1. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Tarnished Heroes

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Cogito, Oct 5, 2007.

    Near the end of August, two firefighters in my area died while fighting a fire in a restaurant when the roof collapsed. The community reached out to their families, and firefighters from nearly every state came to honor them at their funerals. Firefighters are not often lost while performing their duties, and it is always a time of great sadness.

    This week, a local news station received a copy of the autopsy reports from the two firemen. Before they could report on what was in the reports, the firefighters' union obtained a court order against the news station, preventing them from airing the findings. They were only permitted to say that one of the firefighters was impaired. The station appealed the court order, and the next day was allowed to air the findings. One of the men had a 0.27% blood alcohol level in his blood, along with a positive result for marijuana, and the other tested positive for cocaine.

    A blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher is the level at which a driver will be arrested for driving drunk, so with a blood alcohol of 0.27%, the first firefighter was quite intoxicated.

    The firefighters' union is attempting to bring charges against whomever released the autopsy reports to the news station. The families are not only suffering emotionally from this news; they may also be unable to collect benefits as a result of the findings. But I belkieve the issue needed to be brought to light.

    Police officers are required to submit to random drug testing. But intoxicated firefighters are also placing the public and each other at risk. It's not clear whether these two men would still be alive if they were clean and sober, but I personally feel that their actions have harmed the reputations of all their brothers in service.

    The politicians seem to be trying to keep a low profile on the issue. Impugning firefighters is not a road to political popularity. But lives depend on firefighters working with sharp awareness and unimpaired judgment.
     
  2. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I agree with you, Cog. People's lives are in their hands. It might be an unpopular thing to say, but they really do have a duty to keep clear of that kind of thing, for the safety of the public they serve.
     
  3. heyharris1
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    heyharris1 Senior Member

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    here's the problem with this whole thing. What people tend to forget is that their people to. Ya they screwed up bigtime. would they have died, maybe maybe not. maybe their judgement was impaired putting them in danger to begin with. I have a frind who is a firefighter, he says and so does his fire dept. that they will not go onto/into a burning building unless people are inside. so if nobody was inside should they have even been on the roof. anyways. thats what you gotta remember, their people to, they have trouble's to. just my 2 cents
     
  4. wordwizard
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    wordwizard Contributing Member

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    They are people, but they are people who have the capability to say no to working when being drunk.If they were not on duty and decided to have some drinks then were called in anyways...then fine, but they should speak up and say something.

    Also...how do they know if people are in the building? Maybe they were trying to determine if anybody was in the building. That is probably why they were in/on the building.
     
  5. heyharris1
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    heyharris1 Senior Member

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    You could be absolutly correct, i have no idea why they were on the roof, i could be because people were inside, im just saying because they were imparred maybe they put themselfs in danger and didnt realize it.

    and as the mans original post said, alachol fine, i could understand, my marijuana and cocaine are illegal drugs in the country i live. So alachol ok, i could understand. the other 2 drugs, like i said there people 2 and they make mistakes.
     
  6. wordwizard
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    wordwizard Contributing Member

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    ya the drugs were wrong to be doing, but like I said before they had the chance to speak up but didnt. Risking their lives and other peoples lives. It is just sad it ended the way it did. Around here the police department was having a holiday party at the police station adn one of the police officers left very drunk and drove and ended up in a pretty harsh accident. They didn't give her probation for long...but really how was she even given probation when the other police officers probably did the same thing. Crazy world
     
  7. heyharris1
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    heyharris1 Senior Member

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    i thing i've learn is when people are breaking the law, regardless of their position, they would rather face the consequinces. than admit they have a problem,a real sad ending, you are correct
     
  8. Frost
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    Frost Contributing Member

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    The cocaine was a slip-up, marijuana though, is on pretty much the same level as cigarettes and alcohol. Ive always hated it when people go and condemn pot-smokers as good for nothing druggies, destined for the gutters of hell.

    To be quite honest, being a fire fighter would be a boring life. Always just waiting. I can see why the shot up and got blind. But that doesn't mean I think it's excusable. A sad state of affairs indeed, but it's wrong for the media to go and sensationalise the story like they no doubt will. They died helping people, and ultimately, that's their job. Whether they're sober and straight or drunk and stoned. Plus, they're dead. It's a bit disrespectful to go and strip someone of all credibillity when they are unable to defend themselves.
     
  9. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I'd agree that marijuana isn't as bad as the "hard" drugs, but I still wouldn't say it's a good idea. It scares me how easily it can lead to heroin or cocaine. To be honest, I don't like anything that takes control of my body away from me.
     
  10. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well I hope that they rest in piece. It is a tragic loss for their families and I really do feel sorry for them. The loss of a loved one NO MATTER what is in their blood is devastating. Just think of how much these people are sufferring right now. It must be so hard for them. My heart goes out to them.

    As for the drugs and what not, that is very shameful. I know they are people too, but under law it does state that you are not permitted to go to work drunk or under the influence of narcotics. The blame can not be solely placed on these men, but also on their bosses. They should do more to prevent this type of thing in my opinion. If they suspect a worker to be under the influence or suspect that they are taking narcotics then they should do something to encourage the useage of narcotics to stop.

    Marijuana is just as damaging as any other drug. It can have the same effect on peoples lives. Many people change after prolonged usage. They show paranoid traits and can become quite violent, reclusive and out right jerks. Drugs of any kind in my opinion <illegal drugs> should be put a stop to. Is it realy worth wasting your life away with crap like marijuana and so forth?

    Marijuana relaxes the mind and body and can cause people to fall asleep. Is that what you want behind the wheel of a car, truck and from people that are out there that are meant to be saving your lives? I think not. People who take drugs KILL LIVES!
     
  11. Frost
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    Frost Contributing Member

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    Incorrect.
    Potentially it can be. It's rare however, that you will see someone smoking the occasional bud become as bad as a heroin addict in the same amount of time. The active ingredient in marijuana is THC. THC is good for certain areas of your brain (in moderation). This is scientific fact.

    That's the key. Prolonged use. And in many cases, prolonged use doesn't even do that much. Have you done any depth research into weed? Marijuana is suspected to in only some cases cause personality change, and rarely does it cause severe schizophrenia.

    Is it right for you to judge someone like that?

    Indeed, this man was smoking on the job, which is clearly not the right thing to do. Im not saying that. What Im saying, is in regards to everyone who's ever tried weed or smokes it (I dont smoke, I've never tried it. Alot of my friends though do/have tried/or used to smoke weed). Weed, is not as bad as the governments made out. Weed, like I said before, is on thesame level as alcohol. In the same way that having a drink once a week, as a responsible, mature fully developed adult does very little/no harm, the same goes for marijuana.
     
  12. Eoz Eanj
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    Eoz Eanj Contributing Member Contributor

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    Anything in a concentrated amount is harmful.

    This whole story would cease to be news worthy if it were a legal substance in their systems.

    And I completely agree with Frost, it is not fair to judge these guys especially considering they're dead and they cannot defend themselves, also we have no idea to the complete story behind these guys usage history, the bias of this story is heavy and is gravely extrapolating the circumstance in a way where we sub consciously conclude that it's representative of the entire fire department, which is somewhat unfair.
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Marijuana is an intoxicating drug. It takes about 30 days for the measurable effects of marijuana intoxication to wear off (the equivalent intoxication from alcohol wears off within 12-24 hours). It slows reflexes and impairs judgment and attention span. It is not the harmless drug that popular culture has often maintained. On the other hand, it is not a central nervous system depressant like heroine, barbiturates, and alcohol, nore is it a stimulant like cocaine or methamphetamine. Prolonged use does result in personality shifts, paranoia and hallucinations. It has also been associated with early organ failure throughout the body, although the research in this area is relatively recent and not yet accepted by all toxicologists,

    Although alcohol is legal, it is a dangerous drug, and a BAC of .27% indicates severe impairment. According to The University of Oklahome Police Website, at a BAC of .25%:
    Around .4% to .5% constitute the LD:50 for alcohol, which is the dosage level lethal to 50% of those at that level.

    This was not someone going to a fire scene with a light buzz on. This was someone entering a burning building when he could probably not walk in a straight line without holding on to something. And in this instance, the alcohol intoxication concerns me more than the illegal drugs, although marijuana intoxication certainly exacerbated the effects of the alcohol.

    (By the way, they were not on the roof. They were in the building when the roof gave way upon them.)

    There are certain professions in which the sobriety of workers is necessary to avoid putting the public at risk. Police officers certainly are in that class, as are airline pilots, and train engineers (operators). I would also put firefighters in that category.

    I do sympathize with the families of these men, but the issue needed to be brought out in the open. The firefighters' union has fought attempts to establish random drug testing such as police routinely submit to. The medical examiner reportedly was not required to deliver the autopsy findings to city officials or the fire commissioner, and had no intention of doing so. So basically, this would have been swept under the rug.
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Not true. The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .27% of the first firefighter is the dominant concern.
     
  15. Eoz Eanj
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    Eoz Eanj Contributing Member Contributor

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    But alcohol by itself? Doesn't seem to be juicy enough.
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You haven't heard the reporting. The marijuana and cocaine are mentioned for completeness, but most of the attention is on the high BAC, and how that alone may throw a wrench into some of the benefits that his family may receive. The public attention may help insure that both men's families will receive full benefits, but the concern seems to be more focused on just how prevalent this kind of problem is.
     
  17. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    Frost my ex was a heavy marijuana smoker and so were many of my friends. I know first hand the effects of this drug and many other drugs as well. I know what drugs do and don't do to a person.

    I have seen some awesome people start taking marijuana and go from being top notch people to outright jerks. To put it bluntly. I also know many people who are now sufferring from paranoia due to the drugs.

    I have been around long enough to KNOW EXACTLY what effects all kinds of drugs have on people and have lost many friends to drugs.

    Also on the news only a few nights back it showed a documentary about people on marijuana and driving cars. One woman stated she was falling asleep due to smoking marijuana. I don't care what anyone says, I have seen all this crap happen to a lot of wonderful people.

    I don't care what people do at home, but when they get into a car they put MY childrens lives at risk and my own. That isn't on.

    Weed as you call it, is NOT on the same level as alcohol what so ever Frost. I will never believe that it is. Drug users should wake up to reality and see what they are doing to others. I am anti drugs and WILL NOT associate with anyone that does them ever again. Drugs kill people simple as that!
     
  18. SeaBreeze
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    SeaBreeze Banned

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    I havn't taken drugs. Never intrested me. But someone in that position, however human they are, shouldn't smoke mull or drink. Not when they are putting other's lives in risk.

    I personally don't care too much if you do drugs, I mean, if you are a friend I'd be concerned but I figure that it's their life. Not mine. But if they smoke it near me or in my home they can get out and leave because I do not want that stuff on my property.

    I have had a friend that took drugs. It started with mull then led to harder drugs. Her brother basically went insane, thinking that bugs were crawling over the walls and got sent to a mental hospital. As for his sister, and my friend, I kind of stopped calling her because I got sick of her and her taking drugs. I care for my friend and I told her that when she is off the ****, excuse language here, to call me. She didn't speak to me for a long time but after a couple of years she called me and I can believe that she doesn't do drugs. We are now friends.

    So I don't think that cannibis/mull is a soft drug. Certain people are likley to grow a range of psycological disorders from smoking pot. Sure, not all people are like that, some people relax and are cruzy but all in all, it doesn't excuse the fact that drug taking, no matter what it is, affects anything and everything you do and I think that there should be more tests for people that need to be awake and alert in their jobs.

    And Alcahol is just as bad. I have been mentally abused by an alcaholic. Been forced to do sickening things. I had a nervous breakdown and suffered depression because of a drunk. I battled this disease of depression and suicide because someone made the choice to drink to escape their demons. So don't tell me that alcahol and drugs are not that bad because they bloody well are.

    If you need help with drugs or alcahol or depression from taking such things than I urge you to call someone, get help. Go to beyond blue, alcaholics anon or google help sites. Talk to someone.

    Well, sorry for the pratteling on but I thought that I would like to have my say. But overall, what happened was tragic. Two lives were lost. So drugs can't be that soft afterall. Anything else is an excuse.
     
  19. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I think we need to be wary about this going off topic here...

    If you want to fight it out over the harmlessness of marijuana, then you should start a new thread for it. That isn't the issue here.


    (What?! I'm the voice of reason?? What is this devilry? :p)
     
  20. SeaBreeze
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    SeaBreeze Banned

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    Gasp! No. You are true.

    I think there should be more testing for staff of fire stations, ambulance, doctors and nurses as well as police and army individuals. But it's sad that two men lost thier lives.
     
  21. Frost
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    Frost Contributing Member

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    I trust you're going to stop drinking altogether, then?
     
  22. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    I rarely drink Frost and when I do I do not drive a car and make sure that there is someone that can. I drink in moderation. It takes me an hour to have one can where as others have had 6 in the same time.

    Now as for the original topic to this thread. I agree with you DOZ. They need to do more about drug and alcohol testing on workers. It doesn't matter what job you have in my opinion. They need to do more to reduce the risk of people being under the influence in the workplace.

    It is very tragic that this has happened no matter what was or wasn't in their system. The tragic thing is that the sufferring of their families will never ease. I only hope that they have a very strong support network in this very tragic time.
     
  23. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Right, I'm starting a new thread for this. All drug arguments are to be conducted in there.
     
  24. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i agree with you completely, cog!... people who make their living protecting and helping others should not be held to any different standard than anyone else, when it comes to breaking the law and/or behaving in a way that can impair their ability to do their work effectively... if anything, they should be held to a higher standard, since others' lives depend on their being sober and in control of all their faculties... to cover up the truth was a shameful act and those who did or attempted to do so should be exposed and be made to face the consequences for lying to their 'bosses' [the citizens whose taxes pay their salaries]...

    whether or not the surviving family members will suffer is not the question here... the firemen themselves are the ones who brought shame to their families and to all, not the media that has a duty to expose such misconduct, nor the public, who have a right to know the truth...
     
  25. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    maia I couldn't agree with you more on this one.
     

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