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Kat’s Blog: Prisoners Fighting California Fires

The California fires were raging across the CNN newscast, firefighters in yellow and orange turnout coats braving the hellish lines of fires that roared up and down hillsides, valleys and canyons.

But wait, according to Bill Weir, reporter for CNN, those firefighters in the orange coats aren’t really firefighters, they’re prisoners from jails or prisons that have volunteered and been specifically trained to assist in fighting these kinds of catastrophic fires.

You would think this was a good thing right, prisoners stepping up, willing to help out the state in a dire emergency. This should be something that anyone with a brain in their head and a beating heart in their chest would say was admirable.

But sadly, no.

While the prisoners stood in that blast furnace helping battle flames from hell, some of those that lived in the surrounding areas reported to Weir that they were worried and concerned that some of those prisoners might be “sex offenders”.

I couldn’t believe my ears.

Your state is on fire, everything around you is going up in flames, 26 million people are potentially in harm’s way and there are some folks that are more worried and concerned that one of the firefighters trying to help save their butts might be a “sex offender”, than they are about the fire itself!

I’m sorry folks, but this “sex offender paranoia” has got to stop.

Here we’ve got a variety of prisoners that received firefighter training, who are willing to put their own lives on the line in order to save the lives of those in harm’s way and some people just refuse to appreciate that for what it is and insist on adding “sex offender” hysteria to the mix .

To be fair, I’m going to assume that because these people are in crisis, watching their homes and neighborhoods destroyed by fires, that they just aren’t thinking clearly. Surely, they would want anyone who could help save them, to pitch in. And, by the way, who were they worried the dreaded “sex offenders” were going to harm? Neighborhoods are evacuated, there’s no one there but the firefighters and those volunteer prisoners trying to save homes.

If your life, your children’s lives, your family member’s lives are on the line, when the fire is on your doorstep, are you going to be “picky” about which prisoner, accused of which offense, is going to be allowed to save them? Will you say “the murderer guy is OK but not the thief and definitely not the “sex offender”?

I think sane, rational people should be more offended by the fact that these prisoners helping to save homes, farms, vineyards and businesses are being paid $2 per day for the privilege of fighting these fires. If they actively participate in helping hose down the flames, they receive $1 more.

If there’s any good news in this it’s that the ACLU has apparently gotten wind of this “very much less than minimum wage” that prisoners receive, likening it to slave labor. Maybe something good will result from the newscast.

As for those folks stirring up “sex offender hysteria”, I can only hope that you and your loved ones, your homes and your businesses, are saved, by someone, anyone.

 

Join the discussion

  1. SR

    Someone should fact check me on this, but I recall reading the last few times this came up that those with sex offences are not even eligible for this volunteer work of fighting fires. Like so many olive branches that seemed to be extended in the name of prison reform, SO’s are all too often left out.

  2. Gwen

    My family member while incarcerated in California was informed that because of his charges he is excluded from being allowed to be on the Fire fighting program as well as any programs/courses with animals. In 2017 I watched a show that in the state of Nevada the inmates can participate in a Mustang program which allows selected inmates to work with the wild horses and tame them for potential buyers…under the caveat “If your charges are not a sex offense.” This all proves just how ignorant individuals can be even when everything around them is on fire.

  3. H

    I read a post awhile back that stated something to the effect that your better off walking away and keep yourself out of trouble than to help someone in harm’s way. I’m not sure I could do it but I would take a moment of pause. This truly is a shame

    • Harry

      I definitely not go an aid of child no shape or form. I will call the police or medical that will be my service

      • Richard

        Amen. If you saved a child’s life and later they found out you were a registrant you could be in big trouble.

  4. LS

    Here’ the scenario I would like to see/hear about. ANYONE with ANY reservations at all about having prisoners (no matter the charge) work on the fire line, return home, only to be told by Fire Authorities “Yes, we had a bus load of prisoners here on your street ready to save your property, however when they were told of your “concerns” against them, they all got back on the bus and were sent to a location where they really welcomed their help” and as a result, “ooops, your house burnt to the ground”.

    • Bill

      The only way to combat this crappy perception is to raise awareness through an aggressive campaign of social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook(through a non-Registrant proxy of course).

      Perhaps through a crowdfunding platform can we raise capitol to make TED Talk-like videos with flashy graphics that has catch phrases like:

      “Don’t Judge Me By Past, I Don’t Live There Anymore!”

      Or…

      “The More You Know About the Registry…”

      Or…

      “Your Kids Will Be Victimized By The Registry. Here’s Why…”

      Media goes both ways. It could either distort the truth or make the truth.

      And if through some miracle a celebrity attaches him/herself to the cause the pendulum of public opinion may sway to the Registrants.

      Longshot maybe. Either it will work or it won’t. But those chances are better than not trying at all.

      • Janice Bellucci

        I like your ideas for a TED talk, Bill! Are you volunteering to be our spokesperson?

      • Dave

        I found the perfect superstar spokesperson. Nicki Minaj’s new husband is a registered citizen. She has 106 million Instagram followers.

        The couple first dated when Minaj was 16 years old. Her husband is a level two registered citizen and will be required to register as a sex offender for life.

        According to online records from the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services, Petty, her husband was convicted in April 1995 of attempted rape in the first degree for an incident that occurred in September 1994 involving a 16-year-old girl. He was sentenced to 18 to 54 months in prison, but it is unclear how much time he actually served.

        People have been trying to shame her because of her husbands past. What they don’t mention was that at the time he was 15 and the gal in question was 16.

        Nicki Minaj Just Went on a Super Intense Rant Defending Her Controversial New Husband Kenneth Petty.

        https://news.yahoo.com/nicki-minaj-just-went-super-155400148.html

        • Bill

          @Dave

          Wow. Thanks for sharing that bit of info about Nicki Minaj’s husband and her defensive stance against haters over his Registrant status.

        • @Bill

          Plus her brother got convicted of a child sex offense. She says it was an attempt to get her to pay big money to save him. She didn’t pay and he got convicted. So one of America’s most popular rappers has a husband and brother both on the registry.

  5. bob jones

    This is typical as I also believe RSO’s cant do firecamp…

    Also just as DISGUSTING is that CALIFORNIA is taking ADVANTAGE of prison FREE LABOR..
    and lastly 3rd is THIS is 99% the FAULT of the electric companies and thier so called SHITTY MAINTANCE fee they charge to maintain lines that they DONT, then when a BIG fire happens because of thier LACK of MAIN on a line they try to pass it onto the consumer from the PUC (Pub util commision)… Ive gotten tired of the bullshit fee’s from SDG&E (san diego gas and elec) that Ive done a full 10KW solar system ! All for about the cost of $7k which is maybe 16 mos max (my bills came out to $550/m)!

  6. Eric Knight

    “This…is CNN.”

    Darth Vadar voice coming through loud and clear.

  7. Will Allen

    The propaganda campaigns of the criminal regimes have worked well. They sold their “War on Drugs” idiocy and they created their “$EX Offender” monster. Big government is the “solution” for both of those and the only hope for stupid people.

    I guess it is not surprising when you basically have an unlimited amount of money to push your lies. They have built a giant, MORONIC industry around their lies. Just like with their “War on Drugs”. They are having disastrous results all around. But that doesn’t matter, that is only cause to grow the industry. They make the problems bigger every day. Then the “solution” has to grow.

    I’m also convinced that the average intelligence in America has never been very high and it has been diving for years. Completely convinced of that. The “natives” here are just dumber than a bunch of rocks. There are certainly a lot of people smarter than I am, but few of THOSE people are. Registry Nazis/Terrorists (RN/Ts) aren’t.

    I’ve said it many times before – pre-Registry, I volunteered all the time. I did so much extra work and gave so much. I could do 1,000 times more today. But today, I am careful to make sure I do nothing. I will not give $1 at a grocery store even. Even if I was removed from the hit list today, I can’t see that changing.

    I disagree with your last paragraph completely. I pray that the homes of RN/Ts burn. I won’t lift a finger to help. If I saw a home on fire I wouldn’t do anything unless I knew the people or looked it up and saw that the home belonged to a Registrant.

    As long as Registries exist, there will be war.

    • jm from wi

      Imagine the comment section and the local news story if a registered citizen’s house was burned to the ground. —-

      • Bill

        @Janice

        If you are extending an invitation for me to speak…

        I would like the opportunity to try.

        You have my email.

  8. C

    If your incarcerated and want to be in the fire fighting program, you have to be a “Level 1” which is the lowest. Unfortunately, a sex offender can only be as low as Level 2. Leveling is based on a point system and even if a sex offender has low enough points to qualify for Level 1 consideration, they will never be granted it.

  9. Harry

    I wonder who is creator of this “sex offender paranoia” story? CNN? There is no source support and they did not mentioned that sex offenders are not part these firefighters, because they are not allowed in the program in the first place. Another cheap created SO story to try to get them out of the bottom ratings.

  10. mike

    In California, Fire Camps are level 1 facilities and sex offenders must be housed in levels 2-4.

  11. mk

    I am very close to the area of the Kincaid fire. We were spared. Lost power but didnt have to evacuate. That said, Ive been reading many many many posts on fb. Many PRAISED the inmate fire fighters. Thought they should be paid more, thought they should be eligible for fire fighter jobs once time is served etc.
    So I heard few who objected to their service, and the ones that did were shut down by other posters.
    Whomever said sex offenders are not allowed to participate in fire camps/etc was correct. So whomever *worried* about a sex offender fighting a fire in an evacuation zone is just an idiot. One? there is no one there (or isnt supposed to be) and two? Its a non issue. I for one am greatful for ALL the support our county got from many many cities, counties, states who sent people up here to assist in the largest fire fight in our county. At least this time, they were for the most part, quite successful. THANK YOU ALL firefighters. Job well done.

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