I’ve been irritated at the term, “First Responders” since I first heard it, I think in connection with the attacks on the World Trade Center. But until now, I couldn’t put my finger on why the term annoyed me.
Because, quite simply, it eliminates the distinction between firefighters and paramedics on the one hand, and police on the other.
When one hears the term, “Firefighter,” one thinks of someone who will risk his life to save another; of someone with skills and training in a vital, life-saving science. Even those of us on the far Left, when we hear of someone shooting at a Firefighter, have an instant reaction of outrage and disgust. The term “First Responder” is also used to talk about paramedics; everything I’ve said about firefighters goes for them, as well.
But the police? Really? Seriously? You’re going to lump the police in with those whose most important job is saving lives?
The State is a body of armed men whose job it is preserve property relations–more precisely, to preserve property. They have guns in order, above all, to make sure that the poor remain poor, and the rich remain rich.
Of course it is the case that firefighters have the job of preserving property, and that police save lives. But in neither case is that their primary function as we think of them.
And of course, there is no doubt that some individuals joined the police force from pure motives, or that some of them have risked their lives to rescue innocent people. Not the point. Those of us who look for the revolutionary transformation of society–of the destruction of private property–as the only way forward for humanity will, quite naturally, look upon the police as the enemy. It is uncertain which elements of the armed forces will come over to support a revolution; but we know the police will be on the other side. We know they’ll be shooting at us. They’ve done so before, many times. I’ll put it another way: historically, when the army has been ordered to shoot down innocent civilians, soldiers have sometimes balked; the police have not. That’s their job.
To lump paramedics and firefighters in with them as if they were the same thing strikes me as nothing less than an obscenity.