Opinion: An L.A. fire captain is the latest COVID villain for our readers

Los Angeles Fire Capt. Cristian Granucci
Los Angeles Fire Capt. Cristian Granucci recorded a video of himself criticizing the city’s new COVID-19 vaccination requirement. It was posted on YouTube.
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Our letter writers are angry, and it’s hard to blame them. Right now, they’re deep into yet another COVID-19 surge that didn’t have to happen, with multiple effective vaccines in circulation (including one just given final approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) and the experience of our winter pandemic trauma. Unvaccinated children attend newly reopened schools at the mercy of one of the most contagious respiratory viruses ever, still in wide circulation because of actions taken (or inaction) by adults.

One of those adults is Cristian Granucci, a Los Angeles Fire Department captain who recently recorded a video of himself railing against the city’s vaccine mandate as a “show me your papers” slide into tyranny. Now, at a time when the collective reaction to a spike in disease and death isn’t grief and fear but rather anger, a first responder has become the whipping boy for that anger.

Since we published letters earlier this week inviting Granucci to quit if he disapproves of this job requirement, several dozen more readers have sent us letters expressing dismay over the persistent anti-vaccination movement and the fact that so many public servants refuse to take one small step to protect themselves and others from serious illness.



To the editor: In January, my 89-year-old mother-in-law who was in assisted living died from COVID-19. She had other health issues, but she never had lung issues until the COVID hit. She was a sweet woman who did not deserve to die.

In her final days, she was visited by firefighters twice before being transported to the hospital. If these guys had Granucci’s mentality, I wonder how many of them were catching COVID and infecting others.

No one has the freedom to drive drunk, smoke in public places or do many other things. We certainly do not have the freedom to infect other people.

Chuck Heinz, West Hills


To the editor: “I am so hopping mad right now, you have no idea. My head could pop.”

Granucci said this about the vaccination mandate, but it also describes how I feel about first responders who do not want to get their shots. Because of people like him, I am stuck at home while the unvaccinated spread COVID-19 and put people like me with health problems at risk.

There are many people who would love to have his $247,000 in annual earnings while getting vaccinated, so if he is hopping mad he can leave California and work in a state where firefighters can spread the virus.


How selfish can you get? When it comes to public health, there is no freedom not to get vaccinated.

Barry Bernstein, Los Angeles


To the editor: I wish I could summon an ounce of sympathy for Granucci, who clings to the belief that he has a constitutionally protected right to place the lives of others at risk by being a walking potential incubator for the deadly Delta variant. As a lawyer, I can tell him there is no legal basis for that position, which his “shark” lawyer will soon discover.

I just spent several days at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, a spectacular hospital with some of the best doctors and nurses anywhere. I’ve been vaccinated, and I got several COVID tests as I waited for admission. A CT scan showing “extensive pulmonary embolism” got me admitted.

Finally. It could have killed me in an instant.

My assigned “room” was a curtained partition. There were two toilets and two sinks for 32 “rooms” to share. There was zero privacy, and it was really noisy.

The dedicated nurses and doctors who treated me are exhausted and furious, and rightly so. They cared for me, and I am alive only because of them. But God help those vaccinated folks who have heart attacks, strokes or any number of problems that require intensive care.


So, if Granucci is “hopping mad” over the city’s vaccination mandate, I’ll match his anger and raise him tenfold. Behind me are teachers and healthcare workers who are even angrier.

Peter Dekom, Beverly Hills


To the editor: I don’t know about you, but I am so tired of the whining coming from first responders about getting a simple vaccine. Here’s a solution, which could apply to all willfully unvaccinated people:

You pay for your own hospitalizations and other medical interventions, and you also cover those costs for the people you infect. And, you should also pay for your own COVID testing as an alternative to vaccination.

There’s your “freedom of choice.”

Cynthia Sabatini, Simi Valley


To the editor: Does one have the “freedom” buy cigarettes for minors? To drive after downing three whiskeys?


These “freedoms” have been deemed to be against the public’s right to health and safety, so there are laws against them.

When you refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19, you place yourself and every single person you come in contact with at risk. You are welcome to refuse medical treatment, but you are not welcome to risk the lives of the unsuspecting public.

Get over yourself. Get the vaccine.

Anne Beaty, Los Angeles