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Comments about ‘At least 8 people killed in California bus crash’

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Published: Monday, Feb. 4 2013 8:24 a.m. MST

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Californian#1@94131
San Francisco, CA

--- "It's really a mess up there with body parts," said California Department of Transportation spokeswoman Michelle Profant. ---

TMI. Honestly, shouldn't PIOs or any official spokespersons be trained not to say stuff like this? We heard similar statements from official sources after 9/11, about "pieces" of victims. These "pieces" and "parts" belong to people, who have families or friends. Such language is insensitive and no comfort to the sorrowful survivors, or to amputees or anyone who has been in a serious event involving dismemberment or disfiguration.

As a retired public safety employee, I admit that police, fire, and medical personnel often make light of calamities. For days after a decapitation murder, we talked about how "heads would roll" and cautioned co-workers not to lose theirs. Safety and health workers do this to stay focused and avoid being personally overwhelmed. But it belongs to us as colleagues, in private with each other; no professional should ever use this kind of language publicly.

All the public needs to know is that fire, police, or rescue personnel are still at the scene locating victims and investigating, and the road will be closed until further notice.

Eliot
Santaquin, UT

So Californian, since you are commenting on a public forum, wouldn't it be wise for you to follow the same judicious advice you have left for PIOs and official spokespersons?

Californian#1@94131
San Francisco, CA

Eliot, I cited an example that happened many years ago, not a recent event that is in the news today. No one who was involved in it is likely to read our comments, and no one who reads our comments will know what incident I am referring to. At the time it happened, none of us in the agency involved talked to the media about "body parts" or anything so graphic.

For an accident that happened yesterday and is in today's news, there's a high probability that people involved in it, or their family or friends, will be reading this PIO's comments.

Do you see the difference?

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