The Valley of the Shadow of Death…and a Fire Truck.

Written by S.C. Sherman on March 15, 2014

New York may be the land of outlawing big soft drinks and Los Angeles is full of the Hollywood PC police, but the cracks of our societal decay have made it all the way to the Midwest. I live about ten miles from where this story is unfolding. Apparently, you don’t have to go to Chicago or San Fran to find stupid. We’ve got plenty of it right here in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

This week a terrible thing happened. A very sensitive and enlightened individual got up really close to one of the city fire trucks. Turns out on one of the lifts there is a cool painting of a fireman and a shadowy figure beside him in the smoke. Under the image is a saying written in real small lettering that reads, “The Lord is my shepherd,”

Well, holy cow! Shoot the Dalmatian! The anguish that must have ensued? It had to have been rough at the sight of those words. This soft hearted citizen was aghast. How could this be? Could the shadowy figure behind the fireman be Jesus? This will not do! Someone must be called! And called they were.

The offending fire truck has been in service to the citizens of Cedar Rapids for 16 years. Yes, that’s right, for 16 years this terribly offensive painting has driven freely around Cedar Rapids unfettered and spreading its vile message of hate and intolerance. It went to fires. It lifted brave men to high places so they could attempt to save citizens property and lives. Apparently, no one noticed, because what kind of insensitive person would put something as awful as the first five words of Psalm 23 right there on a public vehicle?

For 16 years it wasn’t a problem, but now ,suddenly, it’s a very big deal. You see the enlightenment is upon us and our old ways are wicked. Oh, how America has changed. The city fathers have called a Commission to discuss what to do. Something obviously must be done. This wrong must be set right. One idea is to paint a whole bunch of other images on the truck to be fair. I love this idea. We need to paint a big fat golden Buddha on there, we’ll need blank spot of nothing for the atheists, we’ll need someone floating around for the Maharishis, maybe an Amish guy, a cow for the Hindus, all capped off with a guy in a turban yelling “Allahu Akbar”! That should do the trick. We all good?

In the presence of my enemies, to be sure. Here’s an idea. Tell the offended citizen to go jump in the Cedar River! Cool your jets, jack-wagon. I suggest you head down to the Irish Democrat Pub and Grille and have a fireman buy you a pint. Relax, but that won’t happen, because that would be sane and rational. What’s most likely to happen is that the fire chief will submit to the city fathers and the city will capitulate to the offended citizen. They will likely sand off or paint over the nasty image to spare the children of Cedar Rapids the horror of seeing five words from the Old Testament and a little more of America will die.

I decided to ask my old fireman buddy, Chris Umschied, what he thought. Chris served twelve years, was a captain, and certified both Firefighter 1 and Fire Instructor 1. “Once a fireman, always a fireman.” Chris still would be slinging hoses but for some medical issues after a fire truck rolled over his entire body crushing him into the ground and cracking his skull. Apparently, being a fireman can be dangerous.

Here’s what Chris said about this kerfuffle.

I’d love to see the complainer crawl down a hallway, in pitch-black darkness and intense heat, slapping the wall with one hand and the boot of the guy in front of him (or having the guy behind him slapping his boot) while dragging a heavy-ass hose. You’re listening for the crackle of flames, you’re listening for anything sounding like the floor or ceiling giving way, you’re listening for any sounds from a potential victim. You get a little religious at a time like that, especially when the heat is getting worse, you’re still not seeing the fire [hint, it’s NOT as bright as in the movies or TV shows], you’ve forgotten how many left turns or right turns you’ve made…and the 5-minute warning is going off on your Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus [SCBA, or air pack]. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…

Amen to that, Chris. I wish this fire chief would rise up and tell the city fathers where to go. Tell them they’re keeping the image they’ve had on their truck for last 16 years. That’s that. End of story. I wish that would happen, but it won’t, because we’ve lost our minds in America. Not just on the coasts either, but right here in flyover country. I can only end this rant with one thing. Enjoy the poetry of the psalmist and pray for a fireman. And if you’re too damn offended to pray, at least go buy a fireman a drink and tell him thanks for serving.

Psalm 23 
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell[a] in the house of the Lord

Author, S.C. Sherman’s latest novel titled Mercy Shot is available for purchase at and Kindle version is available on Contact Steve via email Also, go LIKE to stay up to date on all things Mercy Shot.

Doug ‘The Big Dawg’ Giles’ reviews Mercy Shot
“Mercy Shot is a riveting, modern tale of the twisted and insidious war that’s being waged against our Second Amendment rights. S.C. Sherman does a great job of forecasting in this timely tome of how things could possibly go down. My advice is to a.)Read this book and b.) Buy a stack of guns and ammo, pretty damn quick. Molon Labe.” –Doug Giles, CEO of

Supporting Story Links:–249670501.html

You Might Like
S.C. Sherman
S.C. Sherman grew up a farm kid in rural Iowa. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Communications Studies. Steve is a business owner, and recently ran for Iowa State House of Representatives.. S.C. enjoys political commentary and great stories. He has written three fiction novels found at He currently lives with his wife and four children in North Liberty, Iowa.