The story of the lifeguard who was fired for helping rescue a swimmer outside of his designated zone has deservedly received a great deal of attention. Such examples of bad decisions and bad judgment make us shake our heads and wonder what is wrong with humanity. And in today's hyper-politicized climate I suppose it shouldn't have surprised me that columnist Jonah Goldberg tried (not very successfully) to make a connection between the lifeguard's firing and liberal politics ("Signs of a sick culture," July 5). To further his dubious premise he recalled the May, 2011 incident in which a man slowly committed suicide in the frigid water off Alameda, Calif., while police and firefighters stood by.

Mr. Goldberg claims "union-backed rules" kept them from attempting a rescue. My own research indicates that a major factor in that terrible outcome was budget restraints that prevented the city from training its firefighters for water rescues and acquiring the gear they would need. Who is calling loudest for budget cuts? Is it liberals?

Enough politicizing. Surely Democrats, Republicans and everyone else can agree that such lapses of common sense and humanity are deplorable without resorting to the never-ending blame game.

Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore