Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I've gone 16 years without having to respond to a mass shooting.

I could have finished out my career without ever having done so, and I would have retired a happy person. Once again, an apparent coward with a chip on his shoulder has decided to play judge, jury and executioner to many people who never even knew he existed. Lives were taken, and lives were forever changed.

As this occurred in the township adjacent to the one in which I work, our EMS service responded, triaging, treating and transporting patients. Triage is particularly difficult when you are staring into the pale, lifeless face of somebody your age or younger - knowing in your heart of hearts that you could do everything your scope of practice, knowledge base and years of experience allow you to do, yet it wouldn't help. That in doing so, it would prevent you from helping others... so you leave them where they lay. These were mothers. Sisters. In-laws. Somebody's child. Lean and fit, dressed for a workout, and now lying in large pools of coagulating blood on a shiny wooden floor; eyes devoid of any inkling of life or soul or that which made them the unique women they must have been.

I am heartened by the teamwork I saw between EMS, Fire, and Police entities who set aside all politics and got the job done, as one Facebook friend noted, with valor.


  1. I've been thinking of you all day, friend. Wondering how your thoughts are proccessing all of this. I am very thankful for people in the world like you.

  2. I'm ok, Lizz. Of course they made *us* attend a mandatory debriefing right after the incident. I wish they'd have brought the shell-shocked survivors down for it; they were the ones who really needed it. Those are the people I continue to feel for.

  3. This whole topic makes me so nervous, and I'm so glad that they made you do a debriefing and you seem to be doing ok. This is my brother-in-law (it's a couple pages long)

  4. Wow, Em. I had no idea that had happened to your BIL. That is the thing that broke my heart the most about the horrible police shooting we had in Pittsburgh this past April, was that the medics had to wait to help those men who were down. I put myself in their boots and felt helpless and broken.

    By the time we approached our scene, we were out of danger. Still horrific, but no danger to us.

    Please send my best wishes to your BIL and give him my thanks for his service. I don't know him personally, but he's a brother of mine, and we all stick together.