The Corner

Who Are We?

Somewhere in today’s Impromptus, I comment on a bizarre story out of Louisiana — although not so bizarre these days. A church wanted to give away coffee and water along Mardi Gras parade routes. But they were forbidden, because they didn’t have the proper permits. (Plural!) Rules and regs and all that.

A reader sends me an update on a story out of Britain. The story is almost unbearable to read, in my opinion. Last year, a man named Simon Burgess fell unconscious in a model-boat pond. And

. . . as an inquest heard last week, he lay floating face-down for more than half an hour while firemen, police and paramedics watched and did nothing.

The reason? Even though they could all swim, the first fire crew to arrive hadn’t been ‘trained’ to enter water higher than ankle-deep. Instead they waited for ‘specialists’ to arrive to retrieve his body. They had decided Mr Burgess must surely be dead because he had been in the water for ten minutes. When a policeman decided to go in anyway, he was ordered not to. A paramedic was also told not to enter the water because he didn’t have the right ‘protective’ clothing and might be in breach of the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992.

PPEaWR 1992! Let me ask an old question — a rhetorical one, but not an illegitimate one: Who are we?

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