Bob's Links and Rants

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Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Under Fire Instead of Putting Out Fires
Firefighting equipment and personnel were stretched thin, and some homeowners were angered to watch their homes burn without a firefighter in sight. -- LA Times

I wonder how many Southern California firefighters are now getting shot at as part of the reserves in Iraq instead of fighting these fires?

Meanwhile, fire department staffing shortages have been exacerbated by the war in Iraq. The IAFF [International Association of Fire Fighters] estimates 26,000 of its members are in the military reserves. Many have been called up and many more are likely to get the call soon. -- from an article in the Washington State Labor Council Online in April. (Best answer I could find with a quick Google search.)

Note: In my googling, I found this link to Senator Bob Graham's web site for his since aborted presidential campaign:

As I'm anxiously watching as Hurricane Isabel batters eastern North Carolina and Virginia, I am increasingly concerned that the numbers of National Guard and first responders such as fire, EMT's and police officers will be greatly reduced in the aftermath of this devastation.

Many National Guard troops have been ordered to Iraq by the Bush administration. The Homeland Security budget is woefully and deliberately underfunded by the Bush administration, leaving shrinking support for these critical emergency responders in a crisis. The state's budget, like many others, is in jeopardy as it tries to do more and more with less and less.

This is deeply angering to many, many people in North Carolina and Virginia right now, who are at risk of losing their homes and their lives in this hurricane. Right now, they are trying to survive without bodily injury, but when the storm passes, they will emerge to devastation of homes, businesses and infrastructure.

They will wonder why help is slow in coming to them to prevent crime, to restore electricity and water and to clear the streets. Many will need emergency medical attention during and after the storm.

But George W. Bush sent away many National Guard troops. He cut the budget for first responders. It is disturbingly evident where his priorities lie. It's not for ordinary Americans.

Mr. Bush hurried off early to Camp David to outrun Isabel.

Mr. Bush will not escape the wrath of The People.

I hope Graham becomes somebody's running mate. I like him, and he'd help the Democrats win in Florida.