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Small bump

Friday 4/14/23

Essentially a guest entry. Just thought this was a very thoughtful, articulate letter that someone sent me after reading the entry on here about Nashville, publishing, and "Fitty."



Last Tuesday, I looked out the 3rd floor window of Shibles Hall while my students were watching a video Ice Kings about Mount Saint Charles HS in Rhode Island who won 26 Consecutive Class A Boys Hockey Titles--a record unlikely to ever even be approached in the future no less surpassed. Across the road I saw a UMaine Police car, a University Ambulance, and an Orono firetruck. I also noticed people assembling outside Neville Hall where my office is located.

Because my son is a former Orono and now Augusta Paramedic/Firefighter, I knew it was not an active shooter but probably a smoke detector or alarm malfunction. Still my heart was in my throat as I thought about the young people whose eyes were on the video screen unaware of what was going on across the parking lot.

In my time as a volunteer rural firefighter and first responder in Hartland CT, who completed Firefighter One training in my forties, I went to some structure fires, chimney fires, and the occasional brush or forest fire. Most of the time our calls were for motor vehicle accidents. I had to remove a body burned beyond recognition from a car that burst into flames on impact with a tree, used the Jaws of Life to extricate people, help set up a landing zone on a country ball field for a Life Start helicopter, but nothing prepared me for one accident along Route 20 which goes for more than ten miles through state forest and MDC watershed lands--no houses or cross streets. It was a weeknight. Wednesday, I think, about 11:00 PM when a westbound Subaru Justy rolled over three times ejecting all three teenaged occupants.

Two were badly road burned but were in an ambulance well within the Golden Hour and both survived. The third did not have a mark on him but I found no pulse nor did the EMTs who arrived just after I did. I recall perfectly the kid's thin mustache and brand new sneakers.

When he was rolled over the funeral home driver and EMTs noticed the small bump where he'd broken his neck. I did not sleep much that night wondering why the kids were out joyriding that late on a school night, and how awful it would be for the parents to be awakened and called on to identify the body.

What's different is the kids made the poor choice for whatever reason(s). Kids in school--at any age--are victims of a society that does not have the courage to stop the slaughter. I hunt, but I am a firm believer in much tighter guns laws an assault rifle band and magazine restrictions.

Fitty is an incredible piece. I believe it will be published and it will make a difference. Just wish I could make it so.

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