Sunday, March 9, 2014

Driving While Intoxicated, San Marcos, Texas

Published - Texas State University

Sunday, November 10, 1996

Like most cops, moonlighting at an extra job is pretty normal. One of the assignments I have is working in the Emergency Room for a few nights a month. The ER is a crossroads or focal point where the paths of family violence, drug addiction, crime and tragedy often intersect. A crowded routine of uneducated and under-insured patients with no health care alternative find long lines and lengthy waits. Amidst is all is the medical emergency, the family tragedy, the victim, and all of the human compassion and empathy that come along with them. It is from this unique perspective that I will relate my thoughts – watching from afar the unfolding events – assisting where I can, listening and learning more about our World.

It is Sunday, November 10, 1996 at 11:00pm. I am watching the clock. The Doctors are giving dictation. The nurses are doing what they normally do, filling out charts, moving patients, waiting for test results among many other things. My radio clicks with an EMS tone. The paramedics are sent to an accident and car fire on Highway 21. I tell my favorite nurse that we have a wreck.
At 11:15pm, the EMS radio breaks the ER ambience. A stressful voice calls from the field for the Doctor. “A 19 year old male, ejected from the vehicle, seriously injured, c-spine step off, head injury, couldn’t locate pulse, has one now, extreme trauma. Second patient ambulatory on arrival, now secured spine, conscious.”

The sense of calm and routine in the ER is replaced by focus and concentration. There is an impromptu gathering. The doctor gives directions. The ER is on the move. The Trauma Room, closest to the door is prepared. Suction, sheets, gloves, oxygen and other medical implements are readied. X-Ray, Lab and respiratory personnel are standing by. The radio is silent for several minutes.

11:25pm, the radio opens up in that odd and somehow nondescript dialect. The voice is different now than before. “Flat line, no transport” the paramedic reports – as if somehow relieved.

11:40pm, the ambulance is transporting the second patient. He’s ten minutes away.

11:50pm, the 19 year old male patient arrives. The smell of diesel fumes precedes him, rushing through the crash doors as he is wheeled inside. He is covered in dry blood. His clothes are cut off. He is completely taped down and secured to a backboard and c-spine collar. He has an IV attached to his arm. The senior paramedic hastily walks to everyone standing nearby and whispers, “he doesn’t know his friend is dead”.

The ER team has begun its assessment, checking for broken bones, signs of bleeding, head injury and the like. He’s asking about his friend. The physician in charge walks to the end of the bed and pauses for a moment by his feet. She works her way around the many activities underway and stands to the left of his head. She leans over his face, locked down from movement and looks into his eyes. “Are you ready for this?” she says. “Your friend was killed.”

By midnight my relief arrived. I gave him a quick briefing, handed him the hospital pager and walked out the door. In ten minutes, I was home.

The young man who died this night in San Marcos was nineteen years old. Alcohol is considered a contributing factor in the one vehicle accident. Test results will resolve that question. I have been there and done that a hundred times in my career. For me, the bigger question is why we continue to try and re-invent the wheel. A parent, a teacher, a friend or a cop can enlighten anyone of youth with the many lessons of wisdom. Seldom do the lessons sink in. Every new generation of young people seem destined to repeat the mistakes of so many people who have come before them. There is a reason that young people between the ages of 16 and 24 are injured or killed in automobile accidents at a far higher rate than any other age group.

When I came to this town, to this university and to this Greek system, I like many of you did things that today make me cringe. I was lucky and never suffered the consequences of my actions. I always made it home, avoided trouble and never got arrested. It’s not that I didn’t know better, I just didn’t realize how serious some of these things really are. I was just darned lucky.

It is the consequences that should always be considered when making the decisions that as young people you must make. Whether to have another drink, to drive a car, to experiment with drugs or whether she said “no” or not are just four of the many questions that the consequences of which can have life long implications. The wheel has already been invented. The questions have already been answered. All we really need to do is listen.

It is easy to run wild and thoughtless about the fallout of what you’re doing, or how to get away with something you know is wrong or dangerous. It is not so easy to think ahead of time about how to avoid a problem, to prevent the aftermath, or to anticipate the consequences. On the other hand, it is a whole lot smarter, safer and responsible.

Someone dying is always the worst-case scenario. There are so many equally tragic events of lesser magnitude that can forever change your future. For this young man, the consequences of his drinking and driving were his death and the injury of his friend. The consequences of his death will live on in members of his family, his colleagues and friends for as long as they will remember.

Listen and think before you do. That’s the moral of this story.

Carl H. Deal III
San Marcos PD
Be Smart, Be Safe and Do Good Things

Racism in America

Terrence Stith is a black student at Texas State and editor of the Texas State Newspaper. He wrote an editorial which was very anti-white and Carl felt he had to respond. The paper wanted to change some of the letter and Carl said “no” – so they did NOT print it – but maybe Mr. Stith got the message – probably not.

Friday, November 10, 1995

Terrence Stith
University Star
Texas State University
San Marcos, Texas

Attn: Letter to the Editor

To see someone of such great  potential drowned by bitterness and anger is a tragedy for all of us. Sometimes, what we all need is a change of perspective. When we’re so tuned into our own vision of things, we don’t see the big picture.

We do not live in a racist nation. We do not live in a racist society. What we do have is terrible disparity in the quality of education that our citizens enjoy. Sadly for Black America, the lack of education has perpetuated many of the social matters of contemporary consideration. Poverty, illegal drugs, sexual promiscuity, teen pregnancy, AIDS, and violent criminality seem to linger amidst this state of existence.

It is not blackness and it is not racism that winces some of us from others. It is lack of understanding, narrowness of perspective, a lack of education about one another, and a lack of education as a whole. It is not blackness that concerns a late night store clerk about the intentions of his customer. It is the mystery from whence he came. Moral values, ethics, love, truth, honesty, humility, compassion, empathy, and respect for life are not born to anyone. They are learned. These powerful values of civility are learned from the good parents of children, from the community of churches, from well-intended mentors and in public schools. Sadly again for Black America, it is the perception – with some degree of validity – that the family, the church and the schools have failed you. Hate, truthlessness, dishonesty, in-humility, in-compassion, callousness, criminality and disregard for life are also learned – but seldom in the same places.

If you really want to do something to help all people, including your own…..educate them, educate them, educated them about everything. Help them to learn the World and to want to. Through education and the attainment of knowledge comes empowerment. What separates us as humans from all other living things in the Universe is our unique ability to manipulate, change and overcome our environment. Our unique ability to reason gives us the power to utilize tools to our benefit. The greatest tool we can ever have is an education. It is the one tool that unlike all others, you cannot lose or have taken away. It will always be yours and yours alone to make use of in life.

The World we live in is still a wondrous place. There are so many incredible and fascinating things going on around us all the time. We are truly fortunate to be living at this time and in this nation, for certainly, no matter what your standing is in society, our standard of living and quality of life is astounding in the World. You do not serve yourself or your mission by whimpering or threatening. You do not activate solutions by looking backwards for someone to blame. You cannot perceive the whole of anything while looking through the end of a funnel.  All you accomplish by focusing your strengths in negativity, bitterness, rage and hopelessness is to perpetuate your condition. You cannot expect the government to be responsible for an individual’s personal responsibility. When you yell in violence or declare war, you usually start one. Seldom do wars resolve the issues for which they began.

Peace and long life,
Carl H. Deal III 

Family Letters - The War of 1812

My mother's family moved to the America's in about 1730, settling in Dansville, New York. The following text is from a letter to my great grandfather written in 1813 by a friend of his searching for farm land in Upstate New York. Letters in those days were handed from passerby to passerby who might be going in the direction of the letters destination. Included is a description of a skirmish with the British near Fort Niagara. Any italicized text is the contemporary georgaphy not included in the original letter.

New Town (Pennsylvania), June 10,
Mr. Abraham Zerfass
Near Dansville
Stuben County
State of New York

Dear Sir:

You will please to excuse me for not writing more and giving you a more satisfactory account of my journey – the reason is this, there is a gentleman going in company with me and he is in a hurry, however I shall give you a sketch of it – When I left you I saw some fine farms about 5 or 6 miles below you which pleased me very much but whether they were for sale is more than I can tell for I did not inquire. (Geneseo, New York) In Big Tree there is a most beautiful country but by what I could understand, the land there was not for sale, that is of the good land. From thence I proceeded on my journey toward Buffalo but in all my march there did not find any land that pleased me; however, there is a settlement of Dutch Pennsylvanians in the Buffalo Valley and I believe very good land but by what I could learn it was also high in price – as high as in Canaseraga where you live.

In the village of Buffalo I staid about 2 days but saw nothing worthy of note but a great number of Indians who flocked in from all quarters to receive their Annuity. The Town was crowded with them of all Nations. They had collected there and you could see the most different fashions. Some had rings in their noses, some in their ears, and great chains thru them heavy enough for drawing a saw log and hanging down on their shoulders in order to make them less burdensome to their ears. You could hardly pass along on the street without being interrupted by them. Some would sell their daughters for a little whiskey or tobacco. I found, however, that they were more free with giving their wives than their daughters. At first I did not like them but after I had got used to them a little I had considerable fun with them. Get them about half drunk – then you may amuse yourself with the capers they cut up which appear so different from those that our drinking men do.

From there I started down the line to Black Rock, from thence to the Niagara Falls from thence to Lewiston and from thence to Fort Niagara where I staid until after the engagement.

The next day after the engagement I crossed over to Canada and saw the dead laying about on the field as a parcel of sheep scattered about. There were about 30 of our soldiers killed and about 110 or upwards of theirs. It was one of the most wonderful things to me that there were not more lives lost on our side than there were, for the British had all the chance in the World to cut them down like dust. It is true that our soldiers did not give much time while they were crossing to be shot at, as every one did their best to get over and as soon as the boats had come near that the soldiers could reach bottom, they lept out and ran ashore right under the shower of musket balls from the British who were on the bank. As soon as a sufficient number of men had landed, they formed immediately and ascended the bank, which was about 20 feet nearly perpendicular, but then to see them scamper as hard as they could was really a pleasing sight. And then to see their flag fall and ours put in place of theirs was really pleasing amidst the multitude of shouts and acclimations of joy.

From thence I started on my journey to return, and went on the Ridge Road to Genessee Falls, but there was also nothing to be got to suit my mind. That will in time be a place of great business, (Rochester, New York) there is no doubt in the World with me – perhaps the greatest trading place in this western country for there is such a handsome place for mills, but the mill seats are all taken up there and there is no chance of any more in that line.

From thence I went to Geneva through the other German settlement and also inquired there for Mr. Canel but could get no word of him until I had passed several miles by when I happened to meet with a person who lived near him, but he told me that the old man had taken down his sign, otherwise I should have gone back. He also said that Mr. Canel had gone to see Dansville so I passed on my journey homewards.

I had a good journey until here and hope for a good one all the way. I am so far from being suited that I shall hardly be up to see you very soon; however, if I do, Canaseraga would I believe be my choice, for it is in my opinion the best land that I saw in my whole tour. The Geneva or lake settlement or lands are not as good as the land about Dansville, but it is a handsome country for grapes, but not so good for corn. It is also good for wheat, more so than rye.

Excuse me for not giving you a more full description of my journey for I am really in haste. You may read this letter to Mr. John Hartman as I promised to write also to him and it will perhaps serve in stead of another. I am sorry that I could not spare more time to write to Mr. Hartman as he is a particular friend of mine by whom I set much store. I intended to write 3 or 4 sheets full, but can’t spare the time.

Please do not forget to write every opportunity to me, as I would be very happy to hear from you. Please do give my best respects to Mrs. Zerfass, George and his sweetheart, not forgetting Mr. Hartman’s family. No more at present—

I remain with great esteem, your Obedient Servant,
Abraham Haupt