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Old 01-29-2013, 09:39 PM
 
Location: Dublin, CA
3,813 posts, read 3,658,980 times
Reputation: 3967

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Newtown cops recount horrific scene for first time


"They found two women first, their bodies lying on the lobby floor. This was real. But nothing could prepare them for what they found next, inside two classrooms.

''One look, and your life was absolutely changed,'' said Michael McGowan, one of the first police officers to arrive at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, as a gunman, in the space of minutes, killed 20 first-graders and six adult staff members.

Officer McGowan was among seven Newtown police officers who sat down with The New York Times, most speaking to the media for the first time. Taken together, their stories provide the fullest account yet of the scene as officers responded to one of the worst school massacres in American history."

**********

The aftermath of this shooting and the hundreds like it, takes its toll on first responders all over this country. Many of these persons will never return to work. Some that do will be permanently scarred for life; never returning to the full productive members they once were.

The costs in this range into the hundreds of millions of dollars and the costs will continue to sky rocket. Many of these people will be on disability for the rest of their lives, never being able to cope with what they have seen and/or done. This will impact their marriages, family, and lives forever.

Having been there, having done it, my hats off and sympathies to these men and women. They have my complete and total support.
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:22 AM
 
9,197 posts, read 9,278,507 times
Reputation: 28813
Few people really understand what they ask of people who work in public safety. By public safety, I would refer to police officers, firefighters, ambulance attendants, and even people who work in public health who are dealing with communicable disease. These people take on an enormous burden for the community and some of what they do can be pretty ugly.

I have had the personal misfortune to be present at the scene of a couple of accidents where there were literally dead bodies laying on the ground. I never had any responsibility for investigating those accidents or dealing with those bodies. I can't imagine having to do that. I thank my lucky stars that my job is clean, sterile, and, with the exception of an occasionally angry client or witness, involves very little trauma.

I've never had to knock on anyone's door and tell them that a loved one was dead. I can't imagine how difficult a job that must be.

All I can say is that for those inclined to "kick the police around" because of one or two experiences you've had, listen to Phil here. These men and women have unusually stressful jobs to carry out. While they are not always right, but I'm convinced that 95% try to do the best job they can. God bless them for making this world just a little more liveable.
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:17 PM
 
7,376 posts, read 12,888,656 times
Reputation: 6963
I can't nor do I want to imagine what they went and still are going through. I live 20 minutes from newtown and unfortunately my sister knew teachers there.
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:15 PM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
56,104 posts, read 54,597,263 times
Reputation: 66501
I knew a guy who was a photographer for the FBI. He said one time he worked a case that he refused to give me details of, not because of confidentiality but because he said I wouldn't be able to get it out of my head. I'm guessing that it had something to do with a child. Anyway, he said he was trying to remain professional, but he had to print out all these photographs and then for the next few weeks he could not sleep, had nightmares, couldn't stop thinking about the photographs during the day, and finally he had to take some time off of work to get his head straight again.
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:25 PM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
56,104 posts, read 54,597,263 times
Reputation: 66501
Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
Few people really understand what they ask of people who work in public safety. By public safety, I would refer to police officers, firefighters, ambulance attendants, and even people who work in public health who are dealing with communicable disease. These people take on an enormous burden for the community and some of what they do can be pretty ugly.

I have had the personal misfortune to be present at the scene of a couple of accidents where there were literally dead bodies laying on the ground. I never had any responsibility for investigating those accidents or dealing with those bodies. I can't imagine having to do that. I thank my lucky stars that my job is clean, sterile, and, with the exception of an occasionally angry client or witness, involves very little trauma.

I've never had to knock on anyone's door and tell them that a loved one was dead. I can't imagine how difficult a job that must be.

All I can say is that for those inclined to "kick the police around" because of one or two experiences you've had, listen to Phil here. These men and women have unusually stressful jobs to carry out. While they are not always right, but I'm convinced that 95% try to do the best job they can. God bless them for making this world just a little more liveable.
Cops and firefighters and EMTs and others you might not even think of. I'm a survivor from the WTC on 9/11. After we went back to work a couple of weeks later at another location, they brought in shrinks to talk to us. We met them in groups and one-on-one, and they asked us to each tell our stories, what we saw, what we experienced, and so forth. The shrink assigned to us was a youngish guy, very nice. A couple of weeks later I was walking at lunchtime through the nearby mall, and I saw "our" shrink. He was pale and his eyes looked kind of sunken in. I asked him if he was feeling OK, and he said it was his last day for a while. He had to go for a debriefing and then he was getting three weeks off. He said it was wearing on all of them sitting there day after day hearing stories of dead coworkers and body parts strewn all over and burnt people walking like zombies down the stairs and all of the other horrors that the survivors told them of that day. I was still in a weird state at that point--we all were just sort of functioning on the edge--and I remember going back to the office and saying, "Damn, the shrinks need shrinks now."
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:04 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn,NY
10,614 posts, read 13,154,501 times
Reputation: 16173
Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
Few people really understand what they ask of people who work in public safety. By public safety, I would refer to police officers, firefighters, ambulance attendants, and even people who work in public health who are dealing with communicable disease. These people take on an enormous burden for the community and some of what they do can be pretty ugly.

I have had the personal misfortune to be present at the scene of a couple of accidents where there were literally dead bodies laying on the ground. I never had any responsibility for investigating those accidents or dealing with those bodies. I can't imagine having to do that. I thank my lucky stars that my job is clean, sterile, and, with the exception of an occasionally angry client or witness, involves very little trauma.

I've never had to knock on anyone's door and tell them that a loved one was dead. I can't imagine how difficult a job that must be.

All I can say is that for those inclined to "kick the police around" because of one or two experiences you've had, listen to Phil here. These men and women have unusually stressful jobs to carry out. While they are not always right, but I'm convinced that 95% try to do the best job they can. God bless them for making this world just a little more liveable.


I strongly agree. They put their lives on the line everyday, And see the aftermath of some things that are impossible to fathom as a result of depraved and violent human beings. Seeing 20 dead kids-I do not even want to entertain that thought.
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:21 PM
Status: "Be yourself. What's the alternative?" (set 21 days ago)
 
8,695 posts, read 10,847,720 times
Reputation: 12754
I'm sure many have to deal with PTSD for a long time, if not forever. Sad.
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:17 PM
 
13,612 posts, read 10,307,432 times
Reputation: 17659
Very depressing subject. When I was an EMT (about a million years ago) one of my partners was working an event and ended up having to pick a guy's face up off the pavement. It had been torn off like a mask. He quit a week later.

I can't imagine what it was like for the first responders at Sandy Hook. No one wants to see little children hurt, least of all cops and EMTs. Besides the depression and sadness, I'll bet many of them are dealing with rage. These are people who dedicate their lives to protecting and helping others, and there wasn't a frickin thing they could do.
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:44 AM
 
Location: Dublin, CA
3,813 posts, read 3,658,980 times
Reputation: 3967
Quote:
Originally Posted by NLVgal View Post
Very depressing subject. When I was an EMT (about a million years ago) one of my partners was working an event and ended up having to pick a guy's face up off the pavement. It had been torn off like a mask. He quit a week later.

I can't imagine what it was like for the first responders at Sandy Hook. No one wants to see little children hurt, least of all cops and EMTs. Besides the depression and sadness, I'll bet many of them are dealing with rage. These are people who dedicate their lives to protecting and helping others, and there wasn't a frickin thing they could do.
My goal or mission, if you will, is to raise public awareness to the effects these sorts of disasters have on ALL first responders. Yes, I am police officer, however this is for ALL first responders: Firefighters, paramedics/emt's, AND police officers.

Many of these people suffer PTSD from just one incident, such as Sandy Hook. Many others suffer from the cumulative stress of the job. Day in, day out of seeing such incidents, on a smaller scale, is taking their tolls on them and they are falling apart.

There isn't alot of support systems in place to assist persons who are suffering from depression, alcoholism, domestic abuse, etc. That needs to change. The stigma attached to needing help, needs to change. And that change isn't going to come from within the first responder ranks (although it needs too). Its going to have to come from public pressure to change these things.

People always say, "I pay your salary," and "you work for me." Fair enough. If this is true, the public needs to demand more mental health screening, counseling throughout their careers, and follow up testing afterwords.

You always hear about police officers doing bad things. Ever ask yourself why? Sure, some are just bad to begin with. No arguments here. However, that is a very, very, very small percentage. Most do stupid things, because they are stressed out (I'm not defending anyone) and are not getting the proper help they need.
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