THE BLAME GAME


For those of you that have not read Chief Halton’s commentary in June’s Fire Engineering magazine “Is Making A Mistake A Crime?”, please take a moment to do so – trust me, it’s worth your time. My second illustration this month plays along many of the same lucid points made in his commentary and highlights the challenge we now face as emergency responders. We train, we rely on experience (both our own and those around us), and we study trade magazines, journals, and case studies, all to help us prepare for those split-second decisions that may save a life, or prevent one of our own from sustaining an injury. Unfortunately this is not enough in a scape-goat society where the need to feed a perceived gratification for justice sometimes outweighs common sense. Add to this a bandwagon of attorneys who are licking their collective chops at big dollar settlements, and you can see where the “system” has left the tracks.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes good does come from the justice system hammering down on our bad practices, negligence, and complacency – especially in cases where injury or death has occurred. Measurable positive change has come from these unfortunate events. The thorn in my side stems from the frivolous questioning of our decision making and actions for monetary gain. Isn’t our job tough enough without this keeping us awake at night, too?!

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JERSEY CITY SKETCH

Sketched this guy while in Jersey City two weeks ago. As usual, I love to wake up early and walk around a new city, soaking in the experience of the city’s culture and people as I go. All the while, taking mental snap-shots that ultimately end up as sketches while sitting in some local café. This man, however, really caught my attention (along with anyone else in a two block radius) because he screamed constantly at perceived demons that were tormenting him at ever turn. He would walk quickly from street corner to corner, stopping only to warn those following him to “stay away and go home” with profanity that would make any sailor blush. His savage anger was startling… and very sad, too.

I could not leave this experience in my head (which would ultimately drive me insane, too); thus, it came out in this quick sketch. I was not concerned about catching a likeness as much as I wanted to portray his anger – I hope it worked.

FIRE ENGINEERING EDITORIAL CARTOON


Perhaps this illustration is a bit over the top, but it is an unfortunate reality for many of our retiree and disabled Brothers and Sisters. Pension benefits often do not cover sky-rocketing medication costs, not if you intend to eat, too. Volunteers have it worse, yet – some gave 20 to 30 plus years of service to a community, working a full-time job that may, or may not have provided retirement benefits. It’s heartbreaking to see them struggle with drug costs; having to make the choice between daily living and life saving medication.

I wish I had a solution! All I can offer is a whimsical take on a serious situation and the knowledge that we honor your service and sympathize with your struggle.