“It’s very painful when you are attached to somebody like a brother or family, and you see that person on his last days,” McCollum said. “A lot of them don’t really want to die. … And it hurt me the most to see the state take somebody’s life, when they are committing murder their own self. But they don’t see it that way.”
~ Henry McCollum, released from NC prison after decades on death row
This evening someone sent me the old Internet saw about coughing to give yourself CPR if you find yourself having a heart attack while alone. (It doesn’t work, and wastes time that could be spent far more profitably attempting to get help.) Anyway, back in the long-ago before cell phones I used to teach tactical driving at the Criminal Justice Institute here, and the meme reminded me of something we used to teach that could be helpful in some situations.
Q. What do you do if you’re driving and think you’re having a heart attack?
No, you don’t drive yourself to the hospital unless you’re right in front of one. The last thing you need is an accident to add to your troubles, and there’s an excellent chance that would be the result. Here’s what you do.
- Turn on your emergency flashers.
- Pull over to the side of the highway, with your wheels barely off the pavement.
- Open whichever door is closest to the traffic, right out into the traffic lane.
- Lie down across the seat, and then use your cell phone to call 9-1-1, if you are able to.
This guarantees that you will get a lot of attention from other drivers, who will likely see you lying across the seat and know you need help. Even if they don’t see you, they’re sure to call the local gendarmes to tell them that some idiot has his door open right out into the road — or that they just hit it.
It may sound extreme, but in emergencies you have to do what you have to do, and it will work.
As some few of you are aware, I’m operations manager for a small company that provides uniformed security for condominiums. I want to tell you a brief story about something that happened to one of our employees. (we’ll call him Hank, since we have no employees by that name.)
Hank is a hard worker. He’s had major medical problems, and is still one of the most reliable workers we have. Money is short in his world, as it is in the world of most security guards. A couple of weeks ago, Hank was driving home in his old van when he was stopped by a deputy sheriff. The deputy, Sgt. Michael Kennedy (his real name), informed Hank that he had a headlight out. Hank told him that he knew it was out, but that he simply hadn’t had the money or time to get it fixed, that he worked a lot of overtime, and so forth.
A conversation ensued, and what with Hank being an open sort of guy and the cop’s interest in information, Sgt. Kennedy soon had a picture of our man’s financial position, health issues, and the step-grandchildren for whom he was providing a home. He told Hank that he wasn’t going to give him a citation for the headlight, but that he’d have to give him a written warning. Then he took Hank’s driver’s license and walked back to his patrol car.
In a couple of minutes Sgt. Kennedy returned to the van, handed Hank his license with the warning folded around it, wished him a good evening, and returned to his car. Then Hank unwrapped the ticket from around his license and found a $100 dollar bill enclosed.
Think about that the next time you see a cop hassling a citizen.
…And to all, a good night!