cushy job, my ass
The article, by Douglas Gantenbein, is called Stop calling firefighters "heroes."
I'm going to blockquote the same parts that Chuck did, because it's the meat of the article:
When California Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger toured the state's catastrophic wildfires a few days ago, he uttered the phrase that now accompanies any blaze as surely as smoke: "The firefighters are the true heroes."
It's understandable why he said that. As fires go, the California blazes are scary. They are moving incredibly quickly through dried brush and chaparral that practically explode when they ignite, threatening the life of any firefighter nearby. Steven L. Rucker, a 38-year-old firefighter and paramedic for the town of Novato, was killed working to save houses.
Elsewhere, thousands of firefighters have worked for hours on end in 95-degree heat, dressed in multiple layers of fire-resistant clothing, sometimes without enough food or water because of the long and shifting supply lines.
Given all that, it may seem churlish to suggest that firefighters might not deserve the lofty pedestal we so insistently place them on. We lionize them, regard them as unsullied by base motivations, see them as paragons of manliness (and very tough womanliness). They're easily our most-admired public servants, and in the public's eye probably outrank just about anyone except the most highly publicized war veterans. But the "hero" label is tossed around a little too often when the subject is firefighting. Here's why:
Firefighting is a cushy job
Firefighting isn't that dangerous
Firefighters are adrenalin junkies
Firefighters have excellent propaganda skills
Firefighters are just another interest group
None of this is meant to dispute that firefighters are valuable to the
communities in which they work. They are. But our society is packed with unheralded heroes—small-town physicians, teachers in poverty-stricken neighborhoods, people who work in dirty, dangerous jobs like coal-mining to support a family. A firefighter plunging into a burning house to retrieve a frightened, smoke-blinded child is a hero. But let's save the encomiums for when they are truly deserved, not when they just show up to do their job.
In each of those reasons he states, he goes on to explain himself. I'll take a few minutes to explain myself, and why I think Mr. Gantenbein is way off base.
Excerpt:People do not become firefighters for the money. They don't do it on a whim, or to get the chicks. It takes a special kind of person to choose to do this for a living, or to choose to volunteer their time in the local firehouses.
How easy it must be for a guy who writes magazine articles for a living to sit there and talk about firemen having a "cushy" job. It's hard to believe that this man who wrote the article spent so much time with firefighters.
Either he didn't learn anything, or he's just looking to get people to buy his book which, interestingly, just came out two months ago.