In This Episode: There’s a lot of talk about accuracy in the media these days, up to and including frequent accusations that the mainstream press publishes “fake news.” For the most part, I don’t think that’s true, but that doesn’t mean people who watch TV or read news online don’t have to be intelligent consumers of news, especially when it comes to medical or scientific topics. Or, to put it another way, we need to exercise Uncommon Sense as a filter on the news, and this episode has an example of why.
This Week’s Newsletter (dated 1 July 2018) is the first in True’s 25th(!!) Year. It’s a solid issue with tragedy and comedy, and this blog post has examples of both. While you may seethe at the first story, you’re almost guaranteed to laugh by the end of this page.
A year ago, a long-time friend’s husband (a writer very popular in Macintosh circles) revealed he was dying of cancer.
I know a story this week will raise eyebrows, so I’m posting it here so there’s a place to explore it a bit in the comments. Let’s start with the story, from the 9 October 2016 issue:
You — Yes, You — Can “Do Something” about Mass Killings. A good friend of mine posted this yesterday, after he heard about the 49 murders at a “gay night club” in Orlando, Florida, overnight. The gunman was killed in a shoot-out with police.
In the Emergency Medical Services Biz, we don’t always find out the answer to the obvious question afterward: “What happened?” — how did it turn out? We just have to be content with doing our best in the situation at hand, turning the patient over to the hospital, and (usually silently) wishing them luck.
Sometimes It’s Really Tough to write True — to be entertaining and thoughtful when your mind is preoccupied by something so pressing, it’s all you can think about. This weekend was one of those times.
Thursday afternoon, I got a message from a friend in Minneapolis, a former member of the mastermind group I run for online entrepreneurs. “Randy, did you see this?” — and a link to a newspaper article.
There is some great additional detail on a story from True’s 16 August 2015 issue. To start with, you need the story:
The Feel-Good Story of the Week comes out of Colorado. It starts, however, in tragedy: a family — a man, woman, and four kids — rolled their car over in Brighton, which is northeast of Denver, along Interstate 76. The father of the family was killed. I know, this doesn’t sound too feel-good, but stay with me.
I Was Hoping to Write a different Honorary Unsubscribe this week, but couldn’t because I couldn’t get information. Debbie Crawford, a 25-year veteran paramedic in Denver, died this weekend. The scuttlebutt is that her PTSD got so severe, she committed suicide — she could no longer handle the stress of the job. If that is indeed what happened, and I don’t know for sure because none of the media outlets in Denver has covered her death at all, that’s truly a tragedy.
Our EMS agency has three full-time “Advanced Life Support” medics to run on calls with the ambulance crews, which are usually staffed by “regular” EMTs. That gives us a primary, a secondary (calls often come after long waits of nothing, and then we get two …or three), and room for the third to have a day off now and then. On Friday, Kit and I ran a call that ended up taking three hours — and we weren’t even involved in the transport part! I can’t say what took so long, but sometimes it happens that way.
I was taking Kit to a medical appointment in town (in the next county), and there was an ambulance call. Not for us, so we continued on. Then there was a second call. Also not for us, but that meant both ambulances are now out.
Not quite three weeks ago (Wednesday, April 9, the day before my birthday), Kit and I stopped by the local hospital to visit a friend. James, a fellow medic, and sometimes firefighter, was also from California, evidenced by his online handle, “FFEMT1A” (a California designation: Firefighter-Emergency Medical Technician-1A; I was a plain old EMT-1A myself at first, the A designating Ambulance duty certification, which added some elements beyond the non-transporting FF designation. He had both, and was extremely proud that he dedicated most of his life to helping others in need.)
Is it guns? Is it violent TV shows, movies, or video games? Is it crazy America?
I write True to make a living, yes, and it’s gratifying that enough people support the publication to make that happen. But there’s another reason, too: I want to change the world just a little bit, on both a micro and a macro scale.
There were two accidentally related emails in my morning download that I’d like to tell you about. To truly appreciate what happened, though, there’s a bit of backstory. In September 2007, I ran the following reader letter in True.
Sometimes there’s a story that I “have” to publish, even though I know it just won’t make it past the spam filters, so I “can’t” put it in the email newsletter.
Odd deaths are a staple story type in True, sometimes as a cautionary tale about what not to do, and sometimes as a way to point out how horribly we can treat others. There has been an update in a 2007 “weird death” story.