For All Those "Conservatives" Who Melt at the Sight of a Government Worker in Uniform
- Most cashiers are killed on the job because of homicides, whereas a quarter of firefighter deaths are from truck accidents – and the numbers have declined, apparently, after concerted efforts to convince these heroes to buckle their seatbelts.
Fishermen, loggers, pilots and farmers/ranchers have the most dangerous jobs in America. Police officers and sheriffs fall below farmers, but above construction workers. About half of their deaths are because of car accidents, often the fault of their own driving habits.
This list looks at the data over a longer period and reinforces the same point. None of the top 10 dangerous jobs are in the government "public safety" area and only one category (trash collectors) is dominated by government employees.
I’ve known people who work in a number of the most-dangerous professions – taxi drivers, truck drivers, trash collectors, electrical line workers, loggers, fishermen, pilots, roofers, coal miners, farmers – and I cannot ever recall any of them insisting to me personally or publicly that they are "heroes" who "put their lives on the line." Once in a while, I’ll hear a farmer insist that it’s thanks to his kind that we have food on our table, but even that’s a rarity and it's usually part of a political campaign to keep the environmental crazies from restricting his water or property use.
I can’t recall ever telling people that, by writing this article, I am a hero of the First Amendment. As annoying as my profession may be, I don’t know any journalists who would argue such an absurdity.
By contrast, police officers and paid government firefighters – as opposed to the largely noble group of volunteers, who provide this service to the public for free, despite the harassment they receive from firefighter unions who try to put them out of business – always insist that they are heroes. They do so in their public pronouncements and especially during union negotiations. They love to have press conferences and hand out heroism awards to fellow union members. They often tell me that it's thanks to them that I am safe to enjoy my life.
During negotiations, firefighters and police routinely invoke the memory of 9/11 for their own personal gain. I remember when Laguna Beach, Calif., firefighters – who have a cushy gig on the Southern California coast – plastered photos of 9/11 all over a fire truck as they lobbied for higher pay during their dispute with the city manager.