Tag: Firefighters

The Mission Isn’t Just Barbecue


We ate our first barbecue lunch last weekend at a Mission Barbecue restaurant. Upon entering, the positive charge in the atmosphere is 100% American.  The walls are covered with pictures of veteran missions, soldiers stepping off trains from World War II, greeted by their loved ones, and photos of all branches of the armed services are represented.

What wall space is left is covered with thousands of patches representing the military, law enforcement, firefighters, forestry, mixed with flags and hats of all those that serve.  The intoxicating scent of a properly seasoned and smoked feast fills the air while cheerful staff wearing ‘Honored to Serve’ t-shirts greet you with a smile.  Country and patriotic music plays over the speakers.

Running Towards the Fire


So a few hours ago, I was sitting with friends and finishing my drink in their backyard after a long evening of BBQ, and a girl rushes into the yard. “Sorry to bother you, but someone’s house is on fire!”

We quickly headed to the street, where across the street flames rumbled up from the attic. Two different people were calling 911, while the gal who informed us ran over and started banging on the door and windows. I ran to the side where there was a garden hose, but it’s not on. We circle round the back, a guy banging on the door while I look in vain for water. I hear that there’s an old man who lives alone here – renovating this house has been his dream. Other people go to the neighbors and tell them the house next door is on fire – an old lady in a nightgown emerges and looks on in concern. There are police sirens blaring.  I turn to meet them – I want to hand over information to them so they can take control of the scene.

Thank Me? No, Thank You!


photo of wildland firefighter with drip torchA fellow of a certain age stopped me in a parking lot. He was built like a fire plug, and had a white-haired buzz cut. He, having seen my car window stickers, asked about my military service. I gave the 30-second answer, and got a “thank you for your service.” Then, I asked him about his service.

“Oh, no,” he said, “I just did 12 years of federal service as a wildland firefighter.”

I answered, “it is tough enough wearing protective gear in the desert (as the military does), but you were wearing protective gear, while moving towards the flames and smoke. So, thank you!

The Oscars, According to My Husband


Last night was the 2018 Oscars – also known as “The Academy Awards.” I don’t know what happened when I mentioned the Oscars were on tonight, but my husband Scott unleashed a tirade of … well, after a grilled burger and a couple Coronas, he let loose as follows and it ain’t pretty:

Our society is so screwed up! Millions are spent on awards shows. They’re all the same…. Tonight we’ll roll out yet another red carpet, so overpaid actors and actresses in their designer duds and diamonds can strut down and bark their latest opinion to the rest of America. I’d rather watch paint dry somewhere!

Oh, he was just getting started….

Of Heroes and Heavy Metal: Honoring Bill Tolley


Now that 2017 has passed and memorials have been published for the various celebrities who died last year, there’s one who sadly went overlooked. Obviously I’m posting this for an audience who doesn’t look kindly on celebrity and its surrounding culture of worship, but this is a case where your respect is warranted.

On April 20, 2017, Bill Tolley, 14-year veteran of the Fire Department of New York, died in the line of duty. He left behind a wife and eight-year-old daughter. Local news always covers such stories, but news of Tolley’s death spread further because of his off-duty activities: he was the long-time drummer and only permanent member of New York death metal band Internal Bleeding. The band is credited as one of the originators of a style known as slam death metal, a subgenre of brutal death metal. Belonging to this sort of niche within a niche means that the band remained low-profile in an already obscure corner of the music world, and Tolley’s celebrity is a peculiar sort, but real nonetheless.

Fellow New York bands Suffocation, Incantation, Immolation, and Mortician always overshadowed them, but Internal Bleeding at least found a unique sound, fusing the heavier side of death metal with the punishing style of their city’s hardcore punk scene. Tolley’s drumming encapsulated the band’s approach: while he could play fast, more often he eschewed the flashy theatrics of blast beats for heavier grooves. Even the band’s nadir, 2004’s Onward to Mecca, in which they succumbed to the worst tendencies of their hardcore influences, was partially redeemed by the enraged and non-PC lyrics of tracks like “Infidel” (Infidel proudly — overthrowing your cause/Infidel proudly — and I’ll bathe in your blood).

Member Post


Last February, a barn in Wiltshire, a county in southwest England, caught fire when an electrical fault ignited 60 tonnes of hay. Firefighters were able to rescue two sows and eighteen piglets from the blaze, prompting farmer Rachel Rivers to promise the firefighters some sausages when the pigs were butchered. The promise was made good […]

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A Word of Caution for Those Who Throw Bricks at Firefighters


Baltimore_City_Fire_Department_With today being the 23rd anniversary of the start of the Rodney King Riot in Los Angeles, I was watching footage out of Baltimore and recalling that long-ago night when the world’s attention turned to the intersection of Florence and Normandie Avenues in South Los Angeles. As was the case in Los Angeles then, the city leaders in Baltimore this past week failed to see the signs of impending trouble that were clear to cops on the street. In both cities, the higher up the chain of command you looked, the more obtuseness you seemed to find. And in both cities, the mayors were complete failures when the crisis came. (Five years ago, I wrote on PJ Media about the failure of some LAPD managers – I refuse to call them “leaders” – to take charge and do what was necessary in those first early hours of the riot. You can find that piece here.)

There are many analogies to be drawn between the L.A. Riot and the one in Baltimore, but one that stands out in particular is the way firefighters in the two cities were treated by the mob. “If you wanted to be loved,” I was told as a young cop, “you should have joined the Fire Department.” As a general matter that saying is true, but not when the rioting starts, apparently.

Images from Baltimore of fire hoses being cut, and of fire engines being pelted with rocks, bricks, and bottles as they sped to a fire reminded me of what I saw in Los Angeles on the second or third night of the ‘92 riot. At the intersection of 108th and Main Streets in South Los Angeles, a fire station stands on one side of 108th and a police station stands on the other. As the rioting grew more intense — and as resources from beyond Los Angeles County were brought in to assist — 108th Street between Main and Broadway was blocked off to serve as a staging area for police cars and fire apparatus. (If you’re wondering, Broadway in South Los Angeles is nothing at all like Broadway in New York.)