One of the most tragic stories of this summer was that of Troy Goode, the Widespread Panic fan who was hogtied by police and ultimately passed away in their custody immediately following a concert. At the time, police claimed that Goode was behaving erratically, and speculated that his death may have been due to an “LSD overdose,” despite the fact that Goode uttered the phrase “I can’t breathe” while police restrained him.New toxicology reports have been released, proving definitively that the amount of marijuana and LSD in Goode’s system were well below half of the minimum lethal dose. Goode had admitted to using recreational drugs at the concert, and attorney Tim Edwards said, “Marijuana does not kill people. LSD there are no reported deaths.”“What they did was indefensible,” said Edwards.Since the drugs can no longer be blamed for Goode’s death, perhaps it may be time to investigate the police officers involved with this arrest. However this may play out, we’re still sending our condolences out to Troy Goode’s wife and child, who must be devastated in the wake of such a sudden and tragic loss.You can head here to find out about a benefit concert being thrown to support Goode’s family, and options to donate to the family directly.[Via WMC Action News]
While Hazzard’s writing style shares a spontaneous, spitfire similarity to authors Tim O’Brien and Hunter S. Thompson-both of whom he quotes on the opening page-his style and tone are more similar to the film directors of violent, shock cinema such as Quentin Tarantino, Darren Lynn Bousman and Wes Craven. Most of the action in A Thousand Naked Strangers occurs in the eerie gloom of night and feels like a horror movie. Hazzard’s first call at Rural/Metro is for a man who has hacked off three toes with a “rusted steel” lawnmower blade and, that night, he responds to a lady who has spent the night slicing herself with a “bloody and rusted” meat cleaver. Later in the book, Hazzard searches for a dead body in an abandoned school: “Somewhere in the darkness, something moves and I swing my light,” he writes, “We hope it’s only a rat, but we’re not in here alone.” Near the end of the book, Hazzard is dispatched to a man who has cut himself ear-to-ear with a chain saw, and he encounters “skin, meat, sinewy jaw muscles, teeth, tongue, the bones of the jaw itself are all churned up and left to dangle in a horrible and horrifying slurry of mouth parts.” Perhaps the most telling moments in the book come after Hazzard responds to a guy who was lethally shot in the head. “His skull was obliterated,” Hazzard writes, “and the skin hung slack like a dodge ball with the air let out.” After the call, Hazzard heard a faint clicking sound in the sole of his boot every time he took a step. Was it a pebble? A shard of broken glass? Hazzard pays the sound little mind until he returns home and his floor gets scratched. He discovers then it was a piece of skull from the shooting victim. Hazzard’s wife, Sabrina, is horrified so he tosses the skull fragment into the neighbor’s yard. The skull is gone-as is the spongy brain he washes off his hands in another scene, and the blood and smell of dead bodies he routinely launders from his uniform-but does out of sight equal out of mind? What are the psychological and spiritual tolls of saving lives? And finally, could the job of saving lives as an EMT or paramedic be nearly as traumatizing as that of a soldier in combat? As the violent calls continue ceaselessly, the wide-eyed optimism of the first half of the book is lost and A Thousand Naked Strangers threatens to assault the spirit rather than uplift it. As Hazzard is stretched to the breaking point, he gets bitter, his spiritual isolation grows, and he begins to lash out. Despite this, Hazzard’s memoir is a major work. To read it is to feel the rollercoaster range of emotions that EMTs and paramedics experience on a daily basis. Hazzard’s writing is action-packed, nuanced and unforgettable. A Thousand Naked Strangers has all the elements of an EMS classic. Between 2004 and 2013, Hazzard spent 10 years working as an EMT and paramedic in Atlanta, primarily in the projects and lawless streets surrounding Grady Memorial Hospital. “I wanted to be tested,” Hazzard writes, “I wanted to prove to myself that I could handle the pressure of life-and-death moments.” Bearing the bandages, water and sponge,Straight and swift to my wounded I go,Where they lie on the ground after the battle brought in, Where their priceless blood reddens the grass, the ground. Those are the intriguing questions at the tell-tale heart of this poignant, darkly funny, and unremittingly brutal memoir. When Hazzard later works with Chris, a career medic who’s “equal parts junkie and devotee,” he perfectly describes the paramedic rite-of-passage of the new initiate learning from the wise, seasoned elder. As they’re called to a private residence for an elderly woman choking, Hazzard captures the thrill and action of running a cardiac arrest: “A firefighter drops to his knees and begins CPR-a traumatic, almost obscene assault on the body. Two hands over the breastplate, arms locked, an unending string of compressions delivered with the full force of a grown man. The breastplate quickly breaks free from the ribs; the connecting cartilage snaps with each compression and makes a percussive pop like thick ice breaking deep below the surface. Chris reaches into the jump bag and pulls out the airway kit. I shuffle along on my knees and take hold of Grandma’s hand. It’s time for an IV.” Such was the way poet Walt Whitman wrote about the soldiers he cared for during the Civil War in his classic poem, “The Wound Dresser.” One hundred and forty years later, Kevin Hazzard embarked on his career in EMS, a wild experience he chronicles in grisly detail in his new memoir, A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic’s Wild Ride to the Edge and Back. Like Whitman, who also paused a writing career to splint bones and bandage wounds, Hazzard expertly captures the triumphs, tragedies and tolls of treating the critically ill and injured. Over the course of its brief history, the field of EMS has always attracted action-oriented people, brave men and women who were far more interested in saving lives than sitting down at a desk and writing about it. Thus, it’s into this relative void that A Thousand Naked Strangers arrives, “loud and terrible, ten thousand pounds of speeding menace with the lunatic wail of a screaming banshee “¦ a street bound locomotive that can’t stop, so get the hell out of the way.” In this scene, Hazzard uses his considerable writing talent to describe the sight and sound of a fire engine responding to a call, but it’s also the perfect description of his book.Consequently, in the nearly 50 years since paramedics first stepped onto the streets, a Navy SEAL-like silence has hung over much of the profession. Things slowly began to change after Jim Page–founder of JEMS–published his memoir, The Magic of 3 A.M., in 1986, and other pioneering writers such as Paul Shapiro, Peter Canning and Jane Stern soon followed. Their memoirs-and a few others like them-were both thrilling and captivating, but the EMS bookshelf still looked quite bare compared to the vast number of military memoirs and others written by doctors, nurses and lawyers. “I’m angry and miserable and I almost don’t even care,” he writes. “I’m burned out.” Is this burnout? Or is “burnout” just the acceptable label that EMS providers have given to post-traumatic stress, compassion fatigue and their negative changes in mood and thinking? Unfortunately, one of the book’s shortcomings is that Hazzard doesn’t investigate this important question. In place of this internal exploration, Hazzard then begins to rage against all the external factors he feels are to blame-the grumpy nurses, arrogant doctors, bad partners, the hours, the pay, the threat of injury, and “the shit holes and shitbags.” His omission is then worsened when he writes that “there are realities to working at Grady that medics don’t face anywhere else,” and that “those beginning their career now have it a little easier.” By describing his feelings as singular and delegating his experience to another time and place, he threatens to discount the feelings of EMS providers today who face the same tensions, witness similar traumas, and endure the same struggle to stay sane and compassionate in a difficult profession. Hazzard is an expert at capturing character. “My most frequent part-timer is Josh,” he writes of an early partner, “a body builder with enormous teeth, big white monsters spread wide enough to walk through, and a body to match: six and a half feet tall, chest like a beer keg, shoulders wide as a doorway, a booming voice cradled in a South Georgia accent.” With only a few adjectives, Hazzard has captured the protein-powdered soul of his partner. As Hazzard earns his EMT license, an endless patient parade of junkies, drunks, prostitutes, criminals and misfits are quick to offer up opportunities. Hazzard begins his career with FirstMed, a company that runs inter-facility transports of dialysis and nursing home patients. From there, he gets hired to run 9-1-1 calls with Rural/Metro in Fulton County, earning his paramedic license in the process, and ultimately lands at Grady EMS, the 9-1-1 provider for the city of Atlanta. As he struggles to translate his book knowledge into street smarts, Hazzard perfectly captures the fear, giddiness and courage of being an EMS newbie. If you’d like to purchase Kevin Hazzard’s memoir, A Thousand Naked Strangers, or to learn more about the author, visit www.kevinhazzard.com.
Bowers boosted her career rebound total to 811, while pushing her career points to 1,109, one shy of Dominique Edwards for 10th place on LU’s all-time list. Meanwhile, Barrs, who leads the nation in steals, pushed her season total to 127, 15 shy of her LU and Southland Conference record of 142 set last season.Barrs, the two-time Southland Conference defensive player of the year, has at least one steal in all 80 games of her career.McNeese committed 29 turnovers, compared to just 13 for LU. As a result, the Cardinals had a 37-11 advantage in points off turnovers. LU shot 29 of 77 (37.7 percent) from the field, while McNeese was 24 of 61 (39.3 percent). LU took advantage of a physical McNeese team that was whistled for 24 fouls. LU was 20 of 28 (71.4 percent) from the line, while McNeese was 6 of 13 (46.2 percent). Mercedes Rogers came off the bench to notch a double-double for McNeese, finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Jasmyn Carswell added 10 points for the Cowgirls. Lamar sports informationBEAUMONT — Moe Kinard scored 24 points to lead four Lamar Cardinals in double figures, while Kiandra Bowers registered her 30th career double-double as LU rolled to its 23rd straight home win, an 83-58 decision over the McNeese State Cowgirls in a Southland Conference women’s basketball game Saturday.The Cardinals (13-6 overall, 8-1 Southland) won their fifth straight game. DeA’ngela Mathis had 18 points for LU, Chastadie Barrs finished with 15 points, nine assists and eight steals, while Bowers added 11 points and 11 rebounds. With the win, LU remained a half-game behind conference-leading Stephen F. Austin (16-3, 8-0), which was a 75-53 winner at Sam Houston State on Saturday. The 23 straight home wins extends a program record.“These guys have pride,” Harmony said of her team. “They want to play well in front of their fans. They want them to continue to come back out. We want to grow our fan bases, and the best way to do that is to win. The fans are the sixth man for us. They make a big difference.”The Cardinals go for their 24th straight home win at 7 p.m. Wednesday, in the second of four straight home games for LU as they host Abilene Christian.TICKETSFor tickets for LU home games, please call 409-880-1715, or visit www.LamarCardinals.com. The Montagne Center ticket office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. It reopens one hour prior to tipoff on weeknights and weekends. LU students receive free admission to home games with their Cardinal One card, while Junior Cardinal Club members are admitted for free when they present their membership badge.PROMOTIONSWednesday will feature a student-organization challenge with prizes given to the organizations showing the most spirit during the game. A postgame autograph session will feature the four juniors on this season’s LU squad. LU led 21-16 after the first quarter before opening the second quarter on a 7-0 run over the first 2:02 of the period, forcing the Cowgirls to call timeout. McNeese (8-11, 4-4) rallied to tie the game at 30 before LU close the quarter with another 7-0 run capped by a Kinard three-pointer.“We knew McNeese was going to make a run, but our kids answered. They didn’t give up, they didn’t pout,” Harmony said. “They continued to play hard.”“It’s really hard to stop us,” Harmony said. “We have Chas, who can drive the ball to the rack at any time. DeA’ngela can hit off the bounce or hit the three. Moe can do the same. We can feed Kiandra in the post, and if we do miss any of those outside shots, clean up on Aisle 5 with those 800 rebounds Kiandra has.”