I have had a lot of friends ask me how do firefighters feel about all the things that have happened this week in America, from the Boston Marathon to West, Texas and the many other tragic events less reported. I can’t speak for all firefighters and would never attempt something so arrogant as to try and express how it feels to lose a friend, a brother or a sister in the business of emergency services.
I can tell you how I feel about it. First it makes me sick to my stomach. To watch the events unfold on TV and the internet on a 24 hour a day relentless basis is too much I have to turn it off. The press is doing their job, people want to know, people demand to be kept up on the latest information, and it is the modern day equivalent of the gladiator games of Rome.
The blood lust is offensive to see. Images are released to the cannibalistic voyeurs of this drama without any thought of should they be released. It is so macabre the way human vultures pick and eat greedily at the bones and flesh of their fellows. I am sure every time a photo or video carries a warning of “Strong Content” it skyrockets to the top of Twitter and Youtube in seconds and is posted over and over again on Facebook.
The question I have is this, do any of these ghouls ever stop to think that there are families, friends, lovers, and a host of people that have their faces shoved right back into the shit by these images? Can anyone imagine that every time you look on Facebook you have to be reminded that your father, mother, sibling, or friend was killed in some horrible way?
Where do you hide from it? Do you crawl in a hole and wait for it to all blow past? I saw the first few seconds of the mother in Boston talking about the loss of her daughter and couldn’t turn it off quickly enough. Have you ever seen vultures or other scavengers in nature like hyenas rip, claw, and fight for their share of a carcass?
That’s all I could see in the few seconds I watched, scavengers and decomposers. Scavengers are animals or reporters that don’t do any work themselves they wait for opportunity and then pounce without thought or feelings, they just want it and they get it.
Decomposers on the other hand are the very lowest on the food chain; decomposers are the ones that feed on the excrement and scraps left behind by the scavengers. They are the ones attracted to the captions that read “WARNING STRONG CONTENT”. Those kinds of warnings are voyeur porn advertisements for the decomposers.
They wonder to themselves how gruesome will it be. Will there be blood and body parts? Will there be guts and pieces lying about? They wonder if they are tough enough to take it, can they stomach these unknown images. Its catnip to the zombies they have to look. They are the same people that slow down their cars and video crashes on the highway.
Who knows maybe they can get a video that will go viral on Youtube or better yet get picked up by local and then national news, do you have any idea how many hits something like that can generate on your Youtube channel?
Don’t get me wrong on this I am not condemning everyone that is curious about these kinds of events it is natural to want to know what is going on, besides you almost can’t escape it in today’s America. I just hope that viewers will take a moment to put themselves in the shoes or the uniform of the victims and survivors.
Myself in 30+ years as a firefighter/paramedic I got a belly full and then some of the gore. It carries a tremendous price tag for those in the emergency businesses that live it and see it day in and day out. So how do I feel about these things? I feel such sadness for the families and friends in Boston. I feel sad for the workers that had to respond to the initial event and for the ones that cleaned away the evidence it ever happened.
I feel such sorrow for the families and friends of the Firefighter, EMTs, and Police officers in West, Texas. They died trying to keep others safe and with full knowledge that their own personal odds of walking away were very low.
The casual observer of these events can say, that is so horrible and pray for the families of all those involved, but they can never know the gigantic whole that these explosions have blown right through the very souls of the survivors.
In a few days or months or even years the watchers and scavengers, and decomposers will have moved on. The next shiny thing will be running 24 hours a day on TV and the internet. The memories of those that died without choice and those that died with a choice will fade for them. But just ask someone that lost a loved on September 11, 2001 if the memories have faded and you will find out that the people in Boston and West, Texas have very little chance of ever escaping this week’s memories.
As long as people are remembered they are not lost. Not to time or to us or to their families or friends they will always be around and what they did will never be forgotten. Why is it that many people can name the names of the killers and bombers, but not a single name of the heroes? Kind of strange isn’t it?