Haters Need Not Apply

Sometimes we have to make decisions in a fog. But not always. Take the time to see the whole picture.

The brotherhood of fire and rescue is but a microcosm of the greater part of society.† In turn, a visit to any un-moderated site will reveal that the general public isn’t any better about being civil, so we probably shouldnít put a whole lot of worry into the declining civility among people who profess to be part of a brotherhood.† Itís just become a norm of our victim society that itís okay to be self-righteous and itís okay to go after anyone who doesnít think like us.

You would think a group of people who profess brotherhood as a redeeming value would be a little slower to throw one of their brothers under the bus when something goes wrong, but as I mentioned in the Tuscon post, that is obviously not the case.† In the event that an individual within our ranks does something completely against the grain of our collective morals, like set fires or engage in child pornography, I am entirely understanding about the emotion involved in that rage.† It is proportionate to the offense.† But since Iím sure you all have heard of cases where the other side of the story ends up being a compelling explanation, we need to take care and exercise caution about expressing our condemnation, because, as we command officers tend to say, the truth actually lies somewhere between Points A and B.

Iím not a hypocrite by any means; I am right there with you.† I just happen to also take a little bit of time to rein in my passions a little.† If you were standing next to me at the moment I got the news of a ďfirefighter declining to respond to an incidentĒ, Iím sure youíd have seen another side of me.† However, the luxury of the internet is not only real-time event coverage, but the ability to pause before re-communicating your opinion, especially since unless you were there, it is your opinion and based on conjecture, not on tangible evidence.† You might not be able to take back what you just blurted out of your mouth, but you can certainly check yourself before clicking the radio button.† Very few of the stories I hear are actual prima facie cases.† Since these stories unfold so quickly, we often find that there is more to the story that doesnít get revealed due to the emotions choking the lines of communication.

It brings up the topic of this page, however, since some of the e-mail (I typed in ďe-malĒ in my draft – was that a slip?) doesnít seem to agree with me and of course, there are those who can hide behind their pseudonyms in the comments.† While I am sure the act of someone failing to go to an emergency challenged our beliefs in what was good and right about our profession, on lesser occasions, the anger and vitriol for say, someone not wearing their gloves in a picture, is a little over the top.† And I say ďa littleĒ in my most sarcastic tone of voice.† Some of the comments from the peanut gallery are also those who, given their profiles, probably havenít seen too many incidents more challenging than a dumpster fire, and even then, they werenít even in charge of that.

Individuals these days, in this moment of instantness (you like that?), are quick to react instead of reflect.† They simply donít have the patience for the whole story.† They want their news, their blogs, their everything instantly and then they act on that information accordingly.† In a time-compressed environment, there is only a moment to digest what we have heard and then to regurgitate it so that we can be the first to make a comment.† The first to comment must be the best informed, right?† The self-appointed subject matter expert?† The one on the inside, right?

For me, I see it in the type of readership I get here at FHZ.† The comments are usually thoughtful and agreeable.† I post every comment, pro or con, so long as it isnít spam.† And although I may not agree with you, I consider your perspective on the issues as valuable and enlightening.† But I get the impression that the few individuals who have seen fit to be trolls (with one notable exception) havenít read farther than the first paragraph anyway.† Anything over 140 characters for a lot of these individuals is a lot of wasted time reading.

We donít do controversy here on this blog.† We are interested in a bigger picture.† If it is an event that is truly worth discussing and there are alternate points of view, we engage in another time-wasting effort: dialogue.† We ask questions.† We pose thoughts.† We engage in critical examination.† We remain open-minded. Itís a little too much for some people, I am aware, but it keeps the riff-raff out.

The readers of this blog generally have proven to be those who I could sit down and have a beer with and talk about something other than the fire service, or have a conversation about the fire service in say, the context of a retail business, or a day care, or the University of Life.† They can see things for more than what is printed on the face.† They possess deeply considered ideas or are able to see that there are advantages to listening to the opposition.† The readers of this blog are those who I consider to be the hope for emergency services to evolve out of the tar pit of whackerdom and rise to the level of professionalism.

If you know of someone who operates on a different playing field than the norm, send them here and ask them to say their piece so we know they are here.† But most importantly, we are looking for readers (and commenters) who have ideas to share and innovative ways of looking at things.† Just because the issue appears to be obvious, it isnít often the case.† We want to talk with REAL leaders, those of you who consider enlightened leadership to be a desired trait, not a hurdle to our position.† We need engagement, not brick walls. Haters and groupthinkers need not apply.

  • http://www.runtothecurb.com Tiger Schmittendorf

    You’re the best Mick!

    Whether a blog comment, a Facebook post or a tailboard chat — there will always be those who insist that their entirely unqualified opinion has value, merit or even authenticity.

    Like you, I am cautious about making immediate judgements on any topic with limited information and thus I am also slow to judge the opinionated. However, as you do a great job of pointing out, there are those who are much more effective at convincing others that they are idiots simply by opening their mouth — or their keyboard.

    I just started reading a book titled “Now is too late” which discusses the pros and cons of living in an immediate society.

    Great job as always. (I hope I’m one of the guys who’s comments you’ll post! LOL)

    Stay safe. Train often.

  • Hallway Sledge

    How come I get in trouble for saying the same things?

    • http://www.firehousezen.com truck6alpha

      A lot of times its all in how you say it and who you say it to. I’m sure there are a few people who think I personally am not receptive to their ideas. But while I really try to remain open-minded, sometimes the wrapping stinks so bad that I’m not interested in the gift. But we have to keep trying, both to illustrate and to be receptive, even to ideas we don’t necessarily embrace.

      Thanks for commenting.

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Michael "Mick" Mayers

Deputy Fire Chief - Operations Division for Hilton Head Island (SC) Fire Rescue and an Emergency Response Coordinator with the United States Department of Health and Human Services  National Disaster Medical System Incident Response Coordination Team.

FE Talk: Humpday Hangout

Recent Posts
Blinded by Sight November 7, 2014
And Yet It Moves October 27, 2014
Consider This October 18, 2014
Comments
NO TRASH TALKING FOLLOW-UP BY MICK MAYERS | Modern Fire Behavior
No Trash Talking – Follow Up
[…] Post originally found at and reposted with Authors Permission: http://www.firehousezen.com/2013/05/06/no-trash-talking-follow-up/ […]
2014-11-25 15:43:18
Andy Olesen
No Fun Here
I like the sentiment but I think the responsibility has to include everyone in the organization. The fire service has a paternalistic view of management and leadership. Ie one you have a bugle....... We adopted a military model of discipline and leadership from WW2. Our troops are not 19 year old boys that we have…
2014-11-23 13:58:00
Mick Mayers
And Yet It Moves
Thanks for sharing that perspective!
2014-11-07 10:56:00
Ruth
And Yet It Moves
Thank you. I'm not a firefighter, but have worked as a paramedic for a fire department for quite some time, and I'm married to a firefighter who likes to train. For years, while he studied fires and prepped training videos, I've been forced to watch YouTube video after YouTube video of fire scenes. Even before…
2014-10-29 02:59:00
Jason Sparks
And Yet It Moves
Very well stated sir!
2014-10-29 01:45:00

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Although I am affiliated or employed by certain entities, I in no way speak in this forum or others on behalf of those entities unless I have specifically stated such. Any implication otherwise is doing so contrary to my agreements with those entities. The result is that the observations and opinions by myself or on behalf of Firehouse Zen are not sanctioned by any other entity other than Graffiti Train Sherpa Publications and are protected by the copyright laws of the United States of America.

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