An unimpressive Occupation

I mentioned before that I was out of town for training, but I wasn’t comfortable saying how far away I was until I got back. Now that I’m back home and sufficiently recovered (the long drive, hotel room bed, and crappy classroom seats all conspired to make my back very unhappy), I can say that I was out at the annual Virginia EMS Symposium in Norfolk, VA. It’s a great way to get continuing education credits towards recertification (at my level I need 48 hours, 36 of which have to be on specific topics), and to hear about some of the more unusual or cutting edge developments in EMS. I also get a chance to catch up with some friends who have moved away. I’m very lucky in that, because of the unique training opportunities, the volunteer rescue squad I’m a member of pays for the whole thing: registration fee, hotel room, and a per diem for food. The squad also provides transportation and fuel.

One thing that happened I already touched on. The first morning I was there, I walked past where the Occupy Norfolk hippies had set up camp, right when the police were breaking it up. There weren’t that many protesters there, though one was pretty loud about it. From the news reports, they ended up arresting about 5 or 6 that morning.

They were back that evening, and the next couple of days in the morning and evening, though they weren’t camping out anymore. Their numbers were actually kind of pitiful.

Occupy Norfolk

Yes, that’s the whole thing. In fact, that’s the largest group I saw in all three days I was there.

Anyway, I had a good time, I got most of the hours I need to recertify (and the others are available online, so I’m good there) and I got a little bit of a vacation. Tomorrow, I go back to work, and back to my usual schedule until Thanksgiving – which is next week. But I should have some more posts soon!

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On yesterday’s National Emergency Alert System test

Apparently, yesterday’s test had some… issues. I was listening to Sirius XM’s 80′s channel, and heard the tones and about 5-10 seconds of voice, then a few seconds of silence before the music started up again. I believe that’s called “failure”.

But Roberta X comforts us with this reminder.

You might take some comfort that on 11 September 2001, when a national-level emergency did take place, the news was disseminated rapidly. Not by the government but by the various companies that run for-profit networks all day, every day: ABC/CBS/NBC/Fox/CNN etc. all jumped on the story as it happened — and even pushed their scheduled commercials aside to do it. There wasn’t any question of the message making it to you; it had been reaching you 24/7/365 to hawk soap flakes and cornflakes already and when the stakes suddenly got much higher, it was already in place, working.

The free market succeeded in a real emergency where the government had failed to even test the system it had in place. If a true national emergency happens, you will hear about it – probably well before any national-level EAS alert is sent.

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Out training

I’m still around. I’m out of town at a statewide EMS training conference, right now. Interestingly, I walked by one of the Occupy [$SOMEPLACE] locations as the police were shutting down the camp (though I didn’t realize that was what was happening at the time). There was a 3 or 4 to 1 ratio of cops to protesters.

I’ll have more later (it could be a day or two or three). Right now there’s a group getting together for dinner, and I’m hungry.

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Quote of the day – 2011-09-11

Yes, I know that’s yesterday’s date. I didn’t post it yesterday, because yesterday was a day for remembering those who were murdered ten years ago, and for honoring those who gave their lives trying to save as many as they could. A day to firm our resolve that it will never happen again, and to remind ourselves that we must work to reclaim the freedoms we lost in a panicked and futile bid for an illusory “security.”

It was a day in which I gave these people the greatest remembrance an honor I could: I got on an ambulance and worked to help others.

It was not a day for politics, or for the particular anger that inspired this quote.

You see, the service at the site of the very tragedy it purported to memorialize had a very glaring omission – NYC mayor Bloomberg and his staff decided that there wasn’t “enough room” for firefighters. The very people who knowingly risked their lives that day to help others – and in hundreds of cases lost those lives. To this insult, which fills me with rage every time I contemplate it, I can only respond by quoting blogger Kathy Shaidle:

343 of them managed to fit into the exact same space 10 years ago…

To be more specific, three hundred and forty-three firefighters, 37 Port Authority police officers, 23 NYPD officers and three court officers.

You’re a bastard, Bloomberg. Every surviving responder who was there on that horrible day deserved to be there yesterday more than you did. They deserved to be there more than Obama, or Giuliani, or Bush, or any of your other high-profile VIPs and their retinues who might have been there. Until you had at an absolute minimum, one representative of every single station and shift that responded that day, you should have told those VIPs – yes, even Obama himself – to go pound sand.

So go sodomize yourself with a rusty chainsaw, Bloomberg.

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Light blogging

Not that I blog a lot, normally, but I really got burned out on anything political with the election, so I haven’t done anything much more than read a few of my regular sites.

This week, I’m at the annual Virginia EMS Symposium in Norfolk. I’ll be taking a lot of classes towards my recertification, so blogging will probably remain light. Or I may do a post or two about the symposium. It just depends on how I feel.

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