I usually refer to her as the DON, but in this Globe article her full name is stated, so I guess we can all be candid from here on in. I'm not going to get to my point until the last paragraph or so, so settle in for a long winded ride on this one.
Debbie is in the news because she reported a bus driver in Boston for getting off the bus and urinating on a city street.
At first I wasn't sure why this was newsworthy, but one glance at the comments section of either the article linked above or this one, will explain everything.
People are furious. And they are either furious at the man... or in many cases, at Debbie. In fact, the article was mostly about Debbie, and the comments are ALL about Debbie.
The criticisms of Debbie range from making no sense at all...
"Leave it to a nurse to complain," writes reindeergirl.
"Seriously, Ms. Thornton you work in nursing. You should know better."
... to personal attacks:
"Thornton..I hope someday you have to go so bad you can't wait and you embarrass yourself in front of everyone.....you are a snob!"
"Thornton you really need to focus on yourself. I'm blown away by how inconsiderate you are. I hope at your job you aren’t given normal bathroom breaks. Wow..."
Some people even tried to drag the homeless into it:
"She works with the homeless and is complaining about this?
If one of her clients were arrested or disciplined for the same behavior I bet it would be quite a different story." *
And more than one person stated straight out that she shouldn't be allowed to be a nurse. This is one of them:
"This could happen to anyone including you ms. thornton. Maybe you should resign from the medical field because the compassion you show here should never be allowed in a hospital or a medical facility."
I promised myself I'd get right down to the point I was trying to make, but I want to rip on this one for a minute.
First of all, Debbie is in her forties and has never gotten out of a car in downtown Boston, dropped trou, squatted and peed. So "this could happen to anyone even you," is a little silly.
Then the other half, "maybe you should resign from the medical field..." Seriously? Since Debbie is a nurse she has to be okay with public urination? What if your nurse in the hospital relieved himself in a potted plant because he couldn't make it to the staff bathroom? How compassionate would you feel? Would you argue that maybe your nurse has a bladder problem and invite him to pee on your flowers every day? Would you be okay with someone saying "well he did his job, so let him alone?"
Compassion is good and fine, and has it's place but if nurses ruled only with compassion without any thought to best practice, boundaries, or greater community good then everyone who said they had a little back pain would be high on vicodins, no one would have to pay for health care and there'd be no beds left in the hospitals because people would just be living there treating the CNAs as hired help. Compassion doesn't mean letting everything all go to hell in a handbasket.**
Now listen. If you don't agree with what Debbie did, that's fine. I know a lot of people would have looked the other way.
They're thinking "the guy is human! When you gotta go, you gotta go!"
But why take out your outrage about the human condition in working class America on Debbie? Get outraged about the long hours for MBTA drivers. Or about the general rush of American life which made the man feel like he couldn't pull over for a more legal or legitimate bathroom break.
There are also a number of people who side with Debbie on the issue, most of those comments for some reason are left on the second article, whereas the more scathing quips are on the first.
The people who agree with Debbie point out that the bus driver was in uniform, abandoned his post, and didn't explain anything to the worried passengers.
"I agree with person who reported this; an unscheduled stop for an emergency is one thing, an unscheduled stop to urinate in public is quite another. It is an incredible display of disrespect to have a bus with people on it wait while you urinate in a public place."
Others chimed in that if the bus driver had explained what was going on, it would have been more excusable. Still others mentioned the fact that the man, in fact was breaking a law.
And friends, you can argue til the sun goes down about whether or not it's a stupid law but it is still a law and the law is that you can NOT urinate in public here. I think plenty of laws are stupid***, but they're still laws. And if we're going to have laws, we need to either uphold them or protest them until they are no longer laws. Otherwise they're just suggestions.
I'm not going to tell you how I feel about the issue with the bus driver because that's moot. I don't even want to talk about whether or not a bystander should report public urination. I want to talk about people.
(See next post)
* Actually when homeless men or women urinate in the street it's because they are intoxicated or mentally impaired. Most people without homes when sober and right minded are actual hyper vigilant about dignity and privacy because of the social stigma they already face. (Sigh).
** Or a puddle of urine.