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October 23, 2008

McCain's brother called 9-1-1 to complain about traffic (audio)

John McCain's brother, Joe McCain, called 9-1-1 to complain about traffic.

Operator: 911 state your emergency

Caller: It's not an emergency but do you know why on one side at the damn drawbridge of 95traffic is stopped for 15 minutes and yet traffic's coming the other way?

Operator: Sir, are you calling 911 to complain about traffic? (pause)

Caller: "(Expletive) you." (caller hangs up)

McCain's behavior was sufficiently outrageous that 9-1-1 called back to warn him that it was a crime to use the service for non-emergencies. Joe's voice mail picked up. We know it was voice mail of Joe, brother of John, because the voice mail greeting was: "Hi this is Joe McCain I can't take this message now because I'm involved in a very (inaudible) important political project... I hope on Nov. 4th we have elected John."

Joe McCain then called 9-1-1 again to complain about the aforementioned message from the 9-1-1 operator.

Remember, Joe, country first. County first, too. Do not burden EMS upon the delusional belief that your brother will be president soon.


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His name is Joe? That's great... is he a plumber?

In Pittsburgh, it's not illegal to call the police for a non-emergency. In fact, if you call the precinct about a non-emergency that requires an office be dispatched, they require you to call 911.

That's great, Maria. I'm glad Pittsburgh has such a generous 9-1-1 policy. Except...Joe McCain was calling from Alexandria, Virginia.

Cue Republicans complaining that people's relatives are not an issue in 3...2...1...

It's that Republican sense of entitlement, once again showing itself like an enormous expanse of gluteus maximus squeezing it's way out of pants that are three sizes too small.

Wait, why is Joe McCain saying "95" and not "the 95"? I thought they were from the Southwest, where highways come with articles.

I'm perplexed. Aren't these folks supposed to be all about personal responsibility, taking charge, being mavericks, being tough, blah, blah, blah? How do crybaby hissy fits square with that?

So this guy made a call.

Jimmy Carter's brother Billy pissed on an airport tarmac. There, we're even.

It strikes me that the 911 operator calling back to tell someone that calling 911 for a non-emergency is an even more senseless use of a 911 operator's time than the ignorant call from a driver stuck in traffic that proceeded it.

I'm fascinated to learn that it's against the law in Virginia to place a 911 call for a "non-emergency." How do they define emergency? What's the penalty for violating it? How many prosecutions for this crime are done every year?

Except...Joe McCain was calling from Alexandria, Virginia.

Yes, nothing exemplifies McCain's unfitness for the presidency like the fact that his brother can't keep track of our nation's fractured 911 regulations.


It should be against the law to clog up those lines for a mundane bullshit thing like a traffic jam or a barking dog.

How about " an emergency is an imminent threat to persons or property " and leave it at that.

Phantom, I wasn't making an argument that Virginia's law against non-emergency calls to 911 should be repealed.

I'm just interested in the nuts and bolts and thought there might be someone out there who knew the details.

When your first words to the 9-1-1 operator are "this isn't an emergency, but..." it's probably not an emergency.

It's a good idea to call people back and warn them about 9-1-1 abuse, whether it's illegal or not. Warnings often discourage people from repeating their bad behavior. Also, 9-1-1 recorded the warning call, so if he ever pulls this shit again, there will be an official record that he has been warned.

Joe McCain used to live in the Capitol region, so it's not like he just parachuted in from the wilds of Arizona or Wasilla or something.
Besides, every school kid knows that you never call 9-1-1 unless its an emergency.

I love it - Phantom's whole thing is that two wrongs make a right. Typical republican.

"We're even." Does it get more purile than that?


How do I explain humor to such as youze?

Oh, and if I were serious, I might have pointed out that Biden's son is a lobbyist for the drug companies. But that would be unkind so I did not do that.

And banks, too. But as far as we know he doesn't call 9-1-1 to lobby for the drug companies. "It's not an emergency, but I need three more votes, can you send some officers over to the state house?"

When your first words to the 9-1-1 operator are "this isn't an emergency, but..." it's probably not an emergency.

Thanks, Lindsay, but once again, I wasn't arguing against Virginia's laws making non-emergency calls to 911 illegal, or suggesting that maybe McCain's call was an emergency, or that he didn't know if it were an emergency or not.

This is the first I've heard that there is a law against making non-emergency calls to 911. I'm interested in learning the details. If you don't have them, can you just point me to your source for the fact that they are illegal--maybe I can do the research on my own from there.

It's a good idea to call people back and warn them about 9-1-1 abuse, whether it's illegal or not.

It may be a good idea to call and warn people about 9-1-1 abuse but its not an emergency. If the point is keeping 9-1-1 operators focused on actual emergencies, maybe we can let others handle the warning calls.

You asked how they determined what's an emergency. I don't know what the legal standard is in Virginia, but I'm confident that if a caller opens with "this isn't an emergency," that call fails the test.

Addressing 9-1-1 abuse is a legitimate use of the operators' time. The public is only allowed to place emergency calls to 9-1-1, but there's no corresponding rule that says all outgoing calls have to be emergencies.

We don't even know whether the operator called him back using the dedicated emergency line.

A couple of stern warning calls could prevent a lot more frivolous calls in the future.

Phantom: you're off topic. This thread is about Joe McCain. You're just deflecting.

My feeling is that Joe McCain figured he might as well make hay while the sun still shines.

Lindsay, I didn't ask how they determined what's an emergency. I asked how they defined emergency. This is because I'm interested in the law, not in defending McCain's phone call or trying to suggest he was reporting an actual emergency or that he didn't know whether their was an emergency or not. You apparently don't know what the details of the law are--could you just refer me to the source that reports that Virginia has a law against non-emergency calls to 911 so I can do my own research? Thanks.

The source of the report that it is against the law to phone 9-1-1 for a non-emergency is 1:41 in the video.


You're off topic. No one appointed you the guardian of Lindsay's site. Good web conversations always meander.

If she had a problem with my comment, she would not have responded to it.

Please apologize, and sin no more.

Your still off topic.

I don't care who did this, it is a crime. I prosecute this type of stupid shit all the time, and what bothers me, is that these people do not feel they did anything wrong. And I am sure McCain's brother is worse than the average joe, and has some sense of entitlement that he can just call in and express his displeasure with the traffic! What an ass!

I live in Chicago, imagine if every mope tried to call 9-1-1 to complain about hte traffic! My god! It would be chaos. This needs to be prosecuted, no matter who the caller, McCain's brother or not. Idiocy knows no bounds.

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