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Thread: HOW? How does this keep happening?

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  1. #11
    Beastly Fido Roxxsmom's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
    Lost in space. And meaning.
    Quote Originally Posted by ElaineA View Post
    I was thinking about this very thing yesterday. Firefighters don't have this extreme mindset. What causes the difference? I completely understand if you [general] don't want to be the one who might get injured or, worse, wind up dead, but if that's the case, don't be a public servant.
    I suspect that it's because, as a rule, their deaths or injuries aren't perceived as (usually) coming from the direct, hostile action of another person. Cops see the worse of aggressive and dishonest human nature as a part of their jobs, and it's often directed at them. This likely makes many of them cynical and paranoid, over time if they weren't initially. Yes, there's arson, and sometimes paramedics (who are also usually firefighters) have to deal with violent patients from drug overdoses or mental illnesses), but the perpetrator isn't going to be in direct contact with firefighters in the first case, while in the second case, there would usually be police involved too. We don't live in a culture where people (however rarely it actually happens to cops, it does happen, and it's always well publicized) come up and shoot firefighters very often because they are feared authority figures.

    The firefighters I've known do get pretty passionate and ardent about people who don't have sufficient smoke alarms or fire extinguishers in their homes, and one of my students who was a firefighter was horrified when he found out I sleep with my bedroom door open (so the cat can get in and out of the room at night without scratching the door, meowing and waking me up over and over. "Would you rather sleep with your cat and both of you die in your sleep of smoke inhalation from a fire?" he asked, clearly exasperated with my flippant stupidity. My answer was that it wouldn't be a question of my sleeping at all if the cat couldn't come and go as he pleased.

    I'm guessing that people who see (or hear about, at least) the worst case scenarios as a regular part of their job will not make the same everyday choices of convenience as the rest of us, who have never had a house fire, make. I also suspect that cops attribute very different motives to ordinary people, especially from members of marginalized groups of people who have a history of conflict with police, than the rest of us do.

    One's work experiences (and the focus of one's attention as well) will skew perception of overall risk in the opposite direction from most people's. I'm hypothesizing that the overall conservatism of cops stems from the fear and anxiety (and cynicism about human nature). But RC and others on this forum know what it feels like to be a police officer far more intimately (obviously) than I do, so they would have better insights.

    What I also don't know is how we can fix the issue when there's so much fear and anger on the part of the people who have the most power in society.
    Last edited by Roxxsmom; 07-18-2017 at 01:54 AM.
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