12 July 2012

Watching homes burn. For $75

Firefighters in Tennessee let a house burn (again) because the homeowner hadn't paid the $75 fee. I have some takeaways from this article and the following comments.

1) It wasn't that the firefighters let it burn. It was the city who ordered them not to put the fire out. Credit where credit is due. Dubious credit.

2) When you make a fee optional, lots of people won't pay it. People usually don't think it will happen to them. This is why car insurance is mandatory. This is why medical coverage is mandatory (in civilized countries, anyway).

3) Personal responsibility is a good thing, and these people were punished for not having it. However, so were the firefighters.  The last time it happened, three dogs and a cat died. It cannot feel good for these people to have to live with the fact that they could have saved the animals and the home of the people if they'd been allowed to. A law that allows someone's home to fall and pets to perish because of non-payment of fees is immoral.

4) This feels like a protection racket. Except that I doubt the city is starting the fires.

5) The reason that fire protection isn't covered by taxes is that this is a city fire department, and the area where the fee applies is outside their taxation area. So people have to pony up the $75/year to get covered. The fire dept shows up and keeps it from spreading, but won't send a full crew to put it out. 

6) Compassion is in short supply these days. "Sorry, I just don't feel sorry for them.. It is just like an insurance policy, if you don't pony up the pre you don't have the coverage. They should not be surprised at all since it has happened in that area before.. I would guess they have money for beer and smokes??? Don't be stupid and expect others to pick up the slack..Oh wait that's exactly what the left wingnuts think....Right??" 
Seriously? Their home burned down and they have nothing left, but you don't feel sorry for them? And what the hell makes a person think they used it for "beer and smokes"? Judgmental bullshit there.

And yes, us left wingnuts expect to pick up the slack for those who don't pay. It's called compassion. They'll pay us back when we send the bill. If they can't pay it, there's this lovely thing called community service that they could do to pay off their debt.