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This has already been covered on the front page today, but as a former volunteer firefighter and Coast Guard member, I have very strong feelings about this family's tragedy.

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.

This fire went on for hours because garden hoses just wouldn't put it out. It wasn't until that fire spread to a neighbor's property, that  anyone would respond.

Turns out, the neighbor had paid the fee.

This is a travesty, and a tragedy.  The inaction of the South Fulton Fire Department over a $75 fee is simply beyond words.  How could they?  I have seen first-hand the personal devastation caused when someone's home burns down.  It is heart breaking, especially for children.  To stand by, even under orders from the Chief, is a callus and inhuman act.  

Firefighters have a responsibility, just as medics and doctors do, to protect people's lives and property from fire damage no matter who they are.  Just as a human body is not a car, neither is someone's home, and to compare fire protection to auto insurance is completely absurd.  A house is much more than a collection of walls and a roof, it is where family's keep their most precious memories and heirlooms.  I can only imagine the pain this poor family endured watching their family photos, furniture, children's toys, and everything else they held dear disappear in flames as the firefighters refused to respond.

It was only when a neighbor's field caught fire, a neighbor who had  paid the county fire service fee, that the department responded. Gene Cranick asked the fire chief to make an exception and save his home, the chief wouldn't.

We asked him why.

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.

 What if someone had been trapped inside?  Would they still stand on  "principal" and refuse to respond?  That is a legitimate question.  I'm glad there was a news crew on hand to cause the fire chief some discomfort. 

<div class="youtube-video"></div>

South Fulton Fire Chief David Wilds is a cruel fuck, and every single one of the (all Republican) officials who pretend that this is ok should be run out of office.  If he had a shred of fucking decency in his soul, he would have ordered his men to put that fire out and told the City Manager to go to hell.  Evidently the cruelty of Chief Wilds didn't sit well with Timothy Cranick, a family member of Gene Cranick, because later that day he allegedly went to the station house and knocked him out.

South Fulton’s fire chief was assaulted Wednesday in the aftermath of a  fire where firefighters were unable to respond because the property   owner had not paid a rural fire subscription fee.

South Fulton Fire  Chief David Wilds was treated at an area hospital  after being assaulted about 5:45 p.m. at the city’s fire station,  located in the South  Fulton Municipal Building.

Timothy A. Cranick, 44, a resident of  Buddy Jones Road near South  Fulton, was arrested and charged with  felony aggravated assault,  according to South Fulton Police Chief Andy  Crocker.

Crocker said the assault stemmed from a fire that occurred  earlier in  the day and he identified Cranick as a family member of the  person whose  property burned.

He said Cranick allegedly came to the fire station looking for Wilds,  according to witnesses. When the fire  chief identified himself and asked  if he could help him, Cranick  allegedly struck Wilds.

"He just cold-cocked him," Crocker said, based on witness statements.

Crocker said Wilds was knocked down, rendering him virtually   defenseless. He said Cranick was pulled off the fire chief by other firefighters who restrained him until additional help arrived.

I never condone violence in reaction to anything beyond a life-threatening situation, but in this instance I can certainly understand it. 

I know some people will say that this family should have paid their fee and that they're probably teabaggers who hate taxes, bla bla bla...

I don't give a damn if they're teabaggers or not.  That is completely irrelevant.  The fact of the matter is that this family's life has been turned upside-down by a vicious local government that doesn't give a shit about them.  As a progressive I champion good government for all people, no matter their views.

I just hope that something good can come out of this disgusting event and that the people of Obion County can set up a fire protection service that actually cares about them.  If anyone knows of a fund set up to help this family please post in the comments.

UPDATE:
Thanks for putting this on the reclist.  Didn't expect that.

It seems like the major argument being made by some is that they should have paid the fee because fire protection isn't free, and there could be liability issues.  You're absolutely right.  However, that doesn't excuse them for allowing a family's home to burn.  I don't know the particulars of this county's fire protection laws, and I imagine there isn't anyone here who does, but it seems to me they could enact a fine to pay for instances such as these to avoid a total loss of property and still protect firefighters.  

UPDATE 2:
Apparently some of you are under the impression that these people let their house burn for two hours before calling 911.  That is not true.  They called several times and THEY REFUSED TO RESPOND!

Keith weighs in...

To all the moral scolds who think this guy got what was coming to him I'll just say this...

If this was your home, or your mother's, or your friend's, you would not be saying they had it coming no matter what the situation.  Don't lie to yourselves.  Have some common decency, and realize that this could happen to someone you know and care about.

UPDATE 3:
Read this.

Gene Cranick was aware that he had to pay if he wanted to have fire service. He obviously had the money to pay the fee, since he said he would "pay whatever it would take for firefighters to put out the flames."  Yet, he decided that it wasn't worth $75 to have professional help if his house caught fire. Although it's hard not to feel some sympathy for anybody who loses their home, what happened to Gene Cranick was fair and a natural consequence of his own decision making.

If you share this sentiment then congrats...

You are in total agreement with John Hawkins at Right Wing News.

Originally posted to aramis on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 01:07 PM PDT.

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    •  You leave the important fact the the city manager (44+ / 0-)

      is the one who made the decision not to service this address.  

      The firefighters called to get permission to put out the blaze, but their own insurance company doesn't cover their work for outside the network.

      Don't blame the firefighters.

      And small towns are very dependent upon community responsibility and pulling your own weight. $75 is not an astronomical fee to pay each year for fire protection.

      That is $6 a month to help maintain the local community firefighters and their equipment and their insurance for their hazardous job.

      <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

      by bronte17 on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 02:21:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  When I saw this story (89+ / 0-)

        I immediately commented to my wife that this is precise what the tea baggers want for America.  Pay your own way 100% of the time.  Privatize everything.  Just like the "cadillac" fire policies in Southern California that will have a crew show up and foam your house if your area is on fire, but you pay a premium for the policy endorsement.

        The three richest men in the world have more money than the poorest 48 countries. Maude Barlow

        by DMiller on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 02:44:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  "Don't blame the firefighters." (66+ / 0-)

        So if you were a firefighter and a fire needed to be put out, you would take action only if you had insurance to cover you?

        Wow.

        Good tip.

        Next time I'm around somebody who needs help, like, I don't know, say, CPR, if I'm not insured to administer CPR, no way I'm doing it.  

        Insurance is the moral value we all must adhere to.  I think Jesus said that, though I can't easily find that quote.  Or maybe it was the FSM.  Somebody.

        In fact, thank the FSM who included the insurance gods in the 10 commandments.  We could never live without that.

        Enough already. Stand up and fight. If you lose, you lose, but at least you tried. That's all I ask.

        by gooderservice on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 02:59:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The equipment doesn't belong to them (19+ / 0-)

          and furthermore there were no people in danger. No one was in the home.

          The firefighters would have put their lives in danger to extinguish a two-hour old fire... and their insurance would not cover them if they died. And they have families who love and depend on them.

          A piece of property is not worth that.

          You are arguing for a selfish man... for his own personal property that he didn't even care enough about to practice responsible fire burning... and you want firefighters to put their lives on the line for material goods.

          That fire was raging by the time the firefighters got there. Why should a firefighter die... and his family lose him... for some sticks of wood and concrete that can be rebuilt?

          <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

          by bronte17 on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 03:15:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Why put out any fire? (68+ / 0-)

            If there's no one inside, let it burn, right?  Why risk a firefighter for a bunch of wood and concrete?

            The wood and concrete is not the brunt of loss felt by the family.  If you ever spoke to a family who lost a home to fire you would understand that it was the memories attached to the home and the personal effects lost in the fire that really hurt.

            So yes I do feel for this selfish and foolish man because that is what makes me human.  

            Empathy

            •  Now you've gone off onto a tangent that (11+ / 0-)

              totally was not mentioned by me.

              Of course there is a sense of profound loss of personal things and the memories tied to them.

              But, the fire... set by the homeowners themselves... would have consumed and destroyed those precious items anyway. It had nothing to do with the firefighters. They can't magically wave a wand and make a fire not consume and destroy things in its path. You are subsuming supranatural powers to firefighters to be some kind of hero and magic men to fix all and be all to make the bad go away.

              And yes, a human life means more to me than a house. Because by the time that fire had spent more than two hours feeding on that house... it was no longer a home. It was an inferno and dangerous.

              The firefighters obviously kept an eye to contain the fire, but the damage was done by the irresponsible homeowner before the firefighters ever arrived on the scene. They couldn't undo the irresponsible behavior of the homeowner. All they can do is have public service announcements to remind people... over and over again... how dangerous fire is and to take all precautions when handling fire.

              <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

              by bronte17 on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 07:56:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  A fire that has burned for two hours (11+ / 0-)

              is not a fire that will produce any salvageable items.  The most you can do is prevent the fire from spreading to other property.  My fire only lasted 50 minutes and my house virtually had to be rebuilt from the inside out.  I stopped my fellow firefighters from entering my burning house because we had a gun safe at the core of the fire and large stores of ammunition.  I had just lost my husband the year before and knew that every memory was burning, but I can replace stuff, I can remember without mementos; I couldn't replace my neighbors and friends who would have tried to save it.  That's what makes ME human, empathy.  How could I have faced a firefighter's wife if he died trying to save my wood, concrete and baby pictures when I knew what that felt like?

              Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't.

              by EdgedInBlue on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 09:10:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  You'd have made a good Philistine. (15+ / 0-)

            "[The GOP wanting to debate Obama is like saying] 'Let's see how tough Aquaman is when we get him in the water.' " --Seth Meyers

            by homogenius on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 03:35:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks so much for the backhand (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              trillian, meg, kayebee, erush1345

              But it doesn't alter the facts on the ground.

              And it doesn't educate the public so we can make improvements to keep things like this from happening more often than they do.

              <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

              by bronte17 on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 07:59:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  No fire fighters had to be in danger (13+ / 0-)

            they could have fought the fire outside from a safe distance.

            •  But they. didn't. have. insurance. (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mattman, CTPatriot, Tonedevil, Matt Z

              That's the important point to take away from this whole story.  No insurance.  We must be dense, apparently.

              Enough already. Stand up and fight. If you lose, you lose, but at least you tried. That's all I ask.

              by gooderservice on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 03:53:22 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Could they really? (12+ / 0-)

              They would have been charged with crimes by the city and probably required to pay for the unauthorized use of the equipment.

              Put themselves at risk of that for the property of a man who wouldn't pay his fire tax?  Hmm.

              I'm going to give the firefighters the benefit of the doubt and assume they would have gone in if there had been living animals or people inside.

              -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

              by neroden on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 05:29:42 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Firefighters only following order? (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Debby, Tonedevil, Chinton, Uberbah

                Pardon me while I vomit.

                •  Sure, ignore the real problem. (15+ / 0-)

                  You create a system like this, this is what you get.  Most people aren't willing to endanger their own lives and livelihood to help deadbeats, and I really can't blame them.

                  The problem is the bogus, bogus, "opt-in" fire department.  They had 'em in the 18th century and this is what the result was.

                  Well, the Republicans want to take us back to that period.

                  -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                  by neroden on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 05:51:43 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Exactly-- (5+ / 0-)

                    And that's the point to take away from this tragedy.  While I do have empathy for the family that lost their home (really!  I do!), these are people that do not want to pay for services UNTIL/UNLESS they receive some direct benefit from them.  This is the precise Teabagger philosophy.

                    This family made a decision not to participate in the fire subscription service, and then they made the decision to burn trash near their home. I saw Olberman interview the homeowner who explained that his son's house had caught fire last year and he had not paid the fire fee either, but the firefighters put out the fire for him anyway.  So here was a family who had actually benefitted previously from the firefighting services and STILL they would not pay the fee.

                    The story shouldn't be about horrible horrible city manager or horrible horrible volunteer firefighters--it's about a political philosophy that says we're all on our own.  Well, good luck with that and your garden hose when your house catches on fire.

                    Turns out that talking about abstinence is a lot easier than practicing it.

                    by kayebee on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 04:29:11 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, They Really Could (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Debby, Uberbah

                They'd be putting themselves at risk not just for a family in need, but for the morality and compassion that necessarily underpins any civilized society.

                Those firefighters had a choice to be heroes today, and they passed it up. I'd like to think that I would have acted differently in their shoes, regardless of the consequences to myself, and I hope you'd consider doing the same if my house were burning down in front of your eyes.

                •  well (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  neroden, Lord Sphere

                  had they done that, we wouldn't hear of this, and NOT HELPING THE FIRE DEPARTMENT protect your area would carry no penalty at all.

                  This way, maybe we'll get the gist of why private security is not security.

                •  Would you listen to yourself. (8+ / 0-)

                  You actually want a human being... a father who maybe has young children waiting for him at home after work... you want him to be a hero and fight a deadly blaze that has already burnt through a home for over two hours and basically destroyed it... just so you can admire him?

                  For putting out a contained fire? You would risk that man's life?

                  I would never ask a man to put his life on the line for a contained fire unless a person or maybe my cat was in there.

                  <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

                  by bronte17 on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 08:10:30 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Your cat (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Cat Whisperer, Uberbah, Lord Sphere

                    but not Mr. Cranick's because he is a deadbeat so his pets don't count.

                    Firefighters risk danger every time they fight a fire.

                    There's a reason Democrats won massively the last two cycles, and it wasn't because people were desperate for "bipartisanship". --kos

                    by Debby on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 08:36:21 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  His pets were dead long before the firefighters (7+ / 0-)

                      ever arrived. That fire was burning for two hours. The smoke alone would have put the animals down.

                      So, emotion and wishful thinking doesn't undo the damage that Mr Cradick did to his family and home. He... and you... can rant and rave against gawd and everyone, but ultimately the fault lies with him. Or whoever it was that went out started a fire in two open barrels and left them unattended.

                      It does you no good to put nasty words into my mouth that I would never say.

                      <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

                      by bronte17 on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 08:51:12 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Firefighters risk calculated dangers (6+ / 0-)

                      They don't put themselves in danger recklessly, neither should we expect them too.  

                      Please be reasonable under the circumstances.  Sometimes standing by is the only thing one could do, like this instance.

                      We need to accept reality as it presents itself and act accordingly, not wishful thinking, especially when the firefighters' lives are at risk too.

                      •  They were standing by because of money (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Lord Sphere

                        because they were told this family had not paid up. I realize there are times that firefighters have to let a fire go but it appears that here, they went to work on the neighbor's place--same fire--but let this house go.

                        There's a reason Democrats won massively the last two cycles, and it wasn't because people were desperate for "bipartisanship". --kos

                        by Debby on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 09:51:37 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  You would risk a humans life for a cat ? (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Aexia, SWAG Again

                    I would never ask a man to put his life on the line for a contained fire unless a person or maybe my cat was in there.

                    All I want for Xmas is the house , senate and Brown .

                    by indycam on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 08:50:41 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Well, no I would not. But I would probably run in (6+ / 0-)

                      myself to get my cat.

                      Anyway, the point is that too many people here are emotional and not thinking about how fire unfolds and the inherent dangers.

                      Any other time, they would be ranting against the materialism of people for focusing so much on things you buy at WalMart. But, this has brought out something different because it's a rant against the failures of the nihilist libertarian world. In living color.

                      <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

                      by bronte17 on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 08:56:52 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  How is this a failure? (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        SWAG Again

                        This was a government service that it was apparently practical to unbundle and provide to those who voluntarily chose to pay for it.

                        This man chose not to pay for it and didn't get it.

                        Why should we decide for him if it does not impact his neighbors?

                        •  Except this instance proves how IMpractical (0+ / 0-)

                          it was to "unbundle" and "voluntarily" provide pay-to-play "service".

                          But I betcha the county never revisits the issue UNTIL one of the local fatcats has THEIR house burn to the ground because THEIR neighbor was a non-payer and the fire company never came. Some people only learn by getting burned. Literally.

                          Ben Franklin: "Experience keeps a dear [costly] school, but fools will learn in no other." As true today as when he first published it.

                          If it's
                          Not your body
                          Then it's
                          Not your choice
                          AND it's
                          None of your damn business!

                          by TheOtherMaven on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 09:07:21 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Huh? Seems it was very practical (0+ / 0-)

                            Only the house of the person who didn't pay got burned.

                            So everything worked out fine.

                            Why do you think it was impractical?

                          •  You're wrong, fella (0+ / 0-)

                            Unless you think it doesn't matter that a couple of fields  belonging to the neighbor who DID pay got burned TOO. It could have been HIS house. And all because some asshole bean counter said the firefighters wouldn't be covered by insurance if they fought a non-subscriber's fire and they got injured.

                            It was the bean counter who should have gotten whomped on, not the jerkass fire chief who treated the bean counter's words as though they were handed down from Mt. Sinai.

                            In the final analysis, though, the ultimate responsibility is that of the county that wasn't willing to fund a fire department - and has gotten away with that shit for twenty years.

                            The old saying, "There oughtta be a law" applies here, I think. Maybe if the State of Tennessee sucked it up and assigned the unincorporated areas to "fire districts" which were mandated to have fully funded fire departments? But I bet the screams of "Tyrannical Taxation!" would be heard around the globe! :-P

                            Sometimes you HAVE to preserve fools from their own stupidity, just to remain fully human.

                            If it's
                            Not your body
                            Then it's
                            Not your choice
                            AND it's
                            None of your damn business!

                            by TheOtherMaven on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 08:45:41 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Where do you get the info that anyone (0+ / 0-)

                            lost a couple of fields?

                          •  Read the news stories :-P (0+ / 0-)

                            If it's
                            Not your body
                            Then it's
                            Not your choice
                            AND it's
                            None of your damn business!

                            by TheOtherMaven on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 06:46:51 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I did. Nothing about a couple of fields burning (0+ / 0-)

                            Mind posting a quote?

                  •  You're putting words into my mouth (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Uberbah

                    Where do I say anything about paltry admiration?

                    Maybe your misunderstanding came from the use of my word "hero." A hero is a person who rises above themselves and does the right thing. I believe we should all aspire to be heroes. Acting on morality isn't about vanity, it's just the opposite. It's about self-sacrifice.

                    And you've glossed over my key point -- I would like to think that I would risk MY LIFE for YOUR HOME. I'm not dissuaded by the fact that you wouldn't do that for me. I only humbly ask that you reconsider your inhibition.

                    •  and we are talking past each other when (4+ / 0-)

                      we both have good intentions at heart.

                      I would not want you to risk your life for material things that can be replaced. Now if you were risking to save my son or cat... those are very precious indeed. But a house can be rebuilt. A human life cannot.

                      <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

                      by bronte17 on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 09:30:55 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  divergent mentalities (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Tonedevil, gooderservice

                        Yes, I appreciate your effort to meet on common ground. For me, however, it's not about the house. It's not about the insurance. It's not even so much about risk assessment (though certainly that has to be a factor in any sane decision). It's about principle. Do we live in communities, or do we each live on our own island, separated from each other by invisible waters, with our only connections being primarily economic in nature? I believe that building and maintaining a community—a real community—involves some degree of shared sacrifice, and shared risk.

                        That's the fuel behind my fire in this argument. I think, however, this is the point where we content ourselves with being peaceably at odds. :)

                        •  Perhaps that should be up to the individual? (5+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          trillian, kayebee, chimpy, SWAG Again, princss6

                          This person didn't want to belong to the community - he did not want to share in the cost of shared services like fire fighting.

                          His choice.

                          Does having a community mean we need to force people to join it?

                          •  Hello 19th century (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            chimpy

                            We force everyone to pay taxes, federally and in most localities. Should we make those taxes up to the individual?

                            Having a community means living up to a base set of rules and requirements. Unless you're a Republican, then privatizing or individualizing basic community services is what we've been fighting against. Are you guys discovering through this incident that you're more Red than you thought, I wonder?

                          •  Yes... but what services? (0+ / 0-)

                            We all pay taxes for services that we agree as a community that we must all have.

                            So I think we all agree that we aren't willing to let people die in fires if they have not paid their fire fees and therefore everyone needs to pay to cover the cost of rescuing people from fires.

                            But does that also extend to saving property?  Why?

                            What about highway taxes?  Right now we pay for highways (and a lot of mass transport) out of gasoline taxes because that effectively charges the user.  Should we drop that (and those taxes) and pay for transport out of the general fund?  After all, society as a whole should pay for a modern transport system, right?

                            And DMV fees?  Why should individual drivers pay those?  Isn't that 19th century thinking?  

                            And stamps?  I should be able to send my letters for free paid for by the government!  If you don't agree maybe you should move to Glenn Beckistan, you Republican!

                          •  Think Harder (0+ / 0-)

                            Your sarcasm would hit harder if you weren't wearing your ignorance on your sleeve. My apologies for speaking in broad terms and assuming you understood how our tax system works. Some clarification:

                            Property taxes pay for fire departments because property owners need fire protection. If you don't own property, then in the vast majority of the country, you're not paying for the fire department.

                            I certainly never advocated that anyone do away with such an elegant system of taxation based upon usage. Not for the highway, not for the DMV, and not for fire departments.

                            It's the idea of making services optional even to those that may have need of that service at some point (sometimes direly) that's archaic.

                          •  Where does this come from? (0+ / 0-)

                            Property taxes pay for fire departments because property owners need fire protection. If you don't own property, then in the vast majority of the country, you're not paying for the fire department.

                            I'm not aware of any direct connection between property taxes and the fire department.  As far as I know, most cities pay for it out of the general fund, so all revenue sources go into it.

                            But anyway, can you explain why you think this is good (as opposed to paying for it out of the general fund) but making it an optional component of your property tax (and then not providing the service to those who choose not to pay) is bad?

                            We're just taking this a step further and making sure that those who want it pay for it and those who don't agree to pay for it don't get it.

                            It's the idea of making services optional even to those that may have need of that service at some point (sometimes direly) that's archaic.

                            I'm lost here.  I may need to drive a car some time.  Does that mean I should be forced to get (and pay for) a driver's license even if I choose not to?

                            I may need to send a letter.  Should I be forced to by stamps if I choose not to just in case I need to send that letter?

                            I may need fire insurance some day because my house may burn down (even if I paid for fire protection.)  So should all property owners be forced to pay for such insurance?

                            Presumably you think fire protection for property is different from these cases.  Can you explain why?  What general tests do you think we should apply to decide what services should be mandatory?

                          •  . (0+ / 0-)

                            I'm not aware of any direct connection between property taxes and the fire department.  As far as I know, most cities pay for it out of the general fund, so all revenue sources go into it.

                            This is my understanding of how it works in my area. I assumed this was the norm. If it's not, then it's a system I would be a proponent of.

                            I may need to drive a car some time.  Does that mean I should be forced to get (and pay for) a driver's license even if I choose not to?

                            Let's start by separating those words need and want. Let's reserve need for circumstances when your life or property are at risk. If we can't agree on that simple concept, then no amount of communication will reconcile us.

                            Furthermore, I think it's reasonable to assert that one function of government is to protect the life and property of its citizens. Chances are that your state has one clause declaring inalienable rights, including "acquiring, possessing, and protecting property," and another clause granting municipalities the powers to enforce those rights.

                            OK, so what is the purpose of a driver's license? It is to validate that a driver is qualified to drive. It's up to you to decide whether or not you want to drive.

                            I may need to send a letter.  Should I be forced to by stamps if I choose not to just in case I need to send that letter?

                            What is the purpose of a stamp? It is to represent payment to the post office for their services. It's up to you to decide whether or not you want to send a letter.

                            I may need fire insurance some day because my house may burn down (even if I paid for fire protection.)  So should all property owners be forced to pay for such insurance?

                            This analogy is not in line with your other analogies at all. Does the post office require you to purchase insurance for your letters? No, it does not. Insurance is optional. Drivers are required to purchase insurance only to protect one citizen from another. Car insurance is quite unique in that respect. Health insurance, even, remains (perilously) optional up until 2014 (IIRC), and this is highly controversial and arguably unconstitutional.

                            But you may be thinking, "fire insurance protects property, so it's a need." That's not correct, because fire insurance does nothing to protect property. It protects wealth in the even that property has been destroyed. Fire insurance is a want because it protects wealth, while fire protection is a need because it protects life and property.

                            And, yes, fire protection is different from DMV fees and stamps. I suspect you know this but are playing dumb. Why did you chose to make these comparisons when a much more suitable analogy was surely in the forefront of your mind? Fire protection is more analogous to police protection. Your police department is a service as well, but it is charged with protecting your life and your property. Taxing everyone for those services allows the police to do their job to the best of their abilities without discrimination.

                            Let's also consider the indeterminate nature of a need for protection. You may never in your life need the police (let's hope that's the case), but you also cannot choose whether or not you will be in a position to need them.

                            (and let's remember, while this is similar to insurance, it's the difference between want and need (i.e. between wealth and life/property) that separates them.)

                            Making such a service optional both reduces the total potential income going to that service (presumably from 100% of citizens to some less desirable percentage), and puts citizens in a situation where they may be liable to gamble away their own life and/or property. While not strictly unconstitutional, it strikes me as a vastly inferior system. Why? Well, let's give this half a minute's thought, shall we?

                            1. It reduces the effectiveness of the protection service as a whole (less probable income)
                            1. It introduces discrimination via wealth into the system. What's to stop a wealthy community from imposing a similar system with a $5000 fee in an effort to subversively threaten the poor from residing in their community?
                            1. It increases the likelihood of cross-over damage (e.g. if an ignored fire should spread from one roof to another)
                            1. It introduces the possibility of coercion through threats or crimes. Only 70% of people are paying for fire services? Well let's remind the folks why they need us and burn a house down.
                            1. It reduces the value of the community as a whole.

                            You could argue that police are different from fire services because police protect citizens from each other. I would point out that's not always the case for the police, and that the fire department may be doing just that when they put out a fire started by arson.

                            OK, Gang Blue. This has been fun, but this little talk has gobbled up quite a bit of my time. Thanks for engaging me in discussion, and I hope it's been mutually beneficial. Ciao.

                          •  Long comment requires a long response (0+ / 0-)
                            1. I agree with you that services that protect life are different... and, in fact, I think we all assume that the fire department would have helped if someone was trapped in the building.  This covers the police analogy.
                            1. I really don't see the difference between protecting wealth and property.  For example, does this mean that you think we should unbundle FDIC insurance and make it an optional bank charge because it only protects wealth, not real property?
                            1. If protecting life is the key then how do you feel about a head tax that is used to provide every person in a jurisdiction with a gun?  After all, you very well may need a gun to protect yourself and to protect your life and property.
                            1. I very well may NEED to send a letter to protect my property.  For example, a response to a letter from the local government demanding that I sell them my house under eminent domain so they can knock it down to build something.  Might also apply to NEEDING a lawyer, etc.  Should all these costs therefore be covered by taxes?
                            1. Why do you think it is OK to say "Property owners should pay these costs, not the general public, because property owners use these services." but not to say "People who want to use these services should pay these costs, not all property owners, because some property owners don't want these services."?

                            Making such a service optional both reduces the total potential income going to that service (presumably from 100% of citizens to some less desirable percentage), and puts citizens in a situation where they may be liable to gamble away their own life and/or property.

                            1. Life is presumably not an issue, as discussed.  If the fire service provide already has sufficient economies of scale then why do we care if it gets less total income as long as it has enough to provide services to those who want it?  If we let people gamble away their property in the stock market and Las Vegas then why is fire protection special?

                            It introduces discrimination via wealth into the system. What's to stop a wealthy community from imposing a similar system with a $5000 fee in an effort to subversively threaten the poor from residing in their community?

                            1. This seems an argument for MY position.  In this case many people wouldn't take the deal and it wouldn't work.  However, if you make it a mandatory per lot, per residence, or per person tax then poor people have no way to opt out and you really keep them out very effectively.

                            It introduces the possibility of coercion through threats or crimes. Only 70% of people are paying for fire services? Well let's remind the folks why they need us and burn a house down.

                            1. As opposed to seizing and auctioning people's houses for not paying property tax which isn't coercive at all?  I mean come on!  Perhaps they would also try to break up couples who are cohabiting but don't choose to pay for marriage licenses?  So let's make marriage mandatory?  In addition, I think if your local government officials are sneaking out in the middle of the night and burning down the houses of people who don't choose to pay for an optional government fire service you have much bigger problems than a disagreement about what government services should be fee for service and which should be paid from taxes.  This is your worst argument yet.

                            It reduces the value of the community as a whole.

                            1. Why?
                          •  Last response (0+ / 0-)

                            Ridiculous hypotheticals ignored, as well as redundant questions.

                            I really don't see the difference between protecting wealth and property.

                            You may not, but the government and our court system does. I certainly do.

                            If the fire service provide already has sufficient economies of scale then why do we care if it gets less total income as long as it has enough to provide services to those who want it?  

                            Sufficient funds are hard to quantify, and usually times more money = better protection. It means more firefighters on duty and/or better equipment.

                            If we let people gamble away their property in the stock market and Las Vegas then why is fire protection special?

                            I'm not arguing that this system is illegal or unconstitutional. I don't believe that's the case. Only that it's inferior.

                            This seems an argument for MY position.  In this case many people wouldn't take the deal and it wouldn't work.  However, if you make it a mandatory per lot, per residence, or per person tax then poor people have no way to opt out and you really keep them out very effectively.

                            The elegance of most tax systems is that they are based on percentages.

                            As opposed to seizing and auctioning people's houses for not paying property tax which isn't coercive at all?

                            Laws vary from state to state, but people are typically given years (usually about three) to get up to date with their property taxes. Owners are often also given a redemption period after that to pay the tax. Property taxes are also relatively small, percentage-wise... usually between 0.2% - 2% of the value of the estate.

                            Why?

                            I left that one without an explanation because I felt it was self-explanatory. I still do.

                            OK, end of discussion on my part. You may continue your crazy hypotheticals in my absence if you wish ("... but if I need a chimpanzee to pull fleas out of my hair or I might contract a disease and die, does that mean we should all be mandated government chimpanzees and taxed accordingly???"). I bid you good day, sir or madame~!

                          •  I'm disappointed by your response (0+ / 0-)

                            Ridiculous hypotheticals ignored,

                            That is unfortunate.  "Ridiculous" hypotheticals serve to clarify the exact limits and applicability of the rules you suggest.  If your proposed rules give ridiculous results when I present my hypotheticals then it suggests problems with your rules.  See also http://volokh.com/...

                            Lawyers often explore legal arguments by offering “hypotheticals,” or “hypos” for short. A hypothetical is a “what if” scenario designed to question a legal principle. The idea is to change the facts to something very different than the one before us to see how the offered legal principle would apply to that set of facts. In many cases, the goal is to show that the rule under consideration isn’t workable or has some problem that isn’t obvious from the application of the rule to the facts that presently exist. In that sense, hypos are ways of criticizing legal rules by showing problems with how they apply.

                            ....

                            Here’s an example. Let’s say we’re debating animal rights, and Commenter #1 passionately favors legal protection for animals. Commenter #1, thinking about what law might be used to protect horses, farm animals, and pets, proposes the following rule: It should be a crime to kill any living thing. Commenter #2 wants to criticize the proposal as being over broad, so he raises a hypo: Imagine a person has a staph infection, and he takes medicine to help kill the bacteria. Is the person guilty?

                            To someone with legal training, it’s understood that the purpose of the bacteria hypo is to point out the overbreadth of having the crime include “any living thing” — a phrase that seems to include bacteria. But my sense is a significant number of non-lawyer blog commenters tend to see the obvious difference between the concerns of Commenter #1 and the facts of #2’s hypo as some sort of dismissal of #1’s concern rather than a criticism of the proposed rule.

                            I

                            really don't see the difference between protecting wealth and property.

                            You may not, but the government and our court system does. I certainly do.

                            You may... but can you cite cases where the government or courts do?

                            Do we treat stealing money and stealing valuable objects differently, for example?

                            If the fire service provide already has sufficient economies of scale then why do we care if it gets less total income as long as it has enough to provide services to those who want it?

                             

                            Sufficient funds are hard to quantify, and usually times more money = better protection. It means more firefighters on duty and/or better equipment.

                            Depends... marginal economies of scale decrease as scale increases.  In this particular case, apparently they can provide acceptable service levels without taxing everyone.

                            If we let people gamble away their property in the stock market and Las Vegas then why is fire protection special?

                            I'm not arguing that this system is illegal or unconstitutional. I don't believe that's the case. Only that it's inferior.

                            Seems to beg the question.  Does that mean that a system that allows people to gamble in Las Vegas or on NASDAQ is also inferior?

                            The elegance of most tax systems is that they are based on percentages.

                            User fees for services frequently are not.  Your car registration and your driver's license fees usually do not depend on the value of your car or your income.  A government that wants to get rid of poor people, as you suggest, could impose a similar mandatory fee for fire service.

                            but if I need a chimpanzee to pull fleas out of my hair or I might contract a disease and die, does that mean we should all be mandated government chimpanzees and taxed accordingly???

                            Well, good example.

                            By your theory, if the local government considers this to be a significant risk (you haven't defined how significant) then they can provide us all with chimpanzees and tax us for the privilege.

                            See point at start about hypotheticals - I think your suggested principles need revision.

                        •  That is the whole point, isn't it? (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          chimpy, princss6

                          I believe that building and maintaining a community—a real community—involves some degree of shared sacrifice, and shared risk.

                          Those are your values and presumably the values of the community in which you live - or you wouldn't choose to live there.  They are values I share, so I also live in a community where I pay taxes in order to have essential services.

                          But I live very close to a rural area just like this one and those are certainly NOT the values of those folks or the community they live in.  And they will tell you that loudly and proudly and quote you some Glenn Beck.  They don't want the government forcing fire protection or other services down their throats. They don't want that "nanny state" stuff. They are just like Sharron Angle - they don't want to pay for what they don't think they are going to personally use.  And they don't want us commie pinko liberals telling them what being a community means.

                          Give me government-run healthcare over Wall Street-run healthcare anyday...

                          by trillian on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 05:58:50 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  see reply to Gang Blue above (n/t) (0+ / 0-)
                          •  Wait, ok, let me expound... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            The Nose

                            While I recognize that their community made a choice, I don't want to have to wait until all their houses have burned down for them to get the message. I believe that we need to proselytize some degree of socialism in government, and that leaves no room for me to shrug my shoulders and let them have it their way. Because their way is disastrous, for them as well as the rest of us.

                          •  I agree with you completely (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Lord Sphere, princss6

                            I guess we just disagree about the best way to convince them that some degree of socialism is good.  I live amongst these people.  Calm, reasoned discourse has left the building.  It's not been possible since that Kenyan Muslim launched his secret plan to impose "Shareeyah" law on all good white Christians.  These are the folks who stocked up on guns and ammo after the election.

                            You aren't going to convert them with reason or with compassion.  

                            If you want good, sane policy to prevail, you have to let bad policy reach its logical conclusion.  They need to see their Libertarian Utopia ideals fail and fail epically - otherwise they simply won't believe it.

                            These folks deny reality everyday.  They all rail against taxes, even the ones who pay very little.  They all rail against the government, even the ones pulling in government checks with both fists.  They don't want to pay for anything in the nature of insurance because they have this delusional belief that they are never going to need it.  They deny global warmning even as they alter their planting schedules and crop selection to adjust for it.  They rail against Medicare even as they thank their stars Grandma has it...It gets real tiring to live with this.

                            Trust me, they need to see the ashes.

                            Give me government-run healthcare over Wall Street-run healthcare anyday...

                            by trillian on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 09:47:32 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  My comments concern this particular incident (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          princss6

                          and the fact that people jumped all over the firefighters at the very beginning (one firefighter was even assaulted) and it wasn't fair.

                          The crux of this one incident is that the house had burned to the point where the firefighters could not save it. The owners had left the fire unattended for over two hours. Firefighters are trained and they know when to "hold 'em and when to fold 'em." This house was already too far gone for them to go in and save anything.

                          So to place the blame upon the firefighters' shoulders is not fair, it's evades bigger issues and only builds resentment.

                          And I totally agree with your assessment concerning communities. Totally.

                          <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

                          by bronte17 on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 07:05:01 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Provide a link (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            The Nose, gooderservice

                            to where you are getting the "let it burn for two hours unattended" BS.  I haven't read or heard that anywhere.

                            From everything I've found it says that they called 911 several times and where refused, that's why there was a delay.

                          •  To start with... the info is your video (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            princss6

                            that you provided in your diary.

                            The video you posted says the firefighters weren't there. And it is true that they didn't leave the fire station in their city until the neighbor who was part of the network called in.

                            It wasn't like the firefighters came out there and just stood around watching as the house slowly burned down. It had already burned for more than two hours and there was really nothing left to be done other than contain any spread.

                            That video very clearly says that one of the Cradicks went out in the yard and started a fire in two open barrels. Two hours later it had spread to the shed and then the house. It was unattended for those two hours.

                            Furthermore... before you get on the high horse... just exactly when did they call 911? After the fire had spread over to the shed? That was two hours later.

                            You know... as a firefighter... you are well aware and anyone with any sense is well aware... that fall is the most dangerous time of the year for burning and fires. There are dry dead leaves and debris everywhere.

                            <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

                            by bronte17 on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 11:16:29 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I see. Trying to blanket the flames, then. (0+ / 0-)

                            I don't know the details of the incident & was arguing purely on principle, while you were focusing on the specific facts and individuals.

                            I can see where you're coming from, and I think we're seeing eye to eye to some reasonable degree now. Cheers!

                •  What if half the city did not pay the fee? (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Aexia, kayebee, SWAG Again, princss6

                  Does the firepersons have to put all the fires from these people's property anyway?

                  What kind of lesson will these people learn if the fire department responds to their calls: why pay if they're coming anyway.  

                  What kind of lesson will this teach to those who pay: I should stop paying because they're responding to anybody's call, regardless of payment.

                  The message is clear, pay or you risk not having fire service.  I am sure all the deadbeats who don't pay are having second thoughts.

                  I understand the compassion argument but if this fire increases payment and the city is able to have a better fire department, everyone benefits.

                  •  Well, actually (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    The Nose, Tonedevil, gooderservice

                    If half the city doesn't pay, they're looking at a complete, systematic failure of this system.

                    And forget the compassion argument, their system doesn't even hold up from an economic perspective. In most areas in the US, EVERYONE pays for the fire department. Making it optional only decreases the total potential income of the fire department.

                    This minority element in the U.S. that wants to privatize everything is just going to have to suck it up and accept that there are some things we all have to pay for, or else we become the worst versions of ourselves.

              •  You give them too much benefit. (7+ / 0-)

                They lost three dogs and a cat in that fire.  Another local family lost a barn full of horses during a fire that they refused to put out because of this policy.

                The fire department and the government agencies that give the local fire department their orders are all chock full of heartless bastards.

                It makes me wonder what they would do if a human being were in a burning house or building that isn't on the paid-up list.  I guess they'd just have to make their own way out of that fire.

                •  Oh dear. (9+ / 0-)

                  Well, that's pretty awful.  I feel very sorry for the dogs and cats and horses, who can't call the fire department themselves.  

                  Unfortunately, the city had no authority to remove them from the unsafe, fire-prone buildings they were in, due to the buildings being outside the city limits; the so-called "owners", despite deliberately putting their animals at risk of burning to death, would probably have been able to sue the city if it had pre-emptively rescued them.

                  Unfortunately, it seems like the city fire department should have a new policy: "We don't respond to fires outside the city. Pay for your own fire department if you want fire protection."

                  The county government are at prime fault here, for refusing to provide fire service in the areas under its jurisdiction.

                  The city fire department was if anything too kind in providing fire service to anyone outside its jurisdiction.

                  Perhaps I'm biased by watching suburbs try to get the benefits of city services without paying the taxes.  Over and over and over.  But frankly "basic human decency" does not mean "reward scammers for scamming you".  The scammers then proceed to refuse to help out when you have problems.

                  -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                  by neroden on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 08:21:02 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Wait, they can afford horses (7+ / 0-)

                  but not the $75?

                  By not paying for fire service, the owners of the horses obviously did value the life of their horses to begin with.

                  These people took a gamble and they lost.

                  •  Protecting animals from cruel/indifferent owners (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Cat Whisperer

                    is a moral responsibility, IMO.

                    We have laws in most places against deliberate cruelty to pets and domestic animals. If someone burned horses, cats or dogs to death on purpose, they are guilty of the worst form of deliberate cruelty. Standing by and letting innocent trapped animals burn to death is no better, I don't care what the reason is. It's wrong. Rescue them if at all possible, and then bill the owners for the expenses. But just letting them burn to death because of unpaid fees by the owners is utterly inexcusable.

                •  just exactly what is the limit of this (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  neroden, SWAG Again, princss6, Gang Blue

                  is there a limit to which fire departments without jurisdiction or insurance should come... or is it all the fire departments on earth?

                  And what of people with water trucks, helecoptors and airplanes...  You'd have every house in the town that pays for this department unprotected while it's off in the country putting out fires for people that wanted nothing to do with supporting a fire department at all.

          •  How exactly does the firefighter put his/her (11+ / 0-)

            life in danger by standing out in the street holding a fire hose that's powerful enough to put out the fire?  

            They might get hit by a car?

            Are the police too stupid in that city to block off the street?  Is that what you're saying?

            Enough already. Stand up and fight. If you lose, you lose, but at least you tried. That's all I ask.

            by gooderservice on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 03:52:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Smoke...explosion nt (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kayebee, ferallike
              •  And where are they standing when this (6+ / 0-)

                imagined explosion occurs?

                And are you saying there could be absolutely no explosion if the fire is left to its own devices?

                Enough already. Stand up and fight. If you lose, you lose, but at least you tried. That's all I ask.

                by gooderservice on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 04:37:16 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You obviously have no clue how fire works... (12+ / 0-)

                  seriously, I'm not arguing that the firefighters should have stood by.  But to the other's point, they are freaking dangerous and unpredictable and yes, the firefighters would have been put in heightened risk if they had engaged.  That is no excuse not to, but to pretend like it would be like putting out coals in a grill with a hose is just false.  I know too many firefighters that have lost their lives because fires move fast or from embers or roof collapses or smoke.  

                  •  Exactly. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Tonedevil

                    because fires move fast or from embers or roof collapses or smoke.  

                    Enough already. Stand up and fight. If you lose, you lose, but at least you tried. That's all I ask.

                    by gooderservice on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 05:09:19 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  No not exactly... (12+ / 0-)

                      you were arguing that there was no danger to the firefighters therefore the matter of their insurance policy wouldn't matter.  I and others (a 25 year veteran who knows way more than I do - I just have to listen to my Uncle lecture, lol), are telling you that what you may see on the TV as non-life-threatening, like standing outside and dousing a house, is actually still very dangerous.  And yes, the gear is 50 lbs, as Northwatch pointing out.  It isn't just a rain coat.  It was sobering for me when my uncle demonstrated the mechanisms for his hear and how it works...sobering in that in regular intervals, they must push a button on their gear.  If they don't push that button when prompted, it is asssumed they are in trouble or unconscious or worse, dead.  Something you apparently see as just pedastrian is dead serious in every situation where fire is involved.  

                      So, yes, that their insurance would not have covered the firefighters is a huge consideration each firefighter would have had to assume the risk.  Some may have, but those who didn't shouldn't be berated.

                      •  Except that in this instance (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Tonedevil, Kevskos, gooderservice, Uberbah

                        according to the homeowner it took ten minutes for the fire to spread from the two barrels (that were not right next to the house) to the house ... that was not a life-threatening situation for a trained firefighter. Their problem was, they didn't even come to the scene until well after that (though they could have -- and though they should have).

                        Barack Obama is my president!

                        by RevJoe on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 05:47:11 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                •  There are plenty of things within a house that (6+ / 0-)

                  cause an explosion: natural gas lines, propane tanks (both the kind for a grill and the kind that holds 500 gal), a garage full of highly flammable liquids, Oxygen tanks (especially if you have to have several refillable tanks on hand). All of these can all cause explosions.  

                  In most cases the distance to where firefighters have to stand in order to direct the water on a home fire is close enough to make them direct targets in the event of a gas line, propane, oxygen tank explosion.

                  The bigger point here is that the insurance companies should not be the ones setting the rules for which properties the fire department can responded to. There should be a set area which each fire department is responsible for and the d*mned fees for running each station the entire department should be included in the taxes at either the local or state level. This extraneous charge for covering rural properties is absolute nonsense.

                  Fire Departments, rescue squads and police departments are not a luxury. Because a homeowner didn't pay their fee, there is no reason why a home should be allowed to burn. Fine them afterward if the budget is so tight. It's high time we begin to dictate to the insurance companies what they will cover not the other way around. If insurance companies won't provide coverage for all the people within a certain area, than there needs to be a Co-Op set up that will pool money from several counties so their fire stations can have coverage.

                  There is always the possibility that allowing that home to burn could have caused far more damage. If there had been an explosion and the fire had spread as a result of that explosion, it might not have been one neighbors field that caught fire but several.

                  The beatings will continue until morale improves. -8.50, -6.92

                  by ferallike on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:18:25 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  There is. (14+ / 0-)

                    There should be a set area which each fire department is responsible for and the d*mned fees for running each station the entire department should be included in the taxes at either the local or state level.

                    The facts are these:

                    The area in which Gene Cranick's house was located is a rural county whose voters and elected leaders have decided, repeatedly, over two decades, not to tax themselves for fire protection.

                    Within that county is a city, South Fulton, whose voters and elected leaders did tax themselves to raise a fire company. They put an ordinance on the books that prohibits that fire company from responding to fires outside the South Fulton city limits.

                    In order to avoid leaving the unincorporated parts of the county entirely unprotected, the city leaders of South Fulton offered to provide coverage to county residents, if those county residents pay the minimal fee of $75 a year (plus $500 each time a truck is rolled to them.)

                    Gene Cranick chose not to pay that fee. He said as much tonight on Olbermann's show.

                    He called for service, and was told that no trucks would be sent, since he hadn't paid the fee and no lives were threatened.

                    His neighbor called once the flames spread to his property. His neighbor paid the fees. The trucks rolled to protect the neighbor's house.

                    To watch Keith tonight, the villains were the South Fulton firefighters. I think the discussion here has been far more nuanced than Keith's unusually unsubtle framing of this story.

                    To what extent are the good taxpaying folk of South Fulton responsible for the safety of their neighbors out in the county who've chosen to take a calculated risk? I don't believe there's an absolute moral imperative for them to spend - and to keep spending in the future - to ameliorate the effects of another jurisdiction's questionable choices. I wish Keith had explored that side of the story, rather than making Cranick out to be a poor victim.

                    You don't get to say, "I support the First Amendment, but..." (h/t Chris Hayes)

                    by ipsos on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:50:59 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  side benefits (0+ / 0-)

                      If your county doesn't already have adequate volunteer firefighting coverage then set up a county tax. And make it more than $75 per year (I imagine it costs at least that much to feed and care for three dogs and a cat). Then take the tax money and build some fire stations (construction stimulus). Then hire some citizens who need jobs (local unemployment amelioration).

            •  Never been near a fireground, have you? (15+ / 0-)

              Heat exhaustion (yes, even standing around: the gear is not made to be light and breathable).  Toxic gas inhalation.  Hose breaking and hitting someone as it whips around before it is brought under control.  Slipping getting equipment on and off the truck.

              And yes, being hit by assholes who aren't watching where they are going.

            •  And yet another comment about fire ignorance (18+ / 0-)

              If you see firefighters standing outside a building spraying water at it...the building is gone.  Almost no exceptions.

              Especially a house.  If firefighters are not inside it, the house will at a minimum be gutted unless someone is remarkably lucky.  It's why we do a ton of training to teach people to strap on 50 pounds of gear and crawl through absolute blackness to get within a few feet of a blazing fire hot which is heating the room hotter than your average kitchen oven cooking a turkey in order to put the white stuff on the red stuff.

              If you aren't going into the building, you've given up trying to save the building and are merely preventing the spread something else.

              So even if they had stood outside and sprayed water, the house was doomed.  And I can tell you this based on 25 years of experience.

            •  You honor them for their service by (6+ / 0-)

              making uniformed comments belittling the danger they face on the day after the fire fighters who died last year were honored in DC.

              How perfect.  

              http://www.fox11online.com/...

              Firefighters from throughout the country gathered at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland to remember 105 firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2009.

              Their names were added to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial, and a wreath was laid in their honor.
              ..

              You may not feel warm enough. That does not entitle you to burn our house down. Instead, go out and get some wood for the stove.

              by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:17:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  They don't just stand outside (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Aexia, trillian, princss6

              with a water hose. There's much more to fighting fires than that.

              <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

              by bronte17 on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 08:11:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Do you live in the city? (5+ / 0-)

              Because in the country, you don't have fire hydrants.  You have a pump truck and a water truck.  The pressure is not enough that you can stand in the "street" (my street was 2 acres away) and safely fight the fire.  You have to get close enough to center the water on the flames and with old equipment and no hydrants, that is pretty darn close.  The smoke is enough in a 2-hour fire to choke a horse, and just turning the chuck on the pumper can break a wrist if you're not careful.  Then there is pulling the hoses to the water source, trying to contain the area when neighbors get too close, and falling timbers. Then, you have to fight the fire that has spread to the field by digging ahead of it and trying to put it out with the brush buggy's spray.  Police?  What police are you talking about?  The two sheriff's deputies who have to cover an entire county?  Cuz most likely, they will be on the highway, giving out tickets.  Fighting ANY fire can kill you.

              Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't.

              by EdgedInBlue on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 09:22:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  How exactly would that happen? (0+ / 0-)

            The firefighters would have put their lives in danger to extinguish a two-hour old fire...

            Enough already. Stand up and fight. If you lose, you lose, but at least you tried. That's all I ask.

            by gooderservice on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 04:31:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  How exactly do you know this? (4+ / 0-)

            and furthermore there were no people in danger.

            Sure, because fire never hurts anyone -- only property.

            So if they didn't put out that fire, it would never spread to the next house.  Oh, wait.  It did.  And if the next house didn't pay the 75 bucks, it would have spread to the next house.  Oh, wait.  If the next house over didn't pay the 75 bucks, then it goes to next house.

            This could go on forever.

            Or... maybe the winds shift, and the next thing you know the fire spreads to the entire block.  No one could have ever imagined that.

            Letting the fire burn is sometimes beneficial in forests, but not on residential streets.  

            Enough already. Stand up and fight. If you lose, you lose, but at least you tried. That's all I ask.

            by gooderservice on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 04:36:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  So you would be o.k. with not providing... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Uberbah

            ...medical care to people that don't have insurance?

            Our nations quality of life is based on the rightousness of its people.

            by kalihikane on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 07:08:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  For some facts- (6+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            trillian, bronte17, The Nose, ipsos, princss6, cai

            About the lack of fire service in Obion County, please see this document from 2008 that sheds a little light on the history of the Fire Department, or lack thereof, in Obion County: A Presentation Regarding The Establishment And Implementation of a County-Wide Fire Department

            •  More facts - these from 2004 (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              trillian, The Nose, ipsos

              This transcription of the city council's meeting minutes is in re: rate increases for rural service fees which also contains more insight into how the system operated. See PDF here.

              •  That was really interesting (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Aexia, meg, The Nose, princss6, Book of Hearts

                This no pay no fire coverage policy was well known.

                Those county folks really don't want to pay their share and they didn't want their insurers knowning they didn't pay! 50 signed a petition to oppose a $25 rate hike.

                There was a proposal to just quit offering the coverage to the whiny freeloading county folks, but the good folks on the city council didn't want to hurt the 750 county subscribers b/c of a handful of whiners so they continued to offer it.  All those folks would have had an increase in their insurance if the city quit offering the subscriptions.

                The city folk are really heroes here, and these county residents who don't pay just gambling freeloaders.

                And that $500 tanker truck charge when the truck is called out - the collection rate is LESS THAN 50%.

                Give me government-run healthcare over Wall Street-run healthcare anyday...

                by trillian on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 06:18:42 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Wow, just Wow (nt) (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Aexia, meg

              Give me government-run healthcare over Wall Street-run healthcare anyday...

              by trillian on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 06:09:36 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  They eventually fought the fire (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PinHole

            when it got close to the neighbors who had paid. They fought that fire then, but only up to the property line apparently.

            I have a couple friends who experienced fires in their homes when they were children. It's devastating. They still talk about it. We're in our forties and it still looms large in their psyches. It makes me sick to think that the people who had the knowledge and ability to stop that just stood by and watched, whatever the reason.

            There's a reason Democrats won massively the last two cycles, and it wasn't because people were desperate for "bipartisanship". --kos

            by Debby on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 08:31:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  the lives of the pets were lost - for most people (0+ / 0-)

            they are family. Also a barn was allowed to burn down in the same area with horses in it - how cruel is that?

            WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS COUNTRY?

            It's not about insurance and fees - it's about doing the right thing: HELPING OTHERS. Fees can be paid after an emergency.

            I went through the absolute hell of the Oakland/Berkeley hills fire of 1991 and I just can't imagine people not trying to help each other in an emergency. That's what we did and we still lost 25 people including police and fire personnel, countless pets and 3500 homes. Fires are devastating events.

            I now live in a rural county and we depend on volunteer fire departments - but I've never heard of local people not helping local people - especially in our rural places...This story is really very upsetting...who are we? Not very Christian behavior if you ask me.

            The owner of the home that burned was on Countdown and stated that he had forgotten to pay the fee - that's all...

            "You can't change someone's mind if they don't have one." - Bill Maher

            by wildlife advocate on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 02:56:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  No loss of life (0+ / 0-)

            I disagree with you. The firefighters should have tried to put out the fire. There was no loss of human life, but the family lost 3 dogs and a cat. Wrong...wrong,,,wrong!!

        •  because in the end, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kevskos, blueoasis, m00finsan

          ya know, it's all about the bottom line...

          Insurance is the moral value we all must adhere to.  I think Jesus said that, though I can't easily find that quote.  Or maybe it was the FSM.  Somebody.

          In fact, thank the FSM who included the insurance gods in the 10 commandments.  We could never live without that.

          < snark >\

          Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world--and never will. Mark Twain

          by whoknu on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 05:20:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  um (6+ / 0-)

          so the firefighter loses his life and his family is destitute, that's his duty.

      •  NO! I'm sorry NO. If $75 is the cost then TAX (70+ / 0-)

        them $75 and save the F#ing house.  Notice that the fire department had to come out anyway because the neighboring house was on caught on fire.  This is a prime example of government being more efficient than the free market.  

        Tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars up in smoke because of $75.

        Pathetic.

      •  Home Owner Values House at Less Than $6/Mo (9+ / 0-)

        but neighboring city and fire fighters are supposed to value his property at much, much more (enough to put their health or lives at risk.)

        Why?

        You may not feel warm enough. That does not entitle you to burn our house down. Instead, go out and get some wood for the stove.

        by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 04:00:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  More likely: he thought he could game the system (15+ / 0-)

          He didn't value his house that low. It is far more likely that he thought he could get away with not paying anything, so he didn't bother. He assumed that in the event his house caught fire, the fire fighters would still put out his fire, perhaps for some extra fee. Who would seriously be so inhumane that they would just stand there and not simply spray water on his house? He thought he could play them for suckers, as a selfish American who doesn't believe in paying into the communal pool.

          he figured heads he wins, tails he comes out no worse than someone paying the fee all along. It would be interesting to know if this same man would have recoiled at a $75 tax.

          While I think this whole situation is ridiculous and is a perfect example of why we shouldn't have fire service or health care as an optional service provided by non tax fees, I also think examples like this will have to keep happening before Americans start to come around on how stupid it is to make these services optional. As others pointed out, it is far more efficient for the society to charge everyone for the service (who can pay) and provide it to everyone. Societies in which homes keep burning down that could have been saved are not productive societies.

          •  Would this diary have existed, or been rec'd if (9+ / 0-)

            they had saved the house in spite of the owner's nonpayment?

            ...I also think examples like this will have to keep happening before Americans start to come around on how stupid it is to make these services optional

            I happen to agree, but unless the house is allowed to burn, it does not result in this discussion or in the "aha" moment for anyone who blindly says "no new taxes", "make government smaller", "personal reliance" etc.

            Moral hazard at work.  

            You may not feel warm enough. That does not entitle you to burn our house down. Instead, go out and get some wood for the stove.

            by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 04:44:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, I would've written a diary (8+ / 0-)

              that praised the fire chief and firefighters for doing the right thing. That would have been the better story, and I think, just as big a story. Unfortunately for them, that story will never be written.

              Firefighters are often glorified for the tough work they do. In many ways, why shouldn't they be? They put their lives on the line for people everywhere -- and for some people who make particularly bad mistakes. They have to clean up other people's messes, and often risk their lives doing so.

              But unfortunately, firefighters everywhere will take a hit from the feeble non-response of what did not occur in this non-heroic story. This was a ridiculous exercise in cruelty toward this family. Fix the damn system later -- but save the damn house first!

              Barack Obama is my president!

              by RevJoe on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 05:39:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think you have missed the point. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Into The Woods, princss6, erush1345

                The system is what matters here!

                If you wrote the "How heroic that they did the right thing" story... and the firefighters were then charged with misuse of fire department property, or were injured and their families sent into poverty due to no-life-insurance-coverage....

                well, would you do the followup story?  It would have to be about the system.

                It all comes back to the system.  This is a system in which either houses burn which might not need to, or in which firefighters are injured and bankrupted when they shouldn't be.  One or the other.  That's your choice.

                There is no "better story" in such a case.  The "better story" would be if the system gets reformed.

                As for the god-damned chiseler who figured he could cheat the fire department of its funding and still get service, I have no sympathy.  He lost everything he owned -- and that is exactly what he deserved.  I'm sorry for his family, to be at the mercy of such a scumbag, and for their loss.

                -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                by neroden on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 05:44:29 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  No, you have missed the point (5+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Debby, Heiuan, Uberbah, Magick Maven, m00finsan

                  The loss of the family's home is what matters here first.

                  The firefighters should have put out the fire. That's the second most important matter.

                  How it got to this point in the first place, granted, is hugely important for the future of this community. But it is still trumped by the other two, at least for people who have some compassion to show their fellow human being -- which the firefighters did not.

                  According to you, the family deserved their home to burn to the ground. What a pitiful stance. I'm sure glad as hell I don't live next to you.

                  Barack Obama is my president!

                  by RevJoe on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 05:56:03 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  There wouldn't have BEEN a story (6+ / 0-)

                    if the firefighters just put out the fire.

                    The guy still would have lost his house and everything in it.

                    The story IS the policy, the enforcement of the policy, and the ramifications of it.

                    •  And the next house that burns because of this (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      trillian, neroden, ipsos

                      bad policy or the selfish and short-sighted principles it has in common with 90% of the Republican agenda, will that house be more important than the policy.

                      How about the next?

                      And the next?

                      And next?

                      This house is not more important, just more urgent.

                      But it is the policy and underlying prinicples that will decide whether there will be more houses that burn or a different system and changed values.  

                      You may not feel warm enough. That does not entitle you to burn our house down. Instead, go out and get some wood for the stove.

                      by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:27:36 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  That doesn't make sense (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Uberbah

                      If the firefighters had put out the fire when it was first called in, the house would not have caught fire in the first place. The fire did not originate in the home. It was away from the home.

                      The story is not the policy -- the story, like it or not, is the inaction of the people who had the power and expertise who actually stood there watching it and only intervened when the "good" house caught fire. It's absolutely ridiculous!

                      Yes, the policy is a crucial element. But I guarantee you, that won't be the story.

                      Barack Obama is my president!

                      by RevJoe on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 10:07:46 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  of course there WOULD have been... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      neroden

                      ...if the chief of the department, the city manager, or the city's insurance company had given the fire fighters any shit whatsoever....

                      ThAnswr "If the administration can't fight for it's friends, don't expect us to fight their enemies."

                      by Uberbah on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 10:18:26 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  A parallel example: (9+ / 0-)

                    Most communities need a method to deal with cheaters.  This "pay or burn" system for dealing with a county which is trying to avoid paying for a fire department is one of the stupidest ones I've ever heard, but, well.... apparently the county rejected the sane method of using tax money to pay the city fire department, or to pay for its own county fire department.

                    Let me give you a less awful example of why policy is the issue.  In New York City, instead of providing school bus service, the City and State used to pay for free subway Metrocards.  Then they stopped paying.  The money now comes straight out of the subway budget.  The MTA can't afford it, as the state and city have stopped contributing money, and have raided even its "dedicated" taxes.  

                    But idiots blame the MTA when they say they're going to need to stop providing free school bus service.  It was never the MTA's responsibility!  The MTA has to try to keep the subways running!

                    Now every scammer in state government has worked out ways to loot the MTA budget for things which are really some other agency's responsibility.  Result: the MTA can't do its actual job, and gets blamed for things which are none of its business.

                    Unfortunately, people blaming the city firefighters are doing the same thing: they are playing into the hands of the people in the county government who want to avoid providing fire department service, but want to get it for free at the expense of city residents.

                    -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                    by neroden on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 08:14:44 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Again, you're arguing -- rightly so -- (0+ / 0-)

                      against the obvious flawed policy. And again, I'm not disputing that.

                      But the firefighters -- ethically -- still should not have let the house burn.

                      I'm curious, what would be your argument if someone had been trapped inside the house? I'm not just trying to throw a wrench in here -- I really would like to hear your response, because I think that's a valid question. I want to understand how far you think this policy -- flawed as it is -- should go?

                      Barack Obama is my president!

                      by RevJoe on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 10:14:38 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  It would not have been *wrong* to rescue people (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        trillian, princss6

                        It would, however, have been at great personal risk to the firefighters, and they would have received (a) no compensation, and (b) probably gotten punished for it.  See the comments by people who've worked for volunteer fire departments above; getting involved in a fire outside your jurisdiction means you're risking everything with no backing.

                        So I can't fault anyone who would choose not to sacrifice themselves.  Firemen have families too, and if any had been disabled?  Sorry, their families would get to starve now.

                        This is why a system is needed which supports people who fight fires and guarantees that their families will be supported if they are injured -- not a mere demanding that people volunteer to save negligent people from fires, even knowing that it could leave their own families destitute.

                        You, on the other hand, would apparently blame people who chose not to risk their own lives, and risk their families' livelihood, to save people who are grossly negligent on fire safety.  This is an unacceptable moral standard, and perhaps you should think about it.  

                        A decent moral standard allows for a certain level of self-protection; it does not demand mindless self-sacrificing altruism towards the ungrateful.  I realize that certain versions of Christianity do demand mindless self-sacrificing altruism towards the ungrateful, but I do not consider those decent.

                        If there were a social assumption that any injured firefighter would have his family supported, then yes you might be able to demand that they should go in.  There blatantly isn't in this county, or they'd have a tax-funded fire department!

                        -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                        by neroden on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 10:29:26 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I never brought Christianity into the picture (0+ / 0-)

                          and I wish you hadn't. That's not where my point was. We differ. Firefighters do put themselves on the line every day. This fire was no different. It was a fire -- property was at stake. Someone trained to put out the fire should have tried -- the very moment the fire was called in when it was not risking anyone's life. So, yes -- I blame the policy, I blame the supervisors and I blame the firefighters for not doing what they're supposed to do -- save lives and property.

                          Trust me, I think about moral standards every day. I will choose to believe that you didn't intentionally feel that you had to or were enabled to preach to me about ethics and morality. I'm no better than anyone else, but I don't take a backseat either. My opinion is just as valid as yours.

                          We differ, and if you read the thread carefully, you would see that it is fairly evenly divided. My position is hardly the minority position.

                          For example, I won't tell you you're wrong. I don't have a right to do that because this issue has many sides to it. But neither am I wrong to argue as I did. You may think so -- but that doesn't make it so.

                          I suggest we respectfully disagree and leave it at that.

                          Barack Obama is my president!

                          by RevJoe on Sat Oct 09, 2010 at 12:00:27 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  well (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Aexia, kayebee, neroden

                      it may seem like the stupidest, but the safer thing for them would simply be to only fight fires in city limits, and let them get a volunteer fire department of their own together.

                      I see the policy as kind hearted, and the fact that it's not possible to do if people don't contribute is just the fact that tax-and-fee hating libertarians claim as their liberty.

                      •  Yeah, I think it's too kind-hearted (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        jd in nyc

                        in that it lets stupid people in the country imagine that their stupid policies are just fine, and therefore makes things worse in the long run.

                        Given the county's historic behavior, the city should only fight fires in city limits, and maybe then the county would actually get off its ass and start taxing residents to provide fire service.

                        -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                        by neroden on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 12:19:25 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  The city actually discussed that (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          jd in nyc, GBCW, princss6

                          Read the city council minutes link above

                          Most of the city's FD calls are to rural subscribers.  The collection rate on the $500 tanker fee for such calles is less than 50%.  The city subsizers the rural subscribers and STILL a handful of the rural subscribers balked at a $25 increase and wanted "privacy rights" (you know the right these folks say isn't in the Constitution when it comes to abortion)to keep their insurers from knowing they don't subscribe.

                          The city thought about not offering subscription service because of these whining freeloaders, but didn't want to hurt all the subscribers who would all have their property insurance increase.

                          The city and the rural subscribers are the good guys here.  The rural freeloaders, not.

                          Give me government-run healthcare over Wall Street-run healthcare anyday...

                          by trillian on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 06:28:06 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

              •  you would not... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                neroden

                ... have heard about it.

                •  Yes you would given the same circumstances! (0+ / 0-)

                  The firefighters would have deserved the praise they would be reaping for ignoring the flawed policy and putting out the fire anyway! They would have been called "heroes" for doing the right thing because there would be Republicans yelling that they just "shoulda let the house burn -- the people deserved it!"

                  Barack Obama is my president!

                  by RevJoe on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 10:10:35 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No, you would not have heard about it. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    princss6

                    Proof: people have in this very thread
                    offered up past examples of fire departments doing exactly that, putting out fires for people who didn't pay their subscription fees, in areas which didn't pay taxes for them.  

                    And they didn't make the news.

                    -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                    by neroden on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 12:21:24 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  BS (0+ / 0-)

                      You are trying to base your speculation on facts which you don't have and you can't conjure up.

                      The fact that this family did not follow the rules, had the firefighters put the fire out anyway, there would have been a story.

                      Because others offered up "other examples" that they may have pulled from thin air to give weight to their opinions is meaningless. Where's the documentation? Please don't argue with facts that you don't have. If you can't make your point without conjecture and speculation or arguments that "so-and-so said ...", then find the proof elsewhere to back up your point.

                      Barack Obama is my president!

                      by RevJoe on Sat Oct 09, 2010 at 12:04:22 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

            •  Sigh (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              princss6

              "Would this diary have existed, or been rec'd if
              they had saved the house in spite of the owner's nonpayment?"

              Would you feel the same way if one of the firefighters was killed or injured by an explosion, or by an accident while fighting the fires? Would you feel the same way if his insurance refused to cover his injuries, leaving him permanently crippled and unable to work to support his family ?

              Just because 1) one idiot purposely didn't pay $75 so he could game the system, 2) after knowing 1) lit a bunch of barrels on fire.

          •  Personally, I think he probably thought what I... (6+ / 0-)

            ...and 99% of the American people thought: when you call the Fire Department, the Fire Department comes in and puts out the fire.

            I don't think he expected the latest experiment in revived libertarianism.

            The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

            by Stephen Daugherty on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 05:47:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I agree, but as for the implied parallel to (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            princss6

            health insurance, I just want to point out that a) that's paid to private, rapacious companies, who are also likely to let you die if they can even if you do pay, and b) a lot of people really cannot afford it.

            Not that you were saying otherwise, I just see a big distinction there.  

            My comments may not be used for any purpose without explicit permission.

            by cai on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 08:12:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Bite it: I'd have saved your house (17+ / 0-)

        But then, I'm one of those bleeding heart liberals who, oh, never mind.

        •  Hizzah for Bob! (9+ / 0-)

          He has a conscience! I'll bet Bob is an Emergency Worker. Save it now, we can figure out the payment later. Yes, they should have paid the $75.00. But to lose everything when THE FIRE DEPARTMENT HAD ALREADY RESPONDED TO THE SCENE IS BEYOND THE PALE. Sorry for yelling, but FUCK! these people just lost EVERY god damn thing they owned.

          "When good men stand idly by..."

          "The better I know people, the more I like my dog."

          by Thinking Fella on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 05:31:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Honestly, if they were demanding tax-supported (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Debby, object16, RevJoe, princss6

            fire protection, and refusing to pay the $75 on the grounds that this OUGHT to be a tax, I'd have some sympathy.

            As it is I'm not sure I have any sympathy with the whole god-damned town.  OPTIONAL fire protection?  That's insane, and civilized parts of the world don't DO that.

            -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

            by neroden on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 05:34:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  True enough (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Uberbah

              But ya know what else we don't do in a civilized part of the world? Drive the fire truck away when your shit is in flames...

              "The better I know people, the more I like my dog."

              by Thinking Fella on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 05:37:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Think about it carefully. (9+ / 0-)

                The moment they volunteer to put out the fire, they open themselves to personal injury -- and they are likely to get charged with misconduct for using fire department resources improperly.

                So, they could volunteer to help save the property of a chiseler, at personal danger and cost to themselves.  I don't think so.

                The problem here is with the municipality.  You create an uncivilized set of laws and you force otherwise altruistic people to act uncivilized in self-defense.

                -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                by neroden on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 05:40:12 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  In uncivilized defense (5+ / 0-)

                  of their own job only-not to save property and lives-as they swore when they took the job..

                  As a Paramedic...if you were choking, and I asked whether or not you had insurance before treating you, and didn't treat you if you didn't have insurance, I guess that's cool in your book, huh? The Homeless? Fuck 'em. Uninsured? Walk to the hospital after dislodging the obstruction in your airway, right?

                  Personal injury? Are you drunk? They are FIREFIGHTERS, that is what the expected when the showed up at work in the morning--not to be an insurance company goon. Misconduct? What are talking about? Do you think that a ff'er who started yanking hose off the bed would be fired? REALLY? Do you think that a jury would find that his termination was justified?

                  You are a cold-hearted person, I'll leave it at that.

                  "The better I know people, the more I like my dog."

                  by Thinking Fella on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 05:50:13 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You get paid either way as a paramedic. (7+ / 0-)

                    As for personal injury -- did you notice that their personal injury insurance doesn't cover fighting fires for people who didn't pay the fee?

                    Misconduct? What are talking about? Do you think that a ff'er who started yanking hose off the bed would be fired? REALLY?

                    This is a place where they DON'T HAVE TAXPAYER-FUNDED FIRE DEPARTMENTS.  Yes, I expect so.

                    Do you think that a jury would find that his termination was justified?

                    This is a place where they DON'T HAVE TAXPAYER-FUNDED FIRE DEPARTMENTS.  Yes, I expect so.

                    -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                    by neroden on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 05:53:39 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  How does a Paramedic get paid either way? (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Debby, Uberbah

                      Yes, I got an hourly wage. Is that what you mean? Did these firefighters get paid an hourly wage-to drive away from a fire?

                      I'll close with this. When we have reached the point where people think it is ok to leave the scene of an emergency--to which they were called AND responded--then that locale is no longer inhabited by civilized people. Apparently, you agree with their lack of civilization. You are not only totally lacking in empathy, but I sure as fuck am glad you don't work in  Emergency Services.

                      **For what it's worth, prior to becoming a Paid-either-way Paramedic, I VOLUNTEERED as a Firefighter and a Paramedic.
                      I NEVER would have considered leaving ANYONE suffer behind a lousy 75 bucks. I'm sorry to hear you would.

                      "The better I know people, the more I like my dog."

                      by Thinking Fella on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:07:11 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  If a patient is uninsured (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Sparhawk, cai

                        and you get injured by him, does that mean you are not covered by workers' comp?  Well, that was the situation for the firemen.

                        -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                        by neroden on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:09:12 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  I have empathy -- I happen to have a brain, too. (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Sparhawk, ipsos, cai, erush1345

                        Again, suppose that if you treated uninsured patients, you were suddenly liable to be personally charged by the ambulance service or hospital for misuse of resources, and were also not covered by worker's comp if the patient injured you.

                        Would you think twice before volunteering?  If you wouldn't, your altruism does you credit, but your intelligence doesn't.

                        And I think the point is rather that we already KNEW that the locale was not inhabited by civilized people.  They don't even have a community fire department!

                        -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                        by neroden on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:11:52 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Not only this... (9+ / 0-)

                          ...but what if the fire department damages unrelated property, i.e. accidentally points the hose at the wrong house, destroys a nearby car by hitting it with a truck, etc etc.

                          Thanks for putting out the fire, guys! You gain nothing except the deadbeat's gratitude, and now you owe a million dollars in damage lawsuits!

                          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                          by Sparhawk on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:46:00 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  There is a HUGE difference (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Debby, Uberbah

                          between not volunteering to begin with, and refusing to do what you were trained to do once you took the job.

                          Ever been in the military? Is this how they operate? Sure, we spent money training you, but, that soldier didn't pay into the pot, so, let him lay there bleeding. No, you do what you were trained to do. Or don't bother wasting the resources.
                          When I was a Paramedic in San Francisco in the early 80's, we had not yet discovered how AIDS was spread. Do you think The City would have paid a disability claim wherein you could not prove how you got AIDS(from your job)? Tell me, How many San Francisco Paramedics do you think were enough of a wussy to quit rather that helping the suffering people without regard to their personal health? I'll tell ya. NONE. Because we saved lives for a living, not made comments about how 'I might get huuuuurt' from behind a keyboard.

                          What those ff'ers did was amoral, spin it anyway you'd like...

                          "The better I know people, the more I like my dog."

                          by Thinking Fella on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 07:17:02 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Exactly. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            trillian, ipsos

                            And in this fire department, you are trained to put out fires within the town, or on the properties of people who have paid their fire protection fee in the unincorporated county.

                            In the military, did they protect guys from other militaries who weren't cooperating?  Thought not.

                            -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                            by neroden on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 07:19:48 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  You realize (10+ / 0-)

                    that no person is paid enough to lose a life over property, right?  That in all likelihood, a rural fire department is staffed not only by paid firefighters, but volunteers.  If you are a volunteer, what do you sue for and who explains to the family that the volunteer can't work for 6 months because they were injured trying to save a house that had burned beyond salvage?  And you realize that firefighters are trained in much the same way that police officers are, to follow orders without thought because it could save their lives? I doubt a single firefighter thought about insurance, because the fee paid for protection is NOT insurance, it is a fee that pays for their equipment, their insurance, their security.  What they thought about was risk vs. salvage.

                    What I don't get, what I really don't get, is that people think because a person accepts a job as a firefighter or a police officer, it is their duty to offer up their lives.  It takes a pretty dedicated (or insane) person to do a job that endangers their life at every minute during a work day because we pay them like they were just selling groceries.  Both my late-husband and I met whilst corrections officers.  When we left that profession, we went to "normal" jobs, but my late-husband volunteered as a deputy sheriff on his off days and I as a volunteer fire fighter.  We did so because we lived in a rural community that needed those services, not because we thought it would be fun to risk our lives and orphan our children.  In those professions, even as a volunteer, you are taught to protect yourself and assess each situation by life risk.  You depend on those you work with and FOR to consider the importance of your risking your life versus that which might be saved.  You rail against these people because they did not offer up their lives to save a structure... not a life, but a structure that did not threaten any other lives or structures?  

                    If I'd been sergeant on site and it was a two hour fire with only fields at risk, I don't care if the owner was on service or not, the risk to firefighters would have outweighed the possibility of structural salvage and all I would have called for is containment.  Yea, I'm a cold hearted bitch because I'd think of people, firefighters, before I thot of risking those people to save a house that was on a two hour burn.

                    Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't.

                    by EdgedInBlue on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 10:13:05 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Bear in mind that this fire didn't even occur (6+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  trillian, Sparhawk, kayebee, neroden, cai, erush1345

                  ..in the municipality.

                  I wonder, what happens if, after all this scandal, the town of South Fulton discontinues the service it offers to non-residents?

                  "Fuck it, we don't need this noise. We'll stick to our own jurisdiction, and you can set up your own damned fire department."

          •  I'm sorry TF (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kayebee, princss6, erush1345

            but they would have lost it anyway, the fire had burned too long.  I came home to a fire that had only been going on for some 50 minutes and lost most everything by that point except the primary structure.  I even went inside to shut doors because I had had firefighting experience and knew that might contain the smoke, if not the fire.  Total loss anyway.

            The FD responded to this scene in case the fire spread, the house would have already been a loss because the owners left an outside burn unattended that spread to the home; a home which had a fire going whilst the owners were not even present on the property.  

            Once a structure has caught fire, the initial damage is smoke.  Everything is covered by a thick coating of smoke that invades machine parts, walls, carpets, ceilings...it is almost impossible to clean.  Then the fire destroys haphazardly, jumping from sheetrock to carpet to furniture to paper, ruining electric conduits, igniting interior gas lines (country would be propane), and ruining structural integrity.  Once it gets to the attic, the house is lost.  This fire got so big, it spread to a nearby field.  This was not the fault of the firefighters, but the fire starter.

            The owner lost most of what he had before he even returned to find the fire.  He lost it when he left a burn unattended.  He lost it when he gambled on leaving that burn even tho he had no fire coverage.  Thank dog no firefighter lost his life trying to save that which could not be salvaged...things.  No lives were endangered, only things.  The man was lucky, he and his family survived.

            Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't.

            by EdgedInBlue on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 09:51:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Appreciate that you have such a stout heart Bob (4+ / 0-)

          but I would really prefer that you not risk your life to save my home if it had been burning for two hours. Because it's gone.

          You can't change that. And it's no longer a home... it's just a pile of dangerous embers or explosive materials.

          Your life is much more valuable.

          <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

          by bronte17 on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 08:24:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Here is the most important thing in this story (15+ / 0-)

        Turns out, the neighbor had paid the fee.
        "I thought they'd come out and put it out, even if you hadn't paid your $75, but I was wrong," said Gene Cranick.

        He wanted something for nothing. He KNEW he had to pay a fee, didn't want to thinking, well hell they will do it anyway.

        Sorry, no sympathy for the jackass. If the FD has put out the fire, other people would think "Well I don't have to pay either" then you have Firefighters working for less than they already do.

        Tough shit, pay your bills.

        •  Tough shit? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Uberbah

          You mean you advocate this colossally stupid system?

          The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

          by Stephen Daugherty on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 05:49:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's not a matter of advocating (9+ / 0-)

            for the system or not.  They HAVE that system....for 20 years.  It's not new.  It's not because of budget issues or a new experiment.  It's what they WANT.  And the guy skated on the fee and paid the price.

            •  Nah that ain't going to fly (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mightymouse, Uberbah, Magick Maven

              They could have billed him for the trip out, assessed him for the expense, whatever.

              I guarantee you if they came out and put out the fire and then assessed him the $75 - he would have paid it the next day and never missed another payment.

              This defies common decency.

              "Ubermensch" is German for "Douchebag"

              by meatballs on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:30:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  He might have, yes... (8+ / 0-)

                ...but how many of his neighbors would have concluded, rationally, that since Gene's fire got put out even though he hadn't paid his $75, why should they pay their $75?

                I mean, the fire department will come and save them, too...right?

                It's not like those trucks and equipment and training and personnel and buildings have to be paid for, or anything. (And by the taxpayers of a different, evidently more responsible jurisdiction, at that.)

                You don't get to say, "I support the First Amendment, but..." (h/t Chris Hayes)

                by ipsos on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:55:14 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  How are they going to bill the owner? (12+ / 0-)

                They could have billed him for the trip out, assessed him for the expense, whatever.

                I'm not sure they could have.  The fire was outside the city's jurisdiction.  And it's not like the owner had an agreement with the fire department to pay anything.  Given that the owner was fine with not paying and expected the fire department to pay, there's a decent chance that he might have stiffed the city on the bill and gotten away with it since there was no contract or agreement for services.  The offer to pay anything for response could have been argued as being under duress (his house was on fire after all) and therefore invalid.

                Beyond that, if any of this succeeds, why would anyone else in the area pay for the fire department.  They know the firefighters are going to come out and help anyway, and if they need the help, they can pay (or possibly not) after the fact.

              •  Collection Rate (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Aexia, The Nose

                in this county just for the $500 tanker fee owed by subscribers who've called the FD - less than 50%.

                Give me government-run healthcare over Wall Street-run healthcare anyday...

                by trillian on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 06:33:11 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Wow (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Debby, blueoasis, Uberbah, LaEscapee

          These people just lost everything they ever worked for in their entire lives over a unpaid $75 bill and you say tough shit?

          We're talking about the memories of an entire lifetime burned to ashes.

          Its so easy for you sit perched on your pedestal preaching your social darwinistic bullshit - but this is real life tragedy with real people feeling real pain and real loss.  How you can sit back and be so callous?

          Oh that's right, you're republican.

          "Ubermensch" is German for "Douchebag"

          by meatballs on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:24:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Mr.Cranick was just on Countdown (15+ / 0-)

        He said he did NOT refuse to pay, just forgot to pay.  He also said that firefighters would let people's barns burned down -- at least one with horses still inside.

        Taxes should cover these services -- there should be no reason for separate fees.

        -7.13, -6.97 Scott Brown and Joe Lieberman want to strip people's citizenship, without evidence of a crime. Let's strip them of their Senate seats!

        by klamothe on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:08:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  OK, well that sounds more sympathetic.... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Nose, Celtic Pugilist

          If he really just forgot to pay, then geez, this sucks for him.  Sucks that he lives in such a ridiculous, uncivilized part of the world.

          Agreed, taxes should cover this.

          -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

          by neroden on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:13:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The problem with this position is (7+ / 0-)

          that in rural areas there is no fire department.  He lived in an unincorporated area and the nearby town offered service for an annual fee of 75 dollars.  It was a tax of a sort.  They couldn't collect taxes from him because he didn't live in the town.  So they offered the service for what I consider a fair fee.  He chose not to pay the fee.

          Trying to make a political right versus left argument out of this shows that in some ways we are the same as the right.  We are angry at the right and we are looking for something to justify that anger.  If it doesn't make sense, so what?  They are conservatives, right?  

          So, are we all teabaggers now?  

          •  But there is a valid political argument. (7+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            trillian, Debby, kayebee, The Nose, ipsos, cai, MaikeH

            The argument is why didn't the unincorporated county have taxes funding a fire service?  

            Because our politics believes in taxpayer-funded public services -- and the right-wingers' politics opposes them.

            That make sense?  

            -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

            by neroden on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:53:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  but it still makes sense to put out the fire (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blueoasis, Uberbah

            regardless of whether he paid or not.

            An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

            by mightymouse on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:53:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sadly, no. It does not. (10+ / 0-)

              In an ideal world, it would. But in the real world, especially in a part of the real world where the residents have long resisted taxing themselves modestly for communal fire protection, I fear the only lesson that would have come from such an act is this:

              "Gene didn't pay, but they still came and put out his fire. Why the hell should I pay?"

              At which point, if I'm a taxpayer in the city of South Fulton, which provides that optional fire service to Gene Cranick and his neighbors outside the city, I'm wondering how and why I am now paying all the additional costs of supplying fire protection outside city limits.

              You don't get to say, "I support the First Amendment, but..." (h/t Chris Hayes)

              by ipsos on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:58:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  public safety demands that the fire be put out (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Debby, Uberbah

                to let it burn is crazy.

                you can always bill the guy a large amount afterward to make a point to potential deadbeats.

                An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

                by mightymouse on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 07:01:06 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  So you bill him... (11+ / 0-)

                  ...and when he doesn't pay, or can't afford to pay, what then?

                  He doesn't live within the jurisdiction of South Fulton. South Fulton has an ordinance on the books that says they don't send fire crews outside city limits unless (a) the state highway patrol has requested a response, (b) lives are endangered, or (c) a homeowner outside city limits has contracted for their services in advance.

                  Gene Cranick knew all this and "forgot" to pay $75 ahead of time. Why would he pay the thousands of dollars he'd get billed after the fact, and what legal recourse would South Fulton's taxpayers have against him if he doesn't?

                  For that matter, why is the safety of Gene Cranick's house and surrounding properties, well beyond the city line, a "demand" of "public safety" for those who live in the city?

                  Remember, this is a city of 2500 people we're talking about, and a surrounding county of some 32,000 people. There's only so much burden that can be shifted here.

                  You don't get to say, "I support the First Amendment, but..." (h/t Chris Hayes)

                  by ipsos on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 07:22:25 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  then you're out $75.00 (0+ / 0-)

                    the fire service for subscribers only model is nutty.

                    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

                    by mightymouse on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 08:13:06 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  No. (8+ / 0-)

                      The $75 figure is the annual "retainer," if you will. It's not intended to reflect the actual cost of rolling a truck. According to the Obion County Fire Plan, the city fire departments in Obion County, including South Fulton, charge $500 on top of that $75 annual fee each time they respond to an incident outside city limits. Those fees are only paid, apparently, about half the time because there's no way to enforce them.

                      I agree with you that the system as it now exists in Obion County (and no doubt in a lot of other rural corners of America) is "nutty."

                      But it's equally nutty to think you can keep a fire department staffed and equipped and ready to respond to anyone's emergency if the people you're "serving" don't pay taxes for that service and only cough up $75 if a truck rolls.

                      (Want more actual statistics? The tiny South Fulton F.D. responded to 30 in-town calls and 23 rural calls in 2006, according to that fire plan linked above. Think you can run a fire department on the whopping $1725 they'd have received at $75 per rural call? A lot of fire chiefs, my own included, would love to meet you if you can pull that off.)

                      You don't get to say, "I support the First Amendment, but..." (h/t Chris Hayes)

                      by ipsos on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 08:24:38 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  There are lots of ways to collect money owed (0+ / 0-)

                    by private and public institutions. To witness the yammering about all the excuses they couldn't - from people who seem to have no experience in any kinds of collections - is starting to grate on my nerves.

                •  actually not quite (6+ / 0-)

                  that's the county's and states jurisdiction.

                  That a small town will offer this service is more than they NEED to do.

              •  Gargage. (0+ / 0-)
                1. Put out the fire
                1. Bill the homeowner for the cost

                It's not that hard.  Really.

                ThAnswr "If the administration can't fight for it's friends, don't expect us to fight their enemies."

                by Uberbah on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 10:22:10 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Forgot. Reminder letter. Forgot again. (9+ / 0-)

          At some point it becomes less of an accident and more of a choice.  

          But while I can have some sympathy for him, I have no sympathy for attacking the Fire Chief.  

          You may not feel warm enough. That does not entitle you to burn our house down. Instead, go out and get some wood for the stove.

          by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:30:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I have an SO with a memory like a sieve (0+ / 0-)

            That's why I pay the bills. I can keep track of them and when they're due far better than he can.

            OTOH he isn't in bondage to the kind of male ego that insists that paying the bills is "the man's job".

            When he was living on his own, he had his phone shut off for nonpayment three times in two years - and the latter two of those times I called his local police to check on him and make sure he was all right. (I used the non-emergency number, and they were very good about it.)

            Maybe the unfortunate Mr. Crannick had the male-ego thing going on, or the double misfortune of a wife as sieve-headed as he obviously is.

            Shit happens, and there should have been provision for that.

            If it's
            Not your body
            Then it's
            Not your choice
            AND it's
            None of your damn business!

            by TheOtherMaven on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 09:26:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  For 20 years (5+ / 0-)

          he forgot to pay?  The system has been in place for 20 years.  They said it was the family homestead.

          The three richest men in the world have more money than the poorest 48 countries. Maude Barlow

          by DMiller on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 07:30:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Read the news reports (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Aexia, The Nose

          Anyone who doesn't pay gets a PERSONAL PHONE CALL, a freaking personal phone call which the FD says these people got.

          Plus he was already quoted as admitting he didn't pay b/c he thought they'd come anyway.

          These wily ole country boys (and I live cheek by jowl) don't pay for anything they think they can get for free - and sure as sugar not to the gubmint.

          Give me government-run healthcare over Wall Street-run healthcare anyday...

          by trillian on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 06:37:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  until your house is burning down (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aexia, trillian, kayebee, The Nose

        75$ is robberying, involuntary servitude and slavery.

        OTOH, what a ridiculous system, they should tax the area because the neighbor that did pay doesn't need to have his stuff catch fire AT ALL.

        still... man, maybe taxes can be sort of reasonable...

    •  I too do not condone violence (9+ / 0-)

      but I sure would understand if the same thing happened to the fuckers on Wall Street (and Obama's economic team) who have burned down our economy.

      What makes the Banksters even worse than this mayor or fire chief is that the Banksters:

      1. caused the fire
      1. instead of putting it out, they went to the bank and robbed us blind while our house burns down

      What's incredible is that the Banksters expect us to thank them for saving the economy (which they torched) when in fact all they've done is save themselves - AT OUR EXPENSE.

      Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist. - Kenneth E. Boulding

      by Earth Ling on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 03:08:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I totally agree with you. (35+ / 0-)

      And as I stated in the other diary, the overriding point here is that this 'pay as you go' madness for essential services does not work.  The system, or lack thereof -- is the real problem.

      People are becoming screwy in the head.  Taxation for essential services is NOT a bad thing.  The extreme right has it in their heads that if it ani't all about them all the time, then everyone else  doesn't matter.

      Well, everyone else does matter.  This selfish 'me me me all the time me' attitude is a precursor for the breakdown of civility.

      Maybe that's what some of these nut jobs want.

      "I'm measuring everything the Democrats and President Obama do, not against what I WANT, but against the status quo." --RASalvatore 9/16/10

      by smoothnmellow on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 03:39:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Tipped for having the decency (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      myboo, Matt Z

      that's a foreign concept to the front pager who saw this story as an excuse to make snarky comments at the expense of the victim based on some factless speculation.

      The Angries are back

      by Goldfish on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 04:13:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This guy is on Keith tonight n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z
    •  What the hell state is this? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kayebee, Kevskos, neroden, rsneick

      Africa?  sounds like republican country to me. No taxes but pay for the cops and the firefighters.  If you can't pay - tough luck.  Definitely a republican viewpoint.

      " A lot of money is tainted - taint yours and taint mine." Unknown author

      by libbie on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 05:05:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This has to be the most brain dead (16+ / 0-)

      Mind fuckingly stupid nit wit policy I've ever heard of.  The fact that it has existed for 20 years, cannot justify it.   Tennessee is wetter than Colorado, but still fires are dangerous, and THEY SPREAD!!!!!   We just had a small fire near  Boulder which got out of control because of the hot dry conditions.  169 homes were lost before it was finally brought under control.  Firefighters from several states responded. If someone negligently starts a fire, file arson charges against him.  If a community can't afford fire protection, the state should provide it.  To allow a fire to burn, to teach someone a lesson, is just beyond insane.

      I do not like thee, Doctor Fell, The reason why I cannot tell; But this I know, and know full well, I do not like thee, Doctor Fell.

      by opinionated on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 05:18:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Keith Olbermann Interviewed This Gentleman (9+ / 0-)

      during the last segment; Keith was absolutely gobsmacked - as we all should be.

      "I like talking about people who don't have any power." Stephen Colbert, 9.24.10

      by CityLightsLover on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:10:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  From Keith Olbermann (7+ / 0-)

      @Keith Olbermann
      For all who asked we're looking into organizing help for Gene Cranick, who lost his house to A-La-Carte Firefighting in TN. I'll advise

      "An uprising of the reasonable is our only chance." - Keith Olbermann

      by Diogenes2008 on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 07:10:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The owner was on Keith O. tonight (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      paintitblue, melpomene1, dibsa

      He lost a few pets and he mentioned that another owner lost horses in a fire that was not responding to.

    •  Please update to cover COUNTY vs. CITY issue (5+ / 0-)

      A crucial point here is that the COUNTY refuses to provide fire protection services and homeowners within the unincorporated county -- such as Mr. Cranick -- may pay a fee to the neighboring CITY fire department if they want service.

      The CITY fire department will put out any fires in the CITY without question.  But they can't tax people outside the city.

      This is a crucial issue.  The COUNTY could have a more sane system, but it chooses not to.  The CITY should not be expected to pick up the slack.

      -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

      by neroden on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 08:32:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This was not an innocent victim (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aexia, trillian, princss6, erush1345

      you are talking about.

      This man knew the policy and refused to pay.  He knew what he was getting into. He willfully accepted the consequences of his nonpayment.

      I just don't feel sympathy for him.

      If he did not know about the policy or he couldn't afford it, then yes the city was out of order.

      But I think he could afford it.  If you can buy a house, you can afford $6 a month premium, don't you think?

      •  It's not billed as $6/month (0+ / 0-)

        it's a per annum charge. Much like car tags/taxes. For far too many people out there that $75 is outside of their budgeting ability and any biller or collector going after this amount of money will not carry the charge over the course of a year or any other period of time to make it "easier" for the person being billed. If they did, the overhead required to make that system of payment work would increase the fee anyway.

        This absolutely should be assessed in county taxes.

    •  When did we become the party of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      trillian

      "People should not be responsible for the consequences of their own actions"?

      •  Insurance Companies Don't Insure After the Fire (13+ / 0-)

        either.

        They have a choice to have insurance.
        They have a choice to buy fire department protection.

        If we are going to allow people to die because they could not afford to (or due to preconditions were not allowed to) purchase health insurance, I have no problem with letting a house burn because some locality decided they did not want "higher taxes" and adopted a voluntary route to finance fire protection - and a home owner declined to purchase that protection.

        I think it's a crazy, dangerous and not-cost-effective way to provide this kind of protection - but that's just liberal old me.  

        Once the event has started, it's just too late to negotiate the price.  (The mind boggles on how that would work and the OTC derivatives that could be built on those transactions.)  

        If a person would have been in danger I expect that either the polcies or personal values of the firefighters would have led to a different result.

        But for property - the locality decided on the system and the owner made his bed and now he's got to lie in it (or a hotel bed since his is now smoke and ash.)

        You may not feel warm enough. That does not entitle you to burn our house down. Instead, go out and get some wood for the stove.

        by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 02:21:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wrong analogies (55+ / 0-)
          1. Nobody is asking an insurance company to sell him a policy and rebuild his house after the fact. These were emergency services that were denied.
          1. Even if I don't have health insurance, the EMT's will treat me and take me to the emergency room if I drop over on the street.
          1. My fire protection is part of my property tax. Even if I'm delinquent, the fire department will put out the fire if my house burns. It's called human decency. It's not a matter of whether someone should have opted in. Put out the damned fire and send the guy a bill for a few thousand dollars if that's what you have to do. That will teach people just as much as allowing their whole lives to burn up.

          What if they had children trapped on the second floor of their burning house? Still tough shit?

          Weenie liberals of the world unite! ...soccergrandmom

          by Giles Goat Boy on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 02:36:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's what I was thinking. (40+ / 0-)

            If a fee is involved with fire fighting, there should be two choices:

            1. Pay $75. up front for the whole year.
            1. Pay the actual cost of fighting the fire after the fact.

            Either way, the fire gets put out before it becomes catastrophic and/or spreads to adjacent properties.

            -7.50, -6.87 Bright Pink Smile - a different sort of art blog

            by asterkitty on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 02:40:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  They won't pay $75 for fire protection but (5+ / 0-)

              will pay when billed?  Doubtful.

              I don't belong to an organized party, I'm a democrat.

              by thestructureguy on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 02:53:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  If there was to be a bill in this situation (6+ / 0-)

              It should be something like the $75 for the year, divided by the calculated chances of having a home that burns.  So, for instance if the chances of your home catching fire is 0.08% (1 in 1250), that would mean the pay-for-service amount would be $93,750.  Although that might be the lifetime chances of an individual having a house fire rather than the annual chance of a family having a fire, in which case we would need to divide that dollar amount by the average family size (I don't know, maybe 1.5?) and then multiply by the average life expectancy (I don't know, 72?), so on the order of $4,500,000 or so?

              In any case, this clearly illustrates why paying your taxes and insurance upfront is a better idea.

              But agree, that should be the bill amount, and if they couldn't pay, perhaps the Fire Department could have auctioned off their home for them afterwards (although I doubt they would ever earn back that $4,500,000!).

              We would be just a little bit closer to world peace if everyone would just grow some f-ing skin!

              by Subversive on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 03:02:41 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  your math is backwards. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Hayate Yagami

                If you divide by the chance of burning (as a percentage) then the amount you pay goes up for having a less liklihood of a fire and goes down for having a greater liklihood. As an example if there was a 100% chance of fire (1 out of 1), by your math it would be: $75/(1/1) = $75, where if your chance of fire was 0.00000000001% (1/10000000000) your cost would be $1,000,000,000,000

                •  nope (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  object16

                  If you divide by the chance of burning (as a percentage) then the amount you pay goes up for having a less liklihood of a fire and goes down for having a greater liklihood.

                  That is correct.  The greater likelyhood of a fire would mean that the $75 annual fee would have to go up, while the pay-for-service would remain the same.  My loose estimate for the pay-for-service buy-in above is based only upon the $75 annual fee fairly reflecting the fire protection costs in a model where fire risk does not change.  

                  If we departed from that model into one where there was a property whose risk of fire was very small but instead 100%, then their annual fee should also be that same $4,500,000.

                  The math is correct, but if the statistics of 0.08% lifetime chances of an individual having a house fire rather, 1.5 average family size, and 72 year average life expectancy, are wrong, and I am sure they are at least a little if not a lot wrong, and $4,500,000 is (far?) more than the average cost of fighting a house fire, then perhaps the $75 annual firefighting fee is a bit on the high side.  Of course they need to charge a bit more because of all the leeches who are willing to pay their dues.

                  We would be just a little bit closer to world peace if everyone would just grow some f-ing skin!

                  by Subversive on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:17:33 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  What's the "actual cost" (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sparhawk, princss6, cai, erush1345

              Does it include the costs of injury or death of fire fighters?

              Does it include the entire cost of supplies used or equipment damaged or lost or just some small portion?

              What if I later say I did not consent or would not have consented had I known the cost.

              What if I said I really didn't need you to put out my fire, it would have gone out on it's own.  (And if you don't think this would happen, you've missed the Republican re-write of history on the need for TARP to save the financial system.)

              You may not feel warm enough. That does not entitle you to burn our house down. Instead, go out and get some wood for the stove.

              by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 04:16:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Re (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                princss6, erush1345

                Exactly. The costs of fighting this one fire could range into the millions of dollars depending on what happens. The guy could be forced into bankruptcy and the city would be stuck with a million dollar bill since their insurance wouldn't cover it (or, everyone in the city who does pay their fire assessment would need to pay vastly higher insurance bills to cover the deadbeats).

                Like I said, I'm not sure that I agree with this "fee for fire protection" scheme, but once you agree that it's how you do business, that's it.  Pay, or don't be covered.

                (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                by Sparhawk on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 07:05:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  No, that won't work (11+ / 0-)

              As almost all of us agree: this whole situation is stupid and it is far better to have a tax. But, assuming there is an optional system, then if you don't pay the upfront fee, there needs to be a penalty in the event that you need fire service anyway. If you just pay the cost of fighting the fire without penalty, people will defect in large numbers and just hope they get lucky. Heads they win, tails they come out even. It has to be: tails people come off worse than they would if they had paid the upfront fee all along, so that there is no incentive to stop paying.

              Why? The fire department will lose reliable funding, and will actually lose funding each year there are no fires. And what if there is one fire in a year for a town, and the person didn't pay the upfront fee? Would that person pay the entire budget shortfall of the fire department for the year? All this makes no sense.

              Even Worse! Fire departments will come to welcome fires rather than avoid them. They will be put in the situation they were in a century ago, when firefighters actually made money off of fires and were not surprisingly sometimes caught starting them. That's something that almost never happens now, but would happen predictably in a world where people are paid by the fire.

              Just make it a damn tax (or equivalently: mandatory fee). There are lots of parallels with health insurance for those who know how to see them.

              •  That system itself, though, is nonsensical... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Into The Woods, neroden

                ...so it's worthless to discuss the practical issues of how you would make sure people pay the fee.

                The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

                by Stephen Daugherty on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 05:52:28 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  What??? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  trillian

                  It isn't worthless if the nonsensical system actually exists.

                  There is a clear parallel to health insurance that I alluded to, and is completely relevant. The "mandate" to get health insurance is a lot like the fire system in that small town. People are not really mandated to get health insurance. They are instead given a small tax penalty if they don't voluntarily purchase it. That penalty is so small that it will make financial sense for many healthy people to not buy insurance and instead wait until they get sick and then get insurance, because they can't be turned down. In short, the system can be gained, and the people who suffer the most from this will be the "suckers" who go and buy their own insurance, because they (and all of us who have insurance) will be subsidizing the people who don't buy it until they get sick. The solution...assuming we don't go to single payer, which we won't any time soon...is to make the mandate more like a uniform tax that applies to everyone, or barring that, to make the penalty for not getting insurance until you get sick higher.

            •  That is what they do (0+ / 0-)

              do in the rural areas of the Yuma County AZ were I live.  A private company, Rural Metro, provides service, both EMT and/or Fire depending on were you live.  They send you a bill once a year and you either pay or don't.  If you don't pay and you call for service they send you a bill for their time and equipment rental.  It can get pretty expensive.  They would never do anything this heartless.

          •  Silly person. (26+ / 0-)

            These were emergency services that were denied.

            I can't believe I'm reading comments here at a progressive, liberal site that blames the victims of this heinous decision not to help a fellow human in their desperate time of need.

            My fire protection is part of my property tax. Even if I'm delinquent, the fire department will put out the fire if my house burns.

            Exactly.

            Ummm, I wonder about the people who are behind on their mortgage, you know, there isn't any money in escrow to pay the property taxes.  If they haven't been foreclosed upon, I guess this now means their houses will burn to the ground because they haven't paid their taxes.

            And who said we're the greatest country?

            Enough already. Stand up and fight. If you lose, you lose, but at least you tried. That's all I ask.

            by gooderservice on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 03:03:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Federal Law Requires This (8+ / 0-)

            Even if I don't have health insurance, the EMT's will treat me and take me to the emergency room if I drop over on the street.

            But as soon as you are stabilized, they can let you die unless you can pay or are insured.

            And this is property.  Not lives.  

            Guess his fire protection is not part of his property tax.  

            If it were, he'd maybe still have a house.

            If our health care was part of our tax, we'd probably have health care.

            It's not, so many of us don't.

            He made a choice that was both available and within his means.  

            He chose to run the risk.  He lost.  

            It's not a system I support, but if a locality chooses that system, they live by it.

            If they think enough situations will come up like this, maybe they'll change the law and change the system.

            You may not feel warm enough. That does not entitle you to burn our house down. Instead, go out and get some wood for the stove.

            by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 04:13:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  You said (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Debby, Kevskos, Giles Goat Boy

            It's called human decency

            Sadly, that seems to be in very short supply in this country these days.

            •  I'm really surprised... (0+ / 0-)

              ...that there are so many here that are missing the big picture.

              Yes, the man didn't pay the fee (he says he forgot), but this isn't like he lost his ticket for drycleaning. The man's house burned down while the fire department watched!

              The central idea of liberal political philosophy is that food, shelter, clothing, and medicine are human rights that we have an obligation to provide to anyone - even those who cheat, steal, or forget to pay their fire department fee. It's not fair or pleasant for those of us who do our best to be responsible citizens, but we all make mistakes. The social safety net is there for all of us, even if we never need it.

              Weenie liberals of the world unite! ...soccergrandmom

              by Giles Goat Boy on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 07:46:13 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I Totally Disagree With This (15+ / 0-)

          When people completely voluntarily engage in life-endangering activities like climbing ridiculously high mountains under ridiculously life-threatening conditions, local governments don't get to say "too damned bad they are lost on the mountain we're not going to find them."  They go get the ignoramus(es) and then bill them through the ass if necessary to make the point.

          To me this is no different - except to the extent that firefighting is a community service, not a damned commodity.  Community service does not depend upon taxes and exactions in a just country and anyone who defends it has been smoking the "free market hash" wayyy too long IMO.

          If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

          by shanikka on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 04:06:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Should they send a helicopter to the mountain (7+ / 0-)

            to save my backpack?  

            If life is on the line, fine.  

            And it sounds like that would have led to a different result even in this case.

            But property is different from life.  

            You may not feel warm enough. That does not entitle you to burn our house down. Instead, go out and get some wood for the stove.

            by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 04:17:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  A backpack (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Debby, Leap Year, Uberbah

              Is not the collective property of your entire life.  

              If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

              by shanikka on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 04:42:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't know anyone (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Debby

                who lives in their backpack.

                •  You should get out more. (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  object16, PsychoSavannah, cai, erush1345

                  Because a growing number of Americans are doing pretty much just that, in part because of yahooos like this home owner who don't believe in or understand the principles of joint obligation to protect the community, but are more than willing to have someone beat up for others adopting his same attitude when it's him that is in need.

                  You may not feel warm enough. That does not entitle you to burn our house down. Instead, go out and get some wood for the stove.

                  by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 05:23:20 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  So Enforce His Joint Obligation (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Uberbah

                    After the fact.  But save the house, if for no other reason than avoiding economic waste.

                    We're not talking 10K in costs.  We're talking $75.

                    If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

                    by shanikka on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 07:24:59 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  There is no enforceable obligation (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      trillian, ipsos, princss6, erush1345

                      at least none that appear available once the fire has started.  

                      Otherwise the firefighters would have proceeded.

                      His fireside promise to "pay anything" would mnost likely be laughed out of court if the fire department tried to collect.

                      You may not feel warm enough. That does not entitle you to burn our house down. Instead, go out and get some wood for the stove.

                      by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 09:29:11 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  We will agree to disagree (0+ / 0-)

                        The obligation of a governmental body is to the collective, not to those who write a check.  Otherwise, why not just call us the United States of Goldman Sachs and call it a day?

                        If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

                        by shanikka on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 11:53:30 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  it wasn't his government (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          princss6

                          how far away does the city have to be before the municipalities don't have to respond?

                          your argument to me is basically their fire department should not respond to anything at all outside it's collective, and let the COUNTY, which was the government collective he was a part of, figure it out.

                    •  you think it costs $75 dollars (0+ / 0-)

                      to put out a fire?

                      that's the insurance rate, what it costs if people that DON"T have fires pay the $75 just in case.

              •  But it is property. Not people. (8+ / 0-)

                And even in America, where we have decided that property has rights of free speech protected by the 1st Amendment of our constitution, property is still property.

                It is not people.

                So the analogy to lifesaving measures for mountain climbers or adventurers still fails.

                When they saved the girl trying to sail around the world, they saved the girl.  

                Not the boat.  

                You may not feel warm enough. That does not entitle you to burn our house down. Instead, go out and get some wood for the stove.

                by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 05:21:03 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I Don't Care (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Debby, Uberbah, trueblueliberal

                  It is amoral to allow a house to burn to the ground for $75 dollars and I don't care who owns it.  The lumber in it was worth more than that.  And I'm sorry but one's entire life's possessions are "just property" only to those who haven't lost theirs in a house fire (I did as a child, so I admit you've hit a sore spot with me.)  Governments get lien rights, suit rights, the absolute ability to collect whatever it cost them to send those folks out there despite the $75.  I know plenty of jurisdictions where mandatory service fees are added to the annual property taxes just to make sure they are paid.

                  In other words, this was just malice.  Trying to prove a point beyond all reason.  It is no different from the mountain climber - if a person requires services that are governmental in nature because of their ignorance, you CHARGE them after the fact for it.  No decent government just says "too damned bad."  

                  And no decent person would even attempt to justify this for the pittance that was at issue, sorry.   The only thing that was "just property" in this case was the money.  Which obviously too many folks care more about than the people.

                  If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

                  by shanikka on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 07:24:20 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Welcome to Tennessee (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    trillian, The Nose, erush1345

                    The government (City of South Fulton) that provides the fire service has no jurisdiction - no ability to tax, no ability to issue a lien - over the Cranick property outside city limits.

                    Only the county has that right, and the county has repeatedly refused to create or fund a countywide fire protection system.

                    So the taxpaying residents of the city of South Fulton - all 2517 of them - have to be on the hook for all the risks the 32,000 people of the county knowingly take with their property?

                    You don't get to say, "I support the First Amendment, but..." (h/t Chris Hayes)

                    by ipsos on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 09:30:38 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  In Case You Didn't Know (0+ / 0-)

                      The county is a superior governmental body to the city.  That's just basic governmental structure.  Even in Tennessee.

                      If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

                      by shanikka on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 11:58:29 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  what do you mean by that? (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        trillian, ipsos

                        the county should have sent police to put out the fire, or a road crew?

                      •  But the county can't impose liens for the city... (0+ / 0-)

                        Unless there's a prior agreement allowing the county to bill county residents for city services (and to impose liens if they don't pay), the city still has no legal way to compel people outside its jurisdiction to pay for services.

                        How do you build a budget around that? How do you keep the city's system from breaking down under that load?

                        It's easy to say "everyone should have service at all times." It's much harder to make that service available in the real world. You don't seem to want to address that point.

                        You don't get to say, "I support the First Amendment, but..." (h/t Chris Hayes)

                        by ipsos on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 09:45:07 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  Wishing don't make it so. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    trillian, erush1345

                    Governments get lien rights, suit rights, the absolute ability to collect whatever it cost them to send those folks out there despite the $75.  

                    And without this, to support and sustain this system that has been in operation for 20 years, this community, with the rights we all hold so dear to govern our own little selves, have decided (stupidly maybe, wrongly maybe,) to do it this way.

                    The absolute rights, or any rights at all,  of government to do any of these things, especially outside of their own legal jurisdiction is pretty much fantasy.  

                    You may not feel warm enough. That does not entitle you to burn our house down. Instead, go out and get some wood for the stove.

                    by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 09:45:05 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  The end result of the policy you promote (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    princss6

                    is that there will be no more fire depts. or police depts.  No ambulance, no more libraries, no more snow plows, no more public safety depts.

                    If you promote a policy that says "Hey, don't tax anyone for these services, and don't worry if they don't pay their fees..provide the service anyway, because it's the humanitarian thing to do," then in the end, who would pay to maintain a fleet of firetrucks, or the people who wait for an emergency call?  If you can just keep your money and get the service anyway, who is on the hook to make sure that service is ready when you need it?

                    When you start down a road, you ought to know where the end of it is.

                    Let's also talk about charging after the fact. Everyone has been talking about that as though this is some easy thing.  You can't just add up the gas and salary costs to roll a truck and 10 guys down to a house for X hours to put out a fire.  A large part of the cost of having fire protection is having those guys and that equipment ready and waiting, 24 x 7.  So if your fire dept. costs 2 million per year, and your tax base provides 1 million of that cost, then I suppose you could total up how many unpaid fires there were at the end of the year and divide 1 million by that number.  What if they need to charge him 35k?  Do you think he'd pay that?  

                    How is a city supposed to budget their fire dept. to service an unknown number of unpaid fires, for which most of the money has to be collected through the courts?

                    What happens to the people who pay taxes for fire protection when the trucks are all out handling unpaid fires and they can't get the service they paid for?

                    Also -  things are just things.  It hard to lose them, but most of them can be replaced.  You can't replace a firefighter who has lost his life.  People are more important than things.  Always.  Losing all your possessions in a fire as a child must be a terrible thing to live through.  Did you lose any people?  Wouldn't that be much worse?

          •  There's a point here that I think is being missed (18+ / 0-)

            The fire department that responded to the Cranick house was not "their" local FD.

            They live out in the county, whose political leaders made a decision, for whatever reason, not to HAVE a fire department.

            The community that funds and supports the fire department is the nearby city of South Fulton.

            By my lights, the city is doing a nice, decent thing by making its fire service available to residents who live out in the county without their own fire department...and it's a pretty damned minimal thing to ask in exchange for those county residents to pay a measly $75 a year. I'd bet that fee doesn't even come close to whatever it costs to provide that service.

            And yes, whatever sadness I feel for the Cranicks' loss is indeed tempered, and significantly so, by their own calculated decision not to pay that $75.

            I believe in helping people...but my level of sympathy is reduced rather sharply in such a case.

            You don't get to say, "I support the First Amendment, but..." (h/t Chris Hayes)

            by ipsos on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 04:20:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I Admit (0+ / 0-)

              That I genuinely do not understand the amorality that is inherent in equating a missed $75 payment to someone's house burning down.  I really don't understand it at all.

              If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

              by shanikka on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 07:26:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Let me approach this differently, then. (7+ / 0-)

                I live in a world where fire trucks and hoses and ladders and helmets and oxygen tanks and the people who maintain and supply them all cost money. I suspect you do, too (and if you don't, I'm coming to wherever you live.)

                You've got a small, poor city - there are 2,517 people in South Fulton, Tennessee - that raised and funded a fire department by taxing its citizens. (It has no power, after all, to tax anyone outside its boundaries.)

                You've got a county of some 32,000 people that has made the choice not to tax its residents for universal fire protection. (That, incidentally, is the amoral part in my book.)

                Some 10,000 of those 32,000 people are in the largest city in the county, which has its own fire department; 2500 more are in South Fulton and 1000 or so more are in a third city with a fire department.

                That still leaves about 19,000 people with no fire service of their own.

                Let's say (because it's true) that I agree with you that the moral thing to do is to provide them with fire service. Let's also say (and here you're welcome to disagree with me) that it's acceptable, morally, for the city of 2500 people to seek some sort of payment from those 19,000 people outside city limits for the service provided to them. Perhaps you disagree, at which point I'd ask you how those 2500 people can afford a fire department that serves an area with 22,000 people in it.

                In an ideal world, you might just hope that they'd be kind enough to pay you for that service after the fact. In the real world, that's a pretty risky bet...especially when the city has absolutely no recourse against them if they don't.

                You need some sort of social system to pay for the service. The county has already ruled out a tax. So you offer the city service to county residents for a reasonable fee - $75 a year and $500 per response. Anybody who wants service gets it (I'm assuming here that there's some sort of system to waive fees for those who really can't afford them), and there's a stream of funding to pay for the equipment and personnel to provide that service.

                But in the real world where I live, a system like that can only work if there's some kind of consequence for not paying. As soon as you start providing service routinely, regardless of payment, you're going to get a lot of Gene Cranicks who don't pay (because, after all, they'll always come out anyway.) And now you're back to the dilemma of providing service for 20,000 people on the financial backs of those 2500 people who live in the city.

                I would contend that it's also amoral to expect a city of 2500 people to fund the costs of a service provided to tens of thousands outside that city's jurisdiction.

                Maybe you've got a better idea. I'd genuinely like to hear it, if you do. I'd bet the people of South Fulton would, too. But in the meantime, they've chosen to fund a universal fire system for their residents, and it seems to me they have some rational and moral expectation (if not obligation) to keep that fire system financially stable for their continued protection.

                I don't think Gene Cranick "deserved" to have his house burn down for want of a $75 payment. But somehow, whether it's in Tennessee or wherever you live, someone's got to pay for those trucks and the equipment and people on them. Simply rolling them to anyone in the county and hoping they'll pay later seems to me, ultimately, to be a recipe for the collapse of the city fire system and the greater amorality of leaving the 2500 people in South Fulton without protection.

                I think we all agree that the right thing, broadly speaking, would have been for the county to have a taxpayer-funded, universal fire protection system. This is not that ideal world, and Obion County is obviously far from ideal.

                So...in that non-ideal world, how do you apportion limited resources? How do you ensure that those people willing to tax themselves for the public good don't ultimately lose that benefit in order to protect those who've made other choices?

                I wish I knew all the answers to that. But I don't think asking those questions constitues amorality.

                I hope I have explained myself coherently.

                You don't get to say, "I support the First Amendment, but..." (h/t Chris Hayes)

                by ipsos on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 07:52:23 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I think you have explained quite eloquently. (5+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  trillian, ipsos, mayim, princss6, erush1345

                  I also think that South Fulton seemed to go out of their way not to behave amorally, in response to county residents choosing not to have fire service.  They didn't just shrug and say "oh well" and leave the entire rest of the county without any recourse for fire protection... as it seems the larger city and the smaller city did.

                  My first, instinctive response is the same as many people's: put out the damn fire!  But as you say, the moral questions aren't that easy.

                  My comments may not be used for any purpose without explicit permission.

                  by cai on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 08:50:26 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The world is an awfully complicated place (6+ / 0-)

                    Here's still more evidence that there are no easy answers here: check out the Obion County Fire Plan prepared in 2008.

                    From it, we learn that the county established a rural fire department on paper in 1987 - but then never put together the funding to staff it in real life, thus costing itself the chance to get a lot of FEMA grant money that would have paid for a lot of the equipment and staffing that would have been needed.

                    We also learn that a pretty minimal tax in 2008 would have created a countywide fire system that would have saved Gene Cranick's house - but county voters defeated it.

                    And we learn that the town fire departments that do follow the "put out the damn fire, worry about the money later" model only get paid less than half the time, since there's no legal mechanism to compel that payment.

                    You don't get to say, "I support the First Amendment, but..." (h/t Chris Hayes)

                    by ipsos on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 08:56:21 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  I Do Have a Better Idea (0+ / 0-)

                  Save the house, then charge him the full cost of putting it out, which as you and I both know is a hell of a lot more than a $75 insurance premium (what is at issue here.)  It is done all the time in other contexts, under the inherent authority of government to impose taxes and liens.

                  But ohh no.  We couldn't have that.  Think of all the other people who paid their insurance.

                  /sigh

                  And folks call themselves liberals.  I call that type of thinking, where the failure to pay money would ever justify watching destruction, the height of Ayn Rand conservatism aka libertarianism run amok.

                  But we can agree to disagree.

                  If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

                  by shanikka on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 11:55:49 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  evidently (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    trillian, The Nose, ipsos, princss6

                    they are only paid the $500 roll out fee half the time.

                    what of sustainability?  is it not important to have the plan be sustainable... you are forcing them into a position, given the refusal of the county to merely assess the fee (taxes are evil after all), of not even offering the service, and focussing only in the town where the collective is universal.

                  •  Not Feasible (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    The Nose, ipsos

                    The city could charge the full cost (much more than $575), but they'd be unlikely to collect a dime.  On the other hand, if the county were willing to reimburse the city the full cost and then try to collect from the homeowner who "forgot" to pay the bill, that could work. The county would have the ability to place a lien on the burned out property - not that there would be much chance of collecting on the lien.

                    I'd love to know whether the homeowner had fire insurance or whether he was "self insuring".

                    In reality, I think most posters here would like to have seen the firefighters try to put out the fire.  I suspect most posters are reacting to the "get the government off our backs teabaggers."

          •  Actually, they do get to say that. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            eyesoars, erush1345

            When people completely voluntarily engage in life-endangering activities like climbing ridiculously high mountains under ridiculously life-threatening conditions, local governments don't get to say "too damned bad they are lost on the mountain we're not going to find them."  

            Not sure what planet you live on, but I've read multiple cases of "It is too dangerous (for the rescuers) to send out rescuers.  We aren't going to."

            The general rule is that arbitrarily large amounts of money will be spent to save lives, but we won't spend lives to save the lives of the wilfully self-destructive.

            -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

            by neroden on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:56:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Debby

              That's YOUR general rule, in the society you want to live in.  In the society I want to live in, you don't throw out babies with the bath water just to prove a point that is grounded completely in MONEY.

              It's amoral.  I don't understand anyone who would not realize that it would have cost the fire department NOTHING to bill this homeowner after the fact.  Nothing other than their hidebound "rule."

              Which obviously you and others who think that $75 is supposed to matter more than a home, no matter what "stupidity" the owner engaged in, agree with.

              And I don't get it.  I don't get how anyone could call themselves a liberal or progressive and elevate money into something worth more than this person's life's possessions (not to mention his family's shelter.)

              If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

              by shanikka on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 07:28:42 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  *Can* they bill him after the fact? (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sparhawk, ipsos, cai, erush1345

                Is it possible to do that in Tennessee law?

                -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                by neroden on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 07:30:25 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Good point (5+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  neroden, ipsos, princss6, cai, erush1345

                  Plus, there is a certain probability that this fire will be very expensive to put out. Most fires are comparatively cheap I would imagine, but there is a long tail in which things go horribly wrong and incur million-plus-dollar damages (say, a fire fighter or bystander gets injured or worse).

                  This guy is assuredly not equipped to pay such an assessment, which means he goes bankrupt immediately and the town gets screwed, stuck paying millions of dollars.

                  (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                  Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                  by Sparhawk on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 07:36:16 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  The County Can Indeed Bill a City Resident (0+ / 0-)

                  For a county provided public service.  Which is what the fire department is, $75 or no $75.  The County is a superior agency to the City, and as it relates to services provided by the county to the City, the city - and thus its residents - are on the hook for those financially.  Whether through (as it is usually done) allocation and passthrough of property taxes or direct billing.  

                  I cannot imagine any system in Tennessee operating any differently than elsewhere.  Even in California where many cities are operated as charter cities so that they can ignore large swaths of state law, when it comes to the public fisc at the county level, the city cannot escape those costs.

                  Thus, neither can a city's residents.

                  If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

                  by shanikka on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 12:01:14 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  The man *set the fire*. (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ipsos, princss6, cai, erush1345

                Seriously, did you notice the background of the story?

                And it's not $75.  It's the issue of whether a city fire department should provide service to people in another jurisdiction (unincorportated county) which has deliberately refused to have a fire department or levy taxes for fire protection.

                Yes, if they had the option of charging him afterwards, they should have put the fire out and done so.

                But the important issue is what the hell is wrong with the county government that it doesn't provide fire protection?

                -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                by neroden on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 07:32:22 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  One step closer to Somalia. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Nose

      Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

      by DefendOurConstitution on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 04:19:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sue who? (26+ / 0-)

      The fire company was under no obligation to do a thing.  The homeowner had the choice:  fire protection or not.  He chose not.  He lost.  That happens sometimes.  He's lucky no one was hurt or killed.

      Why shouldn't the neighbor sue him?  His negligence caused property damage to the neighbor's place...that's a better case than this guy has against anyone.

      •  "Fire company"? (21+ / 0-)

        Shouldn't it be "fire department," as in, a public service? If the family didn't pay the fees, they should have been helped and charged later.

      •  You & "conservatives" - a moral meltdown (61+ / 0-)

        The oldest code in the book is helping your neighbor in time of need.

        These people aren't practicing the code of Christians, Muslims or Jews. Rural people have always helped each other in time of need.

        This is corruption and moral decay under the name of conservatism.

        That what the Republican party has come to.

        look for my DK Greenroots diary series Thursday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

        by FishOutofWater on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 01:44:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not a conservative (5+ / 0-)

          I am a person who watched a news report on this particular fire and can see both sides.

            •  The Conservatives Refer to It as Moral Hazard (7+ / 0-)

              The tendency of "bailouts" to reduce the penaties for inappropriate actions and thereby increase the frequency of inappropriate actions.

              Like not paying your fire protection subscription fee.

              If enough people do that, the system is not sustainable.  

              So non-payment must have consequences.  

              This house was evidently not big enough to fall into the "too big to burn" category where such moral hazard is acceptable.

              You may not feel warm enough. That does not entitle you to burn our house down. Instead, go out and get some wood for the stove.

              by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 02:32:22 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The FD can bill after the fact (20+ / 0-)

                and reduce that moral hazard.

                the whole "subscription" structure is a stupid way to deal with fire protection - the contradictions of YOYO.

                An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

                by mightymouse on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 02:36:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  asdf (16+ / 0-)

                So non-payment must have consequences.

                So paying for all of the fire department's services after-the-fact, likely totaling into the thousands of dollars, vs. paying $75 before the fire wouldn't have been enough of a "consequence" for you?

                I'm really shocked by all the moral scolds here in the comments implying that this guy deserved what he got.  I certainly expect this kind of thing from the free market Republicans who will likely be making exactly the same argument in defense of pay-to-play public services but I am really surprised to see so much of it here.

                No one "deserves" to have their house burn down when something can be done to stop it.  Full stop.

                Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                by democracy inaction on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 03:31:48 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  What is the cost of building and maintaining the (5+ / 0-)

                  fire department infrastructure?  What is the cost of life and health insurance for the fire fighters?

                  This guy did not value his own house enough to pay $75 to protect it.

                  He did not value his own house or the safety of his family enough to not set fire to his own house.  

                  But before the fact the taxpayers of the neighboring town and those who live up to their obligation to pay the fee bear the burden of maintaining the readiness of this department in the most challenging times seen in our lifetimes.  

                  No lives were lost.  No injuries, except an assualt on the agent (not decision makers) of the government.

                  It might very well be possible to have a system where costs can be billed after the fact.  That's not the system they had and the home owner knew it.

                  I have sympathy for the chief, not the home owner.

                  You may not feel warm enough. That does not entitle you to burn our house down. Instead, go out and get some wood for the stove.

                  by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 03:51:06 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'll say again (5+ / 0-)

                    what I said here:

                    There are remedies for all of this that can be managed after-the-fact and it is unconscionable for a decision to be made to let this guy's house burn to the ground simply for non-payment of a $75 fee.  That's not just immoral, it's inhumane and those that would apologize for such inhumanity as you and plenty others are doing - especially here on a liberal blog - should be ashamed, assuming they have the capacity for it.

                    Keep blaming the victim.  That's what the teabaggers that support the concept of pay-to-play public services will undoubtedly do so you're in good company.

                    Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                    by democracy inaction on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 04:01:40 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Keep blaming the fire fighters. Even the baggers (6+ / 0-)

                      are better than that.

                      There are remedies.  There are policies.  There are laws and policies and taxes and all the rest.

                      This community chose others.

                      Their neighboring community chose a way to accomodate that decision in a limited, voluntary and house-by-house way.

                      You go to the fire with the policy you have, not the one you or I or anyone here would have or wishes they had.

                      And given that policy, the fire fighters and fire chief and City manager are not to blame.

                      You may not feel warm enough. That does not entitle you to burn our house down. Instead, go out and get some wood for the stove.

                      by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 04:47:37 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  The blame lies with (0+ / 0-)

                        whoever decided that because this guy didn't pay his fee, they weren't going to put out the fire that was burning down his house.  I am not blaming the firefighters because I know that the firefighters didn't make that decision.

                        Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                        by democracy inaction on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:20:16 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  The blame lies with those who decided that (4+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          neroden, ipsos, cai, erush1345

                          should be the policy and with the home owner if he knew it and chose not to pay.

                          I don't hold the city employees or anyone in the fire department responsible in the least.  

                          You may not feel warm enough. That does not entitle you to burn our house down. Instead, go out and get some wood for the stove.

                          by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:47:05 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I understand what you're saying (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            trueblueliberal

                            but I vehemently disagree with you.  You've made it clear that you think free market solutions to public services work and that this guy got what he paid for.

                            I just wonder what you're doing here on a left-wing blog making such a blatantly right-wing argument.

                            Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                            by democracy inaction on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 07:41:41 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Not Quite (4+ / 0-)
                            I have to say that the arguement isn't right wing or left wing.  As far as I can see, everyone involved here thinks that the situation is stupid.

                            We all can agree that fire protection SHOULD be a taxed and paid for part of living somewhere. What is horrid is that it isn't.

                            What is being argued here isn't that the magic hand of the free market can solve everything, it's people who think that it can't deciding how to feel about a situation involving people who thought that it could.

                            Am I saddened that this house burned down? Yes.  
                            Would I want to live in a place where this kind of tragedy could occur? No.
                            Do I? Evidently.

                            Where you and I disagree is on the actions that the people in the town needed to take in order to help the people without fire protection.  They said to them, here's a service that everyone should have.  We made the investment to make sure that we do have it. We're willing to help you and let you have it to, if you're willing to help pay for the upkeep. They didn't need to do that, but they did it anyway.  I think that makes them ok with Ifni.  I understand that you don't.

                            I don't think that makes me or anyone else blatantly right wing in thinking.

                            This anonymous clan of slack-jawed troglodytes has cost me the election, and yet if I were to have them killed, I would be the one to go to jail.

                            by Solarian on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 09:18:03 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  Well (5+ / 0-)

                      I'm not blaming the victim but I think it is entirely likely that if this guy didn't pay the 75 dollars he probably wouldn't pay thousands of dollars.  Especially if his house would still have been gutted.  

                      And if the fire company was obligated to put out all fires (not saying they shouldn't), that fee per house would go up because the universe of risk would increase.  

                      But, I feel bad for the guy but at the same time, don't fault the firefighters.  They have families, too.

                      •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        princss6

                        Well I'm not blaming the victim but I think it is entirely likely that if this guy didn't pay the 75 dollars he probably wouldn't pay thousands of dollars.

                        So it was okay to let his house burn down on those grounds?  How is that even relevant?

                        If they send him a bill and he doesn't pay, that's what we have courts for.

                        But, I feel bad for the guy but at the same time, don't fault the firefighters.  They have families, too.

                        I am not faulting the firefighters, I am faulting whoever made the bonehead decision to not put the fire out because the guy didn't pay his fee.  I am sure you're right that the firefighters do have families but what does that have to do with any of this?

                        Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                        by democracy inaction on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:18:08 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  This is what it has to do with it... (5+ / 0-)

                          I am sure you're right that the firefighters do have families but what does that have to do with any of this?

                          Because the owner didn't pay the fee, the firefighters would not have been covered by insurance to save the structure.  Therefore, the only people assuming any risk in this instance is the firefighters.  If, something horrible were to happen to a firefighter, in this instance, they would have no coverage.  No life insurance, family would be effected by that.  It is too much to ask those firefighters to go in assed out and assume all the risk if something tragic would have happened.  THAT is what it has to do with their families.  You tell their kids, they will lose their home and their daddy because Daddy went into a fire with not life insurance policy because someone gambled that they would never need it.  You be there to tell those kids that over 75 frikkin dollars.  

                          You be the fire chief to order your men into a burning building knowing that if something bad happens you have to face his family and tell them sorry, but he didn't have insurance to cover his death, make due any way you see fit.

                          •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

                            So when the fire caught the neighbors properties on fire that did pay their bills and the firefighters had to respond anyway, and this time to a bigger fire that is even more of a risk to their life and limb and something horrible happened, I'm sure the firefighter's family would be a lot happier with a death if they didn't have to go to court for recompense.  And especially considering that if he had been allowed to fight the original fire, it wouldn't have presented such a risk and he could have made it out alive.

                            We can play this game any way you want to but the bottom line is that whether or not there was a legal obligation to help, there was a moral obligation.  However, there may indeed have been a legal obligation as well and as we may end up finding out, I know that if I were the owner of one of the adjacent properties that sustained fire damage as a result, I would be talking to a lawyer right about now.

                            And if I were a family member of a firefighter that lost their life fighting a fire that the insurance companies were able to weasel out of covering, I'd talk to a lawyer; I'd sue the guy who started the fire and I'd sue the city for allowing a system like this to exist in the first place that makes coverage for fire fighting services optional.  How much valuable time was lost trying to figure out whether or not the guy paid his bill?  Or calling the city manager to ask whether or not they were authorized to respond?  Why didn't the city simply cover everyone and pass along the $75 fee as a tax?  If that had been the case, we wouldn't be having this conversation right now.

                            Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                            by democracy inaction on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 07:28:28 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You would sue that guy... (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            neroden, ipsos, erush1345

                            that wouldn't pay 75 dollars to protect his own damn house and expect to get a dime...okay.

                            As I said, it is easy to say, firefighters are morally expected to go on potentially suicidal jobs regardless of the finanical protections for themselves and their families.  Then you should wake-up and join the real world.  

                            My uncle is a firefighter so yeah, I kinda empathize with those kids you think should be tied up for years in court trying to sue the insurance companies and the irresponsible homeowner for benefits all while they are now living without the benefit of daddy's paycheck.  Sometimes, reality is just a bridge too far for some on this board.

                          •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

                            You would sue that guy...that wouldn't pay 75 dollars to protect his own damn house and expect to get a dime...okay.

                            Yes, I would.  What does one have to do with the other?  The $75 fee was optional, a court judgment is not.  And you obviously chose to ignore the part of my reply where I said:

                            ...I'd sue the city for allowing a system like this to exist in the first place that makes coverage for fire fighting services optional.  How much valuable time was lost trying to figure out whether or not the guy paid his bill?  Or calling the city manager to ask whether or not they were authorized to respond?  Why didn't the city simply cover everyone and pass along the $75 fee as a tax?  If that had been the case, we wouldn't be having this conversation right now.

                            What's the root of the problem here?  That this guy didn't pay an optional bill for fire protection or that it was optional for him to do so in the first place?

                            And what on earth are you doing here on a left-wing blog apologizing for one of the cornerstones of right-wing ideology, i.e. that the free market works for everything as it did in this case, AKA, the guy got what he deserved?

                            Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                            by democracy inaction on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 07:54:05 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Each court is different... (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            neroden, cai, erush1345

                            you can get a judgement but then there is often an additional step you need to take to actually enforce the judgement...clock is ticking... and is many jurisdictions, if a person is insolvent which this person probably is...given that he no longer even has a house, where do you think the money is coming from probably three to five years later.  

                            Where did I say the guy got what he deserves?  My uncle, the firefighter is a die in the wool, union-member democrat.  He should put his life on the line in an unsanction, non-secured fire because if not, he is a Republican...way to go there, lol.

                          •  His life... (0+ / 0-)

                            over a structure and material things...okay rolleyes

                          •  If the "fee" is optional, so is (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            neroden, erush1345

                            the fire protection.

                            We all KNOW what taxes are for and pay them gladly.  Some people, the people in this town for instance, don't believe in them.  They don't want to pay.

                            Well, there are consequences.  Sad, sad consequences.  

                            What you can't or won't include in any of your posts here is these people voted for this system.  That Cranick thought the FD would show up no matter what is a problem.  

                            If I had my way, everyone would have to pay....even if they lived in a stone hut on a dead lakebed.  Everyone contributes, everyone gets service.

                            The people in this town chose differently.  Our job is to help people see why it is a bad choice.  It sucsk that he lost his house and pets.  But the people of his town CHOSE this.  It wasn't forced on them

                        •  You're pretending the system allows such a bill. (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          neroden, ipsos, erush1345

                          If they send him a bill and he doesn't pay, that's what we have courts for

                          No evidence that it is authorized.

                          If not authorized, no legal obligation to pay.

                          Even if there is an obligation to pay when it is not part of the authorized system, in today's real estate market and today's economy, and with the fire well on the way before the fire department was even called and got on-scene, our court system does not create additional money or house value, it just might give some legal authority to try and collect.

                          Assuming the insurance pays, that might be possible, but that's a whole lot of "ifs".

                          You may not feel warm enough. That does not entitle you to burn our house down. Instead, go out and get some wood for the stove.

                          by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:51:58 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  You can rationalize it (0+ / 0-)

                            any way that helps you sleep at night but that doesn't change the moral argument.  And yes, that is a lot of "ifs" and they are precisely the kind of "ifs" that we created a judicial system to navigate.

                            Your arguments are thoroughly unconvincing to me and I remain nonplussed by your (and others) apologia for a cornerstone of right-wing ideology.

                            Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                            by democracy inaction on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 07:36:56 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Your obviously confused (4+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            neroden, ipsos, princss6, erush1345

                            Because others feel bound to address the reality of what this locality actually had in place you accuse them of supporting the policy.

                            Rationalizing has nothing to do with it.

                            If you want to talk about "should have", say so.

                            But to say those on the scene "could have" or "should have" taken actions that they were not authorized to take pretends they had options that did not exist.

                            Your reality is throughly unconvincing and I remain nonplussed that you and others assume that because people are pointing that fact out, you assume that they agree with the policy.  

                            You may believe, along with those on the right, that you create your own reality.  

                            You, along with those on the right, are wrong.

                            You may not feel warm enough. That does not entitle you to burn our house down. Instead, go out and get some wood for the stove.

                            by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 08:18:07 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Heh (0+ / 0-)

                            Nice try.

                            But to say those on the scene "could have" or "should have" taken actions that they were not authorized to take pretends they had options that did not exist.

                            That's a nice strawman you've got there but it is not relevant, that isn't the argument that I am making.

                            Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                            by democracy inaction on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 08:33:09 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Repeating the word "strawman" does not make it (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            neroden, princss6, erush1345

                            apply.

                            Even if you are clicking your heals together.

                            Creating options that did not exist for the people who had to deal with this and saying they "could have" done this or that sets up a false alternative to which you then compare their actions.  

                            They had no such options.

                            They had no such alternatives.

                            They could adopt them for the future, but it's hard to adopt them for the past.  

                            You may not feel warm enough. That does not entitle you to burn our house down. Instead, go out and get some wood for the stove.

                            by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 08:59:39 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  Yeah, the chief of the fire department... (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Kitsap River, neroden, LaEscapee

                    ...who has to explain why his people didn't do what most Americans expect a fire department will do when they reach a burning house.

                    Goddamn is this a stupid line of argument.  It's all market penalties and free market horsecrap like that.  Mister, if free market penalties actually worked, we wouldn't be coming out of a fucking recession right now!

                    The people made a mistake.  That is an independent issue from the mistake that the fire department made in letting the fire get out of control and burn another person's property.

                    Recently, in my neighborhood, a house that had pretty much been left vacant for years burned up.  Fire Department showed up and put it out anyways. The way I hear it, some kids started it.  Should the fire have been allowed to burn, merely to teach them a lesson?

                    That's a rather tyrannical form of nanny state policy, right there.  That's a cruel way to teach lessons, and a potentially costly one.  Is the point that the people are trying to make so valuable that it justifies the prospect of mass property destruction?

                    The purpose of government services is to keep order, and also to preserve property, among other things.  This action risked other's property, at the very least, if you're not considering anything else.  And if you are considering anything else, it's a rather sociopathic way to respond to the failure of somebody to pay a fee.  If it's that important make it a bloody tax, and quit trying to run government like the business its not.

                    The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

                    by Stephen Daugherty on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:08:19 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  That would... work, but is it the Tennessee law? (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  PsychoSavannah, cai, erush1345

                  I'm guessing that there is no provision of Tennessee law allowing the fire department to bill the guy after the fact.

                  From what I've been reading, most places with these pay-to-play fire protection schemes do have laws under which the fire department can bill a huge amount after the fact.  But none of the examples I've seen are from Tennessee.

                  -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                  by neroden on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 07:04:32 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  A hazard that seems of slightly (0+ / 0-)

                less immediate concern than a fucking fire burning out of control.

                The Angries are back

                by Goldfish on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 04:21:28 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Hard cases make bad law (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Sparhawk, PsychoSavannah, ipsos, erush1345

                  And if you never enforce the law, why pass it?

                  And if you never enforce the law, why should anyone observe it?

                  If no one observes it, the neighboring city decides they won't extend the option to this area at all, then they are SOL.

                  And so a fire burning out of control is subject to the rules decided upon by that community, which in this case were rules I would never live under but which they chose and so agreed to abide by.  

                  You may not feel warm enough. That does not entitle you to burn our house down. Instead, go out and get some wood for the stove.

                  by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 04:30:08 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Maybe the answer is (0+ / 0-)

                    That it's a stupid and immoral law that needs to be repealed and replaced with something that makes sense.

                    I don't quite get why you're so invested in defending an obviously flawed policy.

                    The Angries are back

                    by Goldfish on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 04:51:22 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  It is a stupid and flawed policy (6+ / 0-)

                      That's the point.  But that's not what this diary is about.  This diary is about condemning the fire fighters for complying with the policy that their communities adopted and that their bosses required them to enforce.  

                      I'm invested in defending the poor slobs assigned that thankless task of implementing it and enforcing it - who many here would evidently support getting knocked senseless by the vigilanty family members of the idiot who burnt down his own house after deciding his own home was not worth the $75 it took to carry his portion of the burden in protecting not only his own home but also others.

                      You may not feel warm enough. That does not entitle you to burn our house down. Instead, go out and get some wood for the stove.

                      by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 05:18:25 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  So it's a flawed policy (0+ / 0-)

                        But what the hell, we have to support the policy. Been in place 20 years don't you know. Even if the whole town has to burn down, well darn it, it's policy!

                        Do you realize how insane what you're arguing is?

                        The Angries are back

                        by Goldfish on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 05:29:18 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Don't ignore the city vs. county issue. (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Into The Woods, erush1345

                          If the city keeps rolling over and letting the county freeload on them, what do you think the results will be?

                          The county policy is stupid.  But the city (who has the fire department) can't force the county to change it.  The only influence they have is to let people's houses burn down.  That's the situation there.

                          -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                          by neroden on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 09:33:30 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  I'm arguing for following the law (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          sangreal, princss6, erush1345

                          If the area where this guy wants to live wants to be covered they can ask to be annexed into the city.

                          My guess is they don't want that because their taxes would go up.

                          So they decided to go ala carte.  

                          I'll have the fire protection please.  Oh, you have to pay for that.  Well then cancel my order.

                          Waiter, where the hell is my order of fire protection?  

                          What's insane is that this guy thinks he's somehow entitled to a service he declined when to be entitled to it he needed to opt in.

                          But sitting in our various locations across the country we know better how to keep fire protection services operating there and make it available to those outside their taxing jursidiction.

                          We are so fucking wise, how could it be otherwise.  

                          You may not feel warm enough. That does not entitle you to burn our house down. Instead, go out and get some wood for the stove.

                          by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 09:55:30 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  And they don't come much worse (0+ / 0-)

                    than forcing firemen to sit around watching a fire spread over piuddling financial matters.

                    That is the excuse for them doing nothing, right? That they would've gotten in trouble with the city if they'd actually done their jobs here?

                    You may think that. I couldn't possibly comment.-- Francis Urqhart

                    by Johnny Q on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:20:04 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Um, yeah, if they'd done something other (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      princss6, erush1345

                      than their job -- remember they're not paid to fight the fires of people outside the city who don't pay the $75 -- then yeah, they would have gotten in trouble with the city.

                      I think you have a confused idea of what "their job" is.  It is not to fight every fire in the entire world.

                      -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                      by neroden on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 09:35:12 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Um, they could have died? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      princss6

                      "That is the excuse for them doing nothing, right? That they would've gotten in trouble with the city if they'd actually done their jobs here?"

                      The stupidity is mind boggling. FF's are risking their lives or serious injury every time they fight a fire. It's easy to say from the safety of a keyboard that they should just run into a burning building which is going to be totally destroyed anyway, just to make you feel better.

              •  The real moral hazard.... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                princss6

                ... is government standing aside and doing nothing until the problem reaches crisis proportion.

                Fires can get out of control, fee system or not.  If we write policy to the service of some abstract sense of what people might do, but don't take into account what a fire or an insurgency or a lack of regulation on derivatives might do in real life, well then we can quite easily fuck our society up the ass, now can't we?

                What happens, oh relater of the moral hazard, if somebody hears about this, and simply flees their house, rather than call the firefighters they know won't put out the fire?

                Yeah, that's right.  Moral hazards can swing both ways.  Anticipating thoughts and political responses, rather than needs and realities is a ticket to policy disaster.

                The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

                by Stephen Daugherty on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 05:59:47 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It's not even this guy's government. (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  PsychoSavannah, ipsos, cai, erush1345

                  It's a neighboring government.

                  The county government standing aside and doing nothing has been happening continuously for 20 years, and really I cannot blame the firefighters of the neighboring government for not wanting to let the freeloaders break the social contract.

                  -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                  by neroden on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 07:09:49 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Break the social contract? (0+ / 0-)

                    You explain to those neighbors, who busied themselves spraying down their neighbor's house trying to save it, what they thought the social contract was regarding firefighting.

                    There's a reason this story is getting the press it is: it's a man-bites-dog story. The social contract for firefighting, as most people understand it, is that it's a government service done to protect the community as well as the property owner.

                    The social contract is not merely what its written down or voted upon to be, it's what people expect out of their government, regardless of what they can actually get, given the current situation and the current politicians.

                    Our system allows us to revise this system for the benefit of the public.  You'd be better off attacking the bad system, rather than taking the social contract to be only the literal words on the pages of the law books.

                    The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

                    by Stephen Daugherty on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 08:13:41 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Bully for you. (10+ / 0-)

            Hope that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy at nite. I hope you're never my neighbor.

            "[The GOP wanting to debate Obama is like saying] 'Let's see how tough Aquaman is when we get him in the water.' " --Seth Meyers

            by homogenius on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 02:57:43 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  No one stopped his neighbors from helping him. (5+ / 0-)

          Give me government-run healthcare over Wall Street-run healthcare anyday...

          by trillian on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 02:15:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  But sometimes you have to let a system break (11+ / 0-)

          Sometimes you have to let a system actually play out to reveal how inadequate it is.

          That's what happened here.

          If they save his house, another 100 home owners don't pay the fee, or another 1000.

          How is that supposed to work?

          The system is a bad system, but if that system is the one they adopt, changing the rules once the fire starts changes the system.  

          Do you do that only for those that can afford to pay (or say they can pay) the huge fee that would need to be attached to a post-fire fee?  

          You may not feel warm enough. That does not entitle you to burn our house down. Instead, go out and get some wood for the stove.

          by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 02:27:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're so deep in that one little question... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Debby, neroden

            ...that you're failing to see the policy forest for the trees.

            I don't have to let a policy like this play out to know it's inadequate.  I can cite motherfucking history for crying out loud! People don't need object lessons in every bad policy to be convinced to change to better.

            The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

            by Stephen Daugherty on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:11:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Some people do... (5+ / 0-)

              though...I keep telling the teabaggers, I know...go off the darn grid if they hate government so darn much.  They have no idea what is provided for them and if they did, I know the teabaggers I know would be singing another tune.  

              Having said that, I'm do sympathize with Cranick but not to the point that I don't also see the side of the firefighters.  

            •  And is this why we may lose majority in one or (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              neroden

              both houses of Congress.

              Right now in my state a batshit member of Congress is campaigning based on her opposition to every single measure put forth by Bush and Obama to avoid a depression and lessen the impact of the recession.

              If only we had done nothing, everything would have been so much better.

              So, I have to disagree when you say:

              People don't need object lessons in every bad policy to be convinced to change to better.

              The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

              And when I look at your tag line, you seem to disagree with yourself as well.

              You may not feel warm enough. That does not entitle you to burn our house down. Instead, go out and get some wood for the stove.

              by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:57:48 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I believe that neighbors may indeed have pulled (7+ / 0-)

          out their garden hoses and tried to put out the fire.

          But, you have to remember that the Cradicks started a fire in TWO open barrels beside their house and left them unattended and the fire then spread to the shed and to the home and it was pretty much too late to get a handle on it after leaving a fire unattended for two long hours.

          The fire department didn't arrive at a small fire... it had been burning for two hours before anyone even called them... and they had to drive from the next town. Who knows how long that response time/drive time was.

          <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

          by bronte17 on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 02:33:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The FD came after the neighbors called (20+ / 0-)

            And their fields were beginning to burn. The FD refused to come when the Cradicks called.

            This highlights how stupid this approach to community problems is.

            Modern Republicanism, libertarianism and conservatism place money as the highest value. Mammon. That's decadence.

            The code of helping your neighbor is ancient.

            Love Thy Neighbor

               Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke [reason with] thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.
               Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.
               -- Leviticus 19: 17-18 (KJV)

            You may think that Jesus invented the phrase "Love thy neighbor as thyself" (Matthew 5: 43, etc.), but like the rest of us He actually quotes the Hebrew Bible.

            So to say that Jesus replaced the harsh and rigorous Torah of Judaism with a new covenant of Love is to oversimplify -- and to insult Hebrew culture. True, Yahweh demands "eye for eye, tooth for tooth," but He also insists that His people respect and forgive their neighbors. On the other hand, He means "neighbors" more literally than Jesus does. He Himself hardly "loved" the Egyptians who held His people captive, nor will He object as the Israelites wage bloody war against their neighbors, the Canaanites, in the Promised Land.

            In short, by "neighbors" the Lord means neighbors -- that is, other Israelites, and more specifically members of one's own community or tribe. Nonetheless, He originates a powerful idea: that you should treat your fellow as you yourself would be treated. This is perhaps the oldest definition of empathy, and it marks the Israelites as a people capable of introspection.

            look for my DK Greenroots diary series Thursday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

            by FishOutofWater on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 02:43:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, it seems the neighbors did help (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              erush1345

              but the firefighters were working... on the job... in another town.

              This is way too emotional for lots of people.

              It's not quite the cut-and-dried issue of neighbors ignoring cries of please help.

              <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

              by bronte17 on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 03:18:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  You do know, of course, that once (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mrkvica, Into The Woods, neroden

              you start citing Leviticus as precedent for living one's life, a rather large can of worms is opened?

            •  I wasn't aware that Americans (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sparhawk, cai, erush1345

              Are required to live by Christian principles or morality.

              I also wasn't aware that before Jesus was born, no one who ever existed in history had the idea that committing genocide against their neighbors was a bad idea. Certainly God hadn't thought of it since he mandates genocide against neighbors on a frequent basis.

              The teachings of Jesus and their (questionable) morality is a total non sequitur in this discussion.

              •  I believe he was just using it (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Debby, Into The Woods

                to point out how ancient an idea it is.  Those of us who aren't Christians share many of the same moral and ethical standards.

                You are, of course, not 'required' to live by any particular standards.  That doesn't make you not a giant flaming asshole when you, as a trained professional, sit by and ignore something you're trained to work on.  I'm an RN, and as such, I'm not actually legally required by my state to stop and help at accidents, but I'd be a giant flaming asshole if I saw someone lying on the road bleeding next to a wreck and didn't stop to render whatever care I could.

                If you feel insulted by anything I've said, find out if it was intentional. I'll let you know if you ask.

                by Ezekial 23 20 on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:33:58 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Do you have unconditional... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Sparhawk, erush1345

                  liability and malpractice insurance?

                  •  TBH (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Debby, princss6

                    I don't know what that specific phrasing means.

                    We have a good Samaritan law that mandates that if we stop and help, we're required to then continue providing aid until it's taken over by somebody else farther along the food chain (paramedics arrive to cart the person to the hospital, etc).

                    Any medical activities we perform must fall within our scope of practice, and be performed in a manner that is not incompetent, however.  I don't get out of being sued for doing something grossly stupid that puts the person in further danger simply because I'm not being paid for it.

                    But as long as you do what you've been trained to do, you're covered, again whether or not you're being paid.

                    If you feel insulted by anything I've said, find out if it was intentional. I'll let you know if you ask.

                    by Ezekial 23 20 on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:55:04 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  And, btw, (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Debby

                    if you're that worried about being sued, maybe you're in the wrong line of work...

                    If you feel insulted by anything I've said, find out if it was intentional. I'll let you know if you ask.

                    by Ezekial 23 20 on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 07:00:39 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  So firefighters are giant flaming assholes now? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  princss6

                  I suppose if one of those firefighters gets seriously injured or dies, and their family goes bankrupt and can't pay their bills, you'll be there to support them right?

                  I mean, who cares if they don't have insurance. Who cares. They need to rush in and save this guy's house which is already totalled because he's dumb enough to set barrels on fire and walk away, after having CONSCIOUSLY DECIDED to not pay the $75 fee.

                  "I'm an RN, and as such, I'm not actually legally required by my state to stop and help at accidents, but I'd be a giant flaming asshole if I saw someone lying on the road bleeding next to a wreck and didn't stop to render whatever care I could."

                  Whose life was in danger in this situation? The policy states that when lives are in danger they will respond. The house was already totalled. Are you legally required to give CPR to a corpse that's been dead for 12 hours, even at risk to yourself.

              •  America was founded on certain principles (0+ / 0-)

                and on certain moral and ethical standards.  

                These standards rose out of a variety of religious and enlightenment sources.

                To say our country is without moral or ethical foundation is simply wrong - so that's surely not what you are arguing.  

                And if some find their moral foundation in a religion with which you disagree, if those moral principles (or many of them) coincide with those that can be found in the ideas and writings of the enlightenment, what's the problem with those who believe in one or another referring to that belief in discussing those principles.

                We have freedom both of and from religion - but not to impose either on others.  

                You may not feel warm enough. That does not entitle you to burn our house down. Instead, go out and get some wood for the stove.

                by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 07:03:48 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  America was not founded on the principles of (0+ / 0-)

                  Jesus. If you want to follow the principles of Jesus or Buddha or Josef Stalin you're free to do so as long as you don't violate any applicable laws.

                  Bringing up Jesus's teachings and attacking firefighters for supposedly not following them is is a total non sequitur. I am just explaining to you why your argument makes no sense and adds nothing to the discussion.

                  Believe whatever you want, but that doesn't allow you to force upon firefighters your form of religious morality.

                  How is this any different from a republican quoting Paul or Leviticus and saying "what happened to biblical morality? Why aren't we stoning gays to death."

                  Anyway I don't want to dwell on it, I'm just pointing out a non sequitur.

            •  So think hard about this one: (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              princss6, erush1345

              How do you police the freeloaders adjacent to your community, who would like to get your community help but refuse to give anything back?

              Every community needs to do this.

              We traditionally do it by taxes.

              Here, the city fire department provided services to city residents.  And county residents?  Well, the county didn't provide any services, and apparently was happy with this because "taxes" were lower.

              Should the city just roll over and let the county freeload on the city services, forever?  Hard on the city residents!

              In short, by "neighbors" the Lord means neighbors -- that is, other Israelites, and more specifically members of one's own community or tribe.

              This is precisely relevant.  The city is being attacked by some here for not helping with someone who was not a city resident and had not "opted in" to the city fire service.  So, not a neighbor by that definition.

              -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

              by neroden on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 09:47:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  How stupid the Cradicks were is entirely (23+ / 0-)

            irrelevant to the discussion at hand, which is about whether or not sitting by and watching someone suffer while smirking and saying "That's what you deserve, freeloading scum" is acceptable.

            Evidently, you still think it is.

            Most of us don't.

            "We're not leaving Afghanistan prematurely. In fact, we're not ever leaving at all." -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates

            by JesseCW on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 03:02:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You guys are being totally too emotional (4+ / 0-)

              about this.

              The firefighters most certainly did not say that to the Cradicks.

              The neighbors pulled out garden hoses and did their neighborly thing to help.

              And I most certainly did not say that about the Cradicks.

              But, I do think that the firefighters were on the job in another town and the fire was two hours old by the time they did arrive. And the loss of life for a fireman isn't worth a building that is halfway burned down anyway and gone. It can be rebuilt.

              That's what insurance is for.

              <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

              by bronte17 on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 03:22:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Who says a firefighter would have died? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Debby

                Since no one was in the house, there was no need to run inside and jeopardize anyone's life. But the firemen had more powerful hoses than the neighbors, and they could have used those on the Cradick house.

              •  hope this never happens to you (0+ / 0-)

                I also hope that my life is never in your hands.  You are very cold and ugly inside.  I bet you are a bureaucrat in your real life.

                ObamaCare because Obama Cares. Next time you're hospitalized you can thank him. Just remember he delivered it for you.

                by Atilla the Honey Bunny on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 04:54:30 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  There is no need to insult public servants (6+ / 0-)

                  by implying that they are cold and ugly inside. I know many fine people whose job classification comes down to "bureaucrat"; they work, for example, in the County Clerk's office, or the Auditor's office, or the office of the County Coroner. Not a single one is dead inside. Every last one of them will go out of their way to help people who need help from their respective county offices. The county auditor and county clerk, heads of those offices, are personal friends. So are some of their staff.

                  Don't go knocking civil servants. They don't deserve it.

                  Living kidney donor needed; type B, O, or incompatible (with paired donation). Drop me a note (see profile).

                  by Kitsap River on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:01:02 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Just because their motto is "Fuck you, Pay Me" (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Atilla the Honey Bunny

                    Doesn't make them bad people.

                    You may think that. I couldn't possibly comment.-- Francis Urqhart

                    by Johnny Q on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:23:58 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Person so termed was another commenter (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      erush1345

                      not the firefighters.

                      Atilla the Honey Bunny said to bronte17 " You are very cold and ugly inside.  I bet you are a bureaucrat in your real life." This is equating being cold and ugly inside to being a bureaucrat. I was pointing out that that is not the case for many (most?) people whose job title could possibly be termed "bureaucrat".

                      Living kidney donor needed; type B, O, or incompatible (with paired donation). Drop me a note (see profile).

                      by Kitsap River on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:36:41 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  ummmm (0+ / 0-)

                    these civil servants sure seem worthy of scorn, unless you think failure to pay the fee entitles the public servants the right to watch a man's home burn to the ground from the comfort of their undeployed firetruck.  these servants aren't public servants, they are part of the Syndicate, organized crime disguised as government.

                    ObamaCare because Obama Cares. Next time you're hospitalized you can thank him. Just remember he delivered it for you.

                    by Atilla the Honey Bunny on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:27:32 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  See my response to Johnny Q (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Into The Woods

                      You are telling bronte17 that he or she is probably a bureaucrat in real life because he or she is "cold and ugly inside", thereby stating that bureaucrats are cold and ugly inside. It is not the public servants in the case of the Cranicks' fire that you thus insult, it's bronte17. And thus you insult committed public servants who don't deserve it.

                      I am not saying I agree with bronte17's comment, far from it. But I am indeed saying that people who work as public servants very often do not deserve the dissing that is aimed by otherwise well-meaning people towards public servants. And I agree with your comment just above that the firefighters acted wrongly and are not acting as public servants.

                      Living kidney donor needed; type B, O, or incompatible (with paired donation). Drop me a note (see profile).

                      by Kitsap River on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:40:11 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Government Is the Problem? (0+ / 0-)

                      Those pointy headed beaucrats are the problem?

                      Where have I heard those talking points before.

                      Of course the people who established the policy, who voted for the policy or voted against another policy that might have made a whole lot more sense but may have involved the satan-kiss-of-taxes are not the problem.

                      It's the fire fighters, or fire chief or city manager who are asked to carry out these policies.

                      hmmm.  

                      You may not feel warm enough. That does not entitle you to burn our house down. Instead, go out and get some wood for the stove.

                      by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 07:09:29 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

        •  There's an older code in the book, Fish. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          princss6, erush1345

          There's helping your neighbor in time of need.

          Then.... there's when your neighbor has been a jackass and has refused to chip in in your time of need.

          Votes against the county having a universal fire protection scheme.  Won't even pay the measly $75 fee for joining the city fire protection district (since there's no county district), to help cover the high cost of the city fire department.  Then goes and sets some fires and demands that the city help him.

          There are any number of fables about people who deliberately freeload on society and break the social contract getting their comeuppance by having society turn on them.  

          And yes, the jackasses in the county who chose not to have a county fire department -- that is exactly what Republicans are bringing us to.  No society, every man for himself.

          Society is better.  But when a society (like this city) is dealing with an neighboring every-man-for-himself jungle region (like this county), it has to protect itself, to avoid the every-man-for-himself region from looting them until they have no society any more.

          -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

          by neroden on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 09:41:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  In your model, what happens to the poor ? (32+ / 0-)

        who barely have money to pay for food  and can't pay for fire insurance ?

        Do you realize what ideas like this lead to ??   Going back to the Middle Ages ??

        You have to be aware that in your desire to "punish" people who don't take their responsabilities or whatever, you make innocent and poor people suffer ?

      •  Sue the county & state? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cai, erush1345

        Establish a court precedent that the county and state have legal obligations to provide fire service statewide?  

        Which this unincorporated area of this county didn't provide.

        Of course, it'll probably turn out the Tennessee Constitution doesn't obligate the state government to provide any services at all.

        I'm pretty sure the Constitutions of some states do obligate governments to provide fire protection....

        -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

        by neroden on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:58:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Dirk - what is the cause of action? (3+ / 0-)

      There is no lawsuit that could be filed and won. The rules have been in place for 20 years. The owner of the property made a choice to not subscribe. The fire department had no legal obligation to put out his fire.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 02:42:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe not (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greeseyparrot, bluejeandem, AnnCetera

        but they did have a moral obligation.

        Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

        by democracy inaction on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 03:35:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Is there a "moral obligation" (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Into The Woods, cai, erush1345

          if my house is on fire and I call the fire department from the next town over, a town where I don't live and to which I don't pay taxes?

          If I were to do so, they'd tell me to call my own town's FD, and rightly so.

          This case is unusual because the county where the Cranicks live made the decision not to have am FD, or to contract on a county-wide basis to obtain FD service from the nearby city of South Fulton.

          And I maintain that the city is doing a good thing by offering its services to county residents for the laughably small sum of $75 a year. The decision the Cranicks made not to pay that fee significantly reduces the level of sympathy I can muster for them.

          I'm a caring person, but I'm not a pushover.

          You don't get to say, "I support the First Amendment, but..." (h/t Chris Hayes)

          by ipsos on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 04:31:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I question this (0+ / 0-)

            I'm a caring person...

            I'm not so sure that's correct.

            Is there a "moral obligation" if my house is on fire and I call the fire department from the next town over, a town where I don't live and to which I don't pay taxes?

            If you walk into an emergency room in a town where you don't live and pay taxes and you're, say, having a heart attack, do they have a moral obligation to treat you, or should they let you drop dead?

            To paraphrase your own sig line, you don't get to say "I'm a caring person, but..."

            Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

            by democracy inaction on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 05:40:35 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  We can get trapped by our bleeding hearts (10+ / 0-)

              There is, first of all, a big difference between property and lives. If there had been lives at risk, the fire department would have responded, as they should have.

              But it's one thing to believe, as you do (and as I do), that there exists a moral obligation to prevent lives from being lost. It's another thing entirely to believe that all these services can be provided, indefinitely, without somehow being paid for.

              Gene Cranick is on with Olbermann right now, being portrayed as a victim of a heartless bureaucracy, and I call BS on that.

              He chose to live in a community where he and his neighbors chose to keep their taxes low by not having any fire department at all.

              His neighbors down the road in the city of South Fulton paid taxes and established a fire department to serve their community. Those neighbors offered that service, at a reasonable fee, to make sure that those residents outside city limits with no local fire protection of their own still had access to fire services.

              And Gene Cranick chose not to pay that relatively minimal fee.

              "Actions have consequences," he told Keith tonight.

              Well, yes, they do.

              I'm sorry for Gene Cranick's loss. But until and unless fire trucks are provided free of charge by the companies that make them, and until and unless the people who keep those trucks cleaned and fueled and staffed work for free, then the real world in which we all live dictates that these things must be paid for somehow.

              In an ideal world, the county would have had its own fire company, or at least have had an assessment on all residents to cover the fee to South Fulton.

              This is not that ideal world. Emergency rooms all over America operate at significant losses, and significant costs to taxpayers, and that's as it should be.

              Yes, I do believe that there are real-world limits to moral obligations. Protect Gene Cranick's life, absolutely. But let's say that "just that once," the South Fulton FD did respond to Cranick's call and saved his property, outside its jurisdiction (and in violation of a city ordinance that prohibits the fire company from serving non-paying customers outside city limits.)

              What happens when Cranick's neighbors stop paying their $75, too, secure in the knowledge that the taxpayers of South Fulton will respond to them if something happens...because it's the moral thing to do?

              Who pays for the additional capacity South Fulton will inevitably have to add?

              There are real-world limits to the ideal of universal, ideal care for everyone at all times. I don't think the "solution" they arrived at in Tennessee is a good one - but neither do I think that portraying Gene Cranick as a helpless victim in the face of the villainous, heartless South Fulton Fire Department is conducive to the discussion that really ought to follow from his unfortunate bout with reality.

              You don't get to say, "I support the First Amendment, but..." (h/t Chris Hayes)

              by ipsos on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 06:17:39 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Debby

                What happens when Cranick's neighbors stop paying their $75, too, secure in the knowledge that the taxpayers of South Fulton will respond to them if something happens...because it's the moral thing to do?

                You impose a tax of $75 on homeowners to make the fee for firefighting services required, as in not optional, which should have already been done and if it had, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

                Who pays for the additional capacity South Fulton will inevitably have to add?

                They wouldn't have to add anything, everyone would pay their fee via the tax.

                There are real-world limits to the ideal of universal, ideal care for everyone at all times. I don't think the "solution" they arrived at in Tennessee is a good one - but neither do I think that portraying Gene Cranick as a helpless victim in the face of the villainous, heartless South Fulton Fire Department is conducive to the discussion that really ought to follow from his unfortunate bout with reality.

                That's a strawman, I don't think Cranick is a victim of the fire department, he is one of many victims of a city that doesn't make coverage for fire protection mandatory because even in this case, the lives and properties of people other than the scofflaw that had coverage were jeopardized because he wasn't covered.

                Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                by democracy inaction on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 08:06:23 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I believe you don't have all the facts straight (5+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  neroden, VClib, mayim, cai, erush1345

                  (And I believe Keith either didn't have them on his show tonight, or chose to spin the story to fit his narrative.)

                  Gene Cranick did not live in the city of South Fulton. He lived in unincorporated Obion County, outside the taxing jurisdiction of South Fulton. The Obion County government chose not to create universal fire protection for their 32,000 residents, or to tax themselves accordingly.

                  The people who live within the city of South Fulton did choose to make fire protection mandatory, and to tax themselves accordingly. There are only 2517 people in South Fulton, with a median household income of $27,000. They have no taxing jurisdiction over areas outside the city limits, including Gene Cranick's neighborhood. How heavily should they be asked to tax themselves to protect areas outside their city's jurisdiction, when those areas have chosen a different (and arguably less responsible) route?

                  You don't get to say, "I support the First Amendment, but..." (h/t Chris Hayes)

                  by ipsos on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 08:12:38 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  do you guys read the articles? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  princss6

                  the city has a fire department (city of 2500 or so), he was not in the city.

                  The city is kind enough to offer fire protection at $75 a year.  The City cannot tax people outside the city.

            •  Providing (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Into The Woods, VClib, cai, erush1345

              medical care in an emergency room and going into a burning building is completely different scenarios.  Really apples and oranges.  But I bet that Doctor won't treat you unless their malpractice insurance is paid up.

            •  They have a legal obligation under federal law (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              neroden, mayim, cai

              which was enacted because too many hospitals and ER's were insufficiently "moral" to recognize the obligation you assume is so universal.

              You may not feel warm enough. That does not entitle you to burn our house down. Instead, go out and get some wood for the stove.

              by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 07:11:40 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  I am glad the Fire Dept let it burn (9+ / 6-)

    They showed the teabaggers they mean business and if the teabaggers are not going to pay the sufficient money for fire, police, then they shouldn't get services.

  •  "He just cold-cocked him," (26+ / 1-)

    Good.  He fucking deserved it.  Hopefully this Cranick fellow gets a sympathetic jury.

    "Give to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself." - Robert G. Ingersoll

    by Apost8 on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 01:16:46 PM PDT

  •  It is tragic. (12+ / 0-)

    There is no question.

    But, the guy should have paid the frickin' fee.  That's the rule they have.  that's the rule they've had for 20 years.  It's not something new.

  •  This means that the poor will lose everything (47+ / 0-)

    if a developer or enemy of some sort ignites their home.  All kinds of unspeakable and evil mischief can be carried out when firefighting is a for-profit arrangement.  Who would want to live in a so-called community like this?  Real Christians and those with ethics, morals and compassion should relocate as soon as possible and leave these likeminded SOBs to live in their own dystopia, a place unsafe for children or pets.