The ethics of letting someone’s home burn down

Here’s a real-life variation on what you might call a lifeboat dilemma, in which you are asked what would you do in this situation, and why. It occurred over the weekend in northwest Tennessee, up near the Missouri line.

OBION COUNTY, Tenn. – Imagine your home catches fire but the local fire department won’t respond, then watches it burn. That’s exactly what happened to a local family tonight.

The homeowner, Gene Cranick, said he offered to pay whatever it would take for firefighters to put out the flames, but was told it was too late. They wouldn’t do anything to stop his house from burning.

Each year, Obion County residents must pay $75 if they want fire protection from the city of South Fulton. But the Cranicks did not pay.

The mayor said if homeowners don’t pay, they’re out of luck.

Apparently the Cranicks called 9-1-1 repeatedly, but the fire department refused to respond. It finally did show up, but only after the slow-burning fire threatened the property of a neighbor who had paid the upfront fee. And once on the scene, the firefighters still just stood there with their equipment and watched the fire burn, ignoring pleas from the Cranicks that they would pay anything at all for help.

A local TV station asked the fire chief on the scene why he and his crew were just watching while a home burned down.

“He wouldn’t talk to us and called police to have us escorted off the property. Police never came but firefighters quickly left the scene. Meanwhile, the Cranick home continued to burn.

We asked the mayor of South Fulton if the chief could have made an exception.

“Anybody that’s not in the city of South Fulton, it’s a service we offer, either they accept it or they don’t,” Mayor David Crocker said.

I can certainly see the city’s point of view. In the mind of the mayor, the Cranicks had gambled that they wouldn’t need fire services and they lost that gamble and had to pay the price.

On the other hand, if you’ve got personnel and equipment on the scene and a desperate homeowner promising at that point to pay not just $75 but the entire cost, sitting and watching to make a point seems more than a little callous.

The situation is in many ways analogous to the health care debate, where folks skate without insurance until something goes wrong and they show up in an emergency room, where the law says they have to be treated.

Do we instead do what the South Fulton fire chief did, refusing available treatment to fellow human beings even in life-threatening situations, because they gambled and didn’t buy insurance?

Firefighters weren't able to save this home from wildfires that raged outside Boulder, Colo. (AP)

Firefighters weren't able to save this home from wildfires that raged outside Boulder, Colo. (AP)

No, we don’t. At least not yet. Instead, the solution implemented in President Obama’s health-care reform — a solution initially proposed by conservatives — is to require that everyone carry insurance, so that the “free riders” are eliminated. That way everyone is covered, much like, in the example above, everyone in the city limits of South Fulton is required to pay taxes to support fire protection. (Again, the Cranicks live in unincorporated Obion County, where such coverage is optional.)

A similar case just popped up outside Boulder, Colo., where wildfires raged last month. The area had its own firefighting system, but some property owners had purchased additional protection from private firefighting companies, which showed up on the scene to protect only those areas.

As an editorial in the local newspaper pointed out, “The Chubb agreement puts private crews in the potential position of having to speed past one home under imminent threat of destruction to arrive at a customer’s home that is under no immediate threat at all.”

Yes, it certainly does. In the Boulder case, those with the resources can hire private firefighting protection to enhance the basic, publicly run firefighting system, a benefit that less affluent property owners can’t afford. And that two-tiered system does seem to be a trend of sorts.

The Georgia DOT, to cite an example, is taking lane miles on I-85 and eventually other metro Interstates — infrastructure built with gasoline taxes that all of us pay — converting those lanes to the sole use of those willing and able to pay more to travel quicker. Likewise, the whole idea behind school vouchers is to provide a basic, publicly funded level of education but allow parents with resources to take that money and supplement it with resources of their own in a private school setting.

So … whaddya think?

440 comments Add your comment

stands for decibels

October 5th, 2010
8:13 am

whaddya think?

Well I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free!

Gale

October 5th, 2010
8:18 am

It all starts sounding like a protection racket. I cannot imagine how those firefighters or the mayor could sleep at night.

stands for decibels

October 5th, 2010
8:20 am

from one of the Guardian’s pundits:

I won’t quite go the full nine yards of saying that this is what life would be like in tea party America. Not quite. But I’ll go 4.5 yards for sure. Remember, this country (like pretty much all countries) used to have private fire departments. They didn’t work well.

Specifically, the idea of competition proved inimical to the successful fighting of fires, or put more broadly, to the successful implementation and continuation of a common good. As I have been suggesting in other recent posts, we may be entering a historical period when we have to relearn these old lessons all over again.

I wouldn’t be quite that polite about it, but more or less, yeah. like he said.

NowReally

October 5th, 2010
8:22 am

I can understand if they absolutely couldn’t afford to pay; but some people don’t want to pay for services until it’s too late. There should always be a city, state or county tax for fire, police and other emergency services. Those are servics that we should all be willing to pay.

Some people don’t want to pay taxes for anything; including emergencies.

Peadawg

October 5th, 2010
8:29 am

“The mayor said if homeowners don’t pay, they’re out of luck.”

Depends if the couldn’t afford it or they were being d-bags and just not paying and now they are s.o.l.

seeitall

October 5th, 2010
8:29 am

Let it burn. Irresponsible people get what they deserve.

Jimmy62

October 5th, 2010
8:30 am

Sounds like all they did really was separate the tax that pays for fire service out from the rest of their taxes. I don’t have any problem at all with that, nor with refusing to help someone who wouldn’t pay their share to support said fire department. If you don’t want to participate, no one forces you to, but nor do you get the benefits. In fact, I think we would be better off if more things were run this way, though I admit I’m not sure overall that it’s a good idea for fire and police, but it might be workable.

But I do have a problem with them watching the house burn down even when the owner said he would pay the entire cost. That’s just cruel, as well fiscally irresponsible on the part of the local leadership. And smacks of revenge rather than good business sense.

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

October 5th, 2010
8:31 am

Well, it sounds kind of cruel, but these freeloaders got what they asked for. You got to pay to play. That’s the way it is in Free Innerprize. We need to do this with the guvmint. If you won’t pay for yourself, then just starve or freeze to death. That’s the Conservative way and the Christian way to boot. If you can’t pay, well, maybe you can go to a church and beg a little. It’s a cruel world out there and the devil take the hindmost.

And I don’t see what this whole thing has to do with Obamacare. Which I’m dead-set against.

Have a good day everybody.

Scout

October 5th, 2010
8:31 am

“Only YOU can prevent forest fires!”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vmEzMUjPvo

Here’s what I really think:

1) If you don’t pay they fire department comes and puts it out anyway
2) Then you are assessed the full cost of their services to put the fire out
3) If you don’t pay that, your property is seized to provide payment (and you get anything that’s left)

There ……….. that solves it.

Now let’s have an important thread.

Ignorance is no excuse

October 5th, 2010
8:31 am

Man has been fighting fire ever since Ben Franklin invented lightening. It usually is best to let a fire burn itself out. That technique evolved over the years since Ben Franklin was our president. Our best president, if’n I do say so me self’n.

SO when I read an ignorant rant from a runt about how HE woulda fought this fire or that inferno, well, it makes me want to….#$%@!!!

Gale

October 5th, 2010
8:31 am

OK, they did not want to pay and lost that bet. But Americans should not stand by and let their neighbors suffer. We don’t refuse to treat people in a hospital ER and we should not let their homes burn. This was plain and simple wrong. This was the attitude of you didn’t do what I told you to do so you can just suffer. It is one thing to let stupid suffer a foreclosure because he took on too much debt. It is quite another thing to stand and watch his house burn because he didn’t pay in advance for protection.

Pennsylvanian

October 5th, 2010
8:32 am

“..the solution implemented in President Obama’s health-care reform — a solution initially proposed by conservatives — is to require that everyone carry insurance, so that the “free riders” are eliminated. That way everyone is covered.”

Nice spin, but not true. Under HCR, people can opt out of buying health care insurance, and pay a ‘penalty’ that is less than the premium cost. Then, when they do need insurance, they can enroll and can not be denied, even with a pre-existing condition.

Doggone/GA

October 5th, 2010
8:33 am

“But I do have a problem with them watching the house burn down”

Anyone care to bet that the fire department sends them a bill for sending the truck and personnel out there to watch it burn? I don’t actually bet, but I can JUST see that happening.

Jay

October 5th, 2010
8:33 am

Pennsylvanian, the penalty will rise over time and was kept low initially only as a failed effort to try to get some GOP support.

BADA BING

October 5th, 2010
8:35 am

Does the owner have House Insurance? If he does, how did he get it without protection from the Fire Dept.? Rates are determined by distance from fire stations.

Pennsylvanian

October 5th, 2010
8:37 am

“…the penalty will rise over time and was kept low initially only as a failed effort to try to get some GOP support.”

Ok, I’ll bite. Since they didn’t get any GOP support, why didn’t they fix this?

Jay

October 5th, 2010
8:39 am

Because they bowed to all the howling about “the IRS WILL COME AND ARREST YOU AT GUNPOINT”, yadda yadda yadda.

Doggone/GA

October 5th, 2010
8:39 am

“Rates are determined by distance from fire stations.”

But do insurance companies check that you’ve actually paid your taxes (or fees) FOR that fire protection?

Paul

October 5th, 2010
8:42 am

“So … whaddya think?”

I think there’s a lot of inconsistency, even within some locales. Defining line so far seems to be risk of personal injury (emergency room treatment) or damage/loss of things (homes).

Here’s another inconsistency on the home fire: suffer one loss, or a couple of losses, if the people don’t have insurance, then tough luck.

But if a number of people suffer loss, the local authorities ask the feds to declare it a disaster and compensation money flows in.

The Cranick case opens up some interesting lawsuit possibilities. What system does the county have in place to notify new homeowners of the optional coverage? How do they verify the integrity of the system? (Just wait until a person who’s paid the fee is told they didn’t and their house burns). Can the county authorities show that the firefighting costs are entirely borne by the $75 fee, or are additional county funds, paid from the general fund mandatorily paid by all county residents, cover the difference? If so, the Cranicks should be entitled to some level of basic support (and just try figuring out what that means when it comes to firefighting}. Then there’s the question of who made the policy, and how. The voters? Bureaucrats? Elected officials? A good lawyer could have a field day with this one.

TaxPayer

October 5th, 2010
8:42 am

What’s the point in having the rich and the poor if you cannot also be blessed with the haves and the have nots.

By the way, I read that the insurance companies are throwing their money behind the Republicans with the expectation that a majority GOP will eliminate the undesirable aspects of the new healthcare legislation such as requirements to cover unprofitable customers while retaining the desirable requirement that all people buy insurance.

Doggone/GA

October 5th, 2010
8:44 am

“A good lawyer could have a field day with this one.”

I had the same thought.

Paul

October 5th, 2010
8:45 am

Scout

That’s a decent compromise for an indecent system -

Doggone/GA

October 5th, 2010
8:45 am

“I read that the insurance companies are throwing their money behind the Republicans with the expectation that a majority GOP ”

Even if they get that, how are they planning to get Obama to actually sign any such legislation?

Joey

October 5th, 2010
8:45 am

I can’t see how this is about being able to afford $75 each year. It appears that this is a County/City government conflict.

Why in the world would the local County Government not increase the property tax on homes in the unincorporated area by $75/year in order to provide fire protection for their residents?

Disgusted

October 5th, 2010
8:46 am

It’s not a bad analogy. Those who moan about their loss of “freedom” because they’re compelled to buy health insurance or else pay a financial penalty ignore one little thing: their “freedom” comes at the expense of my freedom. I doubt that one person whining about the mandatory insurance coverage provision could pay out of pocket a $150,000 hospital bill. So how does it get paid when one of them wraps his new motorcycle, which he bought with money he “saved” by avoiding insurance coverage, around a pole? It gets paid by higher premiums and taxes on the rest of us who were responsible enough to purchase health insurance. That’s why they can take their supposed “freedom” and stick it where the sun don’t shine.

TaxPayer

October 5th, 2010
8:51 am

Even if they get that, how are they planning to get Obama to actually sign any such legislation?

Perhaps they are not supporting Obama for president in the future. Then again, I hear all too often that Obama is Bush-lite so maybe he’ll sign a reduced calorie version of something the insurance companies want.

Doggone/GA

October 5th, 2010
8:52 am

“maybe he’ll sign a reduced calorie version of something the insurance companies want”

He’s already done that.

Peter

October 5th, 2010
8:52 am

They should have put the fire out, and charged the guy $75.00 with a back penalty and interest payments…….Then used him as an example as to why you should pay for the service.

I suppose the insurance company, if the guy had home owners insurance will screw him as well ?

Doggone/GA

October 5th, 2010
8:54 am

“They should have put the fire out, and charged the guy $75.00 with a back penalty and interest payments”

I would go further than that, they should ALSO have charged him the cost of putting out the fire…which he offered to pay anyway.

Doggone/GA

October 5th, 2010
8:55 am

“I suppose the insurance company, if the guy had home owners insurance will screw him as well ?”

Hard to tell. The insurance company might sue the fire department.

Peter

October 5th, 2010
8:55 am

I would bet this guy is a Christian Republican ? They are so Christ like these days !

seeitall October 5th, 2010 8:29 am

Let it burn. Irresponsible people get what they deserve.

TaxPayer

October 5th, 2010
8:56 am

He’s already done that.

Make that a sugar-free, reduced fat, new and improved low calorie version then.

The Manchurian-Kenyan Candidate

October 5th, 2010
8:56 am

What’s that old saying, “Penny-wise, pound foolish”. I will guarantee you that house had cable TV that cost more than $75 a month

You reap what you sew…

Don't Forget

October 5th, 2010
8:58 am

The man said he simply forgot to pay the bill.

“I know some people don’t think people forget but that’s what happened. I just forgot to pay the bill”

Doggone/GA

October 5th, 2010
8:58 am

“Make that a sugar-free, reduced fat, new and improved low calorie version then.”

Can’t see that happening.

Call it like it is

October 5th, 2010
8:58 am

So are we too understand that none of this mans taxes what so ever went to implement and support the local fire department? If the fire department is completely funded by $75 from each citizen and only that money then too bad for the home owner. Yes its sad, but if the fire department bowed down to him, then every home owner in the county would quit paying, and just pony up if their house caught on fire.

Nice spin at the end on insurance, to which I will apply the same logic. I work, I work hard, I dont play the game, I have insurance on my automobiles, my home, and my family. I hope to never need it, but I have it. And yes I get tired of my tax money going to does who wish to gamble. Do they deserve the same service that I get, No!

My wife works at the local health department, and it would serve the citizens of Georgia well to spend one day there to see your tax money being flushed away to does who gamble or have no intent of buying any kind of healthcare.

I have mixed feelings on the matter. I dont want the government telling me what I have to do, but I am really getting tired of the freeloaders.

Peter

October 5th, 2010
8:59 am

I am totally amused at what I have been reading about the Judge getting caught buying Cocaine for him and his Stripper fling………..He pleads “Not Guilty”…….and his lawyer says, ” it is an issue between him and his wife”.

Of course he wanted to buy it since he knew she had a prior !

That is funny stuff….. Great job promoting that guy by Ronald Regan.

Don't Forget

October 5th, 2010
9:00 am

The man offered to pay the full cost of putting the fire out. There’s a tinge of sadism to those who say “let it burn”.

Citizen of the World

October 5th, 2010
9:01 am

When Ben Franklin invented the concept of the lightning rod, many Christians of the day didn’t like it because they thought it interfered with God having lightning strike your house as punishment for your sins.

These days, Christian Right people tend to think you’re poor (and thus perhaps unable to buy health insurance or fire protection or life in the fast lane) because of some moral failing on your part.

I’m reading an interesting book right now called “Corporation Nation.” It was written about 12 years ago and talks about the parallels between the Gilded Age (when business and industry concentrated and nationalized) and the Information Age (when business and industry further concentrated and globalized) and how both situations served to strengthen corporations and weaken countervailing powers of government, labor, social pressure, etc. Consequent to the Gilded Age, corporate abuses led to the crash and ultimately the rise of unions, regulation, etc. But the book points out that, in the current climate, it’s going to be more difficult for the little guy to muster countervailing power due to globalization, where corporations are mobile while the worker and governments are less so.

I haven’t gotten to the part of the book where he proposes solutions to this lack of countervailing power, but I do feel the author saw the present situation coming, where the American worker is now just “happy to have a job” and doesn’t press for better wages, working conditions, etc., anymore.

Have to wonder if the guy who didn’t pay his $75 dollars was one of those people who thinks “it’s my money and the government has no right to take it” for taxes or fees.

Peter

October 5th, 2010
9:01 am

Yes……..Don’t Forget…….

The man offered to pay the full cost of putting the fire out. There’s a tinge of sadism to those who say “let it burn”.

Must be Christian Republican’s writing that stuff…….

Don't Forget

October 5th, 2010
9:02 am

He also lost 3 dogs and his grandaughter’s cat in the fire. So, if a child had been in the house do you still say “let it burn”? What is the depth of your callousness?

Nice Guy

October 5th, 2010
9:02 am

“Hard to tell. The insurance company might sue the fire department.”

It is hard to tell. Seems to me there is gross negligance on the part of the homeowner. Ouch.

AmVet

October 5th, 2010
9:02 am

This is what happens when the government makes things of this nature voluntary. Remember that some of the more irrational here would love to make ALL taxes and so.

At the risk of further enraging those already demented, this is why the government should *confiscate* those dollars and provide the services. Period.

Or maybe these Uncle Sam haters and would-be-moochers/fiscal conservatives could just pay BIG money for the oh-so-much-better, for-profit, private fire and police protection.

Since we all know that the government can’t do anything right…

Doggone/GA

October 5th, 2010
9:03 am

“then every home owner in the county would quit paying, and just pony up if their house caught on fire”

And if they paid, what’s the problem then?

Nice Guy

October 5th, 2010
9:03 am

Peter –

“Must be Christian Republican’s writing that stuff…….”

Weak. Truly weak Peter.

Don't Forget

October 5th, 2010
9:04 am

Peter, I’m not jumping on the “Christian” aspect of your view. Scout’s response was reasonable and consistent with his faith. It does show the insanity of the “privatize everything” position of the zealots of the right wing.

jm

October 5th, 2010
9:04 am

Jay, this is a long one.

1 – Fire: you get what you pay for, lesson learned for the TN folks, hopefully. And probably for a lot of other people too.
2 – Health care – Ok, so there’s a mandate and a fine if you don’t buy insurance. And yet, as everyone has acknowledged, the penalty is nowhere close to the actual cost of providing health insurance. Obviously people are screaming about the mandate and penalty already, but if one wants to treat this fairly on an economic basis, the fine needs to be massively increased. It’s sad to say, but I think Hospitals should be permitted to turn away people without health insurance. It would motivate a lot of people to go get the catastrophic coverage they need. Just like every non-city resident near the TN city is signing up for fire protection if they weren’t already.
3 – GA Toll lanes – the toll lanes are a good idea for reasons other than the Lexus lane issue. I agree that tax $ has already paid for these. But the biggest benefit of the toll lanes will be to enable mass transit to use the interstates. Running a commuter bus down 85 in the toll lanes will become a competitive advantage. So all the mass transit folks out there should be all for the lexus lanes.
4 – Vouchers: a complicated issue. As we’ve discussed before, if the private schools or charters had to accept students by lottery, I’d be all for vouchers. Since they won’t, then we need to keep going down the Charter school path which has demonstrated the ability to improve schools.

Whew

Peter

October 5th, 2010
9:04 am

Hey Don’t Forget…..Great point…..

He also lost 3 dogs and his grandaughter’s cat in the fire. So, if a child had been in the house do you still say “let it burn”? What is the depth of your callousness?

These are probably the same folks whop say…… Abortion is against Religion, and immoral.

Don't Forget

October 5th, 2010
9:05 am

He did have insurance, not enough he says but he does have it.

Peter

October 5th, 2010
9:05 am

Hey Nice guy….. that is NOT weak……. It is REAL……. wake up get a clue.

I would bet the guy that wrote that crap went to Church on Sunday !

Nice Guy

October 5th, 2010
9:06 am

AmVet – “Or maybe these Uncle Sam haters and would-be-moochers/fiscal conservatives could just pay BIG money for the oh-so-much-better, for-profit, private fire and police protection.”

It’s really not all that complicated. You either pay or you don’t. He chose not to pay so that he could save $6.25 per month.

The Boner's Tan Line

October 5th, 2010
9:07 am

The Boner does not understand all the negativity over the firefighters letting this guy’s house burn down. You don’t pay the fee, you don’t get the service. Simple as that.

Maybe this will be a lesson for people: Learn from the mistakes of others.

The Boner can’t remember the last time he made a mistake.

Oh wait, there is the whole getting involved with a witch thing. Oops!
Hell, the Boner thinks Chrissie is worth it though. She may be dumb, but she’s got other “talents”.

Chrissie’s made an informative political ad. The Boner hopes it takes her all the way to the United States Senate. The Boner feels we need more like her.

If you haven’t seen it, you are missing a real treat – or trick. You know, it is that time of year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcIzjT1rdNU&feature=related

Call it like it is

October 5th, 2010
9:07 am

“The man offered to pay the full cost of putting the fire out. There’s a tinge of sadism to those who say “let it burn”.”

Is it really? Of course he is going to say that, his whole life is going up in flames. We would all have said the same thing. But again if they break the rule for him, then every citizen in the county could do the same thing. Just quit paying the $75 dollars and pony up only if you need it. Firemen dont get paid, new equipment doesnt get bought… I will say the system is stupid, this $75 should be part of the homeowners taxes and not a seperate fee.

On a last note, if I was the fireman I would have put it out. I understand their posistion, but I would not let a mans home burn down for his own stupidity.

Nice Guy

October 5th, 2010
9:08 am

Hey Peter, this one’s for you Bubba!

Don't Forget

October 5th, 2010
9:09 am

Peter, I am outraged by this case but I’m not taking a political stance beyond the folly of the “privatize everything” crowd. This is a story of basic human decency or the lack thereof.

Don't Forget

October 5th, 2010
9:11 am

Call it like it is

October 5th, 2010
9:07 am
… I will say the system is stupid, this $75 should be part of the homeowners taxes and not a seperate fee.

ya think?

Call it like it is

October 5th, 2010
9:11 am

““then every home owner in the county would quit paying, and just pony up if their house caught on fire”

And if they paid, what’s the problem then?”

If all the funding is only coming from the $75 dollars from each home owner, and they only pay when there is a fire, how do you pay the fireman, how do you buy equipment, how do you pay for training? Please tell me what “insurance” plan works like that where you get to pay only when you need it?

Doggone/GA

October 5th, 2010
9:13 am

“If all the funding is only coming from the $75 dollars from each home owner”

I’ve already said that they should charge BOTH the back fees and interest, AND the total cost of fighting the fire.

Peter

October 5th, 2010
9:14 am

The America our parents grew up with would have helped a neighbor……the comments such as “you reap what you sew”….. is an example of American’s today.

The fire department not wanting to help, even though they were there is a clear indication that American’s do not care about American’s.

This is the situation from Politics to the folks on the street. It all starts from the top and trickles down……….like Reagan politics.

AmVet

October 5th, 2010
9:15 am

Who concocted this moronic scheme to opt in or not?

Fire and police protection should NEVER be optional. *Every* home owner pays. And they all get the protection.

This isn’t garbage pickup that some semi-competent, semi-honest private company can handle.

Peoples lives are on the line. What if somebody had died in that fire?

This is the United States of America, not some banana republic. (Though I saw the master enabler of supporters of corrupt politico-economic cliques – Ronnie Reagan – was mentioned earlier…)

jm

October 5th, 2010
9:16 am

Call it like it is – if I was a firefighter in TN, that had taken a pay cut because people were no longer paying the $75, I’d be inclined to say too bad also.

As others have pointed out, creating a tax would make more sense. But that’s the beauty of democracy. They can choose whatever system they want. Sadly, this guy got what he deserved.

I have some land in the NC mountains. There are places where fire services can’t even reach. When you build a house there, your insurance premiums go way up. You know you run the risk of the house burning down, and act accordingly. Or you don’t, and you suffer the consequences.

paleo-neo-Carlinist

October 5th, 2010
9:17 am

Citizen of the World, interesting post. are you aware that Ben Franklin was also a founder/owner of one of America’s first insurance companies? this is a tough call because is taxing Americans for “protection” (DoD, DHS)little more than “insurance”? the same at the local level. I live in the city. I am charged $400/year for solid waste (trash and recyling) removal. the thing is, I produce very little waste. It would take 2 months for me to fill my “hurby curby” and the bulk of my recyclables is aluminum cans, which I give to an enterprsing homeless guy who I suppose is “green” at heart ($$). JB is correct, this does speak to the whole healthcare debate, but the issue is larger (insurance). who owns one’s life/health? is my life the property of the state or can I chose to insure or not insure on my own? ditto trash removal or fire protection. why can’t I assume responsibility. and again, taking it to a larger stage, what is the ROI on waging a war on terrorism or funding a Department of Homeland Security? my view of Franklin has changed. I think he was not a “revolutionary” thinker. I suspect he was merely a smarmy insurance salesman (profiteer).

Don't Forget

October 5th, 2010
9:17 am

Peter

October 5th, 2010
9:05 am

I would bet the guy that wrote that crap went to Church on Sunday !

Peter, you don’t know that and there isn’t any evidence of it at this point. If the guy claims to have Christian values then, by all means, blast him. You know what they say about what happens when we ASSUME. It applies here.

Doggone/GA

October 5th, 2010
9:17 am

I won’t vouch for the accuracy, but Alternet has this:

“But last December, a county commission on which every member is a Republican voted to rescind a resolution passed years earlier that would have established a countywide fire department. Their rationale was, of course, the need to keep taxes low, but according to the county commission report, that decision was penny wise but pound foolish. “Because there is no operational county fire department,” the officials noted, “Obion County has missed the opportunity to actively pursue receipt of FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) and Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), which could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars of funding.”

http://www.alternet.org/story/148407/ayn_rand_conservatism_at_work_–_firefighters_let_family’s_house_burn_down_because_owner_didn’t_pay_$75_fee

Nice Guy

October 5th, 2010
9:18 am

“Who concocted this moronic scheme to opt in or not?”

Good question. Guvment never refuses money, so for them to say, ok, folks we are now making this fee optional. Wondering if the homeowners got tired of paying it, complained about it, and the mayor’s response was, ok, fine.

Bosch

October 5th, 2010
9:18 am

Well I’ve read countless times on the board here from the wingnuts that they don’t need no stinking government — so what’s the debate?

jm

October 5th, 2010
9:18 am

AmVet – not quite as simple as that in very rural counties. You can’t provide fire service to everyone because of the lack of density of population. Or so the argument goes.

Joel Edge

October 5th, 2010
9:20 am

Sounds like the Obion County people are basically extorting money from their residents. If this wasn’t a government body, it would be called protection money. I suspect they’ve already paid enough in property taxes.

Mr. Snarky

October 5th, 2010
9:20 am

I think a lot more people are probably paying that 75$ now.

Stinks of inhumanity though.

Nice Guy

October 5th, 2010
9:20 am

Bosch –

“Well I’ve read countless times on the board here from the wingnuts that they don’t need no stinking government — so what’s the debate?”

Guess you didn’t read those posts closely enough. Guvment is most certainly needed for some things. This is one of those things.

Peter

October 5th, 2010
9:23 am

You are possibly correct……Nice guy. This guy ” seeitall ” is probably NOT Christian.

seeitall October 5th, 2010 8:29 am

Let it burn. Irresponsible people get what they deserve.

Don't Forget

October 5th, 2010
9:23 am

jm

October 5th, 2010
9:16 am
Call it like it is – if I was a firefighter in TN, that had taken a pay cut because people were no longer paying the $75, I’d be inclined to say too bad also.

There are more important things in life than money jm.

jm

October 5th, 2010
9:25 am

Don’t Forget – “more important than money” of course there are. like principles. like stopping free riders….

mm

October 5th, 2010
9:25 am

There will be more of this if the GOP ever gets back in charge.

Bosch

October 5th, 2010
9:25 am

Nice Guy,

“Guess you didn’t read those posts closely enough.”

Oh yes…I do….and that message has been displayed here numerous times.

Don't Forget

October 5th, 2010
9:26 am

Mr. Snarky

October 5th, 2010
9:20 am
I think a lot more people are probably paying that 75$ now.

Not necessariy. The man said in an interview that I saw that he knew of 3, possibly 4 buildings that were allowed to burn. I’m not sure if he knew of these cases before his fire. He also said one building was a barn that had horses in it.

Mr. Snarky

October 5th, 2010
9:27 am

This might be a different debate if someone had died.

Seems like there has to be a better way…they could bill the folks after the fact and put a lien on their property if they don’t pay.

Don't Forget

October 5th, 2010
9:28 am

jm

October 5th, 2010
9:25 am
Don’t Forget – “more important than money” of course there are. like principles. like stopping free riders….

Yeah, tell it to your maker. Hope that works out for ya.

TaxPayer

October 5th, 2010
9:30 am

This home burning will be added to the list of testimonies used to support new building code changes coming to a town near you — a requirement for a sprinkler system in all new homes. I guess that will also require some sort of isolated, separate power source to the well pump at our house. That or a big water tank dedicated to fire fighting. Anyway, up here where I live, we have no fire hydrants and the little tanker that the fire department has would struggle to dowse a campfire much less a 3000 sq. ft. home engulfed in flames. They let them burn because they know the futility of trying to save anything up our way. The fire department is basically there to try and save lives and surrounding property or forest.

Nice Guy

October 5th, 2010
9:31 am

Bosch –

“Oh yes…I do….and that message has been displayed here numerous times.”

I don’t know of anyone, anyone, who thinks that all government should simply be dissolved.

paleo-neo-Carlinist

October 5th, 2010
9:32 am

anyone here (Atlanta resident) ever been the victim of a burglary, or what APD refers to as “petty theft” (tools taken from yard, car break-on, etc.). the usual APD response is; “do you have insurance? there will be an incident report on file tomorrow. file your claim…” we pay for “police protection” but really, how can the police protect every citizen? the police do not “enforce” the law (save the revnue producing laws like parking tickets, speeding, red light violations). again, this is a case where the government is dabbling in the insurance business, and property owners/taxpayers are being double-dipped (taxes and property insurance). houses burn, criminals rob, people get sick, autmobiles crash. the idea that we can “protect” ourselves from these everyday events, or that insurance companies care about our well-being is the real story. I

Peter

October 5th, 2010
9:32 am

Here is your Mayor of the town …. a nice Baptist fellow….and a former Police officer.

Mayor David Neil Crocker (City Wide)) is married to his wife Lori. They have two daughters, Kayla and Kristen, which both attend South Fulton Schools. David Crocker has lived in South Fulton all his life and graduated from South Fulton High School. Mr. Crocker and his family are members of South Fulton Baptist Church. Mr. Crocker started his law enforcement career with South Fulton Police Department in 1992 until joining the Obion Sheriff�s Department in 2006.

Matti

October 5th, 2010
9:32 am

What if children had been trapped in the house? Or Grandpa? Or the dogs? Would they have just stood there and listened to the screams?

This is what happens when “Free Market” is your real religion, and Almighty Money is your real God. This story make me stomachly ill.

Nice Guy

October 5th, 2010
9:33 am

Mr.Snarky – “Seems like there has to be a better way…they could bill the folks after the fact and put a lien on their property if they don’t pay.”

Perhaps. But this doesn’t solve the problem of cash flow. A lien, in this case, may have some value. But value doesn’t pay the bills, cash does.

Peter

October 5th, 2010
9:35 am

Also there is more to the story…………

We asked the mayor of South Fulton if the chief could have made an exception.

“Anybody that’s not in the city of South Fulton, it’s a service we offer, either they accept it or they don’t,” Mayor David Crocker said.

Friends and neighbors said it’s a cruel and dangerous city policy but the Cranicks don’t blame the firefighters themselves. They blame the people in charge.

“They’re doing their job,” Paulette Cranick said of the firefighters. “They’re doing what they are told to do. It’s not their fault.”

To give you an idea of just how intense the feelings got in this situation, soon after the fire department returned to the station, the Obion County Sheriff’s Department said someone went there and assaulted one of the firefighters.

jm

October 5th, 2010
9:35 am

paleo – yep. they don’t have time to go after all the petty thefts. although they do sometimes catch the kids breaking in when there’s an alarm system on the home.

Joel Edge

October 5th, 2010
9:36 am

With the various other taxes that these people are probably paying and expecting the government to deliver it’s services.
I’d love to know how some of the firefighters felt about this policy. If they’re OK with it, that would bother me.

Don't Forget

October 5th, 2010
9:36 am

Matti, there were 3 dogs and his grandaughter’s cat in the house. All perished. The fire department refused go to the man’s house. When the neighbors harvested corn field caught on fire they responded to that because the neighbor had paid. The neighbor told them to stop working on the field and to help his neighbor but they refused.

Peter

October 5th, 2010
9:36 am

Yup the Mayor is Baptist…….went to Church prayed to God…..then let the house burn down.

VERY Christian like !

jm

October 5th, 2010
9:37 am

Matti – don’t be crazy. they would’ve helped pull people out of the fire if that had been the problem. or maybe they should vote in county commissioners that want to provide fire service.

Bosch

October 5th, 2010
9:39 am

Nice Guy,

“I don’t know of anyone, anyone, who thinks that all government should simply be dissolved.”

Let me introduce you to a blogger by the name of Dave R., to name a few.

Don't Forget

October 5th, 2010
9:40 am

What, exactly is the rational for privatizing such an essential public service?

VW

October 5th, 2010
9:41 am

“Matti – don’t be crazy. they would’ve helped pull people out of the fire if that had been the problem.”

You know this to be true – how?

AmVet

October 5th, 2010
9:41 am

jm, IF someone lives in the most remote section of Nevada, it is presumed that there is no fire or police protection anywhere remotely (get it?) close. That is the risk of living there. If you live a million miles form civilization, it’s gonna burn. And the serial killers are not going to have any police or other authorities to contend with anytime soon.

But in northwest Tennessee???

Absurd.

Joel Edge

October 5th, 2010
9:42 am

“This is what happens when “Free Market” is your real religion,’
How is this free market? This is government trying to squeeze one more nickel out of the populace.

TK

October 5th, 2010
9:42 am

“What, exactly is the rational for privatizing such an essential public service?”

Easy one. Money, money, money! It’s all about the money.

Nice Guy

October 5th, 2010
9:43 am

Bosch –

I’ll keep an eye out for this ‘Dave R’ person. Debating from a no-government-ever stance is just ridiculous.

Matti

October 5th, 2010
9:43 am

Don’t Forget,

Now I’m really queasy.

jm,

Don’t call me “crazy” because my stomach reacts differently to this news story than yours does. You live with your conscience; I live with mine. I’m glad you don’t live next door to me.

Don't Forget

October 5th, 2010
9:45 am

Ironic that this happened in the “volunteer” state.

Nice Guy

October 5th, 2010
9:45 am

“This is government trying to squeeze one more nickel out of the populace”

Wrong. If they truly wanted to squeeze that nickel, they would withhold that $6.25/month in the form of a tax. Instead, they are giving the citizens a choice, which does, in fact, resemble a free market.