Put My Life on the Line Writing This Article!
by Steven Greenhut: Liberals
Are NOT Gun-Haters
biggest groups of scammers have got to be police officers and firefighters,
whose union reps routinely tell Americans that their members put
their lives on the line every day simply by slipping into their
uniforms. They really use that terminology as they lobby for "donning
and doffing" rules that give them extra pay for the time they
spend slipping into their government-supplied garments.
latest data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics once
again show that these groups of government employees work in relatively
safe professions, with firefighters having a lower death rate than
the average American worker and barely edging out cashiers in terms
of putting their lives on the line. Most cashiers are killed on
the job because of homicides, whereas a quarter of firefighter deaths
are from truck accidents Ė and the numbers have declined, apparently,
after concerted efforts to convince these heroes to buckle their
loggers, pilots and farmers/ranchers have the most dangerous jobs
in America. Police officers and sheriffs fall below farmers, but
above construction workers. About half of their deaths are because
of car accidents, often the fault of their own driving habits.
list looks at the data over a longer period and reinforces the
same point. None of the top 10 dangerous jobs are in the government
"public safety" area and only one category (trash collectors)
is dominated by government employees.
people who work in a number of the most-dangerous professions Ė
taxi drivers, truck drivers, trash collectors, electrical line workers,
loggers, fishermen, pilots, roofers, coal miners, farmers Ė and
I cannot ever recall any of them insisting to me personally or publicly
that they are "heroes" who "put their lives on the
line." Once in a while, Iíll hear a farmer insist that itís
thanks to his kind that we have food on our table, but even thatís
a rarity and it's usually part of a political campaign to keep the
environmental crazies from restricting his water or property use.
I canít recall
ever telling people that, by writing this article, I am a hero of
the First Amendment. As annoying as my profession may be, I donít
know any journalists who would argue such an absurdity.
police officers and paid government firefighters Ė as opposed to
the largely noble group of volunteers, who provide this service
to the public for free, despite the harassment they receive from
firefighter unions who try to put them out of business Ė always
insist that they are heroes. They do so in their public pronouncements
and especially during union negotiations. They love to have press
conferences and hand out heroism awards to fellow union members.
They often tell me that it's thanks to them that I am safe to enjoy
firefighters and police routinely invoke the memory of 9/11 for
their own personal gain. I remember when Laguna Beach, Calif., firefighters
Ė who have a cushy gig on the Southern California coast Ė plastered
photos of 9/11 all over a fire truck as they lobbied for higher
pay during their dispute with the city manager.
In the California
Legislature this year, Democratic leaders quietly pushed ahead legislation
that would have declared that any retired cop or firefighter, no
matter how old, would be presumed to have died of a work-related
injury if he or she died from some common ailments such as blood
disorders, heart disease or cancer. The purpose was to give huge
payouts to their survivors. The
bill was softened then vetoed, but it shows the lengths to which
the unions will go to play the hero card for self enrichment.
A few years
ago, I wrote about a bill that would have exempted firefighters
from criminal negligence for on-the-job behavior. It, too, died,
but thereís no special protection that these heroes wonít seek.
Police unions lobby to assure that even the most abusive among them
donít have to suffer any penalties, even
in instances where they shoot unarmed members of the public in the
people who display great courage and selflessness to protect others.
Here, we see people who are extremely well paid for services that
entail only modest risk, and then rig the legal system so there
is no accountability if they misbehave. They increasingly follow
bureaucratic rules designed to protect "officer safety,"
assuring in essence that they are forced to endure virtually zero
risk during their work day. Is that heroism?
In 2011, Alameda,
Calif., firefighters stood around and let a man drown to death.
They said they couldnít go into the 60-degree San Francisco Bay
water because they didnít have the proper cold-water training. Many
believe they were selfishly withholding "services" as
a way to make a point about proposed budget cutbacks. When asked
by a local TV station whether he would go into the water and save
a drowning child, division
chief Ricci Zombeck said: "Well, if I was off duty I would
know what I would do, but I think youíre asking me my on-duty response
and I would have to stay within our policies and procedures because
thatís whatís required by our department to do."
Is this the
answer of a hero or a bureaucrat? My
first LewRockwell article was about a similar event in Philadelphia,
where police and firefighters stood around eating and joking as
a suicidal man jumped into the water. Despite the assembled minions
of well-paid uniformed government workers, it took some unpaid bystanders
to risk their lives and try to save the jumper.
the public seems to buy this nonsense. When I was on the Stossel
show discussing such issues, a California union spokesman, Dave
Low, argued that cops and firefighters receive big pensions because
they die soon after retirement. But fortunately I had already done
the research. According
to the union-controlled California Public Employees Retirement System,
police are the longest-living public employee category followed
closely by firefighters. They live well into their 80s, enjoying
those millionairesí pensions that their unions have secured for
Enough is enough.
Police and firefighters work in professions that are not particularly
dangerous and they live longer lives than most people. Most of this
work can be replaced by the private sector. There are no categories
of hero. Individuals in all professions and all walks of life engage
in heroic acts. The truth will set us free Ė and might just lighten
our tax burden also.
Greenhut (send him mail)
is a Sacramento-based writer and author of Plunder!
How Public Employee Unions Are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our
Lives And Bankrupting The Nation.
© 2013 Steven Greenhut