Opinion: Jared got his gun?
Free Press Weekly Opinion Columnist
In the world of Jared Wright it must seem nothing is going right of late.
No matter how much he flaunts his conservative values, the number of candidates opposing him in the upcoming election continues to grow. No matter how frequently he claims “I am fighting for you,” fewer believe. He manages to turn every topic into a harangue against the “liberals in Denver,” even if the problem’s genesis lies elsewhere.
In the latest reversal of fortune, Mr. Wright proved himself an unreliable gun owner. He who proposed legislation that declared everyone who could legally own a firearm was sufficiently qualified to conceal carry without any training or permitting. He then lost his own loaded and concealed firearm while at work at the State Capitol. Oops.
I have many comments on why we must “Press One for English” if we live in America. You know the America to which I refer, the one where immigration has been encouraged, where vibrant cultures and their languages embraced as part of our national culture … well never mind, I meander.
I have always felt that particular whine to be petty and perhaps worse, but there are some voicemail systems I have found to be perhaps insensitive and just plain baffling. In addition to the two mentioned below, surely you could add some of your own.
For the purpose of these discussions you need to imagine two scenarios. In the first scenario you are the grieving survivor of someone whose recent passing required an autopsy or other inquiry by the county coroner. In the second you are a distraught veteran contemplating suicide.
1) You either require or desire information as to the outcome of a coroner inquiry into the nature of the death of a loved one. Having not received information in what you perceive as a reasonable period of time, you look up the phone number and dial the coroner’s office.
Your call is answered by the seemingly inescapable voicemail. The recording informs you to press 1 if you wish to report a death in Mesa County. That option does not apply as you are inquiring about a death previously reported and investigated, so you await the next prompt.
You are directed to forward an e-mail to the coroner’s office at an e-mail address given so rapidly you will need to find a paper and pen and re-dial the number in hopes of being able to transcribe the e-mail address without the necessity of a third or even fourth call. There is, however, a third option. You can leave a voicemail. But the voice informs you to “bear in mind” that an e-mail will result in a faster response.
One of the least noticed offices in our county hierarchy which deals in the most personal of matters, the death of a loved one, provides only the most impersonal service to family members seeking information. Certainly they can do better. Insensitive is not a word that should be associated with this office.
2) You are a veteran who has determined that life is best not lived any longer. As you sit there with a loaded revolver in your hand, you reach out for one last hope of salvation. You have heard that the Veterans Administration has an active concern for vets in your situation so you place that one last phone call desperately seeking help.
The phone, answered of course by voicemail, instructs you to hang up and dial 911 if this is a life threatening emergency or if you are contemplating injuring yourself. It goes on to direct you to dial another number and press #1 if you need to speak to a mental health professional. This is an improvement over the previous version, but still stops short of being proactive.
If you were considering suicide as an immediate solution to your problems you would likely have dialed 911 if that was your choice. If you are in immediate danger of taking your life there is little likelihood you have a pen and paper in hand to write down another number to dial. If “Please dial 1 for English” is important, it is more urgent that a suicidal vet have a rapid option available other than 911.
If the VA has the funds for all the improvements being made to their facility, they certainly should have the funds to upgrade a phone system to save lives. Maybe the next time a despondent veterans calls the VA for help the voicemail will say “If this is a life threatening emergency hang up and dial 911; if you are thinking of hurting yourself dial 1”.
GJ Free Press columnist Jim Hoffman is a local Realtor and investor who, when not working, loves skiing, camping and fishing (in season). He may be reached at email@example.com.
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