A Tale of Two Public Servants

Both these stories were in the Tulsa paper this week.

I'd like to tell you a couple of true stories.
These are both about Tulsa public servants.

The first guy's name has been kept a secret, I'll tell you why.
In 1996, an undercover cop started dropping by a small Tulsa tavern.
For three years, this guy sat on a barstool, drank beer, told jokes,
bought drinks for his new buddies, and became an all-round friend
and good guy to the owners of the tavern.

Having owned two clubs, I know how easy it is to get close
to regular customers. Regular customers mean everything.
Small bars live and die by their regulars.

Problem is, over in the corner, the small tavern had illegal video
poker games. When you play these video games, you rack up
points instead of having the coins come clank-clanking out.

The club owners know that the local police, or the county
sheriffs, will send in an undercover officer now and then
to try to get the owner to pay off on these video games.
As a result, the owners don't pay anyone they don't know.
They only pay the regulars. If they don't know you,
and you win 100 credits, they say, "Good for you,"
and wish you good luck playing off those 100 credits.

To get around this, the Knuckldrag county sheriff sent an
officer into this tiny tavern a couple of times a week for
three years - three years - to gain the owner's confidence.
After three years, he finally got paid off on a poker win
and then busted his friends for finally trusting him.

Granted, this is the cop's job but,
we're not talking about breaking up a baby-selling ring.
We're not talking about breaking up a crack cartel.
We're not talking about breaking up a kiddie-porn ring.
This is a Mom and Pop small business, trying to stay open.

It's not right.

It's horseshit to spend three years trying to bust a couple who are,
granted, skirting the religiously-engineered gambling laws.
Koresh forbid, what if they have a football pool for the Super Bowl?
It sounds like Barney Fife overkill, doesn't it?

OK, that's story one.

Here's story two.

A man who lives in a Knuckledrag apartment complex woke up
to find his apartment in flames. In a panic, he was able to get out of
the building, but then noticed the boy who lived next door wasn't
standing outside with his other neighbors, so he tried to go back for him.
The flames and smoke were just too hot, he couldn't go back.

Minutes later, firefighters arrived and the man told them he thought a
child might still be inside. Firefighters Travis Fry and Bryan Hickerson
fought their way into the burning bedroom of an upstairs apartment at
the Bradford Creek Apartments as they searched as fast as they could
for the child the neighbor said might still be left inside.

Flames were crackling and melting the walls.
Thick, black smoke was smothering everything, destroying visibility.
Some of the firefighter's equipment began to melt.
Fry expected the worst.

Hickerson was working the hose while Fry searched for the child.
"It seems like forever when you're searching for somebody," Fry said.

Then he spotted him.
A small boy was unconscious, lying halfway under his bed.
He grabbed the boy, who was no longer breathing, and worked his way
past the flaming walls, down the steps and out of the building

He gently put the boy on the ground. Paramedics who were on
the scene immediately surrounded him and began rescue breathing.
Fry and Hickerson stood by helplessly and watched the medics work.

After what seemed like an eternity, Fry heard the boy begin to cry,
which meant he and his fellow firefighters had just saved a life.

Afterwards, Fry wasn't bragging.  In fact, he understated his role
when asked to describe the scene for reporters.
"It just happened that I was the one who got to him," Fry said.

Fry, who's only been with the Tulsa Fire Department two years,
said he wasn't even sure there was a child in the room when he
and Hickerson, who is a captain, first went inside the apartment.
Hickerson guessed that the boy probably only had three or four
minutes to live when he was pulled from the building.

Fry shook off any attempts to paint him as a hero.
"I'm just lucky to work with a good captain and an agressive crew,"
Fry said. "It wasn't like I did any more than anybody else."


So, we have two Tulsa public servants.
One man sat on a barstool and drank beer for three years
so he could bust his friends for trusting him.

The other man entered a burning building and risked his life
to save a child that had only minutes to live.

I think every firefighter deserves a raise.
Thanks to that terribly immoral satanist Bill Clinton,
sufficient money exists to give these heroes a raise.

And if there's not enough money to give 'em a raise,
let's take some money out of the budget of the beer-drinking
"guardians of gambling" police and make it happen.

Firefighters are the best.

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