16 April 2010

History Lessons

It's 2330 hours. No moon. Overcast. Darker than the inside of a cow.

"Your patient is a 32 year old male victim of a helicopter accident. He has severe trauma to the head and body. Meet the ambulance at **LZ4-3."
Before we launched our dispatcher told us he's a cop. What/why/how? We don't know.

We see the flashing lights from 20 miles away...
"Holy smokes! Look at that!"
In addition to the ambulance, there must be 20 Police cars from various agencies in and around the LZ... most of 'em with their emergency lights on.

My crew brings him out of the ambulance on their stretcher and load him onto ours. His head is covered with dressings, but blood is everywhere. This is a SERIOUS head injury.

We load him and I point the helicopter toward the Trauma Center. My crew fills in some of the blanks-
He's the observer from the helicopter. The pilot is dead on the scene. They were doing a surveillance on a drug bust, and apparently lost situational awareness while paying more attention to the scene on an infra-red CRT screen than to the heading, altitude, and airspeed of the helicopter. Out of control and heading to the ground, the aircraft ran into an electrical high-tension line and is totally destroyed.
The left side of his skull and much of his brain... gone.
We arrive at the Trauma Center and get him on the way to the Operating Room. I take off to refuel the helicopter and when I return, my crew informs me he's dead.
Another casualty in the war on drugs.
Two more heroes lost in that war.

Do we ever learn anything from history?
Didn't we declare war on another drug years ago... from 1920 to 1933?
How'd that war turn out?
How many died?
Think this one will turn out differently?


cj said...

So, what's the answer?

Legalize drugs? Look at the costs we pay because of alcohol abuse now. Do we want legal drugs added to that mix?

Oh, what's the big deal about a little pot? Remember the train engineer awhile back who went to work high and killed people?

But, we can control it like we do alcohol...

Really? We control alcohol? I've scrapped one to many bodies off the pavement to ever think we control alcohol.

I'm not eager to see legal pot or other substances added to that mix but I'm also able to admit what we're doing now doesn't seem to be working.

We glamorize alcohol and drugs in movies and on TV. Shows like Weeds and the one about the guy making Meth (can't remember what it's called) give tacit approval to the behavior.

No solutions from me. I'm not sure there are any.

Such a sad, sad run.


Capt. Schmoe said...

It does seem absurd that we subsidize alcohol, yet spend bajillions trying to eradicate marijuana. Some drugs, meth, heroin etc. are so inherently dangerous that they should not be legalized, but weed, I dunno.

As far as the workplace scenario, that can be regulated by conditions of employment - prohibition, testing etc.

The wholesale importation still needs to prohibited as does large scale distribution, but legalize small scale production, distribution and posession, take the profit away from the cartels - I think a lot of lives will be saved, on both sides of the frontera.

Tragic loss of life. Rule #1 Fly the aircraft.

cj said...

Capt. Schmoe -

You're proving my point in a way - how much more regulated can it be than being illegal? Yet, that engineering out east still went to work high and killed people.

Legalizing it isn't going to make the situation any better.


Linnnn said...

You are a teller, pitchpull, of great skill. Your descriptions and factual telling of this incident was riveting. You provoke excellent dialogue as well, although I cannot wade in with an opinion other than to say it is all a frustrating element of the human condition, and we can't regulate all of our human failings.

Greybeard said...

It's a mutual admiration society!
Thank you Linnnn.
And for everyone else's entertainment and education, Linnnn's blog is here.

camerapilot said...

Your visual writing style reminds me of Joseph Wambaugh.
Prohibition, does it work? History has that answer.

Greybeard said...

Thanks CP... High praise indeed. But in the back of my head I'm thinkin', "Someone out there told William Hung he was the next Michael Jackson."
I promise this-
Y'all keep coming back, and I'll keep trying to improve my writing skills.

cj said...

Dang you, GB! You were determined to make me cry, weren't you. I avoid the video about Edie and then I go over to Linnn's place and end up crying anyway.

Thanks for that.


camerapilot said...

I think you ought to write a book about what you know.
There was this gal who moved to Cross Creek, Florida. Her husband hated the place, she loved it.
She wrote about Cross Creek and what she knew, put it in a book titled "The Yearling", won a Pulitzer Prize.
Your aviation stories ring like a bell on a still night.

jinksto said...

I'm with CJ on this one... I just don't know.

On the one hand it makes sense, the train engineer, and any number of other examples pop up. It's dangerous to be purposefully out of ones mind and doing things that endanger others whether you're driving a train, a car or an airbus.

On the other hand. If I'm sitting at home and have no intention of driving for the next 8 hours or so why shouldn't I be allowed to get a little sideways with the world. I can pour a rum and coke or I can roll a joint and zone out for a while. I don't have a problem with that and I do it about once a month or so... the rum and coke anyway. That train driver could just as easily have shown up to work drunk or high on nyquil. We even say that making it "legal" justifies it's use with teens which I see as a silly argument. Marijuana use is too prevalent for prohibition to be working so kids are going to find out about it anyway. I'd much rather have teens at my house see me take a sip of rum and coke and then later mention that I'm not able to drive to the stop-and-go for more Dorittos because I've been drinking. Teach responsibility, don't preach it...

On still another hand, 54% of the population are morons so my argument doesn't hold water which brings us full circle.

cj said...

Jinksto -

I once attended a seminar on drunk driving enforcement where they mentioned an experiment that had recently been conducted.

In the course of the experiment, they gave a group of judges and prosecutors enough alcohol to get them to the impaired level - which at the time was a BAC of .07.

When asked if they thought they could drive in their condition, they said, to a person, no, they were too drunk.

They were then given more alcohol to drink unti they were at a .10, which was the DUI level.

Almost every single one, at the DUI level, believed they were just fine to drive.

My point is this: not everyone sitting around home smoking a joint would be inclined to stay home. Same as with drinkers.

Again, no easy answers. I see major flaws with most suggestions. About the only thing that might work is education - pounding it into their heads young that they don't want to drink or do drugs but Hollywood would never go for it.


Greybeard said...

Let me jump in with an analogy to try to help illustrate the point I was trying to make:

Handgun violence in the U.S...
Where is it worst?
What kind of hangun laws do they have there?
Can we pass even stricter laws to rectify the problem?

What we're doin' ain't workin'.
Let's try something else, and in the process let's try to keep someone from playing the flawed system so that they have more money than their country's treasury,
(Pablo Escobar)
shall we?

camerapilot said...

I work with people from all over the world. I ask them what they think about our judicial system. They all say the same thing, your system is too lax and the punishment, too weak.
Will harsh punishment work? Even though I won't be going to Bangkok soon I won't be chewing gum there......
Check out Bangkok Laws. I'm cringing and I live 11,000 miles away.

camerapilot said...

Excuse please,
Meant to say Singapore, not Bangkok.

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

cj and I see it all the time. The cost in human lives and property. But what is the alternative. People want an "alternative." But be specific: what is it? Simply legalization? I'm not with that. If you legalize it and tax it, and have others manufacture it, harvest it, there are still going to be those persons who want it for a lesser price or free. I'm not saying I have The Answer; I'm saying sweeping legalization isn't quite it.

And BTW, when I read of your response to a helo accident, I knew there wouldn't be survivors. The last two deputies were killed in an EC-120 accident.



ASM826 said...

This doesn't have anything to do with drugs, one way or the other. This has to do with keeping your head up and flying, first and foremost. At best, one person should have been monitoring the ground while the other flew the aircraft.

A tragic mistake, and a loss of two good men.