Self Destruct

There are a lot of things we can say about the Pennsylvania ambulance employee who robbed a convenience store with a pocket knife. Sure it damages our reputation in the public eye. It compromises the already shaky trust the average Joe affords us. I’m sure all this will be said in reference to James Rabbitz actions. But I read something else in the story. When I read about how he went into a store with surveillance cameras, wore his uniform, drove his car and went home to wait on his basement for authorities, I read self destruct.

This guy wasn’t looking for an easy 200 bucks. This guy was looking to implode his life. Pure and simple. I say this because I know people who’ve done it. Folks who just wake up one morning and decide to push the self destruct button on their life. When we work in EMS it isn’t that hard to do. One minute we’re buying a cup of coffee, the next minute we’re on CNN.

Ray decided to steal the narcotics from the units parked down at the shop. Mark went home and put a .44 in his mouth. Matt just put his bike helmet on, walked out the front door and never came back. And each time it happens I think, “Next time…next time, I’ll see it coming.”

But that never quite works.


  1. Steve, we rarely see the big thing coming but we almost always see the little things. We are all programmed with some auto-responders. When someone asks you “How are you doing?” What do you almost always say, no matter what the reality, “OK” or “Great brau” or something like that. Am I right?

    So there are two parts that make talking about the little things difficult. One is saying, “well thanks for asking I am having a terrible day and would like to tell you.” or “you really are great because you don’t look great.”

    The other day I was out for a trail run. A 12ish year old kid was standing on a wood bridge over a creek lighting matches and throwing them into the creek. Big deal or not a big deal. I ran by and just said hi. He looked sheepish and embarrassed. I ran about 50 yards and thought this could be something or it could be nothing. I turned back and watched him toss the whole flaming book of matches into the creek. Is this something or nothing?

    I said to him, “I am not a firefighter but my ff friends would want me to tell you not to play with matches. I am a medic and have seen Grandmas, dads, moms, sisters, brothers, cousins that have been burned. It never ends well. Please don’t play with matches.”

    Is he a future arsonist? I hope not. Did I make any difference? I will never know? Was it something or nothing?

    I am certain there was something small with Ray, Mark, and Matt that a friend, co-worker, spouse saw that caused them to pause for a moment and think, should I take a risk and pursue this?

    There is little downside if it is nothing. The potential upside if it is something is huge.

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment.