Notes from the Peanut Gallery

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Heckler story "revisited" in The Brackett News

On April 17th The Brackett News' front page story read, "Heckler hassles firefighters on hose line." The story goes on to say that a BVFD member heckled KCFR during a structure fire. This week, in the April 24 issue, on the very back page in the classifieds under "Corrections" the paper informs us that said heckler is not a BVFD member anymore and hasn't been for at least three months.

I've talked to a few people who were at the fire, including said heckler. It's true that he has not been a Brackettville VFD member since at least January of this year. He volunteers with another department and, for various reasons, he had to resign his position with BVFD when he began volunteering with another department. No criticism there, how many fires can one man fight?

I don't know what KCFR has to say on the matter. The accused heckler says he offered his services, was told his help wasn't needed, offered again, was told no again, and that he then moved back to where he was asked to so that he would be out of the way. He also pointed out that this, ultimately, was not a polite exchange from either side but that he certainly did not interfere or "heckle" KCFR while they were trying to suppress the fire. According to him, once KCFR made it quite clear that in no way, shape, or form would they accept his help--that he got the heck out of the way. He claims his only comment at all to any KCFR members after he stepped back out of the way was to point out that they couldn't get the fire hydrant open because one of the members was turning the valve the wrong way. Is it heckling to point out such a very important fact at the scene of a fire?

Beyond that, according to him, he said nothing. According to another witness at the fire who was close enough to hear the exchange between the "heckler" and KCFR, the so-called heckler offered his services, was refused because of insurance reasons, offered again stating that he wasn't worried about injury to himself and wouldn't press for compensation if he were hurt but was refused again. This witness, who preferred not to be named, says he saw no heckling of any kind that evening. He also pointed out that he wasn't near our former BVFD member throughout the evening and can't vouch for all of his actions at the fire.

I can hardly blame KCFR for saying no to the offer (the liability probably just isn't worth it for a county run department to take on help from unknown strangers at the scene of a fire), nor can I blame our former BVFD member for wanting to help--especially considering his training and experience. KCFR could have been much more professional in saying no, and our former member could have turned the other cheek when he was treated rudely instead of being rude right back. But, hey, stuff happens. And a structure fire is a very stressful place to be for all fire fighters.

I'd like to know what kind of heckling people are claiming our former member was doing and I'd like to know which people are claiming to have witnessed it. I haven't heard a peep about that. Speaking of lack of source material, KCFR still fails to point out under what statutes they have established their department. The powers that be still seem content to disregard our points of law on the matter and refuse to offer points of law that disprove ours.

As long as the citizens of Brackettville, TX continue to allow themselves to be told what to believe, they'll continue to believe what they are told. I encourage everyone in Brackettville to press their city and county leaders to prove what they say to be true and to conduct business according to Texas legal statutes. If you aren't being shown the truth, then you must seek it out for yourselves.

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