This morning I read about yet another noose being discovered in either the locker or the personal belongings of a black firefighter somewhere in this country. It seems this noose-making is an odd trend in the fire service, as this is probably the third time I've read a story like this in the past year.

Why is racism, particularly racism against African Americans, so common in the fire service? (Remember: First responders are held to a higher standard, so if you do something once, like leave a noose in someone's locker, and it's reported, people will remember it and judge you for it for a long time.)

I read another unrelated story yesterday in which a firefighter rescued a woman from her burning home. He was truly elated to have been her rescuer. The world needs this type of guy. Everyone needs a hero, and many people enter the fire service hoping to become a hero. But you can't call yourself a hero if you rescue people by day and sneak nooses into their lockers by night.

Are people trying to maintain the "old school" fire service (strictly white guys)? And if so, doesn't that make the fire service just an extension of the KKK?

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Comment by Paul Montpetit on December 18, 2009 at 4:26pm
Take your garbage somewhere else to peddle....And I plan on talking to our Department to cance any and all subscriptions to your rag....I am astounded and insulted that you even entertain this mentality......
Comment by Joe Stoltz on December 18, 2009 at 11:19am
She is a writer. She is also human, which means that we make mistakes. I have chosen my words poorly at times and I dare anyone of you to say that you haven't. It is done every single day in the discussion forums.

Am I sticking up for her? Yes and no. I am saying that, on any given day, you or you could have done the very same thing. She has apologized. Her editor has apologized. I think that is more than enough.


Exactly my thoughts, Art. Thanks for expressing them so eloquently.
Comment by Joey "BigShow" De Piano on December 18, 2009 at 11:05am
I find it so disturbing that you are allowed on this forum and that Fire Rescue employs such ignorant moronic people as yourself, after seeing you post this with your stupid smile as if your proud of it I am bringing a letter to my fire company requesting they terminate Fire Rescue magazine from our subscriptions it has obviously lowered its standards, first off for you or anyone to think that racism does not exist in EVERYTHING makes you more ignorant than can be expected, secondly you were not there for this incident and since your not a quality reporter you made no effort to contact a source and see the reason for the allegation like a tabloid you read a 3rd party story and ran with it you should be ashamed to call yourself a writer, secondly in my 15 years I have never met a person in fire service who stated they do this to be labeled or become a HERO most fire fighters are here for the love of it be it a generation thin or just a desire, not to get a medal or pic in a paper, since you were not there nor did you put an effort into getting all the facts on this story, you have no idea if it was meant as a joke with bad judgement or intentional, and yes either way it was out of line however for you to post this and suggest that WE (especially white fire fighters) are related to KKK is more racist than the actual incident, I am going to send this article to an attorney as I feel you have trampled on my race and my organization of Fire Fighter by posting a derogatory post I also will appeal to the forum it be along with you removed for slander remarks and racists remarks , you should be fired for what you said and posted your a disgrace ..I am also forwarding this entire blameful piece of writing trash to Andrew Petrillo the head coorinator for the NJ State Fire fighters Marshall office , maybe nothing will come of it but everyone should know you are not to be trusted source and your trash magazine will be dropped from my Dept. subscription status.. take that to your boss hack
Comment by Art "ChiefReason" Goodrich on December 18, 2009 at 10:14am
Normally, I agree with your writings and sometimes wish I could be as literate as yourself, but this time I would say that I would disagree with some of this. If she wanted to "stimulate discussion" there are more impersonal words she could have chosen.
Derek:
That was a very civil reply. I don't expect agreement every time. Where's the fun in THAT?
You're right; better words could have been chosen; the point made here by many.
Trust me; it took decades for me to "de-sensitize" somewhat.
I like your passion, though.
And that goes for the rest of you jakes.
Comment by Derek R. on December 18, 2009 at 9:58am
It would be nice, Art, if everyone could remain calm, cool and collected when such an insinuation is written. Some, like myself, take it more personally than others might and react accordingly. Everyone is different in the way they percieve things. Some can shrug it off, and some get down and dirty. So in addressing what you wrote: And though your anger/concern might be warranted, a more conciliatory tone can be used when expressing a point of view. It's human nature to have different reactions to different situation. Some jump the gun and just go off. Others take the think skin approach and try to be civil. I, personally, took it to heart and wrote accordingly as to let her know the true feelings in which that blog and comment instilled in me.
But that's what discussions are about though, right. Agreeing and disagreeing. Expressing different points of view. Normally, I agree with your writings and sometimes wish I could be as literate as yourself, but this time I would say that I would disagree with some of this. If she wanted to "stimulate discussion" there are more impersonal words she could have chosen.
Keep safe and have fun.
Comment by Art "ChiefReason" Goodrich on December 18, 2009 at 8:50am
You know; I kept watching the count go up on the replies to this blog.
Honestly, when I saw the title (Another Noose), I shrugged it off as much ado about nothing.
To me, the noose issue pales by comparison to diversity initiatives that places unqualified candidates at the head of the class (Hello New Haven and Baltimore City). So, isolated incidents of this type don't really set my mind in a whirl like the reprobates amongst us who steal, lie, get drunk at the firehouse or are caught doing drugs or selling same. No; we have plenty to be embarassed about and most of us with half a brain knows that the fire service is NOT an extension of the KKK.
I truly believe that Cindy was merely attempting to stimulate discussion with a rather in-your-face question/challenge; whatever you want to call it.
She is a writer. She is also human, which means that we make mistakes. I have chosen my words poorly at times and I dare anyone of you to say that you haven't. It is done every single day in the discussion forums.
Am I sticking up for her? Yes and no. I am saying that, on any given day, you or you could have done the very same thing. She has apologized. Her editor has apologized. I think that is more than enough.
What we can take from this is that we need to grow thicker skin; regardless of its color.
And to those who think guys like me would sell out our opinions to the company that hosts our blogs; nothing could be farther from the truth. I would defend anyone of you as my friend or disagree with you if I thought you were wrong.
And though your anger/concern might be warranted, a more conciliatory tone can be used when expressing a point of view.
I encourage you all to read my interview with Gonzo. He has help to build a discussion group where "piling on" isn't allowed.
In my mind this matter is done.
TCSS.
Art
Comment by Derek R. on December 17, 2009 at 3:26pm
Ok, that was a nice gesture to appologise to whoever reads your blogs. I have my doubts that your appology will reach those affected by your blog, since they likely won't return here. If you are sincere about your appology then don't hide it in here. Put it in a new post in the general firefighting section where it will be seen by those that have read your blog. Some might accept it, some won't. But you have a better chance if you applogise to everyone. don't you think we deserve at least that? And just out of curiosity, did you read all posts on this matter? Ya kinda "kicked a puppy" with this blog. Maybe the next won't be like that.
Comment by Cindy Devone-Pacheco, FireRescue on December 17, 2009 at 12:05pm
Firefighter Nation readers,

I sincerely apologize for the controversy my post has created. It was never my intention to insult the fire service or any individual firefighter. Rather, I thought the blog would promote discussion about the subject of racism within the fire service. In hindsight my words were poorly chosen and I apologize.

Below is a response from Tim Sendelbach, editor-in-chief of FireRescue.


FireRescue Editor-in-Chief Responds to Controversial Post

Yesterday, a post by a FireRescue magazine editor, Cindy Devone, sparked controversy. Cindy referred to a recent department incident in which a noose had been found in a black firefighter’s car. Her post ended with the question, “Are people trying to maintain the "old school" fire service (strictly white guys)? And if so, doesn't that make the fire service just an extension of the KKK?”

On behalf of everyone at FireRescue, I apologize profusely for this post. It was an extremely poor choice of words. Having known Cindy for over 2 years, I know she holds the fire service in the utmost regard. I also know she is passionate about civil liberties and that this post was an emotional response to an emotional issue. Cindy by no means meant to paint the fire service in a bad light or to insinuate a connection between firefighters and racism. Nevertheless, it was a mistake to use such inflammatory words. It is not the policy of FireRescue to draw conclusions on ongoing investigations, and this post does not represent the beliefs or policies of our magazine and Web site.

Part of the value of Firefighter Nation is that it provides an open forum for all issues, and by its very nature that means that some discussions will illicit heated responses. I believe this is usually a good thing; however, I regret that this particular post was offensive and overly critical to some. In the future, we will measure our words more carefully; in the meantime, we will continue to concentrate on what we do best—showcasing the talent, tactics and innovations of firefighters and fire officers whose articles help firefighters across the country do their jobs better and safer.

I welcome additional feedback on this issue. Feel free to contact me (tesendelbach@msn.com) or the managing editor, Shannon Pieper (s.pieper@elsevier.com).

—Tim Sendelbach, Editor-in-Chief, FireRescue Magazine
Comment by Jack/dt on December 17, 2009 at 12:00pm
While I don't subscribe to (or honestly to have ever seen) this magazine, I just now realized that I was actually subscribed to them via email. Fortunately it was a very simple thing to scroll down the page to 'unsubscribe' click it and be done. No longer will this be in my mail box. (Really, this is actually a printed magazine? Seriously?)
Comment by Peter Lupkowski on December 17, 2009 at 11:18am
Sorry, late at picking up this travesty post. I certainly think a retraction is in order. What did Art say about "painting him with a wide brush" in another post? Well this slander from within is deeply disappointing to all of US. Take a look at the definition of the word trend: A general course or prevailing tendency. Hardly the truth in this case. Not by a long shot. I work hard to maintain my "old school" ways of hard work, training, and education. It's a badge of honor, not a scarlet letter of shame.
In common firehouse parlance "Give me a break lady."

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