Firefighters in rural Tennessee let a home burn to the ground last week because the homeowner hadn't paid a $75 fee.and
Gene Cranick of Obion County and his family lost all of their possessions in the Sept. 29 fire, along with three dogs and a cat.
When Cranick's house caught fire last week, and he couldn't contain the blaze with garden hoses, he called 911. During the emergency call, he offered to pay all expenses related to the Fire Department's defense of his home, but the South Fulton firefighters refused to do anything.
They did, however, come out when Cranick's neighbor -- who'd already paid the fee -- called 911 because he worried that the fire might spread to his property. Once they arrived, members of the South Fulton department stood by and watched Cranick's home burn; they sprang into action only when the fire reached the neighbor's property.
The fire truck came out to the house. The firefighters were there, hoses ready, but didn't bother to save the man's house or pets because of a stupid fee. Never mind that their inaction also allowed the fire to spread to the neighbor's house. Never mind that he offered to pay the full costs of saving his house. The letter of the law was more important than compassion and helping a neighbor. Whatever happened to Christian compassion? Oh, yeah, it's out of favor now.
Of course, not to be outdone in the lack of compassion competition, conservative pundits have seen this as a grand demonstration of their dream world.
BECK: And it goes nowhere if you go onto “compassion, compassion, compassion, compassion” or well, “they should’ve put it out, what is the fire department for?” [...] If you don’t pay the 75 dollars then that hurts the fire department. They can’t use those resources, and you’d be spongeing off your neighbor’s resources. [...] It’s important for America to have this debate. This is the kind of stuff that’s going to have to happen, we are going to have to have these kinds of things.and Kevin Williamson of the National Review:
And, for their trouble, the South Fulton fire department is being treated as though it has done something wrong, rather than having gone out of its way to make services available to people who did not have them before. The world is full of jerks, freeloaders, and ingrates — and the problems they create for themselves are their own. These free-riders have no more right to South Fulton’s firefighting services than people in Muleshoe, Texas, have to those of NYPD detectives.
Because only those who can afford it should have the protection of the fire department. And if your house burns down you're an ingrate or a jerk.
I can't wait until they start charging for the police.