It started with that very first, “If you don’t like the rules, then don’t play”!
But then, someone came along who decided, “Well, I don’t like the rules, but I want to play, so we’ll change the rules”.
And so it began.
When more and more got to play and it was starting to get crowded, then the rules were tightened, so that fewer got to play.
But, that appeared to be discriminatory, so the rules were changed again in the name of diversity.
But, when diversity proved to be discrimination in reverse, the rules were changed once again.
And on and on.
How does it happen that these changes are made?
How is it that rules, requirements, legislation or laws are so ill-conceived that they face these barrages of changes?
In my opinion, it is because the INTENT is often misinterpreted.
What seemed like a good idea at the time, turned out to be a sieve for challenges by anyone smart enough to ask the question. And rather than stay with the original intent; the intent became the victim of more liberal interpretations, because our society has moved more towards inclusion, so as not to appear exclusionary and done so without consideration for cost or the problems created by constantly changing the rules.
I offer as examples federal grant programs, PSOBs and my favorite; NIMS.
The “don’t haves” complain that the rules are too stringent that they can’t comply, whether it be a training standard or a grant for training.
The “haves” complain that what they get isn’t enough or doesn’t go far enough.
Both are appeased when rules are “loosened” for the “don’t haves” and the “haves” get to apply for money in more than one category. On the surface, it looks like “win-win”, but it isn’t, because, unless you walk up and hand someone a bundle of cash, there will always be the “don’t haves”.
I have seen a couple of recent articles that address public pensions (http://www.iacoj.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=12453&highlight=) and LODDs (http://backstepfirefighter.com/2010/04/15/case-for-the-asterisk/).
With public pensions and with firefighters pensions to be more precise, it appears that the public-i.e. taxpayers-aren’t as supportive of the notion that firefighters are worth their pensions.
Yeah; all of a sudden and in these tough economic times, the citizenry has the same contempt for ALL public sector employees, regardless of job description. It would appear that our once-adoring public HAS put a price on public safety and it’s less than they are currently paying.
It seems that governments everywhere have no desire to eliminate wasteful spending in order to continue to deliver needed services, if it means eliminating their relatives and their pet pork projects. They want to max out credit and borrow more and if they can’t, they will cut where it hurts the most.
But, taxpayers all across the nation are saying “enough is enough”.
And I’m saying that, once again, our societal tendencies have shown that, when we are angry, we will indeed cut off the nose to spite the face!
Turning to LODDs, the language in this document continues to be a “work in progress”, though I’m not sure how much progress is being made. I believe that we have gone past reasonableness if we award LODD status to firefighters who die in a car wreck while returning from training; a car wreck that may have been caused by street racing. Note that I use “IF” and “MAY” and I will also throw in that, until the alleged charges are proven, judgment should be withheld on guilt AND the awarding-or not-of LODD status.
My opinion will be very clear on this; without using the news article from North Carolina as an example, I will simply say that firefighters who are returning from a sanctioned event and are involved in an incident where they have violated rules of conduct or laws and die as a result, then LODD status should not be awarded. Death benefits and type of funeral service will be determined as well.
My opinion in general on LODD is this: maybe it’s time that we return to the days when you were actually engaged at an incident in an activity and died at the time you were engaged in said activities. Illness due to the many pulmonary, cardiac and cancers that cause death have their place under LODD, if for no other reasons, the illness occurred from their occupation.
I mean; it has gotten to the point where, if you die of complications from an abscessed tooth and was seen eating candy bars at the fire station, you get LODD status.
We have lost sight of the INTENT, which are noble and political correctness has weighed heavily on the LODD process and created an “LODD Lite” category. I feel that, if you have to split hairs, then it shouldn’t qualify. If you don’t look at the total package and only the information that meets the criteria, then we will see a day when a firefighter arsonist who set the fire and died while putting it out, will be on the memorial.
My point is that, if there are “questions” surrounding the death, then maybe we should hold off on the “honors” until we are certain that it will not bring major embarrassment to the department.
Unless we don’t care; you know; just like our elected officials.
Let’s talk about it at FDIC in Indy.
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