Earlier today I was saddened to hear the news of a Dallas Fire-EMS paramedic being shot in the line of duty while attending to a patient. But after watching the news conference where city officials gave an update on the condition of the medic and the patient (both are stable as of this moment), I’m still sad but I also found myself going, “what an idiot.”
There is controversy about what was contained in the dispatch notes (the shooting was possibly coded as a self-inflicted wound) but this does not negate the fact that the crew still went into a shooting scene without police presence (a reporter asked if police were on the scene when EMS arrived and the answer was “no”). I’m not stupid. I know that no scene is absolutely safe but if you go into a situation that you know is dangerous and you have no protection whatsoever, you’re kind of asking for trouble. I really hate that the medic was shot and I hope and pray that he has a full recovery. But, he really needs to brush up on his fundamentals if he wants to have a longer career on the box.
Put down your pitchforks and torches, you will get nowhere with me. I won’t change my mind.
There have been the usual calls for arming EMS providers and for giving them body armor. Oh, please. Stop that stupid bullshit. EMS has no business looking any more like cops than they already do. Try going into a rough neighborhood where grandma is having a heart attack. Let me know how well it goes when you walk into her house wearing a tactical vest and a sidearm. Let me know about the suspicious looks you get or about the threats you receive (overt and otherwise). Tell me about the shooting calls you respond to where the patient won’t give you any kind of information about the incident because “you look like a fuckin’ cop.”
And let’s not kid ourselves. We all know people in EMS who are the last people on the planet that need anything to make them feel like they have any kind of authority. These are the kind of people that if they were to start looking more like the police, they would start acting more like the police than they already do (newsflash: No EMS provider has any kind of authority so stop thinking you have any right to order people around). I know one in particular who is a former military guy. While I am grateful that he served this country, he has the mental capacity of a grapefruit (he’s the stereotypical idiot grunt) and has no business carrying a weapon in public.
The answer is not to arm or military-up EMS and we damn sure should not be making some idiots who entered a scene where they knew there was a likely threat and had no protection into heroes. Such stupidity does not make them heroes, it makes them a liability because then they are no good to the patient or anyone else. In other words, all they did was create more problems for their colleagues and for the Dallas PD. That’s not bravery, that’s stupidity.
EMS just needs to start using its damn common sense and stop trying to be Billy Badass.