When You’re Wrong, Man Up and Admit It

At times in our lives, we’ve all said or done somethings we truly regret. In the same way, I am sure all of us have taken a hard line stance on an issue that later comes back and makes us look like a fool. When we finally realize we may not have been right in a given situation, we can chose to take three separate and distinct paths.

The easiest and most common path is to do nothing. We were wrong and we know it now. After all, what purpose would it serve to rehash an old wound that’s buried in the past? Next, we could do what far too many do and pretend were still right despite the overwhelming evidence pointing to the contrary. Clearly, such an approach will never earn anyone respect. Finally, we could take the path that many people avoid because it’s the toughest to swallow. We can man up, admit our mistakes and move on.

When a noose was discovered at a Baltimore City firehouse on November 21st, the NAACP and other groups cried foul. They demanded immediate and swift actions. Local and federal investigators were called in to investigate. In fact, the rhetoric got so heated, it appeared some would have condoned a scapegoat taking the fall for this disgraceful display. The NAACP and others in the community disgraced the fine men and women serving at the Herman Williams Jr. firehouse (Engine 33) by painting them as vile racists.

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Turns out, they found out who perpetrated this disgusting hoax. The racist in crowd turned out to be Donald Maynard, a fire department flunkie who could not maintain the minimum requirements for certification. Mr. Maynard happens to be black. So, what about all this talk of charging the person responsible? Suddenly, it’s gotten awfully quiet in Charm City.

Now, the fire union is demanding an apology from those that defamed their good name. Certainly the vindicated souls that had their reputations tarnished should receive this token gesture at the very least. The union is also seeking an apology from the Vulcan Blazers, a black firefighters group that said the noose highlighted a prevailing climate of racism in the department. The union is also pondering a defamation lawsuit against the offending parties. Wouldn’t it just be easier if those who were wrong would just stand up and admit it?

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this whole incident is the treatment that the firefighter shave received from those in the community. According to union president Stephan Fugate, firefighters of Engine 33 have been subjected verbal assaults and gestures from everyday citizens. Not only does this show a lack of class by those engaging in these acts, it also highlights the stupidity of some people. Keep in mind, if these citizens suffered a life threatening injury or are stuck on the third floor of a burning builiding, they’ll be relying on these same firefighters and EMTs to come to their rescue. Of course, firefighters are professionals. They would save anybody no matter what. That said, it does seem rather foolish to berate or otherwise intimidate them.

An apology can go a long way. It’s never the easy thing to do. Yet, it’s almost always the right to do. I think the gesture would mean a lot to those who put their lives on the line everyday to protect the citizens of Baltimore.


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