Editorial asks if we use LODDs to hype our profession and image.
An editorial in the Brantford Expositor by Christopher Brennan (no, not that Chris Brennan) takes up an issue with why aren’t the deaths of people if other dangerous (or more dangerous) professions given the same heraldry as those of firefighter and police officer line of duty deaths.
“Killed in the line of duty”
“So why is it when a logger or miner or fisher or farmer dies it rarely makes the news, but there’s a big hullabaloo when it’s a cop or firefighter?”
“I’ll venture to guess that popular culture has something to do with it. Cops carry guns and deal with criminals. Crime is a staple of books and movies and TV shows. You don’t see a lot of movies about fishers hauling in their catch or loggers cutting trees down. It’s mundane. Dangerous, but not thrilling. Perhaps if they shot fish with a hand gun or felled trees with a bazooka there would be more movies about them.”
A fair question for someone with a legitimate question who is looking into statistical research, but still a stretch in the comparison. It gets better,
“Maybe it’s got something to do with the idea of “heroism.” Chasing down a gun-toting criminal seems “heroic.” Rushing into a burning building and emerging with a child seems “heroic.”"
“Plowing a field doesn’t conjure images of heroism. Neither does cutting down a tree. Or hauling in a net full of fish.”
“Nevertheless, the fact of the matter is these endeavors, while not exactly “heroic” or daring, are far more dangerous and potentially lethal than fighting crime or fires.”
“Cops and firefighters are happy to propagate the myth, especially at contract time, that their jobs are exceedingly dangerous. It’s self-serving but disingenuous.”
“Ah, but they selflessly sacrifice themselves for the “public good.” Ditch the martyr complex. Growing broccoli or roofing a house is just as socially beneficial as apprehending a shoplifter.”"
I’ll admit that I personally see a discrepancy when we define our own (U.S.) line of duty deaths, in the traditional and non-traditional sense (s. Fire Service “Sabremetrics”). Likewise some of you that I have had the pleasure of discussing this with share a similar view. However I haven’t taken a cheap shot at the dead and their survivors by comparing their service to that of a farmer or a contractor. I have however questioned the process we use and others’ interpretation of the numbers. Brennan goes further in his editorial insulting line of duty death funerals as well,
“Another thing: The massive funeral processions for fallen comrades is getting a little stale and self-indulgent.”
“Enough, already. If every profession or occupation marked the death of one of its members the way cops and firefighters do the streets would be jammed with marching mourners 24 hours a day and the economy would grind to a halt.”
“Furthermore, an unintended consequence of the big funeral as public spectacle is that it serves to highlight how relatively rare it is when one of them to dies doing their job.”
“A particular uniform or occupation doesn’t entitle one to de facto hero status. All sorts of people in all sorts of jobs do courageous things everyday. So the next time a cop or firefighter dies and it’s all over the news take a moment to remember all the other people killed ‘in the line of duty’ doing jobs that are far more dangerous, but less glamorous. The only difference is you probably didn’t read or hear about them.”"
Questioning line of duty deaths and all related processes is one thing, so long as it is done in a respectable manner. Simply insulting them because the “International Sprout Growers Association” doesn’t have one is childish.
I imagine some of you would like to share your opinion with Chris Brennan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. A few things first though:
His views are on Canadian fire service LODDs.
You represent us all if you respond. Take the high road; be factual and professional. Don’t say that you hope his home were to catch on fire and he ended up needing firefighters. Doing that makes you lower than him.
We encourage and support constructive dialogue and debate. View our comment policy.
Also on Backstep Firefighter …
- The First 10 – May 9, 2013
- The Third 10* – June 18, 2013
- On Duty & Line of Duty:
What Is the Difference? – March 17, 2013
- The Second 10* – May 11, 2013