Letters to the Editor – November 2005

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Teach Your Children Well

Our innocence is lost. David Geiger is gone, and the island we live on has morphed from the beauty and grace of a uniquely loving and tolerant community into the worst of our imaginable nightmares. Dave was and will always be my friend. A more soft-spoken and spiritual St. Johnian than any I have had the pleasure to spend time with. I won’t bother to describe Dave any further. Those that know him need no adjectives to understand what I mean.
What I would like to say is this. We must all look very hard at this crime. The conscienseless murderers who did this live among us … Hateful talk and the threat of violence have been tossed around recently by people who do not live on this island… I have heard it.

Disc-jockeys turned politicians have spoken of revenge and thinly veiled threats of retribution have been aired… We listen and we shake our heads and hope for calmer minds to prevail.

The children are listening too. And the children only learn from us. We should be very wary of the way we speak around the young and the impressionable. These murderers will be caught. If they turn out to be youngsters, we must ask ourselves where they learned to be so hateful and violent.

God bless you, Nate. Sail on, Dave.

Allan MacPhee

Emergency Response Times Questioned

I own a timeshare on St. John and regularly read Tradewinds to stay abreast of life on the island. I was greatly troubled to read about the tragic death of David Geiger. This is a tragic loss to the local community, one that affects everyone familiar with his art.

I was equally troubled to read that, by some accounts, it took 30 minutes to muster an ambulance to the scene to transport Nathan to initial medical care. How is such a delay possible?This is a small island; emergency assets should be close enough to provide for response within the first ten minutes.

It is common knowledge that traumatic injury must receive decisive care at a qualified trauma center within the first hour, to reduce the extent of permanent damage and increase chances of survival. Surgical intervention is necessary, and that is not going to occur at the Community Health Center. It probably won’t occur at Schneider Regional on St. Thomas. Nathan should have been airlifted straight out of St.John, to the trauma center on Puerto Rico.

And how is it possible that two guys with a garden hose could bring a fire under control prior to the arrival of the Fire Department? While I did not see the response time of the FD reported, I find it quite unsettling that a fire that was reported to be too hot to risk entering by civilians could be controlled by a garden hose prior to the arrival of the FD – unless there is an issue with response times.

The Geiger homicide is tragic, but if the emergency response to the incident is as delayed as it sounds, that only places more residents at risk. Is anyone even interested in asking these questions? The island cannot afford to maintain the “sleepy little paradise” image when it comes to their emergency response. Public safety and health should demand greater accountability from their safety responders. This tragic event should be used as an opportunity to improve the response plans for these safety services.

Robert Metzger
Deputy Fire Chief
Department of Fire and Rescue
Toledo, Ohio