Shame is officially dead in the American public. We seem to be in a circle of bad behavior. There are no new sins, just new ways of committing them. Each day we see either an elected public official or a so-called celebrity caught in an unacceptable situation. Most recently, Rep. Anthony Weiner joined the ranks of online perverts. Disgraceful.
I call Alameda my hometown, and last week a 57 year old unstable man committed suicide in the beautiful Bay where I used to picnic and swim; this news normally worth only a small column in the Alameda Times Star newspaper. However he did this in full view of the Fire Department, the Police Department, and a beach full of onlookers. And no one tried to either talk him out of it or actually go into the water, in the hour he spent trying to decide to end his life. The efforts they used required no “hands on” endeavor. His mother, an 84 year old woman, unable herself to go in, frantically called and tried to stop him.
The excuses that were given from the fire personnel were that there was no one with training in water rescue, and that they would lose their jobs if they went after him. Alameda is an island for heavens sake, and the water that he drowned in was shallow out to about 200 feet. He waded fully clothed the entire way. The police dept. was afraid he might be on drugs or violent and would not take a chance.
When he was finally floating face down in the water, a young woman passing by ran in and hauled the 6’3″ 240 lb. man to the shore.
One has to wonder if our home was on fire in Alameda, or if a criminal act was being perpetrated, if our first responders would respond. We have all been so proud of our firemen, who do save so many lives and give unstintingly of their service. These few men on a small beach in Alameda blackened the name of their fellow firemen in the Alameda department, and made me ashamed of my hometown.