The Virginia paramedic uses a racist slur for African Americans, calling them “dindus.”
In his world — the world of open white supremacists — that’s supposed to mean something like “didn’t do anything.”
On the popular neo-Nazi podcast he co-hosts, Alex J. McNabb once compared an African American woman he cared for to a gorilla.
And he’s got a name for a Southern Virginia neighborhood where lots of African immigrant families live. He refers to it as “Ebola Alley.”
The question isn’t whether McNabb, 35, is a bigot. He’s all over social media with some pretty vile stuff. He doesn’t hide his outbursts on “The Daily Shoah” podcast, where he talks about life on the job and his conclusions about African Americans he encounters.
McNabb is being investigated by the state’s Department of Health, HuffPost reported, and department spokeswoman Marian Hunter confirmed it for me Monday.
They’re investigating him because his job is a vital, even noble calling that puts people in his care at their most traumatized.
McNabb is an EMT. So when you’re having a heart attack, have been in a car crash, slipped and broke a bone in the bathtub or were shot in Patrick County, Va., there’s a chance that McNabb will be the one who can help save your life.
“In EMT training, we often say, this is the worst day in that person’s life, when they call 911. They are at their most vulnerable; they are often scared,” said Allison G.S. Knox, an emergency management instructor for the online American Military University. “So maintaining objectivity in patient care is important.”
As is a little mercy.
And mercy is not a word that comes to mind if you listen to any of McNabb’s podcasts or read his social media feeds.
In one episode of “The Daily Shoah” — named to mock the Hebrew term for the Holocaust — he talked about his line of work. “It’s hard to find a dindu vein anyway, because they’re black,” he said.
And, assuming the name “Dr. Narcan” when he tells stories from the world of emergency medical technicians, he talked about the delight he took in taking the blood of an allegedly unruly black boy.
“Dr. Narcan enjoyed great, immense satisfaction as he terrorized this youngster with a needle and stabbed him thusly in the arm with a large-gauge IV catheter,” he said.
McNabb, who did not return a request for comment, posted his exchange with the HuffPost reporter, Christopher Mathias, when Mathias asked about the Dr. Narcan sketch. He ridiculed Mathias for not recognizing comedic satire and hid behind a whole “Doctor Narcan is a work of fiction” shtick.
The ha-ha excuse isn’t good enough for most people in the field, Knox said.
Plenty of agencies have fired first responders for bigoted tweets, rants and posts, Knox said. Police in many cities have been accused of outright brutality in the way they treat African Americans. Research shows many of us struggle with implicit, unconscious bias toward minorities. Subtle prejudice can be hard to prove — or address — in our judicial system because so many people are in denial about it.
But what about the billboard way a guy like McNabb advertises his thoughts?
We’ve yet to hear back from the Jeb Stuart Volunteer Rescue Squad, where McNabb works, on its social media policy. But most agencies — from Washington state to Michigan to New York — fire those who get vile in public.
I checked in with the National Association of EMTs in Mississippi. Spokeswoman Kathleen Taormina didn’t want to get anywhere near McNabb’s case but referred me to their code of conduct, which includes this:
“The actions, comments and decisions of EMS personnel should be provided in an environment that respects the diversity of the patients being served. EMS decisions and actions concerning treatment, patient transportation, hospital destination, and ancillary services should be made without bias.”
Last summer, a Twitter campaign outed marchers identified in photos from the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. (McNabb was a proud participant who also tweeted support this week for the man convicted in Heather Heyer’s death.)
A hot dog shop worker in California lost his job, and universities condemned the actions of their students identified at the rallies. And some Americans wondered whether public shaming and firing isn’t today’s flip-side McCarthyism.
But this one is different.
If you’ve ever chased ambulances — as I did during many years as a crime reporter — you see the important work that first responders do. You also appreciate the vulnerability of people in their care.
They are often bleeding, crying, naked or helpless. EMTs cut away shirts and see bellies and breasts. Pants are removed, things are exposed. I’ve always been moved by the sight of an EMT — in the heat of calamity and stress — offering compassion by covering someone up, holding a hand or whispering an assurance.
It’s impossible to believe that Dr. Narcan — or his creator — can spend so much time dehumanizing, humiliating and hating people, then put a uniform on and treat the targets with respect when their lives depend on him.