A story that came out awhile ago shocked me: the story about the firefighters that let someone’s house burn down–in 2010! It shocked me because I naively thought that we had moved beyond that. Public firehouses paid for by taxes, we have them. It is a wonderful improvement from the days of private firefighters who would only put out someone’s house fire if he had the right plaque on his house–one that said he was paying them a fee to put out any fire there.
We created the system that serves everyone equally because that is what is right. Then I come to find out that this county has been charging people in rural areas an additional $75/yr to cover their homes in the event of a fire. What? This is not equal protection under the law, for one. It’s a racket, for another.
a : a fraudulent scheme, enterprise, or activity
b : a usually illegitimate enterprise made workable by bribery or intimidation
“Pay us the $75, or we’ll let your house burn down. You could fall victim to an unfortunate ‘accident.’ No one wants that.” What’s to stop them from lighting someone’s house ablaze if he doesn’t pay the fee, then refusing to put it out? Their morals? Clearly they don’t have any, or they would have put out the fire when the man and his neighbors begged them to, and offered them the money if they would just try to put out the fire.
I thought that firefighters became firefighters to help people, that they would put out any fire to save lives and property because they felt that was the right thing to do. I guess it doesn’t apply to all firefighters. It was something I believed with all of my heart, something I was truly not cynical about.
They have crushed the side of me that trusted in that. It will bounce back like a Rubbermaid someday, but for now I am still crushed. At least the article states that the International Association of Fire Fighters president came out and said that it should not be a firefighter’s job to make sure that someone has paid their fees. That gave me a little hope.
What makes this issue even more annoying is that one of my favorite people to hate, Glenn Beck, as come out in favor of burning the man’s house down.
GLENN: And it goes nowhere if you go on to well, compassion, compassion, compassion, compassion or, well, they should have put it out. What is the fire department for? No. What is the $75 for? To keep the firemen available, to keep the fire trucks running, to pay for the fire department to have people employed to put the fire out. If you don’t pay your $75, then that hurts the fire department. They can’t use those resources and you would be sponging off of your neighbor’s $75 if you they put out your neighbor’s house and you didn’t pay for it I mean in your neighbor didn’t pay for it, you did, and they put out their house, your neighbor is sponging off of your $75 inches and as soon as they put out the fire of somebody who didn’t pay the 75 bucks, no one
–glennbeck.com (this is exactly as it appears on the site, so don’t blame me for the nonsensical parts).
Actually, Glenn, that is the idea behind the fire department. In the days of private fire departments, people thought it was wrong to have to watch their neighbor’s homes burn down because they weren’t paying for protection, and they wanted to help. So, we made the fire department public, so that everyone would have access to it. The whole idea is to “sponge off of your neighbors.” That’s how I want it, anyway. If I could have paid $75 to put out the man’s fire, I would have. We also can’t have fires spreading from one house to another, so it benefits everyone if we have an organization that puts out every fire.
It’s not the $75 that keeps the fire department running. Taxes are supposed to make firefighters available, not some extra fee. The problem is that charging the $75 is wrong in the first place. If the fire department is having trouble with funding, this is not the way to solve the problem.
A person living in the country has just as much right to expect that their home will protected as someone in a town or city–and without having to pay an extra fee. They have a right to expect equal protection under the law, to not have to pay more than someone in the nearby town does to get fire protection.
It’s not a company; it’s the government. Companies keep telling us that it’s cool for them to charge us more for their trouble. The government is not supposed to do that. They are supposed to treat everyone equally (emphasis on supposed to). Standing by while someone loses everything they have is wrong. The man’s pets died. For $75. That’s wrong. That whole system of doing things is wrong, which is why we have a public fire department. If you don’t get that, Mr. Beck, it’s because you lost contact with reality a long time ago.