Hey, Officer Oinky: Welcome to our world!
Note in the article how Chicago's Director of Emergency Management, Ray Orozco, recites the typical “nothing to see behind that curtain, folks” routine by refusing to identify either of the two dispatchers or disclosing the length of their unpaid suspensions (if they had been cops who had murdered a citizen without reasonable cause, they'd be getting a paid vacation). It never fails to amaze me how tenaciously the State's bureaucrats work to defend their own, even while claiming to “punish” them, usually with paid vacations (a.k.a. “suspensions”), verbal reprimands, or other insults to the public. Equally breathtaking is the idea that a system rife with systemic corruption, mismanagement, and incompetence can somehow change its stripes in a split second and act like a paragon of efficiency and valor when one of the State's privileged elite needs its services.
Just how inept is Chicago's emergency response system in answering citizen calls for assistance? According to the Chicago Sun-Times' Fran Spielman in an article published in March of this year, backlogged 911 calls have simply been “disappearing” due to “glitches” in the service's computer system, which the Midwestern Corruption Capital spent more than six million dollars to upgrade. Of course technology has not been the only culprit; human negligence has plagued the system in equal measure, with disastrous results. Just ask Brigitte Biver, who did the responsible thing by calling the city's 311 (non-emergency response) number to report dangerous and illegal fireworks exploding over her home, only to be transferred to the city's 911 emergency number, one of whose operators laughed hysterically at her before telling her to call back later, hanging up on her without even taking her information. Biver apparently never filed a complaint with the city about this dangerously unprofessional behavior on the part of the city's first responders. She probably learned through life's experiences that doing so seldom ever leads to any form of corrective action and in any case probably didn't think that the events surrounding her call merited the extra wasted effort. One can only imagine what would have happened had she been calling about a life-or-death emergency.
But Ms. Biver's case was indeed a joke compared to a 2001 incident involving the death of 19-year-old Douglas Gant, an asthmatic teenager whose mother called 911 three times to get help as her son was gripped by an asthma attack that was suffocating him. Each time, 911 emergency services either did not answer the phone or, finally, after 26 rings of the phone, refused to provide Mrs. Gant with emergency CPR instructions for her son, who was in a state of respiratory arrest. The Gant family sued the city for $50 million dollars, using as precedent a 1997 civil lawsuit against the city in which survivors of a 59-year-old man who bled to death from a leg ulceration after Chicago Fire Department dispatchers twice refused requests for ambulance response successfully sued the city for $3.06 million.
Chicago's emergency services are hardly the worst in the nation, nor are the incidents referenced here aberrations. Still, it's worth noting that the powers-that-be are always willing not only to tolerate, but even actively encourage the status quo until one of their own suffers. If this doesn't further illustrate the essential need for privatized emergency services, in which profit-seeking first-responders either satisfy their customers or go out of business, then I don't know what does. Meanwhile, Officer Oinky appears to have quite successfully “fended for himself” while being chased by rival gangbangers, apparently suffering nothing more than a couple of bullet holes in his cruiser. Would the average Chicago citizen, disarmed by the State of Illinois's gun-grabbing government, have been so lucky?