Politics & The First Responder… It’s Killing Us!

By Sean Riley

Wow…  Look at what’s going on. I say this all of the time and I will continue to say this and those that work for us and work with us witness unfortunately everyday…  Politics, administrators and the government kill (literally) our first responders!!!  Before I go further let me say that in order for my life to get better I had to look within and change myself before I could change anything else in this world!!!

As I sit back and watch what’s happening to and within this great country it reminds me of my behavior when I was in addiction.  No mistaking it because I lived it, I demonstrated it and it almost killed me and others.  Makes one think doesn’t it? Let me give you some examples.  The addict in active addiction will try and blame others, call others horrible names, make up things that are not true, throw tantrums, resort to bullying, minimizing their actions, demonstrate and protest just how wrong others are and they will go to great lengths just to prove it and many other bizarre roles which they would have never taken on except to avoid what’s really wrong…  Themselves.

As many of you have witnessed through the mainstream and social media there are many reports and posts that demonstrate the above mentioned behavior, I think we can all agree on that.  When is it alright that those that demand free and open speech and exercise it and when others do and it’s in opposition to their beliefs it is then suppressed, bullied, ridiculed and met with physical violence.  You know who does this, those in active addiction.  Is it fair for me to call everyone in America an addict, probably not, is it fair for me to say the behaviors I’ve seen (on both sides) are addict behavior???  You bet your a$$ it is.

So…  Politics and the first responder.  We tend to be creatures of habit and change is difficult for almost all of us.  Whether people realize it or not and I think most of the people in this field know, getting help for our first responders out there suffering is difficult at times and met with great resistance due to the fact that broken systems are in place and those in charge can be resistant to change.  It costs money, it takes training, it takes time but do we invest in broken systems or do we invest in people???  The easy answer is to invest in what is already in place.

Let’s look at that.  The Suicide, substance abuse, divorce and domestic violence rates are higher for first responders than they are in the general population for the most part. How is this possible?  They are hired from the general population, they are evaluated on many different levels which many people cannot meet the requirements to become a first responder.  Yet somewhere along the line this population tends to become “sicker” than the general population, the numbers prove it.  How is this possible, are we hiring the wrong people? I don’t think so, I believe the old antiquated systems in place along with politics, old-thinking and red tape administrations that are conditioning our first responders to develop negative behaviors and coping mechanisms is creating a broken system.  These systems set in motion by politics, administrations and red tape are killing the people tasked with saving all of us.

The last time I saw the behavior from others that I am seeing around the country was when I was in substance abuse treatment.  Nothing would ever change for us unless we changed ourselves.  I had to take responsibility for my own actions, no one else, I had to look into the mirror because that’s the person who was sick. It is often said…  What we don’t like in others is often the things we don’t like about ourselves. Own it!!!

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One thought on “Politics & The First Responder… It’s Killing Us!

  1. Sean,
    Feel free to use my work, Toxic Boss Blues in any way that will be helpful to the cause. I am willing to personally help as you see fit as well. Best always! Capt. Steve Neal (Ret.) author of the book Toxic Boss Blues and numerous articles on this subject.

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