The Alameda incident: 'First responders' who don't

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    Jul 21, 2011 12:54 PM GMT
    http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-oe-greenhut-police-firefighters-un20110720,0,2999499.story

    Police and firefighters stood by and watched a suicidal man drown. We need to restore the principle that the real constituency for public safety is the public, not bureaucrats and government workers.

    On Memorial Day, a suicidal man waded into San Francisco Bay outside the city of Alameda and stood there for about an hour, neck deep in chilly water, as about 75 bystanders watched. Local police and firefighters were dispatched to the scene after the man's desperate mother called 911, but they refused to help. After the man drowned, the assembled "first responders" also refused to wade into the water to retrieve his body; they left that job for a bystander.

    The incident sparked widespread outrage in Northern California, and the response by the Fire Department and police only intensified the anger. The firefighters blamed local budget cuts for denying them the training and equipment necessary for cold-water rescues. The police said that they didn't know if the man was dangerous and therefore couldn't risk the safety of officers.

    After a local TV news crew asked him whether he would save a drowning child in the bay, Alameda Fire Chief Ricci Zombeck gave an answer that made him the butt of local talk-show mockery: "Well, if I was off duty, I would know what I would do, but I think you're asking me my on-duty response, and I would have to stay within our policies and procedures, because that's what's required by our department to do."

    If you stand a better chance of being rescued by the official rescuers when they are off duty, then what is the purpose of these departments, which consume the lion's share of city budgets and whose employees — in California anyway — receive exceedingly handsome salaries?
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Jul 21, 2011 3:52 PM GMT
    There you go drumming up more stuff. The officers were in the right. The man was suicidal and it wasn't as if he were standing in a swimming pool. It was a dangerous situation and the officers had not training or effective means by which to save the person without possibly putting their own lives in jeopardy.
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    Jul 21, 2011 5:15 PM GMT
    This reminds me of the Tennessee family's home that burned down last year, with firefighters present, all because he didn't pay his community "dues" for fire protection and they wouldn't accept payment on site.

    If it were me, I would perform the rescues anyway. Better for me to be the center of the firestorm than the helpless citizens who need the protections.
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    Jul 21, 2011 5:21 PM GMT
    The officers were right here. Even if he were an accidental drowning victim, its really hard to get them out of the water. You need the proper tools to get it done. If someone jumped in and tried to "save him" he could end up drowning the rescue officer himself.

    Learn2watersafety people.
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    Jul 21, 2011 5:30 PM GMT
    Chainers saidThe officers were right here. Even if he were an accidental drowning victim, its really hard to get them out of the water. You need the proper tools to get it done. If someone jumped in and tried to "save him" he could end up drowning the rescue officer himself.


    I disagree. They wouldn't even "wade" in to retrieve his body after he already drowned. Why bother showing up when you know you can't perform the rescue?
  • ncaahockey

    Posts: 59

    Jul 21, 2011 5:53 PM GMT
    I work in public safety and understand why the firemen and police did what they did.

    Without proper training and having the proper safety equipment, saving anyone in the water is potentially dangerous to the life of the rescuer.

    Furthermore, from the information that I have on this issue, because of budget cutbacks in the past the departments had to drop water rescue and relied on the Coast Guard for water rescue in that area. If budget cuts had not been done they would have had the proper equipment and the proper training to take care of the situation.

    I personally may believe different and responded differently than those that were there had I been there; but, if the Chief gives you an order you obey and do what your told to do.

    Here is another situation for you, Let's say they went out to save him and he dies anyway? His family could get a lawsuit against them because they did not follow procedures and were not properly trained and did not have appropriate equipment for the task.

    This situation is a no win situation for all involved including the victim and his family. The only people who win in this situation are those that mock the people that were trying to do their jobs and use it as a weapon.
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    Jul 21, 2011 6:04 PM GMT
    ncaahockey said
    Here is another situation for you, Let's say they went out to save him and he dies anyway? His family could get a lawsuit against them because they did not follow procedures and were not properly trained and did not have appropriate equipment for the task.


    Well, the lawsuit would be filed against the jurisdiction. And hopefully, the likely liabilities found against that jurisdiction would send a message for all jurisdictions to never cut funding/support to life services.

    That's what I meant about the firestorm. Let that be the big issue while the helpless citizen survives.
  • ncaahockey

    Posts: 59

    Jul 21, 2011 6:14 PM GMT
    coolarmydude said
    ncaahockey said
    Here is another situation for you, Let's say they went out to save him and he dies anyway? His family could get a lawsuit against them because they did not follow procedures and were not properly trained and did not have appropriate equipment for the task.


    Well, the lawsuit would be filed against the jurisdiction. And hopefully, the likely liabilities found against that jurisdiction would send a message for all jurisdictions to never cut funding/support to life services.

    That's what I meant about the firestorm. Let that be the big issue while the helpless citizen survives.



    That's one way of accomplishing the task. But I feel for those that are ordered not to do anything and if they did they would be fired. It puts them in a very sticky situation.

    I do agree the lawsuit would prove a point big time. But unfortunately, it's sometimes needed.
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    Jul 21, 2011 8:52 PM GMT
    coolarmydude said
    Chainers saidThe officers were right here. Even if he were an accidental drowning victim, its really hard to get them out of the water. You need the proper tools to get it done. If someone jumped in and tried to "save him" he could end up drowning the rescue officer himself.


    I disagree. They wouldn't even "wade" in to retrieve his body after he already drowned. Why bother showing up when you know you can't perform the rescue?


    Why show up? To watch of course. I disagree with them not getting the body but in terms of saving the man they did the right thing. I mean the guy tried to kill himself here it's not like he got put in harms way. He put himself in harms way.
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    Jul 21, 2011 9:43 PM GMT
    Chainers said
    coolarmydude said
    Chainers saidThe officers were right here. Even if he were an accidental drowning victim, its really hard to get them out of the water. You need the proper tools to get it done. If someone jumped in and tried to "save him" he could end up drowning the rescue officer himself.


    I disagree. They wouldn't even "wade" in to retrieve his body after he already drowned. Why bother showing up when you know you can't perform the rescue?


    Why show up? To watch of course. I disagree with them not getting the body but in terms of saving the man they did the right thing. I mean the guy tried to kill himself here it's not like he got put in harms way. He put himself in harms way.


    Which is fine - I don't think we have an obligation to protect people from themselves though many suicide attempts aren't actually people looking to die but rather cries for help/attention depending how you look at it. Nevertheless there was a further point here -

    After a local TV news crew asked him whether he would save a drowning child in the bay, Alameda Fire Chief Ricci Zombeck gave an answer that made him the butt of local talk-show mockery: "Well, if I was off duty, I would know what I would do, but I think you're asking me my on-duty response, and I would have to stay within our policies and procedures, because that's what's required by our department to do."

    If you stand a better chance of being rescued by the official rescuers when they are off duty, then what is the purpose of these departments, which consume the lion's share of city budgets and whose employees — in California anyway — receive exceedingly handsome salaries?
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    Jul 21, 2011 9:51 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    Chainers said
    coolarmydude said
    Chainers saidThe officers were right here. Even if he were an accidental drowning victim, its really hard to get them out of the water. You need the proper tools to get it done. If someone jumped in and tried to "save him" he could end up drowning the rescue officer himself.


    I disagree. They wouldn't even "wade" in to retrieve his body after he already drowned. Why bother showing up when you know you can't perform the rescue?


    Why show up? To watch of course. I disagree with them not getting the body but in terms of saving the man they did the right thing. I mean the guy tried to kill himself here it's not like he got put in harms way. He put himself in harms way.


    Which is fine - I don't think we have an obligation to protect people from themselves though many suicide attempts aren't actually people looking to die but rather cries for help/attention depending how you look at it. Nevertheless there was a further point here -

    After a local TV news crew asked him whether he would save a drowning child in the bay, Alameda Fire Chief Ricci Zombeck gave an answer that made him the butt of local talk-show mockery: "Well, if I was off duty, I would know what I would do, but I think you're asking me my on-duty response, and I would have to stay within our policies and procedures, because that's what's required by our department to do."

    If you stand a better chance of being rescued by the official rescuers when they are off duty, then what is the purpose of these departments, which consume the lion's share of city budgets and whose employees — in California anyway — receive exceedingly handsome salaries?


    Theres being brave and there is being fucking retarded. The guy wants to look good, so he said if he were off duty he would help. Essentially what he said was that if he were the 75 by-standers he would have been one to go help.

    This is stupid, get over it, the police and fire fighters do much good for the city. They let a suicide victim die because he jumped in the water as opposed to risk the lives of police officers and fire fighters who can go on to do their work.

    Sometimes to one can save 10 lives by taking one...
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    Jul 21, 2011 9:53 PM GMT
    He obviously had no medical insurance.

    Isn't that the way it works?
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    Jul 21, 2011 9:56 PM GMT
    Chainers said
    riddler78 said
    Chainers said
    coolarmydude said
    Chainers saidThe officers were right here. Even if he were an accidental drowning victim, its really hard to get them out of the water. You need the proper tools to get it done. If someone jumped in and tried to "save him" he could end up drowning the rescue officer himself.


    I disagree. They wouldn't even "wade" in to retrieve his body after he already drowned. Why bother showing up when you know you can't perform the rescue?


    Why show up? To watch of course. I disagree with them not getting the body but in terms of saving the man they did the right thing. I mean the guy tried to kill himself here it's not like he got put in harms way. He put himself in harms way.


    Which is fine - I don't think we have an obligation to protect people from themselves though many suicide attempts aren't actually people looking to die but rather cries for help/attention depending how you look at it. Nevertheless there was a further point here -

    After a local TV news crew asked him whether he would save a drowning child in the bay, Alameda Fire Chief Ricci Zombeck gave an answer that made him the butt of local talk-show mockery: "Well, if I was off duty, I would know what I would do, but I think you're asking me my on-duty response, and I would have to stay within our policies and procedures, because that's what's required by our department to do."

    If you stand a better chance of being rescued by the official rescuers when they are off duty, then what is the purpose of these departments, which consume the lion's share of city budgets and whose employees — in California anyway — receive exceedingly handsome salaries?


    Theres being brave and there is being fucking retarded. The guy wants to look good, so he said if he were off duty he would help. Essentially what he said was that if he were the 75 by-standers he would have been one to go help.

    This is stupid, get over it, the police and fire fighters do much good for the city. They let a suicide victim die because he jumped in the water as opposed to risk the lives of police officers and fire fighters who can go on to do their work.

    Sometimes to one can save 10 lives by taking one...


    Again, I have no issue with not helping the guy who wanted to die, but again, the problem I have with this is this passage:

    After a local TV news crew asked him whether he would save a drowning child in the bay, Alameda Fire Chief Ricci Zombeck gave an answer that made him the butt of local talk-show mockery: "Well, if I was off duty, I would know what I would do, but I think you're asking me my on-duty response, and I would have to stay within our policies and procedures, because that's what's required by our department to do."

    If you stand a better chance of being rescued by the official rescuers when they are off duty, then what is the purpose of these departments, which consume the lion's share of city budgets and whose employees — in California anyway — receive exceedingly handsome salaries?


    I don't doubt that the police and firefighters do much good - that's not even the point.
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    Jul 21, 2011 10:02 PM GMT
    riddler78
    I don't doubt that the police and firefighters do much good - that's not even the point.


    And your an official idiot.

    Police and firefighters do much good. I hope an individual robs you, stabs you, then lights your house on fire and no one helps you.
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    Jul 21, 2011 10:17 PM GMT
    Chainers said
    riddler78
    I don't doubt that the police and firefighters do much good - that's not even the point.


    And your an official idiot.

    Police and firefighters do much good. I hope an individual robs you, stabs you, then lights your house on fire and no one helps you.


    That's "you're" for the engrishly challenged especially if you're attempting to call someone else an "idiot". Coming from you I'm not even in the slightest bit offended. Do you even bother to read before you post? I suppose thought is out of the question.

    Again, the same official said that he would have done the same if it were a child drowning in the water but he would have done differently if he weren't supposedly constrained by policy. Further, the fact they didn't even bother to go in to fish out the body makes them look completely lazy and inept - if that's not the case fine, but it sure didn't look that way - the whole story and their reactions even afterwards, makes it look like they wanted to make a political point about local cuts which backfired.
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    Jul 21, 2011 10:19 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    Chainers said
    riddler78
    I don't doubt that the police and firefighters do much good - that's not even the point.


    And your an official idiot.

    Police and firefighters do much good. I hope an individual robs you, stabs you, then lights your house on fire and no one helps you.


    That's "you're" for the engrishly challenged especially if you're attempting to call someone else an "idiot". Coming from you I'm not even in the slightest bit offended. Do you even bother to read before you post? I suppose thought is out of the question.

    Again, the same official said that he would have done the same if it were a child drowning in the water but he would have done differently if he weren't supposedly constrained by policy. Further, the fact they didn't even bother to go in to fish out the body makes them look completely lazy and inept - if that's not the case fine, but it sure didn't look that way - the whole story and their reactions even afterwards, makes it look like they wanted to make a political point about local cuts which backfired.


    Oye your retarded riddler.

    Why do you even care? You live in CANADA this happened in CALIFORNIA!

    Last I checked, this has nothing to do with you. Now, seriously, go die in a fire and stop being so fucking retarded.

    Learn2watersafety people!
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    Jul 21, 2011 10:22 PM GMT
    Chainers saidOye your retarded riddler.

    Why do you even care? You live in CANADA this happened in CALIFORNIA!

    Last I checked, this has nothing to do with you. Now, seriously, go die in a fire and stop being so fucking retarded.

    Learn2watersafety people!


    Wow - I hope you're not as stupid, shallow and insecure in real life as you come across. Best of luck in life. ;)
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    Jul 21, 2011 10:24 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    Chainers saidOye your retarded riddler.

    Why do you even care? You live in CANADA this happened in CALIFORNIA!

    Last I checked, this has nothing to do with you. Now, seriously, go die in a fire and stop being so fucking retarded.

    Learn2watersafety people!


    Wow - I hope you're not as stupid, shallow and insecure in real life as you come across. Best of luck in life. ;)


    Want to know what I think? I think you cant come up with a good reason as to why this should apply to you, so instead you try (emphasis on try) to insult me and your an idiot. You have no clue how to save someone from water, and try to berate people whom you will never meet for being smart. Look at your life, look at your choices!
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    Jul 21, 2011 10:28 PM GMT
    look at your life! look at your choices!!!
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    Jul 21, 2011 10:29 PM GMT
    Chainers said
    riddler78 said
    Chainers saidOye your retarded riddler.

    Why do you even care? You live in CANADA this happened in CALIFORNIA!

    Last I checked, this has nothing to do with you. Now, seriously, go die in a fire and stop being so fucking retarded.

    Learn2watersafety people!


    Wow - I hope you're not as stupid, shallow and insecure in real life as you come across. Best of luck in life. ;)


    Want to know what I think? I think you cant come up with a good reason as to why this should apply to you, so instead you try (emphasis on try) to insult me and your an idiot. You have no clue how to save someone from water, and try to berate people whom you will never meet for being smart. Look at your life, look at your choices!


    Actually, I don't really care what you think - I'm not sure many do given the quality of your posts. I made no attempt to insult - merely made an observation. Actually having had lifeguard training (many moons ago), it's a bit more than a clue. And don't think I was berating "people" - I was berating you for your personal attack - but that's what you do - you ass-u-me. You might do well to heed some of your own advice. Best of luck with that though.
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    Jul 21, 2011 10:31 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    Chainers said
    riddler78 said
    Chainers saidOye your retarded riddler.

    Why do you even care? You live in CANADA this happened in CALIFORNIA!

    Last I checked, this has nothing to do with you. Now, seriously, go die in a fire and stop being so fucking retarded.

    Learn2watersafety people!


    Wow - I hope you're not as stupid, shallow and insecure in real life as you come across. Best of luck in life. ;)


    Want to know what I think? I think you cant come up with a good reason as to why this should apply to you, so instead you try (emphasis on try) to insult me and your an idiot. You have no clue how to save someone from water, and try to berate people whom you will never meet for being smart. Look at your life, look at your choices!

    Blah blah blah blah.


    Your an idiot.

    All you did was bitch and moan about California as if it really matters to you, living in an entirely different state/country.

    Stop being a bitch, realize its not a big deal, and that they didnt have the proper training/equipment to handle the situation.

    No one said that it was a protest of budget cuts, but you assumed it was (going on about how that makes me an ass because I called you names.) If Im a clueless person, then your a hypocrite.

    Stop being moronic and stfu up now.
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    Jul 21, 2011 10:33 PM GMT
    Chainers said
    riddler78 said
    Chainers said
    riddler78 said
    Chainers saidOye your retarded riddler.

    Why do you even care? You live in CANADA this happened in CALIFORNIA!

    Last I checked, this has nothing to do with you. Now, seriously, go die in a fire and stop being so fucking retarded.

    Learn2watersafety people!


    Wow - I hope you're not as stupid, shallow and insecure in real life as you come across. Best of luck in life. ;)


    Want to know what I think? I think you cant come up with a good reason as to why this should apply to you, so instead you try (emphasis on try) to insult me and your an idiot. You have no clue how to save someone from water, and try to berate people whom you will never meet for being smart. Look at your life, look at your choices!

    Blah blah blah blah.


    Your an idiot.

    All you did was bitch and moan about California as if it really matters to you, living in an entirely different state/country.

    Stop being a bitch, realize its not a big deal, and that they didnt have the proper training/equipment to handle the situation.

    No one said that it was a protest of budget cuts, but you assumed it was (going on about how that makes me an ass because I called you names.) If Im a clueless person, then your a hypocrite.

    Stop being moronic and stfu up now.


    I didn't say it was a protest of budget cuts - I said it comes across that way - try bothering to read. Again, I really hope you don't come across as stupid, shallow and insecure in real life. And figures, relying on the old "stfu" argument are you? ;)

    The fact that they wouldn't have done anything differently had it been a child is remarkable.
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    Jul 21, 2011 10:38 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    Chainers said
    riddler78 said
    Chainers said
    riddler78 said
    Chainers saidOye your retarded riddler.

    Why do you even care? You live in CANADA this happened in CALIFORNIA!

    Last I checked, this has nothing to do with you. Now, seriously, go die in a fire and stop being so fucking retarded.

    Learn2watersafety people!


    Wow - I hope you're not as stupid, shallow and insecure in real life as you come across. Best of luck in life. ;)


    Want to know what I think? I think you cant come up with a good reason as to why this should apply to you, so instead you try (emphasis on try) to insult me and your an idiot. You have no clue how to save someone from water, and try to berate people whom you will never meet for being smart. Look at your life, look at your choices!

    Blah blah blah blah.


    Your an idiot.

    All you did was bitch and moan about California as if it really matters to you, living in an entirely different state/country.

    Stop being a bitch, realize its not a big deal, and that they didnt have the proper training/equipment to handle the situation.

    No one said that it was a protest of budget cuts, but you assumed it was (going on about how that makes me an ass because I called you names.) If Im a clueless person, then your a hypocrite.

    Stop being moronic and stfu up now.


    I didn't say it was a protest of budget cuts - I said it comes across that way - try bothering to read. Again, I really hope you don't come across as stupid, shallow and insecure in real life. And figures, relying on the old "stfu" argument are you? ;)

    The fact that they wouldn't have done anything differently had it been a child is remarkable.


    The only thing remarkable here is that your still bitching about something that LOCALS should care about when you are not even in the same damn country as them.

    Bitch all you want, but if a child tried to kill himself by jumping in the water, there really wouldnt be anyone to save.

    600-stupid-bitch-thats-not-how-you-make-
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    Jul 21, 2011 10:46 PM GMT
    Chainers saidThe only thing remarkable here is that your still bitching about something that LOCALS should care about when you are not even in the same damn country as them.

    Bitch all you want, but if a child tried to kill himself by jumping in the water, there really wouldnt be anyone to save.


    What's truly remarkable is that you even know how to put together a sentence. Let's assume for a moment that only locals frequent that bay. Let's also assume for a moment that the only people who end up in the bay falling or otherwise, are there looking to kill themselves. This is an example of "policy" getting in the way of doing what at least seems right - given no attempts whatsoever were made even to fish out the body. That you can't talk about it in those terms and feel the constant need to resort to personal attacks may make you feel empowered but the reality is that you come across as petty, stupid and insecure.

    Do take a chill pill bud. icon_wink.gif

    Parenthetically - here's the end of that editorial:

    There's no doubt that firefighters and police have tough and sometimes dangerous jobs, but that doesn't mean the public has no business criticizing them, especially if they have become infected with the bureaucratic mind-set spread by public-sector union activism. The unions defend their members' every action; to the extent that they admit a problem, they always blame tight budgets.

    The unions that represent first responders also have a legislative agenda to reduce oversight and accountability. I recall when a state Assembly member closely aligned with public-safety unions contacted me about a union-backed bill that was too egregious even for his taste. Sponsored by a firefighters union after a district attorney prosecuted an on-duty firefighter for alleged misbehavior that led to a death, the bill in its original form would have offered immunity to firefighters even for gross negligence on the job. The legislation failed after the media started paying attention and ignited a contentious public debate.

    Perhaps the outrage at the Alameda incident will likewise cause a far-reaching discussion, one that helps restore the principle that the real constituency for public safety is the public, not bureaucrats and government workers.
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    Jul 21, 2011 10:52 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    Chainers saidThe only thing remarkable here is that your still bitching about something that LOCALS should care about when you are not even in the same damn country as them.

    Bitch all you want, but if a child tried to kill himself by jumping in the water, there really wouldnt be anyone to save.


    What's truly remarkable is that you even know how to put together a sentence. Let's assume for a moment that only locals frequent that bay. Let's also assume for a moment that the only people who end up in the bay falling or otherwise, are there looking to kill themselves. This is an example of "policy" getting in the way of doing what at least seems right - given no attempts whatsoever were made even to fish out the body. That you can't talk about it in those terms and feel the constant need to resort to personal attacks may make you feel empowered but the reality is that you come across as petty, stupid and insecure.

    Do take a chill pill bud. icon_wink.gif

    Parenthetically - here's the end of that editorial:

    There's no doubt that firefighters and police have tough and sometimes dangerous jobs, but that doesn't mean the public has no business criticizing them, especially if they have become infected with the bureaucratic mind-set spread by public-sector union activism. The unions defend their members' every action; to the extent that they admit a problem, they always blame tight budgets.

    The unions that represent first responders also have a legislative agenda to reduce oversight and accountability. I recall when a state Assembly member closely aligned with public-safety unions contacted me about a union-backed bill that was too egregious even for his taste. Sponsored by a firefighters union after a district attorney prosecuted an on-duty firefighter for alleged misbehavior that led to a death, the bill in its original form would have offered immunity to firefighters even for gross negligence on the job. The legislation failed after the media started paying attention and ignited a contentious public debate.

    Perhaps the outrage at the Alameda incident will likewise cause a far-reaching discussion, one that helps restore the principle that the real constituency for public safety is the public, not bureaucrats and government workers.


    Lets assume that its really fucking hard to accidently fall into the bay as every bridge you can walk on has fences you have to jump over you fucking moron. Lets assume that this guy waded (as in walked INTO THE FUCKING WATER) to kill himself and didnt even fall from the damn bridge.

    Lets assume that the last time I actually presented facts to a person on RJ who bitched about me insulting him his response was "Great, now let me see if I can come up with anything on my side of the argument, now Im going to block you so we have no further interactions with each other" so there is no point to argue on realjock hence why I insult.

    Your a tard.