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I am writing this letter in response to “Gentlemen, Start Your Engine” (6/18). I am a civilian paramedic with the D.C. Fire and EMS Department, and I found the article and the attitude of the firefighters involved demeaning and unprofessional. The article provides insight into how the firefighters view the community in which they are paid rather handsomely to serve.

The individuals who live in that community are not wild animals who become inhuman at the sight of a full moon. They are not some strange species whose very existence is viewed as a blight on humanity. They are human beings, with real medical problems that are not always evident to the casual observer; in my trained professional medical opinion, that is what these firefighters were: casual observers.

A trained, committed medical professional assesses what could be the underlying medical ailment and seeks to address that problem. This was not done by the individuals in the article.

I would be lying if I said that I am surprised by their attitude. But what does surprise me is the brazen and obvious indignation that is displayed and articulated by these firefighters in a community that views many of them as strangers.

These firefighters are not gentlemen or medical professionals—they are opportunists of the worst kind, who prey on those who cannot defend themselves.

Engine 10 should not be viewed as that shining city on the hill, but rather a tale of two cities.

Takoma Park, Md.