The story of the firefighters killed in Webster, New York is absolutely heartbreaking no matter how you look at it. But the news that volunteer firefighter Michael Chiapperini’s 19-year-old son, Nick — also a volunteer fireman — was working as a 911 ambulance dispatcher and heard all the calls coming in about his dad is just about sickening.
Chiapperini died after gunman William Spengler, a 62-year-old ex-con, opened fire on four firemen in what appears to be a planned ambush. Four volunteer firefighters were shot at the scene and two of them, including Chiapperini have died.
Firefighters are true heroes. They put their lives on the line so that the people can be safe. They save lives. If there is a job that is more heroic, I can't think of it. And this is how they are repaid? It is just too awful to even contemplate.
Chiapperini's son, who undoubtedly looked up to his dad and wanted to follow in his heroic footsteps, just breaks my heart. According to friends, he is "not doing well." And who could blame him? A friend is quoted in the New York Post:
Nick heard everything on the radio. He heard Joe [Hofsetter] hollering for help. He came over to our house at 6 in the morning, pounded on the door, came in and told my wife, ‘That f--ker shot my dad. He’s dead, lying in the road.' Nick is having a tough time.
Sick people are everywhere, it's true. And we can't stop them always. But this is the second time in two weeks that some of our most vulnerable and beloved community members have been killed by guns. First it was teachers and young children. Then it was firefighters.
I don't know what the answer is. One could say better gun control, but we could also make the argument that crazy people will find a way (Spengler served time for killing his grandmother with a hammer). But it does seem like stories like these are becoming more commonplace.
Something needs to change. We can't have people whose entire careers are based on helping others be gunned down. It's just not acceptable. This is not the "price" of our freedom. This is a sign of how far we have fallen.
My heart is broken.
What do you think can be done to stop criminals like this?
Image via AMagill/Flickr