Tucson Firefighter Refused To Respond To Giffords Shooting Due To Political Differences

As John Cole says, this is just weird:

A Tucson firefighter refused to respond to the Jan. 8 shooting rampage that wounded Representative Gabrielle Giffords because of political differences with his crew, delaying his unit’s arrival at the scene, according to internal department records.

Firefighter Mark Ekstrum’s unit was not a first responder and was called after the last of the 13 wounded gunshot victims had been transported from the scene by paramedics, fire officials told The Arizona Daily Star, which obtained the memorandums. Still, Firefighter Ekstrum’s refusal to respond because of what he called “political bantering” caused confusion as the department dealt with the shooting, which left six dead, officials said.

Firefighter Ekstrum, a 28-year veteran, retired after the rampage as department officials considered disciplinary action. A memorandum from a supervisor, Capt. Ben Williams, said that Firefighter Ekstrum “mentioned something about ‘political bantering’ and he did not want to be part of it.” Exactly what the disagreement was over remained unclear.

Ekstrum now says he was “too distraught” over Giffords shooting to respond, but even that sounds odd. \

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Meanwhile thousands of teachers, firefighters, cops, etc…. have walked off their jobs in Wisconsin because of political differences. I think that’s a much bigger story than one idiot.

  2. Neil Hudelson says:

    You’re right Steve, these two items are entirely related. Teachers and Firefighters demanding that they be able to retain their rights is just like a first responder refusing to save a life because of politics.

    Do you have to make an effort to be this obtuse and stupid, or does it come natural?

  3. anjin-san says:

    > Meanwhile thousands of teachers, firefighters, cops, etc…. have walked off their jobs in Wisconsin because of political differences

    Guess the public employees in WI should just bend over and take it with a smile. That seems to be the right wing version of the American dream.

  4. inhumans99 says:

    Neil, Anjin…did we read the same post from Steve? I see nothing in his comment that says he feels that the firefighters and teachers in WI should “bend over and take it with a smile,” he is just pointing out what he feels is a more important story than the Tucson firefighter kerfluffle.

    Methinks you owe Steve an apology, or if possible, you should edit or retract your comments.

    Somedays you just gotta love the internet…

  5. Kylopod says:

    It may be just one idiot, but it illustrates how far we are from the days when the surgeon who operated on Reagan’s gunshot wound (supposedly) said “We’re all Republican’s today, Mr. President.”

  6. Brummagem Joe says:

    Another nut…the country is full of them.

  7. Neil Hudelson says:


    The “…because of political differences.” in his statement is directly lifted out of the original post, and as such equates the two. If he didn’t mean this and I mistook his meaning due to the similarity of language, then I wholeheartedly apologize. To me it looked like one of the “The other side does it too!” posts. But of course in this instance, one side is refusing to potentially save a life due to politics, and the other side wants to keep their pay…

    Not quite an equivalency there.

  8. anjin-san says:

    > Neil, Anjin…did we read the same post from Steve?

    I dunno, did you? He opened the door and we walked though it. He is trying to create a false equivalence between the victims of a union busting scheme based on a phony crisis, and someone who was derelict in their duty as a first responder.

    If I read him wrong, I will be happy to hear a clarification. In the meantime, I am calling BS.