Recently a 20 year old female firefighter, Anne Veseth, was killed fighting a fire in Idaho when a tree fell, ricochet’ed off another tree, and killed her. I will spare you the gory details of exactly how. But dozens of woodlands firefighters have died over the last decade, and a significant percentage died from falling trees. It is one of the occupational hazards, one that every experienced firefighter is aware of and tries to avoid — and this was Anne’s second season so she certainly was an experienced firefighter by this point — but sh*t happens.
It is of course a tragedy when a young person dies. From a brief Google of her name, Anne Veseth was a cool kid. She graduated near the top of her high school class and could have done anything she wanted, but what she wanted was to work with her hands. She went to school to become an auto mechanic, and was working woodlands fires in the summers both for spending money and because she liked it. Otherwise she wouldn’t have returned to doing it for a second summer, because there are certainly easier ways to make spending money in the summers if you’re a nice-looking kid like Anne that pretty much any business in town would want working the cash registers as eye candy for the customers. So at the very least, you can say she died doing something she liked to do, which is more than most of us will ever be able to say.
So her story is over. But what brings this post about is the response to her story: the people who say, “she shouldn’t have been out there.” Say what? Excuse me? She knew the risks. Her older brother is a woodlands fire fighter too. She accepted the risk, and lost the bet. It happens. It happens a dozen or more times a year, that woodlands firefighters lose their lives fighting wildfires. But what kind of person would want to interfere in a young woman’s ability to follow her vocation of choice?
Answer: The same kind of people who would interfere with a young woman’s ability to receive birth control or have an abortion. Busybodies. People who believe that young women are inherently inferior beings who can’t think for themselves, and thus these people must make decisions for the young women. To this kind of person, Anne Veseth was like a precious flower, brainless and beautiful, that must be protected from herself. Women, to this kind of person, are inherently inferior and brainless, and thus these people — mostly men, but some busybody women too — must make decisions for women, instead of letting women make decisions for themselves.
Anne Veseth made the decision to fight fires. But if this kind of person had their way, she — and any other woman — would not have been allowed to make such a decision. That, in the end, is the difference between a free nation and tyranny. In a free nation, Anne Veseth could choose what profession she would follow. In the tyranny that these busybodies would love to impose, she would have been kept at home, or pinkwashed into “acceptable” professions like nursing or teaching, and certainly would not have allowed to do something where she might get dirty or (gasp) killed.
Something to think about, next time you see other people wanting to impose their own standards of what women should or should not do at gunpoint under penalty of law…
– Badtux the Saddened Penguin