Yelling “Fire” in a Crowded Theater

Issue 10 and Volume 162.

BY FRANK RICCI This commentary is in response to “A Matter of National Security” by Joseph B. Muhammad, president of the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters (IABPFF), which was a commentary on the Supreme Court case Ricci V. DeStefano (Fire Commentary, Fire Engineering, September 2009). Having a constructive conversation that is honest and responsible is imperative to encourage an open dialogue. However, the IABPFF and its local chapter (Fire Birds) have been contradicting and misrepresenting the facts of the case. My intention is only to set the record straight and not to retry a case we already won. The IABFF would like firefighters to be viewed as numbers and statistics instead of as individuals. The polarized views in this case, from both sides, may be hard to reconcile, but I do believe that the IABFF can play a positive role moving forward. Low expectations are also a form…

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