It is getting a lot uglier in New York over social media use by those in public safety. Today’s article by Candace M. Giove and Brad Hamilton in the New York Post takes the problem of Social Media Assisted Career Suicide Syndrome (SMACSS) in FDNY EMS beyond the fire commissioner’s son and the lieutenant with the racist tweets.
PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO THE FOLLOWING: My prediction is this article will be national news by tomorrow and will have reverberations across the country on the use of social media by fire, EMS and police. If you have a similar problem in your own department, my suggestion is to take care of it now before it becomes news. There will soon be reporters everywhere looking for this.
Here’s how the article begins:
The Bad Lieutenant is part of a sick clique.
In addition to uploading racist rants and Nazi nonsense, EMS Lt. Timothy Dluhos also posted pictures of patients, including one of a heavy-set woman with a snarky caption Photoshopped over her wheelchair: “Wide Load.”
Publicizing photos of the ill, injured or dead without permission is a violation of city rules and federal privacy laws, but some first responders can’t resist snapping shots of people they’re supposed to be helping.
The photos of grisly corpses, gruesome wounds or humiliating circumstances provide fodder for mocking and gawking.
You may recall last Sunday’s story where reporter Candace Giove confronted Lt. Dluhos about his hate filled tweets. That’s when Lt. Dluhos, who is now suspended without pay, broke down and cried over the possibility of losing his job. Since then people claiming to be supporters of the lieutenant have targeted Candace Giove with a series of hate filled messages and death threats. Here is an excerpt from the New York Post article by Brad Hamilton:
On Wednesday night, Footer and P-Rock, hosts of an online radio program called “The Red Show,” poured out their admiration for Dluhos.
“I love him,” gushed P-Rock. “He’s a brave motherf–ker, but in the end he’s going to come out fine . . . He’s been cornered as a racist, and that’s not true. Tim’s our guy.”
“The guy’s getting railroaded here,” remarked Footer.
Dluhos called in to thank the radio show for its support. The two hosts then took pot shots at Giove. “Like I said to that dumb c—, ‘He’s out there saving lives!’ ” said Footer.
Then the hosts tried to guess the reporter’s ethnicity: “For me she looked a little yellow, like Middle Eastern. I don’t think she should be allowed to carry a backpack.”
Social Media Assisted Career Suicide Syndrome (SMACSS) seems to be a big problem these days. A week after exposing the tweets that resulted in the resignation from FDNY EMS of the son of Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano, The New York Post is at it again. This time they confronted EMS Lt. Timothy Dluhos about a series of ”racist, sexist, anti-Semitic and anti-Asian comments” on his Twitter feed. Lt. Dluhos broke down and cried.
Susan Edelman and Candace M. Giove wrote they met up with Dluhos on Friday in front of his home. Dluhos is 34-years-old and assigned to the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn. He told the reporters he was sorry and his life is ruined.
In his tweets, Dluhos referred to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg as “King Jew” and “King Heeb”.
* “I’m going to give up racial insults for Lent,” he tweeted Feb. 12. “Jesus that didn’t [last] too long. F–ken chinks can’t drive.”
* “Hahaha! I work with the coloreds,” he wrote in a Feb. 8 exchange. “For 12 years so that s–t just run off on me.”
* “Too bad he didn’t have rabies or AIDS and too bad he didn’t bite King Heeb’s face off,” he tweeted on Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, recalling when the groundhog Staten Island Chuck nipped Bloomberg at an event at the Staten Island Zoo.
* A gold Nazi-era pin with a German U-boat and a swastika is “my most prized artifact,” he boasted on Jan. 30.
* He repeatedly Photoshopped an image of an unnamed black teen — putting a Hitler mustache on one photo and a surgical mask on another with the caption, “I’s be a doxter.”
It comes less than a week after The Post exposed the vile racist and anti-Semitic tweets posted by Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano’s own EMT son. Joseph Cassano, 23, who quit the next day.
Early video from a house fire in Los Angeles: A neighbor is rolling as LAFD stretches the first lines at 1324 N. Sunderland Street in Echo Park on Friday. Check out the Fire Critic if you want to know more about the fire. Speaking of the Fire Critic, Rhett totally dissed me, and along with his panel of so-called experts or judges, went against my wishes and made STATter911.com a finalist in his Blog of the Century contest. My general philosophy is much like Grouch Marx’s (someone in Roanoke please explain who that was to Rhett), and I never want to join a club that would have someone like me as a member. That said, since they didn’t go for the nomination I suggested, I am not backing any candidates (probably smart considering my dismal record of being 0 for 2 in that arena). Click here to vote your conscience (or whoever offers you the most money). And next time Rhett, do away with the primaries and the hype and let the people speak.
Firefighter Mark Falkenhan to be buried today: If live streaming is available of the funeral for Lutherville VFC’s Mark Falkenhan we will, of course, have it here. For those attending the funeral at 11:00 this morning in Baltimore, click here for updated details.
Fire chief gets a lot of praise for failure: Typical negative spin from the reporter. The comments coming in to STATter911.com indicate that Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department Acting Chief Mark Bashoor showed a lot of leadership completing the CPAT course on Saturday. While he went into a little overtime, our readers thought it was an excellent showing for the 45-year-old chief. I think the next step, if we can get an EMS task force to standby, should be a regional chiefs competition (notice Statter isn’t pushing for a washed-up reporters event). Click here for the video of Chief Bashoor in action. It’s well worth seeing.
Two-alarm townhouse fire with flashover & three injured firefighters: We have video from Paul Lof and fireground audio from AlertPage.net of Saturday’s fire in Springfield, Virginia that critically injured a resident and left a trio of firefighters with minor injuries. Click here for our coverage.
Carrying Josephine Harris once again: We mentioned last week the passing of Josephine Harris, the woman who survived the crumbling of the WTC North Tower with the crew of FDNY’s Ladder 6. On Friday, those same firefighters who carried Ms. Harris to safety, carried their guardian angel once again. Click here to read and watch the story.
Come see me: I had a great and informative time in Phoenix last week for the IAFF-IAFC Labor Management Initiative gathering. I plan to write more about that in the coming days. Next month come join me in Virginia Beach, Virginia for the Virginia Fire Chief’s Association 2011 Mid-Atlantic Expo & Symposium (February 24-27). Click here for details and to register for the event.
UPDATE – FD to change logo: One of the topics I talked about in Phoenix is how you should deal with the press when there is an issue involving a department’s reputation. A Long Island fire company did the opposite of what I suggest and stretched the bad news into a multi-day story. After first threatening and running from the press, the Elmont FD has now decided to change its logo that included a version of the Confederate flag. Here’s the update. The outcome of this was quite predictable. The pattern is repeated daily. Learn from the mistake. Here’s my earlier assessment of the situation.
FossilMedic blows a kiss to our friends in NC: Nice little write-up by Mike Ward at Firegeezer about three lensmen from NC, Mike Legeros, Lee Wilson and Jeff Harkey. These guys work hard to grab the shots and keep people informed about the fire world in Raleigh, Wake County and beyond. Check it out. Okay Ward, now that you’ve made nice, let’s do a little investigating and find out what’s really going on. Don’t these three seem just a little too competent, talented and pleasant?
No jail time for firefighter who spooked herd: The plea deal apparently kept UK Firefighter Julian Lawford out of jail in that now infamous case of Lawford trying to drive his rig through a herd of cows crossing the road. The stampede left a farmer dead. Lawford was heading to a car crash with a child trapped. Here’s the latest.
No indictment against driver of vehicle in wreck that killed two Virginia firefighters: I missed this while traveling last week, but IronFiremen.com’s Willie Wines did not. A grand jury did not hand up an indictment against the driver of a vehicle connected to last summer’s tragic crash in Rocky Mount. Click here.
Manhole not for horses: Firefighters in Houston spent part of Saturday trying to rescue a horse that fell into an uncovered manhole. The horse had to be put down. Here’s the story.
Similar problem in Utah with much better results: On Sunday, Saratoga Springs firefighters rescued a young girl who fell into an uncovered manhole. Read the details.
Congratulations to some of the people who protect me: Fairfax County firefighters from Station 408 in Annandale received a Liberty Mutual Firemark Award for a fire a year ago this week. Check out the story from VAFireNews.com.
FDNY in action: The New York Daily News currently has this nicely shot fire video from Bedford-Stuyvesant posted on its website. But no date or exact location is provided that I can see.