FDNY Can't Fix Stupid

Walter Olson at Overlawyered.com writes

“NYFD made written test impossible to fail, but diversity recruits in Academy can’t meet physical standards either.” [Ted Frank/PoL]

The underlying story is the NY Post's Fatter FDNY recruits failing, By BRAD HAMILTON , March 3, 2013, something Steve Sailer blogged about earlier.

Ted Frank writes

So many recruits for this year's FDNY Academy class are unfit and flunking the physical fitness test that the department has had to dip to scores as low as 72 on the written test to keep the class full—normally, anyone below 97 doesn't get admitted. Why is the FDNY dropping its standards so?

Because the Vulcan Society disparate impact litigation complained that minorities were underrepresented, so the FDNY only permitted applicants from a gerrymandered pool that had a higher minority percentage than the firehouses currently had.

The New York Post story focuses on the fatness of the class, but the unfit applicants will likely flunk out; the relaxation of intellectual acuity standards, however, has longer-term consequences and the Post gives short shrift to that aspect.["Worst FDNY class in the department's history", By Ted Frank, PointOfLaw, March 4, 2013]

There's a lot more at the Ted Frank post—he gives Sailer credit, which is rare, but let me simplify the one phrase "the relaxation of intellectual acuity standards, however, has longer-term consequences" into the language a fireman would use: you can't fix stupid.

If the recruits are too fat, they will either flunk out or get fit, if their trainers run them hard enough. But if they're stupid, they will stay stupid.

Firefighting involves many tests of both knowlege and intelligence.

If the question is "which is the safe way out of this building?" and they get the wrong answer, it's pass/fail. They're not graded on a curve, you're alive or they're dead.

As one San Francisco fireman wrote

An inexperienced black lieutenant quota-hire lost his life because he didn’t recognize the signs of an impending back-draft (explosion). Eight other firefighters had thrown themselves to the floor to avoid the heat that was sure to come (later estimated at 2000 degrees), but the medical examiner’s report said the man had been standing, and had not properly used  any of his protective clothing. Shouts from the firefighter bashing in the door to “hit the floor,” along with the eerie calm that precedes a back-draft were wasted on this unfortunate man, who was hired and promoted beyond his abilities. Affirmative-action literally killed him.

[Fighting "Racism" Rather than Fires - A first-hand report on the consequences of affirmative action, American Renaissance, January 1996]

The expression "you can't fix stupid" is Ron White's.