Are we hung up on 911 calls, asks the St. Petersburg Times. With increasing frequency, national news stories are accompanied by recordings of those short, dramatic conversations between us and our municipal representatives. The newspaper calls the 911 call “the black box of our daily existence, capturing our vulnerabilities, heroism, anger, suspicion.”
The Times provides a history of 911 calls, the first one of which was made in the town of Haleyville, Al., at 2 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 16, 1968. In the past month, we heard a man call 911 from Michael Jackson’s home and we learned the 911 caller outside the home of Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. was not racist (“Umm, well there were two larger men, one looked kind of Hispanic, but I’m not really sure”). Then there was the Fort Pierce, Fl., woman who called 911 three times after her local McDonald’s couldn’t produce McNuggets.