We should not go back to normal; let’s work on becoming a cleaner, more civil country

By Chief Sam DiGiovanna

As you read this, two weeks ago the Los Angeles City Fire Department almost lost 11 members due to a fire in a “smoke and toke” shop. Smoke and vape stores, liquor stores and casinos are now open. But you cannot see your physician or attend church. You face a citation if caught sitting on the beach, however, felons are being released from prison and within hours committing crimes. This is not normal.

We can point fingers at who caused the Corona Virus, how it spread, who is not doing enough etc. What is important to look at is what is your personal accountability in all this?

New health guidelines for cleanliness and social distancing are being implemented by the hour. These measures should have been developed and put into practice years ago. I love our country, but we have become a dirty nation!

Enter Here… We have all walked into restaurants and found dirty tables, restrooms, kitchens, while watching servers sneeze, cough, and wipe their mouth when delivering our food. I have observed people using restrooms then walk right out back to their table without washing their hands. The same dirty towel used for wiping down seats, equipment, doorknobs etc. then used to wipe the table you are eating at.

You do not have to travel far to see fast food wrappers, trash, debris, bumpers, furniture, cigarettes, diapers, cans, and bottles indiscriminately tossed on to our streets and highways. Many of these litter bugs display an entitlement attitude of “someone else will pick it up.” Oftentimes these discarded objects cause injuries and fatalities on our roadways.

Gyms, stores, theaters, markets, and professional offices are full of sick people (young and old) with flus and viruses. They go about their business as “no big deal” while spreading germs. Stay home when sick! I have witnessed people spit on sidewalks or indoors in waste cans or leave dog excrement on sidewalks. All these germs are tracked into your home from your shoes. These are just a few examples of bad hygiene habits that are not normal.

Assaults on police officers are increasing. Road rage has become a sport. Hit and runs are a daily occurrence. High speed pursuits are on the news daily and most people seem to gain pleasure not letting you merge into their lane.

Kindness, civility, and courtesy is hard to find these days. Most people would rather text than talk to you. Fights over toilet paper, hand sanitizers and wearing or not wearing masks are out of control.

Our politicians fight like children, lie to the public, and commit crimes which go unaccounted. How can you trust the words and actions of our elected leaders when they act this way? As a nation we are divided in so many ways. Fistfights, assault, and friendships ruined because you do not agree with someone else’s viewpoint.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”

This behavior does not discriminate. It is prevalent in every city, rich or poor. It has become a universal way of life. It is not normal!

Going back to normal is the last thing we should do. Normal behavior that is mentioned above was not working for us, and it will not work for our future. It is time to take on a new way of being as the only ones that are responsible and able to make change are ourselves.

If we go back to the way things were, we will lose the lesson. If we are smart, we can learn from Covid-19 and reshape our cities, states, country – and mostly ourselves and the way we behave.

Let us increase our morals, manners, and integrity. May we all rise and do better.

I think you’re picking up what I’m putting down!

Be safe, stay well and keep it clean…

Sam DiGiovanna is a 35-year fire service veteran. He started with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, served as Fire Chief at the Monrovia Fire Department and currently serves as Chief at the Verdugo Fire Academy in Glendale. He also is a consultant for www.Cordico.com