A key word routinely touted by the liberal left is “diversity,” and while we understand and agree that it is sometimes good to gather people with different backgrounds, experiences, lifestyles and ideals, it seems at times that liberals pursue diversity simply on the basis of being diverse, with no thought of merit or consequence.
So it is that the New York Post reported over the weekend that the New York City Fire Department recently hired nine minorities who happened also to be convicted felons, all for the sake of “diversity.”
The nine ex-felons were among the 295 Fire Academy graduates who were granted probationary firefighter status, a group reportedly 22.3 percent Hispanic and 15.5 percent black, numbers that some suggest show the liberal bureaucrats running the department have loosened hiring standards in their effort to be more diverse.
One of the ex-felons hired is a 32-year-old black man who served time in prison for two separate convictions in 2005 for possession of a loaded firearm. While he largely stayed out of trouble following his release from prison, it was known to his probation officers that he hung around with known gang members.
Nevertheless, it was eventually determined that he had shown “signs of maturity and responsibility,” and he was ultimately rewarded in 2015 with a “certificate of good conduct” from the state’s corrections department. According to a separate report from the New York Post, that certificate allowed him to apply for a position with the FDNY despite his felony convictions.
Nevertheless, some veteran members of the FDNY were concerned about the number of ex-felons who are being hired.
“I agree that people deserve a second chance, but how far are we going to go?” one firefighter asked.
But according to The Daily Caller, others suggested that given the risky nature of firefighting, an individual’s particular background shouldn’t matter as much as whether he was willing to place himself in danger in order to help others.
Legal Action Center director Sebastian Solomon maintained that under current New York state law, an applicant’s criminal history couldn’t be grounds for dismissal from consideration if his convictions had nothing to do inherently with his duties as a firefighter. He also used the example of a homeowner not caring whether a firefighter had been in trouble in the past if he was currently trying to save the house from burning down.
Much like the unnamed firefighter quoted above, we too believe in second chances for people who have made stupid mistakes in the past, and feel that if the individual shows the merit and aptitude required to do a particular job, he should be considered for the position.
That said, given what we know of the progressive left’s insatiable appetite for being diverse just for diversity’s sake, we can’t help but wonder if some or all of these ex-felons are truly deserving of the second chance they have been given, and we hope that truly deserving non-minorities and non-felons weren’t passed over for those positions.