This was a response I placed on FFN in answer to some statements being made about the fire service:
In 2008, there were 1,148,850 firefighters in the U.S., according to Karter and Stein’s U.S. Fire Department Profile report. With three reported “noose” incidents and a certain number of “other racist” incidents that may be out there, I would hardly believe that this translates into the Fire Service deserving of a comparison to the KKK. In fact, I am, have always been, and always will, be repulsed by any racism, sexism, or any other form of bigotry within what is supposed to be a “brotherhood”. The only thing white going on my head is my leather.
While blogging is relatively informal and held to a lesser standard of editorial responsibility, writers still have to understand that comments like these (whether or not she meant to inflame the readership and drive hits) are irresponsible. I’m not calling for her job or a boycott of FIRE RESCUE, but I certainly believe she owes everyone an apology.
As a blogger, I believe I have said things to make people think, and I know I have said things that may have been controversial, but never have I said anything that would be considered an insult to the overwhelming majority of firefighters who serve this Nation on a daily basis. I know there have been moments when I have been tempted to shake things up with a statement before, to see if anyone is paying attention, but there needs to be at least a tiny bit of journalistic integrity when you are blogging, else you are just part of the “Wild Wild West” with all the other trolls and morons out there.
WC is trying to do a job, just like the rest of us. I know on some issues that sometimes things sneak by you and sometimes you catch them. Should we ban free speech? Certainly not. Should we ban shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre? Yes.
If you are writing something simply to create angry responses and overwhelmingly emotional controversy just to drive traffic, maybe you need to be banned. But since I don’t know that to be fact, I think maybe we need to all be a little more responsible with what we say, ignore the trolls, and act like grown-ups.