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The definition of the popular idiom, judge, jury and executioner, as told by Alea Roach is “if someone is said to be the judge, jury, and executioner, it means they are in charge of every decision made, and they have the power to be rid of whomever they choose.”  It seems that fire service is full of those who serve in the role of judge, jury and executioner via social media when it comes to tactics, fire scene videos, radio traffic, etc.  They brag about all the fires they go to and how they would do it another way or that the research is wrong. The funny thing is the guys that do really go to a lot of fires and have the experience are not the ones bragging. They are the gentleman taking the high road, a sign of a true professional firefighter.  Another thing I find interesting is a lot of those doing the bashing have never been in command of a fire as a Chief Officer. They serve in the lower ranks which is way different. Believe me, I did a lot of crazy stuff as a firefighter and even a company officer that I would never consider doing now because I know better. It’s kind of hard to tell Chiefs to act tactically when you have never served in that role.

As members of the fire service, we are considered to be professionals. Professionalism as defined by Webster – is the skill, good judgment, and polite behavior that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well.  Everything we post on social media is a direct reflection to not only us but our entire profession. Sometimes members of the fire service posts are less than professional and lack integrity - the quality of being honest and fair – as defined by Webster.  When we are members of a panel or committee and we immediately start to throw stones at a scientific process on social media we become the judge, jury and executioner. When we hang on the results of one video we become judge, jury and executioner to the entire process. The lack of integrity shown is incredible.  When you post what you consider to be results without knowing the WHOLE story it shows a lack of respect for a process. People listen to you because you have thousands of social media followers. 

I remember growing up and listening to Paul Harvey on the radio as I worked with my Grandpa. Paul Harvey always used to have a segment called “The Rest of the Story”.  Just as with Paul Harvey, we have to wait for the rest of the story.  The research is not done. There many months of analyzation of ALL the results that have to take place yet. One video or social media post do not tell the entire story. We have to wait for ALL the factors to be weighed. 

We live in the world of the real Fifty Shades of Grey – there is no black and white; always or never, in this business.  We must fully understand ALL tactics and realize which one is the correct tactic to pull out of the toolbox given the size-up, staffing, rescue profile, building construction, etc. Do you TRULY understand your TACTICAL TOOLBOX? In closing please never forget the Golden Rule – Treat others the way YOU would want to be treated! Make sure you wait for the REST OF STORY before you cast judgement or follow El Macho and his Minions!

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