This is for those who are clueless


– promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

As many of you have read, I created quite a stir on John Cole’s Balloon-Juice Blog.

While people thought the whole “balloon boy” situation funny, I, on the other hand, did not.  Reasoned arguments failed and as the comments went on, it got confrontational.  I ended up sending my copies of my credentials to John Cole and Dougj.  

In addition, Balloon-Juice decided to take a poke at me about html formatting.  If your biggest bitch is format, you are in trouble.

And this leads me to get indepth on exactly why this entire situation isn’t funny…

1) Let’s make up a publicity stunt with a balloon and a 6 year-old kid in danger.

It grabs headlines.  We’ll be in the news.  The nations focus will be on OUR family.  Can’t you just see the hollywood deals on the horizon?

Here’s the reality.  Filing a false police report is a crime.  The person just isn’t charged and jailed, their family becomes responsible for charges generated in the rescue effort.  I heard it off-hand, so I don’t know how accurate it is, but, I’m hearing as much as a million dollars in damages and restitution plus around 6-8 years in prison.

One action will bankrupt a family.  One action will put the father in prison for years.  The mother will now, for all intents and purposes, be acting as a single mother trying to raise three kids.

Worse, this family, having done reality shows, have started raising their kids that you can lie, generate a false emergency, and its ok because you are simply trying to get those big bucks and a show.

This is a family tragedy based on stupidity.  But, it’s a tragedy none-the-less, because there is a chance that this will break up the entire family.

2) This publicity stunt pulled state-wide resources and National Guard resources.

Once the balloon went up, law enforcement went on the information given — boy in a balloon.  They then used every available asset to try and track the balloon.  They had to get numerous county agencies involved.  They had to get the state agencies involved.  It took someone in the Governors mansion giving the OK for the National Guard to mobilize a helicopter.  And you have every one of these individuals for two and a half hours hoping for the best while trying to steel themselves for the worst.

3) Ah, it was a scam… let’s laugh…

Yes, it was a scam.  The cops didn’t know it.  The EMT’s that were coordinated to be on scene didn’t know it.  The National Guard didn’t know it.  So, for these folks, there was no joke.

Let me ram this home…

Our shift worked off-duty providing security at the football stadium.  I was Sergeant of the shift.  An elderly man went into cardiac arrest.  One of my officers got there in seconds and had started CPR within minutes.  EMT’s arrived withing minutes and took over doing CPR.  He was called “DOA” enroute to the hospital.  I was devastated for two weeks.

When I was on the road, our motto was “everyone goes home”.  Civilian, cop, didn’t matter.  We didn’t lose anyone.  But, that day, we did.  It wasn’t due to anyone’s fault.  It didn’t matter.  We lost one.  I was pulled from the road for a week because I was so devastated.

Now, put that mentality into all of the cops chasing the balloon.  Put that mentality into the EMT’s.  The helicopter pilots.  All who were steeling themselves for the possibility that a kid could be dead.

Well, this doesn’t penetrate into some peoples minds.  Instead, lets mock people who simply aren’t part of our little cadre or clique.  Let’s put their name up as an example to others; if you don’t “go along to get along”, you will be the brunt of our hammer.

This was a situation DESIGNED to be bad.  A situation that held a lot of risk, for the kid, for the family.  And when it backfired, they are now figuring that out.

I’ve yet to see anything funny about it.


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    • TMC on October 20, 2009 at 03:42

    This has to be the poster family for dysfunctional. I have had three “careers” all involving response to emergencies, the last one the longest, Emergency Medicine, prior to that I was in the military, a NYC Police Officer and then a Paramedic, so I have a clear understanding of the mental response to this. These great people put their lives on the line to save others.

     The situation also put the emergency responders at high risk, fortunately, as far as physical risk, the child was safe. How many times have we read of tragic accidents that result in the death of emergency personnel responding to calls?  I’ve had several god friends who died responding to false alarms and fake 911 calls. The perpetrators, when and if they are ever caught, get a slap on the wrist. That is not good enough. Anyone making a false report, whether it results in the injury or death of anyone, should be prosecuted.

     I just hope these kids aren’t too badly damaged by these two amoral individuals.


  1. It’s an indictment of the captialist bottom line mindset.  The oligarchy, bosses, whathaveyou have sold us on the idea that anybody can be rich and that there are very few (if any) bounds to be stayed within.  The society as a whole has bought that mindset.  Balloonboy is just a symptom.

  2. A contrived emergency given contrived coverage while REAL emergencies are going on around us ALL OVER THE PLACE and being ignored.

    First responders are given the green light to develop cynical attitudes by the press continuing to focus on this kid who called “balloon wolf”.

    This whole thing reeks of psyop the more I see it.

  3. I joined just a little over a week ago, and ever since I’ve wracked my brains on what to post as my first essay. There are so many good writers here and so many issues covered it’s tough for a noob to come up with something new.

    In an effort to get my feet wet and to find out the ins and outs of publishing an essay, I photshopped together a somewhat inane pictorial (I won’t even call it an essay, because it wasn’t really) attempt to make people at least smile a little, and it poked fun at the “Balloon Boy” incident, although I turned it around to be about President Obama. After I published it I thought to myself, “That’s kinda dumb, maybe I shouldn’t have done it” but I left it up anyway, not even thinking it could offend anyone.

    The next day I read your essay and you opened my eyes to a point of view that I hadn’t even considered. You see, I agree with you. Although I have never been involved with any of the fields of service that you discussed, my wife has. She has been an EMT and a police dispatcher in the past and I have to agree that your point of view is valid. After reading your post and also the link you supplied, I immediately deleted my essay and I ask that you excuse my noobistic enthusiasm. Thanks…


  4. I spent about 9 years in emergency service in a small city in PA, I’ve run down I-80 doing mach plus speeds with critical patients and done less than 10 mph with MIs getting CPR and I’ll tell ya anybody putting responders at risk for some bull shit stunt deserves what ever can be thrown at them.  

    And to those who laugh at it: Your idiots.  every time a first responder, cop, firefighter, helo crew etc. deploys they put themselves at risk.  It doesn’t matter if its a prank, flying a copter or running with lights & sirens is dangerous to them and the public at large.  

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