In Phoenix , Arizona , a 26-year-old mother stared down
at her 6 year old son, who was dying of leukemia.
Although her heart was filled with sadness,
she also had a strong feeling of determination
Like any mother, she wanted her son to grow up &
fulfill all his dreams. Now that was no longer possible..
The leukemia would see to that. But she still
wanted her son’s dream to come true.
She took her son’ s hand and asked,
‘Billy, did you ever think about what you wanted
to be once you grew up?
Did you ever dream and wish about what you would
do with your life?’
Mommy, ‘I always wanted to be a fireman
when I grew up.’
Mom smiled back and said, ‘Let’s see if we can
make your wish come true.’
Later that day she went to her local fire
Department in Phoenix , Arizona , where she met
Fireman Bob, who had! a heart as big as Phoenix
She explained her son’s final wish and
asked if it might be possible to give her 6 year-old
son a ride around the block on a fire engine
Fireman Bob said, ‘Look, we can do
better than that. If you’ll have your son ready at
7 o’clock Wednesday morning, we’ll make
him an honorary Fireman for the whole day.
He can come down to the fire station, eat with us,
go out on all the fire calls, the whole nine yards!
And if you’ll give us his sizes, we’ll get a real fire uniform
for him, with a real fire hat - not a toy — one-with the emblem
of the Phoenix Fire Department on it, a yellow slicker like
we wear, and rubber boots.’
‘They’re all manufactured right here in Phoenix ,
so we can get them fast.’
Three days later Fireman Bob picked up Billy,
dressed him in his uniform and escorted him from his hospital
bed to the waiting hook and ladder truck.
Billy got to sit on the back of the truck
and help steer it back to the fire station.
He was in heaven.
There were three fire calls in Phoenix that day
and Billy got to go out on all three calls.
He rode in the different fire engines,
the Paramedic’s’ van,
and even the fire chief’s car.
He was also videotaped for the
local news program.
Having his dream come true,
with all the love and attention that was lavished upon him,
so deeply touched Billy, that he lived three months longer
than any doctor thought possible.
One night all of his vital signs began to
drop dramatically and the head nurse, who believed
in the hospice concept - that no one should die alone,
began to call the family members to the hospital.
Then she remembered the day Billy had spent
as a Fireman, so she called the Fire Chief and
asked if it would be possible to send a fireman
in uniform to the hospital to be with Billy as he
made his transition.
The chief replied, “We can do better than that.
We’ll be there in five minutes.. Will you please do me a favor?
When you hear the sirens screaming and see the
lights flashing, will you announce over the
PA system at the hospital that there is not a fire?”
‘It’s the department coming to see one of its finest members
one more time. And will you open the window to his room?’
About five minutes later a hook and ladder truck arrived
at the hospital and extended its ladder up to Billy’s third floor
open window 16 fire-fighters climbed up the ladder into Billy’s
With his mother’s permission, they hugged him and held
him and told him how much they LOVED him.
With his dying breath, Billy looked up at the fire chief and said,
‘Chief, am I really a fireman now?’
‘Billy, you are, and The Head Chief, Jesus,
is holding your hand,’ the chief said.
With those words, Billy smiled and said,
‘I know, He’s been holding my hand all day, and
the angels have been singing..’
He closed his eyes one last time.
Fucking crying mess at work, THANKS GUYS.
Right in the feels.
Every kid should get there wish.
crying a little.
GOD FUCKING DAMMIT. why am I crying.
SOLDIER STORIES: Iraq did not create the Fort Hood shooter.
First Lieutenant Donald Maloy, 1st Platoon leader, Co. D, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment from Fort Carson, Colorado, communicates via radio while a Bradley Armored Personnel Carrier provides cordon security during a joint Iraqi Army and coalition forces clearing operation in the al-Sinaa neighborhood of Mosul.
(Photo by Sergeant John Crosby, 1 APR 2008. Blogpost by Joseph Miller via PTSD: A Soldier’s Perspective. Source.)
There is an increasingly troubling narrative that essentially argues that service in Iraq and Afghanistan explains the criminal behavior at Fort Hood. This is an over-simplification of most veterans with [Survivor Syndrome] who will never commit a crime, but moreover a profound misunderstanding of the nature of counterinsurgency in Iraq. By doctrine we were de-escalators of violence not perpetrators and we most often recognized that our best weapons “did not shoot.” Any Iraq or Afghanistan veteran will tell you, if you take a couple of minutes to talk to them from time to time, that most tense situations in combat were dangerous situations caused by unidentified enemies and US forces refrained engagement because of a lack of positive identification. Units that departed from this course committed crimes, and were the exception.
The most tense moment for me occurred in just this way, and I have been hesitant to publicly discuss the night of my worst concussion because the situation got heated and there was some understandable personal tensions going on, though only momentary, and that I may seem like I am criticizing other people. That is not the case, I am going to describe an awful situation when everyone had the right intentions, and calmer heads prevailed. This will emphasize my roll because of the limits of my own memory, but I will assure that just as many or more times other soldiers, non commissioned officers of superiors played similar roles. You might assume the situation to be exceptional, but I think that day gets to the marrow of the US Army’s, at company level, propensity to deescalate violence rather than perpetuate it in Iraq. The argument that we are more violent is a profound misunderstanding of what we did in Iraq, and more often we chose non violence. Anyone using our war as an excuse is exploiting a popular idea base on very little material evidence.
My worst moment of Iraq was after a suicide bombing, but the second worse occurred after an IED blew up a convoy of Bradley’s while my platoon was set in over-watch to prevent just such an attack. I have not now, nor will I ever, feel like a greater failure than watching a piece of dirt that I had personally been observing for six hours, with multiple soldiers pulling rotations, blow up right in front of me. In the moment I could not even see it. The force of the blast was faster than my brain’s ability to process the image and I was thrown down a stairwell by over pressure. I fell face down and I came to face up, as if it were glitch in the matrix. It could not have been a second but I lost some consciousness. I was dizzy, very confused, but a Lieutenant with eyes on IED. The platoon of Bradley’s was from another battalion passing through our area so they had no idea that Americans were occupying our building and mechanized and airborne units use different night optics. Concussed or not we could all die if we did not immediately mark our position in every way possible. Their fire discipline saved our lives, but we we would be tested the same way very quickly.
Local Iraqi Army or Policemen ran to to occupy a road block to the north of the attack, but their winter cloths made them hard to identify. Balaclavas and no helmets made friendly force identification nearly impossible, and created very tense moment with a few of my soldiers fearing an insurgent attack. Simultaneously on my radio, my company commander was very unhappy that bomb blew up right in may face. Why wouldn’t he be. I certainly was not happy about it and to this day I second guess myself about that night. So while dealing with dizziness, disorientation and terrible situation I was simultaneously getting my ass chewed and preventing soldiers who wanted to fire on what they thought was a very legitimate threat to our security. These soldier were woken from sleep by bomb less that 50 meters away, so anger was par for the course, but the enemy did not usually sit in the middle of the street and gaggle up like Iraq soldiers so I wanted to take the time for confirmation. Everyone was angry from the lowest private to the battalion commander and tempers were hotter than they should have been on the radio, mine included. Not hotter than human beings woken up by a bomb at 4 AM though. However, despite all of anger and frustration everyone’s actions were exemplary. My soldiers wanted to fire, but headed orders, I kept command and control until my platoon sergeant got on top of things and until a my commander was on the ground. After they were on top of it I actually put microphone up because I was getting really loopy and having trouble grasping the basic geographic layout.
People say that no one trains you for days like that, but the truth is I was trained precisely for days like that. My service in Iraq was more often events when I was attacked and had no clear enemy to engage so I waited for better opportunity rather than risking the lives of innocent people. So I cannot by any stretch of the imagination understand how Iraq, and the war I fought could be a source of anything, but level headed others centered decision making under the most adverse, frustrating and enraging situations. Frankly I am sick and tired of being compared to criminals because I have [Survivor Syndrome] from all the days that I made the emotionally draining, but the ultimately least violent decisions only to be characterized as some non-thinking killer with no human agency or power over my situation in Iraq and its aftermath. I was then and I am now, like the vast majority of other veterans, making the best of a far from ideal situation, and I am beyond frustrated that every time another mass murder happens all people with mental illnesses are lumped together with an incredible minority of violent criminals. Especially in the wake of war of occupation and counterinsurgency that stressed nonviolent outcomes whenever they could be attained.
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The news: A new scientific study from Princeton researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page has finally put some science behind the recently popular argument that the United States isn’t a democracy any more. And they’ve found that in fact, America is basically an oligarchy.
An oligarchy is a system where power is effectively wielded by a small number of individuals defined by their status called oligarchs. Members of the oligarchy are the rich, the well connected and the politically powerful, as well as particularly well placed individuals in institutions like banking and finance or the military.
For their study, Gilens and Page compiled data from roughly 1,800 different policy initiatives in the years between 1981 and 2002. They then compared those policy changes with the expressed opinion of the United State public. Comparing the preferences of the average American at the 50th percentile of income to what those Americans at the 90th percentile preferred, as well as the opinions of major lobbying or business groups, the researchers found out that the government followed the directives set forth by the latter two much more often.
It’s beyond alarming. As Gilens and Page write, “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” In other words, their statistics say your opinion literally does not matter.
That might explain why mandatory background checks on gun sales supported by 83% to 91% of Americans aren’t in place, or why Congress has taken no action on greenhouse gas emissions even when such legislation is supported by the vast majority of citizens.
This problem has been steadily escalating for four decades. While there are some limitations to their data set, economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez constructed income statistics based on IRS data that go back to 1913. They found that the gap between the ultra-wealthy and the rest of us is much bigger than you would think…
this is important.
I don’t necessarily agree with everything in this article but some things to think about.