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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.

In Fashion Again


Gun control, that is. After the Parkland high school student, we are informed that gun control is all the rage again. Since it’s an election year, this is a hot button issue and the legislature in Florida passed, and the Governor signed, a new “gun control bill”.

Which won’t do anything to solve the problem. Which isn’t guns, but is violence.

The Florida law, which doesn’t go into effect until October 1, raises the minimum age for purchasing a long gun to 21. Apparently, somehow by magic people who at 20 years and 364 days are too immature and dangerous to buy rifles or shotguns are suddenly imbued with wisdom and good judgement when the turn 22.

Personally, I think it would make more sense to raise the driving age to 21 considering how many people under 21 are killed in car crashes each year. Not to mention raising the voting age to 21 (30 would be better).

Which means that no one under 21 should be allowed to enlist in the military, either.

Feel free to tell me how going into the military instills discipline (it does) and training into young people under 21. The problem with people under 21committing crimes with rifles or shotguns, not that they lack discipline or training. The problem is that they are criminals and intend to commit crimes. Which is why people in the age range of 18-21 are sent to adult prisons, not juvenile facilities.

The law also bans bump stocks. Bump stocks are ridiculous devices and are not widely used by anyone, especially criminals. One crime has been committed using a bump stock and arguably if the shooter had used a regular AR-15 he could have killed more people. That’s due to the inherent unreliability of the device.

Also, of course bans on inanimate objects don’t stop people who want to commit crimes from committing crimes. Just about anyone can make their own bump stock if they want one.

The law imposes a three day (or longer) waiting period before anyone can buy a firearm. Of course this only applies to sales through licensed dealers and doesn’t apply to people who have concealed carry permits. It doesn’t apply at all to personal sales, at least not yet.

The law also lowers the bar for police to confiscate firearms from people who a confined for a psychiatric evaluation under Florida’s Baker Act. Or people who are otherwise deemed “dangerous”. I haven’t read the entire text, so I don’t know how or if a person can prove that they aren’t dangerous and should be allowed to exercise a Right enumerated in the Constitution.

I wonder if they will be barred from exercising free speech?

All of this of course, is a knee jerk reaction to the “Parkland students” who have demanded that their adults and betters “do something” about guns. Not something about crime, but something about guns.

So, we are supposed to take direction from people that we have deemed are too young and immature to own firearms. But, somehow these Tide Pod eating children have become mature leaders who we are supposed to follow when it comes to crime, guns, and what adults can do.

Sure. Pull the other one mate, it has bells on it.

The National Rifle Association had a lawsuit drawn up and ready to go the second Governor Scott signed the bill into law. The lawsuit challenges the age restriction portion of the bill, which is a good start. While the rest of the law is pretty silly, there is likely a strong Constitutional basis for challenging the under 21 part.

The rest is just election year silliness. Since Governor Scott wants to become Senator Scott, he apparently thinks this will help him in a swing state with a lot of Democrat voters. This will likely play well in Broward (rhymes with coward) county and other liberal parts of Florida. It’s likely to be less well received in the rural counties, particularly in the panhandle.

As always, gun control is not about guns or reducing crime. It’s all about control.

Social Media Use In EMS


As my readers might have noticed, I’m not a big fan of EMS providers using Social Media. To be clear, they should be able to do as they want, but it’s all too easy to hurt or even end your career by posting something someone doesn’t like.

Facebook and Twitter have become the favorite tools of lynch mobs in the 21st Century. As the saying goes, Facebook is good for posting cute pictures of your kids or grandkids, and should be limited to not all that much more. Twitter is even more dangerous, as Ambulance Driver says it’s 140 characters and not one brain cell. Even worse, it’s now 280 characters.

All of which is prolog to a story where Facebook helped save someone’s life, even if totally by chance.

Firefighters help save choking boy from 800 miles away

WAYLAND, Mass. — A team of firefighters from Wayland, Massachusetts, is being praised for coming to the aid of a woman about 800 miles away in Wayland, Michigan, who contacted them via Facebook in a panic to say her son was choking.

Normally, I’d wonder why someone would use Facebook in lieu of a telephone, but there is an answer for that,

The Massachusetts department’s Facebook page isn’t monitored 24/7, but firefighter Patrick Walkinshaw happened to be looking at it about 10:30 p.m. Saturday when the woman, who didn’t have access to a phone, sent her desperate plea to the wrong Wayland Fire Department.

She didn’t have access to a phone, so she used her computer. That’s not a bad idea, but as every public safety agency will tell you, do not use Facebook or their website in an emergency, call 9-1-1.

In this case she (and her son) were lucky. One firefighter stayed on line with her and gave first aid instructions, another looked up her address and traced it to Wayland, MI, while a third called the Wayland, MI Fire Department to give them the information so they could respond.

Luck and team work. And people who were paying attention in the first place.

The young man survived, which is the best part of all.

It’s not an ideal way to call for help, but in this case it worked out quite well for everyone.

This article,

Wrong Wayland Fire Dept. helps choking W MI teen

has more details. As it turns out, it was even luckier that she got the “wrong” Wayland FD as the “right” one was busy at a house fire and no one would have seen the message for some time.

For those who are keeping count, there are at least four towns named Wayland in the United States. She just happened to find the one that had a firefighter checking the Facebook page at the time she needed help.

“Of all the towns in all the word…”

I wonder what the odds are on that?

Living In The 18th Century


Or at least living like we were in it.

We had a storm last Friday. The weather guessers were hyping the crap out of it as they hype the crap out of every storm. “Storm of Historic Proportions”, sounds scary, but this was at least the third one we’ve had this winter. At least the third one that we were told would be of “Historic Proportions”. The other two were snow storms of no particular importance. I think the worst one dropped about eight inches of snow on us. Which mostly melted away the next day. During January. I spent about two hours doing all of the snow clearing, but that was mostly because it was a tad windy and I was working at night.

To be clear, working at night on the snow clearing, as I’m retired from working nights, weekends, holidays, and generally when I don’t feel like. Which is more and more of the time, but that’s a post for another time. Well, maybe.

The other storm of “Historic Proportions” dropped about three inches of snow. I went out with my snow blower and cleared the berm at the end of the driveway and left the rest for Mother Gaia to clear away.

Oh, there’s a special place in Hell for whoever decided to hype this crap by giving snow storms names. It’s TV inspired BS, pure and simple. Weather forecasting has become nothing buy hyping the latest cloudy day.

But, I digress.

So, instead of the expected two plus feet of snow we were supposed to get, we got wind and rain. And rain and wind. I spent most of the day inside because the weather sucked outside. Some of the coastal areas of the region got some pretty decent flooding, but that’s what happens when there is a high wind storm that coincides with high tide and a full moon. Maybe we should rethink paying to rebuild houses and other structures that get flooded every five or ten years or so.

All went well until about 7:30PM, when the lights started to flicker a bit. Then they flickered a bit more. Then they went out. My first thought was that a transformer had tripped and it would be reset in an hour or so.

Mrs. EMS Artifact and I broke out our flashlights, put on our sweatshirts, and figured we’d just wait it out. I used the handy dandy app on my Smart Phone to report the outage. After making sure that it wasn’t just us. No such luck, the whole world was dark. At least what I could see of it.

The app has a nice feature where you can look at all of the outages and see what the power company is doing to fix them. Since it was still raining and windy, they weren’t doing a whole lot. It was actually windy, rainy, and dark.

Since it wasn’t all that cold and the house is reasonably well insulated, we just stayed at home and went to sleep. Very annoying not having the conveniences of modern living. We couldn’t cook anything and we didn’t open the refrigerator either.

I woke up the next morning and texted a friend. He still had power and invited me over for breakfast. Mrs. EMS Artifact is a late sleeper, so I went over and had breakfast with my friend. Then I went home and obsessively checked the status of the outages. Which was not good. Turns out that I and about 200,000 of my closest friends were without power. Not all were serviced by my company, but they were all using all of their crews and crews from as far south as Tennessee and as far north as Quebec.

Mrs. EMS Artifact was now up and hungry. So, I took her out for breakfast. Which meant I had two breakfast. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it’s not going to help my diet efforts.

Then my friend’s wife called. She wanted us to come over for dinner and stay overnight in their guest room. Which seemed like a good idea. We gather stuff, including food, made sure the cats were fed and left. We figured that the cats were going to be okay since they had fur coats.

After dinner and before bed I drove back to the house for a few minutes, checked to see that all was secure, and fed the cats. A few buildings down on  the main street had lights, but that didn’t extend up to our area. The app told me that power would be restored by Midnight Tuesday, but that no crew had been assigned to the area.


Sunday morning was more of the same, only with an invitation from another friend and her husband to come spend the day with them. Since I’ve known my friend since she was born and her Dad is my oldest friend, this was an easy decision. One small detour to help her Dad put a section of fence back up (temporarily) and we had a lovely day with actual hot food.

Which brought us to late afternoon and it was back to our other friends’ place for dinner. After dinner my other friend called to say that he had power back. Since he lives in the same outage “zone” as do we, we figured we’d have power or at least have it shortly.

So, we packed up our stuff and went home. To a dark home. Apparently half the zone was restored, but we were in the “other” half. The app now told us that we’d have power by midnight Sunday, but I was a bit dubious since it was almost 9:00PM and there was nothing going on.

So, we again sat in the dark and read. Well, we had nice LED lights, so it wasn’t completely dark. The cats were happy to see us, although they seemed a bit perplexed by the strange quiet. Being cats, the darkness didn’t seem to bother them.

Another check of the app and now the expected restoration time was pushed back to late Monday afternoon. Hmmm.

After a couple of hours of this, I finished the book and decided to go for a ride. I wanted to see if I could find a crew that was working on the problem. Or at least someone to ask about the progress.

Lest you think I was going to harangue anyone, keep in mind that I spent a number of years being harangued by  people who didn’t like how I was doing my job. Most of them were drunk, but nonetheless I work at being nice to people that are probably workign to fix my problem.

About five minutes away from the house I found a power company supervisor parked at the side of the road. He had a nice power company van with lovely amber blinky lights. He was parked in front of a tree and some wires. The tree was IN the wires, which is not where the tree should have been. The tree should have been safely rooted in the ground.

This was not a small so it’s location in a tree was a problem. Specifically, it was the problem that caused my area not to have any power.

I confirmed that with the supervisor.  Who also told me that he called this in because apparently the survey crew for this area had missed the tree in the wires. Which seeemed odd since this was on a main road and there is a rehab hospital on the road. The supervisor shared my skepticism about the Midnight return of power since it was now 10:00PM and he didn’t know when the tree crew or the power crew would show up.

His best guess was early morning, but other than that he couldn’t really say. I looked at the tree and the wireds and said to myself that it would be maybe 4:00AM if all went well.

I don’t really recall when all went well in situations like this. A life in EMS turned me into a pessimist and a believer that Murphy was terminally optimistic.

Back home I went and gave the Mrs. the news. The app now said that we’d have power back by Noon. Nothing left to do by put on about five layers of clothes and four layers of blankets. Or maybe the other way around.

About 3:30AM something woke me up. “Something” being the creaking of the baseboard radiators. Which meant they were expanding because there was hot water flowing through the pipes. Which meant that the boiler was working. That meant that we had power back.

The dark ages were over!

We went back to sleep and this morning all was more or less back to normal.

The lovely Mrs. EMS Artifact informed me that I am buying generator as we are getting to old for this living like a pioneer stuff.

So, my mission over the next few weeks is to figure out a plan and get a generator. I’m not horribly upset by this because she’s right. People who lived during the 18th Century didn’t know about electricity, electric lights, central heat, or all of the other accoutrements of modern life. You generally don’t miss what you never had, but once i you have it, you sure do miss it when it goes away.


March 2, 1836


Today is Texas Independence Day. Herewith the people of the Texas territory of Mexico declared their independence.

Hostilities had begun some time before, but the formal Declaration came on March 2. The document, much like the American Declaration of Independence, lays out the reasons for the separation from the parent nation.

The list of grievances is long and detailed.

Texas and Texans are fiercely independent folks. I hope they always remain that way.

Happy Texas Independence Day to all my friends in Texas.

The text of the Texas Declaration of Independence.

When a government has ceased to protect the lives, liberty and property of the people, from whom its legitimate powers are derived, and for the advancement of whose happiness it was instituted, and so far from being a guarantee for the enjoyment of those inestimable and inalienable rights, becomes an instrument in the hands of evil rulers for their oppression.

When the Federal Republican Constitution of their country, which they have sworn to support, no longer has a substantial existence, and the whole nature of their government has been forcibly changed, without their consent, from a restricted federative republic, composed of sovereign states, to a consolidated central military despotism, in which every interest is disregarded but that of the army and the priesthood, both the eternal enemies of civil liberty, the everready minions of power, and the usual instruments of tyrants.

When, long after the spirit of the constitution has departed, moderation is at length so far lost by those in power, that even the semblance of freedom is removed, and the forms themselves of the constitution discontinued, and so far from their petitions and remonstrances being regarded, the agents who bear them are thrown into dungeons, and mercenary armies sent forth to force a new government upon them at the point of the bayonet.

When, in consequence of such acts of malfeasance and abdication on the part of the government, anarchy prevails, and civil society is dissolved into its original elements. In such a crisis, the first law of nature, the right of self-preservation, the inherent and inalienable rights of the people to appeal to first principles, and take their political affairs into their own hands in extreme cases, enjoins it as a right towards themselves, and a sacred obligation to their posterity, to abolish such government, and create another in its stead, calculated to rescue them from impending dangers, and to secure their future welfare and happiness.

Nations, as well as individuals, are amenable for their acts to the public opinion of mankind. A statement of a part of our grievances is therefore submitted to an impartial world, in justification of the hazardous but unavoidable step now taken, of severing our political connection with the Mexican people, and assuming an independent attitude among the nations of the earth.

The Mexican government, by its colonization laws, invited and induced the Anglo-American population of Texas to colonize its wilderness under the pledged faith of a written constitution, that they should continue to enjoy that constitutional liberty and republican government to which they had been habituated in the land of their birth, the United States of America.

In this expectation they have been cruelly disappointed, inasmuch as the Mexican nation has acquiesced in the late changes made in the government by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who having overturned the constitution of his country, now offers us the cruel alternative, either to abandon our homes, acquired by so many privations, or submit to the most intolerable of all tyranny, the combined despotism of the sword and the priesthood.

It has sacrificed our welfare to the state of Coahuila, by which our interests have been continually depressed through a jealous and partial course of legislation, carried on at a far distant seat of government, by a hostile majority, in an unknown tongue, and this too, notwithstanding we have petitioned in the humblest terms for the establishment of a separate state government, and have, in accordance with the provisions of the national constitution, presented to the general Congress a republican constitution, which was, without just cause, contemptuously rejected.

It incarcerated in a dungeon, for a long time, one of our citizens, for no other cause but a zealous endeavor to procure the acceptance of our constitution, and the establishment of a state government.

It has failed and refused to secure, on a firm basis, the right of trial by jury, that palladium of civil liberty, and only safe guarantee for the life, liberty, and property of the citizen.

It has failed to establish any public system of education, although possessed of almost boundless resources, (the public domain,) and although it is an axiom in political science, that unless a people are educated and enlightened, it is idle to expect the continuance of civil liberty, or the capacity for self government.

It has suffered the military commandants, stationed among us, to exercise arbitrary acts of oppression and tyrrany, thus trampling upon the most sacred rights of the citizens, and rendering the military superior to the civil power.

It has dissolved, by force of arms, the state Congress of Coahuila and Texas, and obliged our representatives to fly for their lives from the seat of government, thus depriving us of the fundamental political right of representation.

It has demanded the surrender of a number of our citizens, and ordered military detachments to seize and carry them into the Interior for trial, in contempt of the civil authorities, and in defiance of the laws and the constitution.

It has made piratical attacks upon our commerce, by commissioning foreign desperadoes, and authorizing them to seize our vessels, and convey the property of our citizens to far distant ports for confiscation.

It denies us the right of worshipping the Almighty according to the dictates of our own conscience, by the support of a national religion, calculated to promote the temporal interest of its human functionaries, rather than the glory of the true and living God.

It has demanded us to deliver up our arms, which are essential to our defence, the rightful property of freemen, and formidable only to tyrannical governments.

It has invaded our country both by sea and by land, with intent to lay waste our territory, and drive us from our homes; and has now a large mercenary army advancing, to carry on against us a war of extermination.

It has, through its emissaries, incited the merciless savage, with the tomahawk and scalping knife, to massacre the inhabitants of our defenseless frontiers.

It hath been, during the whole time of our connection with it, the contemptible sport and victim of successive military revolutions, and hath continually exhibited every characteristic of a weak, corrupt, and tyrranical government.

These, and other grievances, were patiently borne by the people of Texas, untill they reached that point at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue. We then took up arms in defence of the national constitution. We appealed to our Mexican brethren for assistance. Our appeal has been made in vain. Though months have elapsed, no sympathetic response has yet been heard from the Interior. We are, therefore, forced to the melancholy conclusion, that the Mexican people have acquiesced in the destruction of their liberty, and the substitution therfor of a military government; that they are unfit to be free, and incapable of self government.

The necessity of self-preservation, therefore, now decrees our eternal political separation.

We, therefore, the delegates with plenary powers of the people of Texas, in solemn convention assembled, appealing to a candid world for the necessities of our condition, do hereby resolve and declare, that our political connection with the Mexican nation has forever ended, and that the people of Texas do now constitute a free, Sovereign, and independent republic, and are fully invested with all the rights and attributes which properly belong to independent nations; and, conscious of the rectitude of our intentions, we fearlessly and confidently commit the issue to the decision of the Supreme arbiter of the destinies of nations.

EMS In Mass Shootings


What is the proper role of EMS in mass shootings?

Early on in EMT training, then again, in paramedic school, students are exposed to a lot of training scenarios. They cover a wide variety of situations, medical, trauma, and psychiatric emergencies. No matter what the scenario, be it chest pain, a seizure, vehicle collision, fall, or anything else, we teach new students two things.

Is the scene safe? By this mean are there any hazards that might harm the providers? At a vehicle crash, that could be fire, fluids, airbags that might deploy. At fire scenes that means staying out of the collapse area of the building, and not getting hit by debris falling or thrown from the building. It can also mean are there agitated people that might attack the providers. The list goes on and on, so I won’t try to cover all of the possibilities.

Use appropriate Body Substance Isolation (BSI). Which is an amorphous term that means gloves, and masks or gowns if necessary. We used to call that Personal Protective Equipment, and before that Universal Precautions. No matter what term we use, the idea is to protect ourselves from dangers at the scene.

The term “BSI, is the scene safe?”, has become a mantra of sorts and is used at the start of every scenario. The problem is that it’s often little more than a phrase with little actual teaching behind it.

In my days as an instructor, I would sometimes say “No, the scene is not safe.” and then go on to describe a threat. The type of threat didn’t matter, the idea was to get the students to stop and think about what was going on as they were about to enter a scene.

Sadly, I’d often get a blank look and then the student would march on through and start to address the patient. At which point, I’d stop the scenario, fail the student, and tell them they were dead.

In EMS, and likely other professions, we often get into routines and forget the fundamental rules of protecting ourselves. That afflicts experienced and new providers, and some people find it difficult, if not impossible, to understand that there are real world dangers that won’t stop just because someone has called 9-1-1 for a “medical emergency”.

Some 35 or more years ago, back when I was working at the BLS level, my partner and I were dispatched for an “injured person.” We had no details because dispatch didn’t have any, so it might as well have been dispatched as an “Unknown Emergency”.

As we entered the apartment building we stopped at the bottom of the stair case and listened. We listened for about 30 seconds. What we heard was two people arguing at the top of the stairs. One male, one female. We couldn’t make out what they were arguing about, but they were arguing. The scene was not safe, so we made our exit and called for the police to respond.

There are two calls that police hate above all others. One is a “Domestic Dispute”, the other is “Unknown Trouble.” Both have almost unlimited potential to go bad without warning.

This turned out to the the former and once the police quieted the scene, we entered and treated the patient.

I’m sure other crews would have gone in and interrupted the argument. That might have worked out okay, or it might have resulted in an attack on the crew. Going to help someone and ending up on a fight is not how EMS is supposed to work. It happens, because people are often unpredictable, but minimizing the risk is part of what we are supposed to do.

Which brings us to the today’s topic. There has been a lot of controversy over the shooting at Douglas High School in Parkland, FL since it happened almost two weeks ago. It appears, but has not been totally confirmed, that the response by the Broward Count Sheriff’s Department was poor. I’ll leave that to Law Enforcement experts to decide, maybe after the heat dies down.

If it does.

It turns out that the confusion at the scene extended, as it often does, to the EMS response.

Florida emergency medical teams frustrated over ‘delay’ in Parkland school shooting response

Three high-ranking Florida officials close to the law enforcement response at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tell Fox News there was a delay in Emergency Medical Service getting into the school in the critical moments after Nikolas Cruz allegedly opened fire, killing 17 people and wounding at least 14 others.

Two separate sources told Fox News some of the EMS teams who requested to enter the school were told they could not. One source said it was the Broward County Sheriff’s Office – which was the commanding office – that ordered some of the EMS crews not to go into the school when they requested to enter.

At any large incident, someone has to be in charge. At Parkland, because it was a crime, it was the Sheriff’s Department. Other responding agencie, LE, Fire, EMS, all are subordinate to the Incident Commander. In this case, it’s possible maybe even likely, that the IC made the wrong decision.

“When you have a police agency saying we don’t want you going in, that’s a problem,” another Florida official said. “The training since Columbine has been [that] first responders, police go in immediately with paramedics.”

This is in fact the doctrine and standard operating procedure for many departments. The problem is that sometimes it just doesn’t happen that way. In 2013 there was a shooting at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The specified procedure was that the first responder officers should go in and engage the shooter. Once the initial threat is eliminated, police are supposed to escort and protect EMS personnel to do a search and rescue operation.

Sorta Big City Police and EMS started training for this a couple of years before I retired. The final plan was not released before I retired, but to the best of my knowledge, it is the official plan.

That didn’t happen at LAX in 2013. The police agencies established a perimeter and sent officers in to find the shooter or shooters. Even after the area where the shooting occurred was secured, EMS was not allowed to go in and treat the person who was shot. As a result, he bled to death.

The reason given at the time was that the scene was not secure and thus it was unsafe for EMS to enter. At the time, several different agencies and individuals proposed training all of their EMS employees as “tactical medics” and issuing each one body armor, helmets, and other equipment.

That sounded good until someone got out a catalog and a calculator. It turns out that it would have been very, very expensive to outfit all of the EMS providers of any agency, regardless of size of the agency.

So, what are we to do?

Multiple high-ranking sources told Fox News police officers and deputies were bringing victims out to EMS workers to be treated instead of allowing EMS inside. One fire official said that “sometimes” that’s just how it would happen, but at least one emergency responder wondered if the response was detrimental to the victims.

If this is so, it’s not a bad way to handle the situation. After all, EMS would not be likely to go into a burning building (although they have on occasion) to rescue people. That might happen if the fire department wasn’t yet on scene. The difference being that fire, while not discriminate in who it hurts, does not deliberately hunt down it’s victims. Even so, it’s a far less than ideal situation when EMS goes into known dangerous areas.

The problem in this case is that becoming rescuers takes police officers away from their primary function. Which is to stop the bad guy from killing more people.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the keys to saving people with survivable wounds is controlling the bleeding and maintaining an open airway. That should be followed by rapid extraction from the scene and transport to a hospital with surgeons.

The airway and bleeding control parts can be taught to just about anyone, as can the extraction. Combine that with prepositioned equipment and a plan and a lot of lives would be saved.

It appears that there was no plan in place for any of this. Or, it there was, it wasn’t implemented. Plans only work if people train on them enough to be proficient. That, and actually using the plan when the time comes.

Again, that didn’t happen. Or at least it doesn’t appear to have happened. This is all the worse because the fire and EMS systems for much of the county come under the purview of the Broward County Sheriff.

There a going to be a lot of lessons learned from the tragedy. One of which is that there has to be a plan in place before the event happens. The other is that when the even does happen, the plan has to be implemented and followed.

Read the complete Fox News article at the link bet a better idea of what did and didn’t happen at the school on the day of the shooting.

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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