ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Remember how I've been talking, with regard to the Polychrome Heroics series, about the importance of being prepared for anything, because you never know when the world might need a hero? That everyday life sometimes throws out challenges without warning? Well, that's a thing that happened today.

Power went out in our house because somebody plowing a field hit a pole and knocked it down. So there we were without electricity, so we decided to go out. On the way into town, we came to an intersection with a fresh car wreck. We didn't see the crash happen, nor did the lady who flagged us down, but there was nobody else managing the scene. So we did that.

The following event analysis is my best recollection of what happened, presented here so that folks can see how a crisis response unfolds, in case you may find that useful for creative or personal-growth applications. It is detailed in ways that some people may find uncomfortable, so think about whether you really want to deal with that before clicking through.

Update 4/27/14: Here is the first brief news report on the accident.

What We Did

We pulled over and identified what was going on: fresh accident scene, no emergency personnel present or summoned yet, one agitated bystander in need of direction.

Once we knew that, the first thing I did was reassure the lady who flagged us down. She was pretty upset. Most people find an emergency very distressing. Keeping them calm is always a good thing. If you can just get your checklist of things to do online, you're ahead of the pack. So that helped.

But then I made the one identifiable mistake from this occasion: I hesitated. Not out of fear of danger, but because I hate getting involved with the authorities; their reliability is patchy. I knew what I ought to be doing, but I just didn't want to get involved and have to deal with the aftermath that might spill over on me. I reached for the door handle a couple of times before I finally said to myself, "Don't be a coward. What use is it to have hero skills if you don't use them when they're needed? Get your ass out of the car and get to work." My partner never hesitated; he was already in action. He took a quick peek at the wreck and called for assistance. Yeah, I picked a good one.

Once on the scene, the first step is to pick a job. Nobody is responsible for all the jobs at a scene, so choose an open slot you can fill and get to work. (If you are unwilling/unable to help, you still have a job: get out of the way quickly and quietly so other people can work. This is very helpful because it means you won't become another casualty or distract from the project.) So my partner Doug picked Phone Guy and called 9-1-1. He is excellent on phones. I picked Scene Check. I am an excellent observer and, while not adept at medical matters, well above average in knowledge and capable of managing the basics in an emergency.

I checked the wreck. Rule #1 in emergency response: Do not make yourself another casualty. This means you need to assess the scene for its hazard level before advancing into it, and attempt to identify any victims or anything else in need of immediate action. Visible from a distance were two melded cars, one upright and emitting a trickle of white smoke, one upside down, the two of them tangent to a power pole that was snapped halfway up and still standing but clearly not able to take any more stress. No flames were detectable at that time, nor was there a clear way to douse the smoke. The weather was cool and sprinkling rain. My danger-sense told me the wreck was going to blow but not immediately. I therefore evaluated the site as 'warm' in terms of risk.

A couple other women had pulled up, both of them also upset by the wreckage. One of them had a phone and asked if anyone had called an ambulance yet. I said yes. Then it occurred to me we could cover two needs at once. I said to her, "You call the power company and tell them about the damage to the pole." She didn't know the number. I said, "Call the operator or call 9-1-1 and ask them to connect you with the power company. Tell them there's been a car crash and a power pole is broken but the lines are currently intact. It won't stand up much longer if this storm gets worse or anything else hits it and it is right above the wreck. They need to get linemen out here immediately to keep the power lines from breaking. Give them the numbers for this intersection on that sign right behind you."

Then I approached the wreck briskly but cautiously. I called out what I saw, so that people on the phones could relay that information to whomever might need it. Closer, I could smell fresh-turned earth, smoke, gasoline, burned and torn rubber, hot metal. The wreckage gave off faint pings and creaks, but no human sounds. I kept a sharp eye on the smoke, still white and narrow, coming from near the rear of the upper car and blowing toward us. No scent as yet. I knew it was going to light up but not imminently, so I circled closer with a mind on possible shrapnel or fire radius. I shouted to find out if anyone who might be in the wreck could respond. No answer.

The windows of the upper car were broken, making it impossible to see clearly, but airbags were deployed. I could not see anyone inside the car: no human shapes, no variation of color implying clothes, no blood, no motion. I could not see any signs of anyone having left the wreck: no door ajar, no outwardly broken window trailing glass, no obvious tracks in the bare dirt of the field surrounding the wreck.

Circling around, I saw that the lower inverted car was crushed nearly flat. Almost none of the interior was visible. I could see part of a person, an elbow I think, although possibly a knee or some other body part. I called out this information to the people on the phones. Very little flesh was in view, no discernible blood or other injury, no motion. Also no accessible pulse point to check for signs of life, no way to extract the victim without heavy equipment, nothing that called for what first aid I know. I shouted again, trying to rouse anyone conscious, and got no response. Neither could I discern, with my subtle senses, either a flicker of life or a distinct signature of departure; but I'm no healer, so there's a gap for me, where I can't be sure without the kind of close examination that was unobtainable in the circumstances. Based on the compaction of the wreckage and lack of response, casualty survival seemed unlikely, although it's possible the victim was in the process of dying rather than already dead. Without a clear sign of life, a way to distinguish life/death, or a next-step helpful action I could take for the victim, I decided to stay out of immediate shrapnel/fire range. Rule #1. Rule #1.

I circled around to the far side of the wreck. Debris scattered across the field, some of it having plowed furrows in the ground. From there I could see a little bit into the upper car. Deep within, I saw a spark, and then a hand-size tongue of yellow flame. There was no way to reach it and try dousing it with handfuls of thrown dirt, which I considered, as there was too much wreckage in the way. I doubt it would have been possible to hit even with a water hose. I was upwind but I could still smell the gasoline. My danger-sense went from yellow to red. The scene was about to go from warm to hot. Rule #1.

So I yelled that the wreck was on fire, and I backed away at high speed. I told everyone to get back, far back, that it was going to blow and I didn't know how fast or how bad. Some people had come into the intersection, and I shooed them away, back toward where the vehicles were parked. The smoke was turning darker, grey and then black, more acrid, a small billowing cloud instead of a trickle.

I dropped to my knees in the grass at the far side of the intersection, so I could pull power up from the earth. I used my elemental connection with fire to suppress the flames as best I could. I couldn't put the fire out. I just wasn't strong enough. It had a volatile fuel supply, plenty of sparks, and shelter from the rain. All I could do was delay and diminish, hoping to buy time for the rescue workers to arrive, hoping to minimize the blaze to lower the risk for them. So then I called for the rain, which was still just sprinkling, and upon that instant, rain increased, rapidly becoming a downpour. My clothes quickly soaked through, even with my jacket on.

(If you are going to use magic, prayer, or other metaphysical techniques to handle a crisis, then this is one of the best times to do it, after you have addressed the immediate physical concerns. It gives you an additional way of attempting damage control on things that cannot be addressed by whatever material resources you have in reach, so you don't have to stop problem-solving just because you've run out of advisable physical steps. Another excellent application is if you have to put yourself in direct danger and you want to scream for the kind of backup that does not take five minutes to get there in an emergency vehicle.)

It wasn't enough. Dark orange flames became visible through the thick black smoke pouring off the wreck.

A police car pulled up and an officer got out to check the wreck. I mentally put him on Wreck Duty and moved myself off it. He approached the wreck closer than I did; presumably his Scene Check list was longer and more precise than mine.

I checked again on the nearby people to ensure that nobody was within my best guess of shrapnel/fire range. (I was thinking it would've been handy if I had a concentric map memorized of the likely ranges for those hazards surrounding a fresh wreck. You see fireballs on television, and people say they're exaggerated, but in my observation, they're not exaggerated all that much.)  I heard a succession of small popping and coughing explosions as the gas tanks or pools of gasoline or other materials went off, and sometimes those made more billows or sparks in the overall bonfire of doom.) Then once I made sure people were far enough back, I assessed their condition.

One of the other women was vocally upset. So I focused on her. She kept looking at the burning wreck, turning away, then looking back, getting more agitated all the while. (By this point the whole upper car was a fireball.) So I put my hand on her shoulder and turned her away again. I said, "You don't have to watch. Look away. We've done our jobs. We called for help. Let the emergency workers deal with the wreck now. That's their job. We've done ours. Take care of yourself now. It's okay. Everything will be fine. Just breathe. Listen to the sirens, more help is coming. They'll take care of things." Emotional first aid is one of the least taught, most valuable emergency skills. In any emergency there is almost always at least one person who will benefit from it.

I stayed with her until my partner called for me to come get in our vehicle. He didn't want me even that close to the wreck, with both cars currently engulfed in flames and various rescue workers on hand. Can't say I blame him. A small firetruck had arrived, the kind with a portable tank on the back, so people could start hosing down the wreck. It was pouring off huge clouds of black smoke even in the drenching rain. So I got into our vehicle, which was regrettably downwind of the smoke but we had to pull over there to avoid blocking the roads.

Presently the smoke faded to grey, then white, as the fire hose and the rain began to prevail. We checked to make sure it was okay for us to leave, and then we went home.

What We Accomplished

* Pulled over, stayed calm, and dealt with the crisis. Impressed each other, thus affirming our mate-selection success, which is always good for a relationship. Analyzed the situation to determine what was needed.

* Called for emergency services immediately. This led to a police car arriving in short order and a firetruck not long after.

* Checked the wreck for signs of anyone accessible in need of first aid. Sadly the only discernible occupant was not accessible with immediately available skills and equipment, but at least I was able to report that fact so the experts would know about it.

* Kept bystanders from panicking or rushing into the point-blank danger zone. Applied emotional first aid to lower the chance of anyone developing PTSD from seeing the aftermath of a rather ugly scene.
EDIT 5/6/14: here's a tipsheet for emotional first aid.

* Notified the power company of the emergency so they could stabilize the pole, hopefully before it dropped live wires to threaten rescue workers or shorted out anyone's power supply.

* Overall damage control meant that the only additional thing that went wrong was one we had no better way of stopping: the fire spreading. Every other potential complication that I'm aware of was prevented.

What Could Have Gone Differently

No matter how good you are, how well trained you are, how experienced you are -- everyone has limits. There will always be something that makes you flinch, something that makes you hesitate, something you don't know or can't do. It just isn't the same thing for everyone. Accept that. Save what you can. Do your part, and give yourself credit for however much you accomplish.

The good thing is that nobody panicked. Two of us are, while not emergency professionals, well versed in a wide range of mayhem-handling skills. The bystanders were upset, as is typical of people encountering the scene of a disaster; but they did not make any of the common mistakes, they were able to take directions and do things to help as soon as prompted, and they were receptive to both guidance and support. They may have also been doing constructive things on their own initiative that I didn't find out about while I was focused on my own task list. There are a jillion things that could have gone wrong with that scene to make a bad situation much worse, and that didn't happen. Just keeping the lid on it is an accomplishment. Damage control is an accomplishment. We were lucky in getting a good mix of people on the scene. God bless America, there's hope yet.

The part where I'm disappointed in myself is that two-minute delay. I was lucky that I didn't find anything I could have done that was golden-five time-critical, but I know full well that's luck and not skill. If there had been a live victim when I arrived and a deceased one later, or intact power lines and then broken ones, I would be kicking myself up one side of the street and down the other. As it is, I feel only mild disappointment, because I know myself and my limits. I include this in the event analysis, embarrassing as it is, because only through a forthright consideration of strengths and weaknesses is it possible to improve.

EDIT 4/28/14: Worth mentioning, in retrospect, is that there are many types of crisis in which I don't  hesitate.  I have put out kitchen fires, handled minor injuries, steered stalled cars while people pushed, etc.  Knowing what you can jump into quickly may help figure out how to improve speed through things that slow you down.  Nobody's on their best game at everything.

What bothers me more is the social implications, because I also know I'm not an isolated case. I hesitated not out of fear of personal injury, but because I didn't trust the backup, I only relied on them. Had I felt completely confident in the unknown emergency response team, I would not have hesitated. But I've read reports about police brutality, insanely inappropriate responses in emergencies, and I had to account for those very real, if very small, risks just as I had to account for the chance of the cars exploding in my face. It's possible that calling the police would have ended up with someone getting shot dead -- that's happened at accidents, more than once -- and I would've felt bad if that happened. So we called it in, but I hesitated to get involved. I can look back now and ascertain that my brain was running a massive risk-assessment and option-generation routine between when I first spoke to the lady who flagged us down and when I opened the door, so the time was not spent doing nothing at all. But those two minutes still FEEL wasted to me because I can imagine a scenario in a healthier society where they would not have been. You want to know the cost of police brutality, a ramshackle health care system, erratic training and supply of first responders, and otherwise patchy social glue? Two minutes. Under other circumstances, that could have cost somebody's life; statistically speaking, it must have done so in other cases. This makes me deeply uncomfortable with the social circumstances at large. It's not news to me but seeing it in person made an unpleasant confirmation of previously known generalities.

What is to be done about this? No amount of telling people that emergency services are safe and effective will change anything. Only showing works. You only call for backup if you are confident that this will de-escalate the danger instead of escalating it. So every botched call that people hear about is a bean on the bad side of the scale, every positive call is a bean on the good side, and it's the responsibility of journalists to manage the data accurately so people understand the statistical probabilities of the current time and their own traits. Improved resources and responsibility would help all around. For my part, I've got some personal work to do. While I'm no more inclined to trust blindly, I have to account for the temporal cost of that analytic function and get myself in gear faster. Two minutes while on scene is too slow. Having someone else act immediately also helped me get in gear faster, but I'm unsatisfied relying on that. I expect myself to be able to self-activate promptly so I can get other people moving if necessary. So I'll be doing some thinking about how I can compress that analysis and motivate myself better. My inner drill sergeant is still kind of tearing his hair out over that delay.

I can also think of additional factors that would have influenced my actions. If there had been screaming or blood or casualties running around -- any obvious signs of people in need of help -- I'm confident that we both would have bailed out of our vehicle instantly, and I don't think either of us would have hesitated over the potential hazards of the wreck itself or the probable-but-not-guaranteed quality of emergency services available for backup. Had there been any other way for me to reach the victim or suppress the fire, I would have taken it. Had there been ANY sign of possible life, I would have rushed straight in, even if all I could do was provide verbal comfort. Doesn't matter if doing things I'm not designed for is costly for me, I'd take the hit, else not be able to look myself in the mirror of a morning. There is no point putting yourself at greater risk if you don't have a beneficial plan of action for when you get there -- Rule #1 -- but if there is someone you could be helping, then that kicks over to a different risk-assessment scale based on the likelihood that you could do some good vs. the chance of you getting hurt in the process. Had there been any sign of recent death, I would have secured the departure into the beyond, because a freshly traumatized ghost can be an active hazard to everyone in the vicinity, as well as being a casualty in need of immediate care. Fortunately if anybody died, as is likely, they did so in a manner not signifying need of further on-site assistance.

EDIT 4/28/14: After the fact, we discovered that there were two people in the cars.  I only managed a visual lock on one of them, who was partially exposed.  My partner and I discussed whether it might have been possible to get the other driver out of the upright car -- that's the person we didn't know was there.  So a question to ask for a similar situation would be, "Do we attempt to break the windows on the car to make a more direct investigation whether there is someone inside?"  Doing so would have entailed considerably higher risk as there was gasoline everywhere and smoke already evident.  But it is a thing we could have discussed.  We might not have been able to break in, we might have gotten a face full of shrapnel or flames, we might have seen person puree all over the car; but we might also have been able to extract the driver.

I didn't check the clock immediately or otherwise keep close track of a timeline. I'm not taking off points for this, on my score, because I'm not a numbers person and time is fluid for me. Trying to track it would only have impaired the ability to construct a precise timeline, and hindered my own ability to stretch time so as to accomplish as much as possible while manipulating probabilities in a safeward direction. But it is still something that would have been helpful to do, for any responder with more applicable skill at such things. It's one of those abilities that doesn't look like you're doing much, but if all you do is stand on the sidelines and construct an accurate timeline as events unfold, sometimes that can be super useful during event analysis later.

Similarly my partner Doug notes that he wishes he'd thought to use his phone to take pictures, but he was on the phone with emergency services throughout much of the action, so that wouldn't have been feasible anyhow. Therefore this is available as another scene task for anyone with camera/video equipment during a crisis, and is worth mentioning as such. That can be you, or it can be someone else you tap to give them a job so they're less likely to panic.

Overall Assessment

My partner Doug: A+
His alacrity, control, and performance were excellent. I didn't see anything he could have done better.

Myself: A-
I started, stalled out for two minutes, and then did a bunch of useful things. I didn't do anything that I could recognize as actively incorrect. I'm just taking off points for the delay, because time is precious in a crisis.

Bystanders: B
While upset by the scene, they managed to avoid making matters worse and they contributed helpful actions. For random people, with no crisis training insofar as I know, they did well above average.

Emergency workers: A
They took a little while to arrive, but I don't know how far they had to drive. During that time the flames erupted, but I doubt that emergency workers could have made much difference in the overall outcome even with a faster response. I call the time of response acceptable, and their actions once they arrived were brisk and appropriate. I didn't observe any discernible errors.

Scene response average: A
Response started almost immediately after the accident, which none of us saw. People stayed calm enough to work the problem. No further avoidable complications occurred. Damage control effectively prevented things from getting worse. Expert help arrived and addressed the situation professionally.

In the aftermath, both of us are okay. Seeing something like this is never fun, but we're comfortable responding when things go wrong. On the whole, I'm pretty proud of how things went. You can't fix everything, but you can choose how you respond. You can prepare yourself for whatever might come, and then do your best. I can imagine small ways that I might have improved my performance, but I'm satisfied with how well I did. While emergenices are always unsettling, I'm also grateful for the chance to assess my response skills. This tells me that, when I'm reading articles about what to do in a crisis, my projections are pretty good. I'm not just imagining that I would stop and help to the best of my ability; I've actually done it. This isn't the first time, and it probably won't be the last.

EDIT 5/8/14: I'm pleased to say that my partner and I are still in working order, with no negative aftereffects from the event.  Sometimes a crisis really knocks people off balance.  This is one area where both preparedness and experience make a big difference.  If you know what to do during an emergency and how to take care of yourself afterwards, you are much less likely to suffer severe impact from it.  We did really well at this part of the process, and I'm proud of that.

You don't need superpowers. You don't need to be a hero or even a professional. You just need to be there, be willing to do something, and know how to apply whatever skills you have to the challenge at hand. You can make a difference by being yourself. And you never know when the universe will call on you to do exactly that.

Now go find somebody you care about, and hug them or call them on the phone, and tell them you love them. Nothing in life is guaranteed, and it's always good to appreciate what we have.

Hugs to you, too

Date: 2014-04-28 02:40 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
I'm glad both you and your partner are okay. One kid hugged other kid texted with a ((hug)) for later.

Does the area look as rural as the photograph implied? Mostly farmland? If so, your choice to stop and get involved MATTERED. A lot.

Take care of yourself and Doug. You've both done some HARD work.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-28 03:11 am (UTC)
finch: (Default)
From: [personal profile] finch
Thanks for writing about this; I hadn't really thought about emergency response magic before, but it'll be in the back of my mind if/when I find myself in a similar situation.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-01-17 11:54 pm (UTC)
acelightning: lightning bolt in a blue-purple sky, the word 'lightning' flashing (lightning)
From: [personal profile] acelightning
My skills involve manipulating electricity and related phenomena such as RF, which can also be userful in an emergency. While we were driving to California, crossing a relatively featureless chunk of Nevada, my son's car ran out of gas. He tried to phone the AAA, but we were out of cell phone range. So I encouraged my phone to punch a signal through, and reached the AAA. The lone AAA truck for the area was busy with a multi-car wreck twenty miles away, but he did eventually show up with a gas can, and enough fuel to get us to the next town.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-28 04:48 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
Oh my shards, Ysabet. *hugs*. So very many hugs. You and your partner have just impressed me greatly, even though I admit I know next to nothing about the magical aspects and freely admit I'm a bit of a skeptic. I almost didn't write that last, for fear of offending; that's my worldview, not a reflection on you. I am so very impressed with both of you. *hugs you!*
Edited Date: 2014-04-28 04:49 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-28 05:39 am (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
You guys bot' done real good, an' I's proud ta (e-)know ya. Includin' big, BIG t'anks for postin' dis an' de EXcellent advice derein.

Like Chantah, I is not aware of magic an' has got to remain neutral/aggy-gnostic about it, but if it's part of you' life, dat's how ya manage it.

Whew and wow, that is scary.

And I don't know why I went into comic-exaggerated hometown(NooYawk)ese, ... best guess: stress relief valve.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2014-04-28 07:00 am (UTC)
thnidu: Tom Baker's Dr. Who, as an anthropomorphic hamster, in front of the Tardis. ©C.T.D'Alessio http://tinyurl.com/9q2gkko (Dr. Whomster)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Yea, verily, I noticed that without noticing that I was noticing it... if you no(tice) what I mean. But I NEVER had a Noo Yawk accent, except that I can put one on with almost no effort. New York City, yes, a dialectologist or other sharpear will probably spot it, but nothing like that.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-28 07:11 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
If it's part of your life, that's how you manage it. ... Exactleeeeee. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-28 05:46 am (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Have you seen the comments on that article? Two so far, both "Posted 4 hours ago" ≈ 8:43 pm CDT ±. This is the second one:
Although I did not know either victim I'm touched by the horrible loss of 2 so young! My thoughts & prayers are with their families, friends & all who knew them. I remember that Landon Stuckey* won the Jefferson Award for public service as a 10-year-old cancer patient for taking toys that had been given him at Christmas by a community group & giving them to the children at the hospital where he was being treated. Even though his life ended in this accident today, he touched the lives of others.
* He was 16. It was his car that burned. — [personal profile] thnidu

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-28 03:53 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
Aieee. I'm glad you and your partner are OK.

Thank you - both for being there when someone/s needed it, and for writing this up. Fiction is one (excellent) thing, but an account of a nonfictional incident is helpful in different directions.

Your focus on Rule #1 is a Very, Very Good Thing.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-28 04:18 pm (UTC)
ext_132468: Photo of strawberry-filled daifuku (Default)
From: [identity profile] freshbakedlady.livejournal.com
I'm so glad you're both okay. Thank you for taking the time to document your experience. I'm generally good in a crisis, but my experience is predominantly based around veterinary medicine crises and some human medical ones. This was really informative and gave me good ideas for where I could use my skills in other situations and where I would do best to get out of the way. (Phones! Yipe, yipe! Run away!) I love that you mentioned using magical methods both as automatic buffs and once physical options have been exhausted--I do this too!

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-28 04:21 pm (UTC)
cmcmck: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cmcmck
Well done you.

People so often panic when faced with such a situation but you did what you could as well as you could and didn't place yourselves in danger so it's all good!

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-30 06:18 pm (UTC)
seekergeek: (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekergeek
Thank you for posting this. I found it very educational from both a practical as well as a magical viewpoint. Good food for thought!

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-28 04:10 am (UTC)
ext_3294: Tux (Default)
From: [identity profile] technoshaman.livejournal.com
I can't honestly blame you for hesitation. You are who and what you are, and you are *where* you are. Warranted mistrust of the peelers is a Big Problem in the .... whole world, really. It's going to be a long road getting that back.

Thank you!

Date: 2014-04-28 04:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> I can't honestly blame you for hesitation. <<

I appreciate hearing that from someone else. Partly I thought, what would I say to someone else like me who did what I did? That's exactly what I'd say: you did the best you could. I don't blame you for not doing better.

>> You are who and what you are, and you are *where* you are. <<

Sooth. I am comfortable with myself; I know my skills and my limits. I know better than to expect of myself more than I can reasonably give. I know what things make me an asset, and what make me a target, and how to act accordingly. These are things I can accept.

Well, fuck me sideways. If I'd been in Britain or Canada -- someone with lower violence than here and a more cohesive health system -- I wouldn't have taken two minutes. I would only have hesitated the irreducible amount due to "I am not a healer and loathe possibly being used as one get the fuck over it and move" which is a pretty compact packet by now, plus a smallish amount of "I'd rather not get involved with authorities anywhere ever" but minus the American "there is a non-zero chance that a call for help will bring doom instead of rescue." Say, a minute at the outside, half a minute or less if I rolled well.

This is the kind of shit that I can't accept, that I want to change, because it is bitterly wasteful to increase the damage beyond the minimum that nature creates just because humans somewhere are acting like baboons.

>> Warranted mistrust of the peelers is a Big Problem in the .... whole world, really. <<

Tragically so. I watch, so that I may know, and decide my actions based on current context.

>> It's going to be a long road getting that back. <<

Yes, it will. It has taken centuries to convince people to trust their money to banks. Now the banks are absconding with people's money, including exactly the kind of chicanery that people feared at first and used as grounds for keeping their money under the mattress, which is personally secure but not to the public good. It has taken centuries to convince people to trust the medical and scientific fields. Now those are so overtaken by financial interests and religious/political agendas that people no longer trust them to be safe and accurate. HUNDREDS of years worth of MILLIONS of people's ass-busting effort and a handful of flaming idiots have pissed it away in a few years. There are not enough 4-letter words in a toy store's worth of Scrabble sets to express the depth of my outrage over this. The last time rich religious idiots took over from science, nobody in Europe had running water for 500 years. They are back, and I DO NOT WANT to ride their fucking tilt-o-whirl of doom again.


And yet ... five or so random Americans, none of us panicked, and we did what we could. That is still a ray of hope.

Not to add to the fire, but...

Date: 2014-04-28 11:54 pm (UTC)
zeeth_kyrah: A glowing white and blue anthropomorphic horse stands before a pink and blue sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] zeeth_kyrah
DOJ moral enforcers might be behind the banks' craziness this time. And apparently bankers are PO'd about it, too: that's a lot of money they have to give up on.

I can agree with some of this "choke point", but certainly not all of it, and the whole thing is a walk WAY down the slippery slope.

At this rate, I give the US about 80 years before it's a full-on oligarchic dictatorship only pretending to be a democratic republic, just like all the third-world nations we've held supposed moral superiority over for the past hundred years or so.

Re: Not to add to the fire, but...

Date: 2014-04-29 02:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> DOJ moral enforcers might be behind the banks' craziness this time. And apparently bankers are PO'd about it, too: that's a lot of money they have to give up on. <<

That's appalling. I'm always outraged by telling people what they can do with their money, like the online handlers such as PayPal refusing to transit products they don't like.

Because here's the thing: it's not a moral issue, it's a MATH issue. Money only works as a universal system of exchange if it is "legal tender for all debts, public and private." If you throttle that, cash becomes less useful until it ceases to function. This might be considered a problem. Furthermore, cash only outcompetes other exchange models if there is enough of it to go around for everyone's needs. When there isn't, or if it all drains into a sump as is happening now, then the economy grinds to a halt. Or else a shadow economy rises, and we're seeing some of that starting. This is not a rational, responsible thing to do be doing. It is ruinously destructive. We already have supply-distribution problems where needs go unmet not for lack of materials or manpower, but because we can't fucking get our act together well enough to connect people who need work with jobs that need doing for supplies people need to survive.

Doesn't take much familiarity with history to predict the end of that story.

>> At this rate, I give the US about 80 years before it's a full-on oligarchic dictatorship only pretending to be a democratic republic, just like all the third-world nations we've held supposed moral superiority over for the past hundred years or so. <<

It already IS an oligarchy, in terms of statistical political function. It still claims to be a democratic republic, but that is false in the face of factual evidence. People are just really attached to their fantasy of America-that-was.

Me, fuck it, I'm stubborn. I'm not going to quit beating my wrench against the social engine just because black smoke is pouring in my face.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-28 07:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] the-vulture.livejournal.com
Based on my training and experiences as both a former industrial first aider and former classroom teacher, aside from the initial hesitation, you did well.

You're also very right about emotional first aid. I recall a training film that featured a situation in which a scuba diver coming up on a beach accidentally harpooned another beach goer with a spear gun. The film, of course, went into great detail about how to administer first aid to someone with a spear stuck in their chest, but it also, at least made brief mention that the accident victim may not be the only one requiring emotional support, as it cut to a scene of another beach goer giving support for the clearly distraught scuba diver.

Thank you!

Date: 2014-04-28 10:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> Based on my training and experiences as both a former industrial first aider and former classroom teacher, aside from the initial hesitation, you did well. <<

I really appreciate the feedback on that.

>> You're also very right about emotional first aid. <<

Another friend found me a flyer on this topic:
I think everyone should know the basics like this.

>> I recall a training film that featured a situation in which a scuba diver coming up on a beach accidentally harpooned another beach goer with a spear gun. The film, of course, went into great detail about how to administer first aid to someone with a spear stuck in their chest, but it also, at least made brief mention that the accident victim may not be the only one requiring emotional support, as it cut to a scene of another beach goer giving support for the clearly distraught scuba diver. <<

That's awesome. Emotional support is vital for damage control. You don't want, for example, the other diver to hyperventilate or shoot himself or wander into traffic.


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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