"Star Wars," Jason Sheehan, June 5
Jason Sheehan is one who wants to believe, and I remember how disappointed my nine-year-old was when she learned the truth about Santa. The flaws inherent to the, ahem, reasoning that goes into the modern religion of UFOlogy are more obvious today than ever before. To those not blinded by their faith in LGMs (Little Gray Men), anyway.
Before the worldwide commercial availability of small, inexpensive imaging devices such as tiny still and video cameras now available even in the ubiquitous cell phone, earth's skies were awash in UFO traffic. Curiously, the space-alien tourist trade dried up just when this new imaging technology became widely available. Coincidence? Conspiracy? Probably some of both. Indeed, True Believers have come up with a bewildering assortment of new, complex conspiracy theories to explain why even though half the world's population now carries some sort of camera everywhere they go, so few new, convincing, first-, second- or third-encounter photos are showing up. Fortunately, every once in a while, they entertain us with laughable fakery such as the "peeking Gray" being peddled by huckster Stan Romanek, images that look as if they were produced by a couple of pubescent pranksters who got hold of Dad's Bell & Howell Super-8, circa 1967. Still, it's proof enough that We Are Not Alone for credulous rubes such as Jeff Peckman, who have more money in their trust funds than brains in their skulls.
Denver Paramedic Division
And that's all good fun until a sap like Peckman manages to get public money spent on his religion. Curiously, a few years ago, when President Bush suggested that religious organizations might more efficiently manage some public-welfare funds, the ACLU and other rabidly anti-religious "public interest" groups landed on the idea like a fleet of flying saucers on final approach to Roswell. I guess some religions are more equal than others.
"State of Emergency," Jared Jacang Maher, June 5
I was a paramedic trainee in the '80s and had to run calls with Denver Health paramedics. We never called them "The God Squad" — we saw them all as self-absorbed egotists whose medicine consisted of abuse, both physical and mental. We learned more about "what not to do" than what to do with their medicine. If we had treated patients like they did when we got back to our home services, we would have been fired. It wasn't until recently that the Colorado health department had the ability to investigate complaints. But the CDPHE has oversight only over the certification of EMTs and trauma centers. So if it is a service-delivery issue, the CDPHE has no oversight. Even the ambulance-licensure process is done by a county. Fox-watching-the-henhouse mentality.
Name withheld on request
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A couple of years ago, in the middle of the night, I experienced a severe internal hemorrhage, complete with projectile vomiting of blood. I knew I was in very deep trouble. At the time, I only lived a half-mile from the emergency room — but I knew from experience with other friends and relatives that the ambulance would take far too long. I grabbed my keys and drove myself to the emergency room.
At that time, I worked closely with the medical community and knew that ambulances were few and sometimes not available. I had to risk my life and that of others in order to get to adequate health care as soon as possible. I was later told that had I been three to five minutes later, there would have been nothing they could do to save me — I had lost too much blood. Waiting for an ambulance or paramedics (if there were any available) would have been a death sentence.
While they did manage to save me (and the staff was heroic in all that they did), it did add insult to injury that my hospital wristband had my name in very small print at the bottom — but at the top, in large, bold print, were the words "Uninsured — Self-Pay." How sad that this information was more important than my name or health problem.
Name withheld on request