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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Denied

Remember Charla Nash?

She's the woman who got attacked in horrific fashion by a chimp named Travis last year. Travis, who went completely bullshit, as wild animals sometimes do, ripped Nash's hands off, and her lips, eyelids and nose.

If you've seen the episodes of "The Today Show" or "Oprah" in which Nash appears, you can maybe partially understand the absolute horror of that event. Maybe. No offense is meant to Nash, but she now resembles something concocted by a Hollywood special effects department, and her physical and emotional health has been seriously compromised by the attack.

It's very difficult to look at Charla Nash but, when you do, it's very easy to understand how she has been traumatized. If you look at Frank Chiafari, you wouldn't be able to tell.

Frank Chiafari was one of the Stamford, Connecticut police officers who responded to the call for help at Nash's moronic friend's house that day. Travis went right for Chiafari, while he was still in his police car. The leviathan ripped the rearview mirror off the driver's side door, tore the door open and lunged at Chiafari. The officer managed to unholster his weapon and shoot the blood-soaked chimp, ending the maniacal rampage. Chiafari filed a worker's compensation claim, stating that he suffers from PTSD following the incident-- that he has difficulty sleeping, experiences flashbacks, anxiety attacks, night terrors.

The claim? Denied.

Why? Because, in Connecticut, only police officers who shoot people can suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

That's the rule. Sorry, Frank. I guess 200-pound Travis, covered in Charla Nash's lips and blood ripping open the door of your patrol car and coming within inches of eating your face just isn't scary enough to warrant your psychiatrist bills being covered by the state of Connecticut. I guess the message that Connecticut is sending with this law is that they acknowledge that shooting a person can be an upsetting event for even the most manly cop-- but you've got to be a real fucking pussy to get all blubbery and anxious after shooting a rabid dog lunging at your jugular vein, or a goddamn chimpanzee trying to nibble your nuts.

This not only blows for cops, it's a blow to cops. For decades and decades in this country, the stereotype of the police officer was macho-macho-man. They were expected to be the tough of the tough, to not take any shit from anybody, and to not be affected by anything, no matter how brutal or cruel, and police officers are often forced to witness some absolutely terrible things.

There was a time where a police officer could easily lose his job if he sought counseling from a mental health professional, and there's a generation of cops in America who would never dream of going to a shrink's office. There is a stigma that surrounds cops who seek counseling, and that's a terrible thing. Only very, very recently are officers being encouraged to talk openly about stressful situations they encounter, and are beginning to feel like their jobs will not be jeopardized if they do so.

Now, with its patently ridiculous decision in the Frank Chiafari case, the state of Connecticut is reverting back to the old way of doing things: take a brave police officer who was truly engaged in a fight for his life, and embarrass him, belittle him, pretend that his mental anguish after shooting a chimp isn't as great as it might have been if he'd shot a person.

According to an article I read about the case, "Ann Marie Mones, the city's risk manager, declined comment yesterday."

Well, I have a comment for you, Ann Marie:

Why don't we put you inside a car, give you a gun, and then sic a goddamn psychotic animal on you that is twice your size and has just already obliterated somebody else's face and body. Okay? Now, it tears your car door apart, it's gotten it open and it's comin' right at you, covered in blood. First, let's see if you even have the goddamn presence-of-mind, not to mention the balls to shoot it, and then, if you do, let's see if you can freshen up, comb your hair, brush your teeth, and report for work at 8:00 o'clock the next morning, making small-talk by the copy machine.

6 comments:

  1. Bravo! It truly is a shame that our men and women in uniform (police, military, etc.) can be treated so poorly in our society.

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  2. Well done, State of Connecticut: what a message to send to the people who serve and protect you. It doesn't work both ways.

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  3. As a CT resident, I can say, unequivocally, two words:

    Hear, hear.

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  4. seriously? sounds like a frivilous attempt at a pay-day to me...

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  5. Qwerty--

    Hahaha. That's funny. I'd like to see you try doing Dodge City with a crazed, homicidal wild beast.

    It's a shame when people's cynicism makes them think that everyone who has a traumatic experience is trying to bumfuck the system. I suppose you're just one of the many folks out there who is under the impression that police officers don't actually have emotions.

    Too bad for you!

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