attacks committed using rental vehicles as weapons. “No one has the need to drive a rental lorry in London.”

Speaking of that bastion of gun control,

De Blasio aide busted with gun in car

This de Blasio administration official set one heckuva bad example for the teens she was hired to keep out of jail.

Reagan Stevens, a deputy director in the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, and two young men were arrested for illegal weapons possession while sitting in a double-parked car near the scene of a Saturday night shooting in Queens, cops said.

A loaded, 9-mm. semiautomatic pistol with its serial number defaced was hidden in the car’s glove box, and there was a spent shell casing on the floor near Stevens’ feet in the rear of 2002 dark-red Infiniti SUV, law-enforcement sources said.

A gun with it’s serial number defaced is a pretty serious crime in and of itself. Add to that the likelihood that no one in the car has a permit to possess, let alone carry, a pistol in New York City. Those are two serious crimes.

Then there is this little matter,

The trio’s arrest followed a burst of five gunshots that activated an NYPD “ShotSpotter” device in Jamaica at 9:42 p.m. Saturday, sources said.

The listening device pinpointed the shooting at 174th Street and 109th Avenue, and private surveillance video captured the muzzle flashes of five shots fired from the Infiniti, sources said.

Love that Shot Spotter!

BTW, that makes a total of eight rounds, another violation of New York law.

One the other hand Reagan’s mother and step dad are both judges in New York City. I have little doubt that evidence will get lost or there will be some sort of procedural error that will result in the dismissal of the charges.

Then Reagan will go back to her $90,000.00 a year job in Mayor DiBlasio’s office. Where she helps to ensure that troubled  yutes don’t go to prison until they are at least 18.

Thus has it ever been in New York City, thus will it ever be.

Just remember that if law abiding citizens agree to give up their weapons and right to self defense, all will be well. I’m just not sure for whom.

High Tech or Just a Gimmick


An ambulance company in Massachusetts is using Amazon Echo in an attempt to improve the care it’s EMTs and paramedics give to patients.

Here is a YouTube video that outlines what they are doing.

The idea is that the crew can ask Alexa about protocols and medical information various medical problems.

The spokesman for Brewster points out that the protocols are about 300 pages long. This is true, but a look at the Massachusetts protocols shows that they are broken down into several fairly simple sections.

It’s nice to have a reference and I keep a copy of my state’s protocols on my laptop and Smart Phone for reference purposes when I’m reviewing a case with one of my clients.

Mostly, I use that to confirm what I already know. What I know is based not only on my 35 years of initial and continuing education, but also my experience as a field provider.

Memorizing protocols, medication information, signs and symptoms, is part of what makes a paramedic a clinician. It’s easy, or at least should be, although somewhat tedious to memorize all of that information. The harder part is synthesizing that plus what you see before you (the patient) into a diagnosis and treatment plan.

I don’t know if this application will help that process. The problem, at least from what I see in my day to day Quality Improvement efforts is that newer paramedics just don’t see enough patients to garner the necessary experience to make good judgements.

Ironically, I think that there are too many paramedics out there in the world. Because there are more paramedics than patients that are actually ill enough to need paramedics, there is a serious lack of valid experience.

I’ve seen paramedics who are adequate if the patient isn’t very will. They can (usually) start an IV and (usually) give basic medications. If the patient is very ill and really needs good care, these paramedics are often not up to the task.

It’s not that they are bad, but they are the victims of mediocre education and lack of experience.

Sadly, many paramedic programs and many EMT programs are diploma mills. They teach their students enough, just enough, to pass the certification examinations.

Said examinations are what I refer to as the “Bunny Slope” of EMS education. If you’re not familiar with downhill skiing, you might want to look that one up. Hint: It’s not the bar with the hot tub in the middle.

More formally, I often tell new EMTs or paramedics that their shiny new certification card is just their license to learn more.

If one is serious about working in EMS, one will find that EMS is just one long series of going to classes. Besides the continuing education and refresher classes, there are add on classes. Classes on Cardiology, classes on trauma care, classes on pediatrics, classes on airway management. Most of these are optional, so all too often minimally competent providers find these boring and would rather do something else on their days off.

When my kids were younger, they’d see me heading out the door on a day off. They’d ask where I was going and the answer was usually “To a class.” They’d then ask if I was teaching or taking? Teaching is a really good way to learn your material, because if you’ve ever taught a class you know how embarrassing it came be if the students know more than you.

While I’m still on my soap box, I’ll also say that the lack of desire to learn beyond just enough to become certified is one of the key factors in why EMS is not only not a profession, it’s not even a trade.

If I were to venture a guess, I’d have to say that Brewster might be trying to solve a problem of provider knowledge with artificial intelligence.

That’s most unfortunate, but sadly, I don’t think it’s the last time we’re going to see something like this.

Just remember, Artificial Intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

Implications for EMS


This story caught my attention the other day. I’ve been thinking about it a bit and decided that there might, well more than might, be implications for EMS providers.

Texas teen was beaten, had hot cooking oil poured on her after refusing arranged marriage: police

Parents of a Texas high school student who was reported missing in late January had abused their daughter after she refused an arranged marriage, leading her to run away from home until she was found in mid-March, police said.

Maarib Al Hishmawi, 16, was reported missing on Jan. 30 after she was last seen leaving Taft High School in Bexar County. She was located in mid-March when she was taken in by an organization that cared for her after she ran away, KSAT reported.

This is in America. Texas no less. This arranged marriage involved the intended groom paying the parents of the girl $20,000.00.

When 16 year old Maarib Al Hishmawi demurred from this proposed marriage, her loving parents beat her with a broom stick and poured hot cooking oil on her.

“This young lady, at various times over that time period was subjected to some pretty bad abuse because she didn’t want to be married to this person,” Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said on Friday, according to KSAT.

“Several times it was reported to us that this young lady was abused with hot cooking oil being thrown on her body. She was beat with broomsticks,” Salazar added. “At least one point, she was choked almost to the point of unconsciousness.”

Loving parents. Both of whom have been charged with a felonious “continuous violence against a family member”. Other charges might be leveled against them and the “older man” who was the intended groom.

There is another, more detailed story at the Daily Caller .

Apparently the father served as an interpreter for US military forces in their native Iraq. He was given a visa for him, his wife, and five kids in 20016, but there are no further details available.

So, what are the potential implications for EMS if we are called to assess this patient?

So you respect the mothers desire to have her stay while you assess and interview your patient? Is there the possibility of coercion?

What do you report and to whom?

What sort of pressure might there be to “respect” the different in their culture? Should we be forced to respect their culture even if it harms a patient?

How would we handle a request (or demand) for a female provider?

I ask these not was rhetorical questions because these situations are becoming more common in our “diverse” culture.

A few years back I responded to a call for a Vietnamese patient with a flu like illness. What he had was more likely pneumonia, so he was fairly sick. On the physical exam I noticed ring like burns on his back and chest. I asked, through an interpreter, what that was.

As it turned out, one of his friends had “Cupped” him. This was an “alternative medicine” attempt to cure his respiratory distress and symptoms. Unsuccessful, as it turned out.

Not being a big fan of “alternative medicine”, I suggested that maybe it wasn’t a viable course of action.

One of the EMTs on the call with me got in a huff and started to chastise me that “This is their culture and we can’t judge it.” She apparently stayed awake in “Diversity University” and swallowed the party line hook, line, and sinker.

I laughed at her and told her that we live in America and practice American medicine. Where upon she continued her diatribe until I closed the ambulance door her face.

I was a bit surprised that I wasn’t called on the carpet to explain  my culturally insensitive comments. Of course, I had enough time and age to retire with my full pension, so my answer would likely have been even less culturally sensitive.

But I digress.

My point is that we are likely to see more of this rather than less. We need to have plans in place to protect our patients and ourselves.

Maybe your agency has a plan, maybe not. If the agency doens’t, then you need to.

Career Limiting Move


Easton Police Chief: EMT Took ‘Inappropriate’ Pictures Of Patients In Ambulances

Police have arrested an emergency medical technician who allegedly ook inappropriate pictures of patients in ambulances as they were being taken to a hospital and also placed a hidden camera in an Easton EMS building bathroom.

Christopher Barlow, 21, of Duxbury, Mass., also was arrested on gun charges Wednesday, police said, adding that he stole guns from a co-worker at Easton Emergency Medical Services and wrote false information on his application for a rifle.

In addition, Barlow forged documents to pass himself off as Easton police officer, Police Chief Timothy Shaw said.

This kid is a moron. And a crook. And a pervert (or something).

Here is a story from Massachusetts about the earlier antics of secret agent

Plymouth DA Warns Police ‘Dangerous’ Suspect Is Out On Bail

PLYMOUTH (CBS) – A man accused of impersonating a Homeland Security agent and stockpiling firearms and explosives is out on bail, but the Plymouth County District Attorney says he isn’t following orders.

District Attorney Timothy Cruz put the word out to the 27 police chiefs in his county that Christopher Barlow is out on bail.

Bail? Yes, I know that bail is not supposed to be a form of punishment, it’s intended to ensure that the defendant shows up for trial. There is, however, a clause in the law which allows a judge to refuse bail if a defendant is dangerous.

The DA in this case did in fact file a motion for that to happen. So, why was Barlow allowed out?

Barlow was being held up until his release on February 16th after a judge denied the DA’s request he be held for dangerousness.

Might want to rethink that one, Mr. Judge.

In another article that I won’t bother to link to, his lawyer said that he was hallucinating last fall due to an overdose of anesthesia from surgery.

In 2016.

Was he hallucinating when he demanded that the police return his firearms? The ones for which he has no license.

Which makes me wonder where those came from.

The trials should be interesting. I hope Barlow (or his family) have a lot of money. His attorney is certainly going to earn his fee.

Massachusetts has suspended his EMT certification and I expect Connecticut will do the same.

This case should be interesting, to say the least.

I’m still trying to figure out under what circumstances photos of patients would be deemed appropriate.

The Austin Bomber


There was a person, a young man as it turns out, building and planting bombs in Austin, TX.

His bombs killed two people and injured several more before he ultimately killed himself by exploding one of his infernal machines in his car while police were trying to apprehend him.

Speaking of which, although this guy was an amateur and pretty sloppy, it was good work by the police in Texas, along with the FBI and BATFE to track him down. It’s likely that if they hadn’t, he’d have continued to make bombs and killed more people.

I have friends and relatives in the Austin area and was more than a little concerned about this.

His death ends the threat of more bombs being made, but it doesn’t seem to answer any questions regarding why he did this. His recorded confession gives details of how he built the bombs, but not why he did it or why he selected certain targets.

Unfortunately, that just adds to the wild speculation that these unfortunate incidents seem to attract. While the police will try to figure out his motive, legally motive is not an element of a crime. It often helps the police track down a suspect, but it isn’t necessary to prove that the crime was committed by the suspect.

So far, there is no indication that race was a motive. Which hasn’t stopped people from peddling that theory.

His political leanings, if he has any, don’t seem to have come out. It appears he was pro life, but that’s not indicative of much of anything.

He doesn’t seem to have become a religious radical of any sort.

Don’t forget TV, movies, and video games. Despite there being no proof at all that any of those increase the potential for violence, they get blamed almost as much as gun ownership for criminal violence. If that was true, I’d be in prison for hitting people in the head with crow bars ala The Three Stooges years ago.

I haven’t seen any indication that he had any mental illness, although some have speculated that his “medications” caused him to go crazy. Even though there isn’t anything about his medications in any of the official statements.

No matter, a lot of people have jumped on their favorite Hobby Horse and taken their pet theories for a ride.

As the saying goes, “Those who talk don’t know, those who know, don’t talk.”

He was 24 and a “millennial”, that was his motive according to some. Which of course is as patently ridiculous as blaming gun owners for shootings.

As investigators continue to dissect his life we might find out what he hoped to achieve by spreading mayhem around central Texas.

Then again, we might not. Sometime a person’s motives are inexplicable and can never be determined.

It will be interesting if the investigators tell us how he learned to build bombs and not blow himself up in the process. More than one would be bomber ended his career prematurely because he made a “slight” mistake. Bombs are tricky things to make and the only thing worse for the builder than one not going off when it’s supposed to is one going off when it’s NOT supposed to.

A self limiting problem, as they say.

I’m glad he’s dead and gone and make no apologies for that. I’ll save my sympathy for the victims and their families, with a bit left over for his family.



The Further Adventures Of Clock Boy


In September of 2015, 14 year old Ahmed Mohamed brought a “home made” clock to school to show his teacher. Said teacher was alarmed (no pun intended) at the appearance of the clock and notified the “authorities”.

In what was perhaps an over reaction, Ahmed was arrested by the police, although the charges were dropped rather quickly. He was also suspended from school, also perhaps an over reaction. However, considering some of the things that have gone on in schools over the past several years, maybe it wasn’t. Not being there, I can’t say.

The media had no problem with immediately labeling the move racist and painting the people of Irving, TX as racist Red Necks. By extension the entire state was so labelled.

Former President Obama, never missing an opportunity to scold the American public used the incident to further his agenda and invited Ahmed to the White House to show off his clock. Which, it turned out, Ahmed didn’t build, but merely took out of its case and installed in a see through plastic box. Why he did this is to this day unexplained. No one has ever asked, and he has never said, what purpose he hoped to obtain by doing this.

In the aftermath of the event and surrounding publicity Ahmed and his family moved to Qatar, moved back to Texas, and then moved back to Qatar. They also filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court in Texas.

The lawsuit was filed, dismissed, amended and refiled, amended again, and yesterday, dismissed again.

This time, it was dismissed “with prejudice”.

‘Clock boy’ Ahmed Mohamed’s lawsuit against Irving ISD, city dismissed

Here is the text of the Judge’s order,

The court issues this judgment pursuant to its Memorandum Opinion and Order, filed May
18, 2017; and its Memorandum Opinion and Order, filed earlier today. Accordingly, it is hereby
ordered, adjudged, and decreed that Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed (“Plaintiff”), as next friend for A.M., a minor, take nothing against Defendants Irving Indepenent School District, Daniel Cummings, the City of Irving, Robin Howman, Charles Taylor, Jeff Mitchell, and Richie Miller (collectively, “Defendants”); that this action against Defendants is dismissed with prejudice; that all relief requested by Plaintiff is denied; and that all allowable and reasonable costs are taxed against Plaintiff.

Signed this 13th day of March, 2018.

Sam A. Lindsay
United States District Judge

This should end the saga of “Clock Boy”, but somehow I have the feeling it won’t.

If one were a cynic, one might think that this was all some sort of publicity stunt set up by Ahmed and his family to stir up people on social media and create a cause célèbre. To what end, mystifies me.

I wonder who the people of Irving, TX can sue to get their reputations back?

It’s Only Make Believe


Today there was a nationwide (I guess), school walk out to protest gun violence and force adult to do the bidding of children. You know, the ones that are too young to vote, too young to drink, and too young to own guns. Apparently old enough to eat Tide Pods, but that’s a different form of stupidity.

We are told, and expected to believe that these callow youths spontaneously organized a nationwide protest against the NRA, gun manufacturers, gun owners, and gun sellers. That they know the one true way to reducing crime and stopping school shootings.

That they, and only they, have the “moral authority” to lecture us and we are supposed to shut up and listen. And the duly elected representatives are supposed to shut up and vote the way that these children tell them to.

Moral Authority. They should ask Cindy Sheehan about moral authority.

Then we learn that it’s all a lie. That this is a well coordinated operation by the usual gun confiscation suspects.

The Right Needs To Learn From The Left’s Astroturfing Of The Parkland Survivors

In the wake of the Parkland school shooting, something amazing happened. Unlike other mass shootings, which cause a flurry of calls for gun control that usually fizzle out in a week or so, this one resulted in a sustained conversation and some sort-of tangible damage to the NRA.

The change came because many of the Stoneman Douglas High School students who survived the shooting became organized — attending rallies, tweeting, and appearing on major networks — to call for gun control. Or so we thought.

About two weeks after what was reported as a movement by the students, forensic science specialist David Hines discovered that the whole “movement” was actually a coordinated plan from the Left. Within two days of the shooting, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., was helping the kids; teacher’s unions, groups associated with Michael Bloomberg, and people connected to the Women’s March were all assisting in securing funding and promotion. Planned Parenthood, George Clooney, and Oprah Winfrey all donated money to the effort.

As I said, the usual gun confiscation suspect. For the record, MS Winfrey, Mr. Clooney, Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz, all have armed security when they travel. As likely does Michael Bloomberg. After all, he’s a billionaire and a possible candidate for a kidnapping. Their children, if they have any, go to private schools with armed security.

Speaking of armed security, here is a sign obviously made to look like it was hand drawn when it was professionally produced. Stupid, but professionally produced.

The White House is a Gun Free Zone? The White House is anything but a Gun Free Zone.

Man Shot by Secret Service at White House: ‘I Came Here To Shoot People’

Yet, we are supposed to listen to people like this young mush head about issues of vital importance. Right. I wouldn’t trust her to get my coffee order right.

I have no ideal what Winston Churchill has to do with this issue, especially since he traveled with armed security.

On the very off chance that the young lady see this post, here is an illustrative photo of the “gun free zone” that surrounds the President, any President.

Basically, the left had money and infrastructure ready to go for an all-out assault on guns and the NRA, they just needed the right moment — the right victims.

It’s sickening, when you think about it; they were basically waiting for children to die so that they could swoop in and blame everyone they dislike, instead of the actual shooter. They paraded grieving children in front of cameras without any care for their well-being just to help their cause.

Think about that. This operation was set up in advance, just waiting for an opportunity. The paranoid among us, which seems to be an ever growing percentage, will more than thank about it. They’ll start drawing connections, whether or not they exist.

Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz represents the Florida 23rd District. That covers much of Broward County where this shooting took place. The Sheriff of Broward County is a Democrat and aligned with her. It was at least one Broward County Deputy who failed to enter the school and confront the shooter. The Sheriff’s Department knew the shooter quite well having been to his house something like 30 times.

Oh, there was a mass stabbing incident in Palm Beach County this week. A young man who had been radicalized by Islamic videos stabbed three people and killed one. Palm Beach County is also in her district, but I haven’t seen a statement from her about that.

I’ll stop there and I won’t link to any of the sites that are perpetuating this conspiracy theory. Suffice it to say that she has ample reason to draw attention away from herself and towards a “national conversation” on gun control.

NO, I don’t believe that there was any sort of conspiracy in this school shooting or any other mass shooting event for that matter. I want to be clear about that.

The article at the links isn’t completely about the Astroturfing of today’s protest. I’m not sure I agree with the author’s point that the Right should look at adopting similar dishonest tactics. Still, her point that this entire “national movement” was spontaneous and “student lead”. It’s neither, and these kids will be dropped as soon as their usefulness is over.

“Useful idiots” as the KGB used to call them.

As the saying goes, “It takes a lot of planning to make something happen spontaneously.” Or at least make it appear to happen spontaneously.

If the students fronting these protests can’t figure out that they are being used, then they are not smart enough to be leading them. If they know what is going on and participate anyway, then they are being willfully dishonest.

Either way, their protests are a sham and should be treated as such.

Collision Course


Once upon a time, I was a young EMT. Like a lot of young EMTs, and too many older ones, I liked to drive fast. Being an EMT for a municipal 9-1-1 service, I got to do that very often. Of course, 40 years ago the roads of Sort Big City were less congested, there were fewer traffic lights, and we could drive at speeds that are now really impossible to attain.

For whatever reason, getting into crashes wasn’t as big a deal as it is now. It should have been, but it wasn’t. Today, we’d probably call that a “cultural” thing, but labels don’t really matter.

One thing that does matter is the wide spread, but false, belief that we respond to a lot of emergency calls. For years, EMS told the world that if they thought it was an emergency, then we’d respond as if it was and then sort it out when we got there.

There’s some ever decreasing amount of truth to that, since phone triage, no matter which “card” system your agency uses is part guess, part pseudo science. All of them are built in the premise that non medically trained people, who are calling EMS under stress, can give accurate answers when asked medical questions.


Medical people often can’t give accurate answers to medical questions when they are on the phone, so how do we expect non medical people to do so. For this reason, there is some justification to responding to some emergency calls with lights and sirens.

The hard part is figuring out which ones are emergencies, which is why card systems are weighted more heavily to worst case scenarios.

Which still doesn’t justify driving like a maniac to a call. The few seconds or minute or so that you will shave off of your response time are not worth the carnage that you risk causing by getting involved in a collision.

Let’s look at the following video. I believe that the ambulance might have been transporting, but for the sake of this post, let’s stipulate that these two vehicles are responding to an incident.

How embarrassing! Embarrassment is the least of the concerns here, but you can be sure that this played on the local Miami TV stations about 10,000 times in the days after this happened. No civilian vehicles were involved, which makes this legally less complex, but it is certainly not without cost.

Financial costs. Neither ambulances nor fire trucks are exactly cheap. Nor is repairing them. Then there is the cost of injury and time lost by the crews.

Notice also that the ambulance had the red light. I’m not familiar with Florida traffic laws, so I don’t know if the ambulance is required to come to a complete stop at red lights. In my state, they are and then can proceed if it’s safe to do so. People don’t always do that and with the ubiquity of dash and traffic cameras, someone is very likely to catch your actions on camera. The driver may well suffer financial loss from suspension or maybe termination.

The accident investigators at my former agency (no police, but still investigators) always looked for video when one of our units was involved in a crash. First, from city owned traffic cameras, then if there were none, from privately owned cameras that were hooked into the city network.

I’d be remiss in mentioning that the disciplinary penalties were always worse if one lied on an official report.

Operational costs. Now, instead of responding to whatever call they were on their way to, the rescuers have become victims, at or at least potential victims. Another fire engine and ambulance have to be sent to them. Also, another fire engine and ambulance have to be sent to the original call. The police now have to respond to the crash. In a smaller system, that will ripple through out the entire system, in a larger one less so, but there will still be some impact.

Here is an example of what I mean,

One ambulance, seven patients, three critical, four separate fire departments on the response. The stakes get even higher when there is a patient on board. It’s very rare that a patient requires a lights and siren transport. A battle I frequently had because my former agency had a poorly written policy from the mid 1990s that was still in effect when I retire. It specified that all responses required lights and sirens and implied that all transports required lights and sirens as well. So, we were often treated to the spectacle of an ambulance driving into the ambulance bay with lights ablaze and siren ablaring, only to have the patient alight and get into a wheelchair for a trip to the non acute triage area.

One last video for your consideration,

A non emergency response for a “Check the welfare” call.

Responding to emergencies is inherently dangerous, but the laws of physics don’t care about that. The laws of physics also don’t suffer the effects of crashes, people do. The most important thing that providers can do is drive safely, which mostly means driving more slowly and paying attention to what is going on around you. The lights and sirens impart no special protection against other drivers who aren’t paying attention or are just plain stupid. Nor do they magically make roads less slippery.

Be careful responding, because you do no one any good if you’re injured or killed.

Slow down. After all, this isn’t the kind of publicity your agency wants.

All About Me

After a long career as a field EMS provider, I'm now doing all that back office stuff I used to laugh at. Life is full of ironies, isn't it?

I still live in the Northeast corner of the United States, although I hope to change that to another part of the country more in tune with my values and beliefs.

I still write about EMS, but I'm adding more and more non-EMS subject matter.

Thanks for visiting.

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