Video: Firefighters let home burn to the ground because owner didn’t pay annual $75 fee

posted at 9:24 pm on October 4, 2010 by Allahpundit

Via Dan Foster, who looks upon the libertarian paradise and shivers.

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…

“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.

Because of that, not much is left of Cranick’s house…

The Cranicks told 9-1-1 they would pay firefighters, whatever the cost, to stop the fire before it spread to their house…

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.

I’m guessing 95 percent of our commenters will say, “Right on, let it burn. A contract’s a contract!” And yet 95 percent of those same people, upon finding themselves at the scene with a hose and a truck full of water, would have done the moral thing and tried to put it out notwithstanding the free-rider problem created by the Cranicks. That’s America’s health-care dynamic in a nutshell, no? No one’s getting turned away from the ER, even if they can’t afford to pay; thus, we need a mandate to force everyone to pay up front in order to shrink the pool of free-riders and help absorb the costs of those left in the pool. Which is to say, why not simply levy a $75 tax on everyone to force them to pay for fire coverage? Or, as Foster notes, if they’re willing to pay anything once the fire’s consuming their house, why not let them opt in after the fact for a vastly increased fee? It would have to be many times larger than the $75 service charge, obviously, partly in order to deter others from opting in after the fact and partly because the service charge helps cover the fire department’s expenses going forward. If everyone opted out of the service charge on the assumption that they’d pay the larger after-the-fact fee if/when a fire broke out at home, the department would start the year with zero funds; but if the after-the-fact fee was large enough, some of the surplus revenue generated could be carried over from one year to the next so that there’d always be funding for operations. There must be some amount large enough that the after-the-fact fee would make putting out the fire the efficient, cost-effective choice for the department. The question is, is it so large that realistically no one could afford to pay it? Exit question: Admit it, you’d try to put the fire out. Wouldn’t you?

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This has nothing to do with being a “decent human being”.

It has EVERYTHING to do with inducing a moral hazard. This country is in the straits we find ourselves in because too often we ignore when moral hazards are induced. This is an area where over HALF the time, folks were refusing to pay AFTER their property was saved. These are not angels.

So an alternate plan was developed to pay for the firefighters and equipment that doesn’t grow on trees. Protection was available for CHEAP and yet these skinflints decided they still wanted a free ride.

Putting the fire out after they had refused to carry their own weight, or get a charitable person to do it for them, would have induced the moral hazard to encourage everyone else to not pay next year.

This was not a tragedy or an emergency, it was nearly criminal levels of either stupidity or more likely cupidity on the part of these homeowners. They are the ones who decided their home was worth less than $75, not the FD.

Do you think folks are going to skip out on paying their fair share next year?

VekTor on October 6, 2010 at 1:31 AM

Would you expect people who aren’t prone to Good-Samaritanism to say something else? LOL!

Bizarro No. 1 on October 6, 2010 at 2:17 AM

You make some good strong points. This ain’t one of ‘em.

From all that I’ve read this is like the pot calling the kettle black. Nobody you’ve engaged with has anything on you went it comes to taking themselves hilariously serious.

Gang-of-One on October 6, 2010 at 2:15 AM

Ok, if you say so, it must be, right?

Irony indeed! :D

PS stop taking yourself so seriously, and get a better sense of humor!

Bizarro No. 1 on October 6, 2010 at 2:20 AM

Ok, if you say so, it must be, right?

Irony indeed! :D

PS stop taking yourself so seriously, and get a better sense of humor!

Bizarro No. 1 on October 6, 2010 at 2:20 AM

What’s funny is that everyone, no matter which side they are on, knows which side the most decent among us are on.

Bizarro No. 1 on October 5, 2010 at 11:34 PM

Gang-of-One on October 6, 2010 at 2:41 AM

Meant to post this, Bizarro.

Ok, if you say so, it must be, right?

Irony indeed! :D

PS stop taking yourself so seriously, and get a better sense of humor!

Bizarro No. 1 on October 6, 2010 at 2:20 AM

Bizarrely comical coming from the most decent author of this:

Anyone who’d get offended and/or defensive about what I said is not one of the most decent among us. Not only that, they are pretty stupid, too.

Bizarro No. 1 on October 6, 2010 at 12:08 AM

Gang-of-One on October 6, 2010 at 2:48 AM

Gang-of-One on October 6, 2010 at 2:41

Gang-of-One on October 6, 2010 at 2:48 AM

Man, you sure know how to hurt a guy!

Did I say something untrue there? Am I guilty of taking myself too seriously? Or, are you guilty of taking yourself too seriously?

True or false? People who take themselves too seriously are overly sensitive to criticism and predisposed to defensiveness, apt to excessively and carelessly create strawmen as they obsessively try to find fault in others, and understand humor only as a means to an end, rather than as an end unto itself. Gee, who does that remind you of? :)

Bizarro No. 1 on October 6, 2010 at 3:23 AM

Quick scenario:

You come home to find your house being burglarized.
You call the police, and a squad is sent.
Upon arrival, they discover that, in error, your house is actually on the boundary of two jurisdictions. They inform you that they are unable to assist you at this point.
“But hey… I’m a taxpayer!” You protest, watching the burglar carry your possessions away. “I pay your salary!”
“Oh no,” you’re told. “You live in Walhallie. We’re officers from Vivera. You don’t pay our salaries at all. We can’t help you, I’m sorry.”

We’re all cool with this, or no?

It may seem a little far fetched, but I had a very similar incident happen to me years ago involving district lines and a series of phone calls where everyone thought the problem belonged to someone else.

I don’t see a significant difference between this scenario and the one involving the firefighters, but I’d guess most people would be horrified at the above.

Anyone?

12thMonkey on October 6, 2010 at 1:47 AM

This false comparison has been made several times in this thread but just to clear things up, the officers from Vivera probably wouldn’t do anything because outside of their jurisdiction they have no legal powers to make an arrest. To make matters worse, in most States in the US it would be possible for the thief to charge them with assault or unlawful confinement if they tried to apprehend him. Not that it would be easy to find a judge or jury to convict, but outside of their defined jurisdictional boundaries they are simple citizens and not law enforcement officers.

Of course to make this particular comparison even worse is that not only did the fire in this story happen outside of the SFFD’s ‘jurisdiction’ but the man in the story wasn’t a ‘tax payer’ per se, in that, by choice, he paid no fees, levies or taxes for ANY fire protection services to any government, either South Fulton’s or his own.

Bic667 on October 6, 2010 at 7:36 AM

… How many years did the Cranics (or what ever) not pay this $75 fee. I’m going on a limb, and saying they never once payed it. So its not a “o i forgot to pay it” or “The economy is bad i couldn’t afford to pay it this year”. For them to let it burn, it must of been one of those “F that i aint paying it ever!”

Regardless, Pay the fee or don’t; the consequences are your own. Ya know, when i don’t pay my electric bill, they cutt my power off… then all the food in my fridge is ruined , whose fault is it?

Donut on October 6, 2010 at 8:28 AM

Do you think folks are going to skip out on paying their fair share next year?

VekTor on October 6, 2010 at 1:31 AM

I expect loan sharks to make an example out of deadbeats, not the fire department.

Oh, and loan sharks go to jail when they do it.

John Deaux on October 6, 2010 at 8:30 AM

Bizarro No. 1 on October 6, 2010 at 2:13 AM

Oh, I’m sorry, just a second ago you said: “Good Samaritan mentality > non-Good Samaritan mentality. Is that too simplistic and one-dimensional for you?”.

Actually it is. Life isn’t designed to protect us from bad decisions and if I make a mistake and face to consequences because someone else rigidly interprets the rules (like what happened here) I can’t say to them: “You aren’t being a good Samaritan! See there are good Samaritans and non-good Samaritans….”

Yes the FD could have made an exception and doing so would have been the morally right thing to do. But the service was contingent on a fee that was not paid and they decided that no $75, meant no service. Heartless? IMHO, yes.

Cranick didn’t pay his $75. Yep, that wasn’t right, but to to compare his non-payment of the firefighting fee to not buying car or flood insurance, and to not lift a finger while his house was burning over his stupid inaction?

So paying a fee for a service or protection doesn’t even apply here You pay the FD, you get firefighting service when you have a fire. You pay flood insurance, you receive protection when there’s a flood. Not paying either means you don’t get protection in case of those events.

We can feel sorry for the homeowner you didn’t pay flood insurance and gets flooded and we could feel sorry for the homeowner who didn’t pay $75 and who’s house burns down. In the end, the result is both the insurance company and the FD saying “Well, we’re really sorry you lost everything, but oh well.” Meanwhile both groups lost everything they own.

Rightwingguy on October 6, 2010 at 9:01 AM

In the end, the result is both the insurance company and the FD saying “Well, we’re really sorry you lost everything, but oh well.” Meanwhile both groups lost everything they own.

Rightwingguy on October 6, 2010 at 9:01 AM

Whoops! That was redundantly redundant.

Rightwingguy on October 6, 2010 at 9:03 AM

Rightwingguy on October 6, 2010 at 9:01 AM

Oh, so now I see the typos I didn’t see 2 seconds ago. Darn it!

Rightwingguy on October 6, 2010 at 9:05 AM

Gee, who does that remind you of? :)

Bizarro No. 1 on October 6, 2010 at 3:23 AM

Well, most decent Bizarro, I’m sure you’ll find this a real knee slapper, but it kind of reminds me of you. :)

Gang-of-One on October 6, 2010 at 9:22 AM

True or false? People who take themselves too seriously are overly sensitive to criticism and predisposed to defensiveness, apt to excessively and carelessly create strawmen as they obsessively try to find fault in others, and understand humor only as a means to an end, rather than as an end unto itself. Gee, who does that remind you of? :)

Bizarro No. 1 on October 6, 2010 at 3:23 AM

So a person who is WRONGLY criticized has no right to feel insulted and defend himself against that criticism?

The most obnoxious thing in this discussion is the self-proclaimed moral superiority of those who think the fire should have been fought. But how moral is it to expect a town of 2500 or so to be expected to foot the bill for fire service to a county of 30,000+? Some of the same people who have railed about the injustice of a progressive tax system as evil redistribution of wealth, and theft from producers, are shocked — SHOCKED — that this town has set a limit to just how much it will take coercively from its citizens and give to the county.

I don’t think I’m “more moral” than those who disagree. I think everyone here is desirous of doing the right thing. We simply disagree WHAT the right thing is. What we should be focusing on is the discussion about what IS right, rather than accusing one another of being immoral or stupid. This is a tragic situation, but it is also a fantastic case to frame a discussion of the roles of government and taxation, and the degree to which we are serious about personal accountability.

Sadly, I suspect the answer is “no”.

RegularJoe on October 6, 2010 at 9:29 AM

In terms of merely following the strict letter of the law, how can anyone mantain an objection to the ground zero msoque then? It’s not illegal to buld a mosque anywhere in America. Case closed.

aengus on October 6, 2010 at 9:43 AM

I don’t think I’m “more moral” than those who disagree. I think everyone here is desirous of doing the right thing. We simply disagree WHAT the right thing is. What we should be focusing on is the discussion about what IS right, rather than accusing one another of being immoral or stupid. This is a tragic situation, but it is also a fantastic case to frame a discussion of the roles of government and taxation, and the degree to which we are serious about personal accountability.

Sadly, I suspect the answer is “no”.
RegularJoe on October 6, 2010 at 9:29 AM

You know, I think only one commenter here has explicitly stated here that they would not help put out the fire if they were there.

Honestly, if all I had was a pail of dirt and a shovel, I would have done everything I could to have helped those poor people. No one deserves to lose everything they own over a mere $75. And darn it if they’ll lose it all with me doing nothing.

It’s also a weird argument that people who argue that the Cranik’s were partially at fault in some way for their financial oversight means that they are incapable of feeling compassion. It’s not that, simply that there is a factor of personal accountability that should not be ignored.

Great post, btw. You said it better than I could.

Rightwingguy on October 6, 2010 at 9:46 AM

aengus on October 6, 2010 at 9:43 AM

Just like the Westboro Baptist church can protest anywhere because of the 1st Amendment. As morally wrong as we may find it, it’s ultimately the price we pay for a free society.

Rightwingguy on October 6, 2010 at 9:48 AM

Great post, btw. You said it better than I could.

Rightwingguy on October 6, 2010 at 9:46 AM

Thanks; you’re kind to say so.

I’d have said it better if I realized that (after making changes above) I’d left the last sentence there, with the question it answered no longer there. The question was “Can we have the discussion without accusing one another of being immoral or stupid?”

RegularJoe on October 6, 2010 at 9:51 AM

Quote:”This is absolutely deplorable! No where in the report did anyone mention anything about life safety. What if there are children in the home? Or pets? Or an invalid adult? Just let it burn? Despicable!!!”

News reports are prone to trimming away information that curbs the emotion they’re trying to gin up. For all we know, upon contacting the city fire department he was asked if anyone was inside and he answered, “No, we’re all out.” Maybe if he had told the dispatcher that his 84-year-old grandmother was trapped upstairs they would have come.

Firefighters have a moral and ethical obligation to protect life, but are they really obligated to protect property beyond the extent that life is in danger? Consider that the firefighters are putting their own lives in danger, so asking them to do so for property is somewhat out of whack.

A neighbor just had a terrible fire in my neighborhood. Scuttlebutt is that FIVE firefighters will be decommissioned due to post-traumatic stress syndrome. One was hurt badly and two others burned when, picking through the roof, a backdraft nearly blew them off. Now ask yourselves if the tiny TN fire department in question could fiscally survive ONE lawsuit from an injured (or deceased) firefighter asked to fight a fire at a residence they weren’t contracturally bound to service, after which the insurance company refused to pay citing the firefighter had no business putting his life at risk for a person they were not contracturally obligated to help.

In the end, how is not paying the yearly $75 fee (for how many years… just this year or every year?) and getting service any different than buying fire insurance after the fire destroys the house. Just as the people getting their houses rebuilt by simply putting down the first month’s premium would drain the insurer’s pool, allowing only those in the county whose houses burn pay the $75 would bankrupt the city’s own service, leaving everyone without a fire department.

My guess is that several times the county looked into collecting taxes to either form their own department or pay the city for extending service to all county residents, and those who didn’t want to be forced to pay for the service through higher taxes said “no.” These victims are not the only ones who’ve opted out of the city fire service, but you can be damned sure tens of thousands of dollars will roll into the city from county residents shortly who haven’t been paying and who now know the city means business.

shuzilla on October 6, 2010 at 10:52 AM

Right or wrong, i bet everyone pays their $75 now.

Greed on October 6, 2010 at 11:35 AM

… How many years did the Cranics (or what ever) not pay this $75 fee. I’m going on a limb, and saying they never once payed it. So its not a “o i forgot to pay it” or “The economy is bad i couldn’t afford to pay it this year”. For them to let it burn, it must of been one of those “F that i aint paying it ever!”

Donut on October 6, 2010 at 8:28 AM

It’s actually a bit worse than that. The Cranicks previous had a chimney fire where they hadn’t paid their $75 fee. The fire department “bent the rules” for them on that first fire, and allowed them to retroactively pay their $75 at the time that they were putting out their first fire.

What did they do as far as gratitude? Make sure that they were doing their part, since the FD went out of their way to protect them even when they shouldn’t have?

No.

When the time came around to pay their annual fee, after they had already had this FD put out one of their fires… they conveniently “forgot” to pay their annual fee again.

Bending the rules for them, and showing “compassion” in allowing them to have their first fire put out even though they had not paid their fee induced the moral hazard of letting them (and others) know that they could cheat the system and still get services that they weren’t willing to fund like regular folks. They had evidence that they could “get away with it”, and so that’s what they (IMO) decided to do… to free-ride and count on the compassion of the firefighters to carry their dead weight if push came to shove.

That’s a major part of what’s wrong with the country today… vast numbers of people are counting on someone else to magically make it work while they cheat their way through. They’re firefighters, it’s not like they’re just going to let it burn down, right? I can safely skip paying, and use that $75 for something else I want. They won’t let me become a victim of my own cupidity, they’re too good for that.

Guess what? Atlas shrugged.

VekTor on October 6, 2010 at 11:41 AM

“There must be some amount large enough that the after-the-fact fee would make putting out the fire the efficient, cost-effective choice for the department.”

Rather than a “cost-effective choice for the department“, how about a cost effective choice for the homeowner? In this case, the after-the-fact cost is the price of a new house. What more of an incentive can we have?

Next we’ll be asking insurance companies to cover the cost of all damages even in instances when the homeowner didn’t have the proper insurance paid for prior to the catastrophe.

I think i’ll drop collision coverage on my car but demand any collision damage be paid for by the insurance company after-the-fact.

You get what you pay for. Period.

PCWilliams on October 6, 2010 at 11:45 AM

You want evidence that this was the mindset of Cranick? Here’s a direct quote from him in a local news story covering the fire:

“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.

I wonder where he got that idea from? Perhaps because that’s exactly what they had done before on his previous fire, when the firefighters did the Good Samaritan, “decent”, Christian thing, and saved him even when he hadn’t paid?

The two principles that must be understood by the population of this country if we want to pull ourselves out of this downward spiral are the grave dangers of the induction of moral hazards, and Bastiat’s Broken Window fallacy.

Without those two lessons being hammered home, I hold little hope for our long-term future.

VekTor on October 6, 2010 at 11:54 AM

Next we’ll be asking insurance companies to cover the cost of all damages even in instances when the homeowner didn’t have the proper insurance paid for prior to the catastrophe.

I think i’ll drop collision coverage on my car but demand any collision damage be paid for by the insurance company after-the-fact.

You get what you pay for. Period.

PCWilliams on October 6, 2010 at 11:45 AM

This is precisely what the President was yammering about, complaining about how a car insurance company didn’t pay to fix his car when all he had was the minimum liability insurance, and no collision coverage. They took his premiums, and then didn’t fix his car.

It’s little wonder that he wanted the same sort of magical thinking incorporated into health insurance “reform”.

VekTor on October 6, 2010 at 11:58 AM

I am really at a loss as to why this is generating such volumes.

What if there was only one auto dealer in town and they only who offered an annual service plan for $75 that would cover all critical repairs? You choose not to sign up figuring that the risk wasn’t that great. The something major goes wrong and your engine can’t stop and it is about to destroy itelf( you are stuck with this one dealer).

You beg the dealer to fix it but they refuse since you are not a client. You offer to pay whatever it costs but the dealer cannot give you that price since they won’t know it until it is finished( the repairs require the engine be fixed while running so there is risk to the employees). Our Legal system is such that if the bill comes in too high, the dealer will not be able to collect(bankruptcy). What’s more, the dealer had given this same guy a break in the past by doing the repairs and ONLY charging the $75 fee since it hadn’t required parts and they weren’t busy at the time. And the auto insurance will cover much of the cost of
replacement.

I think it is fair to say that the dealer may have been able to come up with a better business model but I don’t think you would claim he was immoral.

I may be missing something.

OBQuiet on October 6, 2010 at 12:18 PM

I amazed people here are still blaming South Fulton and its fire department, when the blame clearly lies with the Obion County government. THEY could have signed an interlocal agreement with all the cities in the county to provide universal rural fire coverage that would have replaced the $75 fee with a county-wide addition to the ad valorem tax that would cover the cost of the rural service (and rural residents would still come out ahead here, since city residents are also part of the county and would have to also pay part of that county property tax increase to fund the rural emergency services). The county was the governing entity that was irresponsible and created the current conditions, if you don’t want to blame the homeowners who didn’t pay up the $75.

The county should have done the contract work for those residents — even if some people outside of the city limits objected to paying the additional property tax (which could be considered ‘nanny state’ actions, but others in this thread seem to prefer the free lunch option for rural homeowners, which isn’t any better). Obion County basically played a game of chicken with the city of South Fulton, expecting that they would respond to the fire and thereby assume any deficit that resulted if they did not get reimbursed for going on the call outside the city limits.

Part of the job of government is to decide what services are essential and what ones aren’t. In this case, the county decided fire protection was not essential enough to add on a county-wide levy, and left it to the individual homeowners to handle. If you think the rural residents should have gotten something for nothing in fire protection with only the promise to pay later (with a national history of only 25-40 percent collections on past due emregency service bills), it’s not a very big step to determining that other services are “necessary”, whether the people getting those services pay for them or not.

jon1979 on October 5, 2010 at 6:14 PM

Bump.

shuzilla on October 6, 2010 at 12:21 PM

The Town/City (South Foulton) was NOT responsible.

The COUNTY (Obidan) was responsible- two SEPARATE entities. The COUNTY through an exercise in sheer stupidity in my opinion opted to charter a volunteer fire company 30 (or more) years ago.

They then proceeded to allocate no initial land or funding for said “fire company”. NO ONE in the county (private citizens) thought to step up and attempt to provide at a minimum a parcel of land upon which to have the fire house.

Some years after that, instead of choosing to enact a levy (tax) or raise an existing one to pay for an initial outlay to cover a house, equipment, etc they then chose instead to CONTRACT with the existing (apparently volunteer) fire company of several cities inside or adjacent to the county.

That was in 1987. Residents of this COUNTY then choose NOT to call (in my case would have been VERY VERY LOUDLY AND VOCIFEROUSLY) for some other course of action by either telling the officials THEY ELECTED to start steps to get a volunteer force started to better protect the rural residents or to again START DOING IT THEMSELVES!

They instead choose to accept the “pay for service” model and those who didn’t pay lost property.

SgtSVJones on October 5, 2010 at 6:16 PM

Bump

For those late to the party and suggesting they just should have a higher charge for people who didn’t pay the $75 or some type of levy that’s already been explained, numerous times.

They used to have a fee system of $500 per incident with no up front costs, meaning you only pay of the FD is called in and has to put out a fire on your property. The problem, the residents of the county failed to pay over %50 of the time. So since the FD is officially in the municipality of South Fulton (which the FD serves without a fee as it is paid for with property taxes) while the people using the fee service were not, the SFFD had no legal recourse to recover the costs which meant the 2500 residents of SF were paying for the FD for a large portion of Obion County with absolutely no compensation. That’s why they instituted the annual upfront $75 instead.

And as for a levy, the residents of Obion County have always had that option but have refused to take it. Small counties across the US routinely raise levies for things like contracting FD services but the people of Obion County apparently didn’t want it and instead opted for the options yearly fee.

For better or worse the SFFD treat fires exactly like hospitals in the US treat patients; the SFFD will enter a burning structure if a life is at risk, regardless of payment (like ER visits), but when it comes to just a case of prevention of property damage (which may be devastating to the family but IS NOT life threatening), they will not risk their lives unless you either live within their jurisdiction or have contracted them for FD services.

Bic667 on October 5, 2010 at 11:02 PM

Bumpety-bump

The above information is how professional news services should be reporting on this incident so that readers can make informed decisions on how to move towards a solution, rather than taking the all-too-easy anger and sympathy course.

shuzilla on October 6, 2010 at 12:30 PM

Also, anyone who hasn’t read the original story from Sept. 30 out of the newspaper in nearby Union City on the South Fulton incident should do so. It pretty much lays out the facts of the incident before it came to national attention.

jon1979 on October 6, 2010 at 1:15 PM

Guess what? Atlas shrugged.
VekTor on October 6, 2010 at 11:41 AM

Thread ender. Close ‘er down, Allah.

Akzed on October 6, 2010 at 2:20 PM

My heart breaks for these people. But like people who haven’t paid for flood insurance and get flooded, the world says “oh well, you should have seen it coming”.

Rightwingguy on October 5, 2010 at 11:35 PM

Interesting.
Tell that to the home & property owners in E. IA who were flooded out this last spring & are in $$ trouble bcs their county didn’t do the paperwork etc to ALLOW the residents to purchase flood insurance even if they wanted to.

hawkdriver- it’s clear there are some hard a$$ sobs here, IMHO.
This incident should show the need for better fire protection measures in that area of the country.
I can only hope that across America there will be some communities that will use this example to become more aware of, & FIX their current infrastructure when responding to emergencies.
God help the poor soul who doesn’t get an ambulance to visit their house when they’re having a heart attack or something for this very same reason.
But then haven’t we seen people like this since the dawn of time?
People who won’t do anything unless there’s something in it for them
and
people who refuse to budge on the rules at all, even when it means another human being must suffer needlessly.
It’s a chilling division in humanity that we have.

Badger40 on October 6, 2010 at 2:35 PM

Oh, I’m sorry, just a second ago you said: “Good Samaritan mentality > non-Good Samaritan mentality. Is that too simplistic and one-dimensional for you?”.

Actually it is. Life isn’t designed to protect us from bad decisions and if I make a mistake and face to consequences because someone else rigidly interprets the rules (like what happened here) I can’t say to them: “You aren’t being a good Samaritan! See there are good Samaritans and non-good Samaritans….”

Yes the FD could have made an exception and doing so would have been the morally right thing to do. But the service was contingent on a fee that was not paid and they decided that no $75, meant no service. Heartless? IMHO, yes.

So paying a fee for a service or protection doesn’t even apply here You pay the FD, you get firefighting service when you have a fire. You pay flood insurance, you receive protection when there’s a flood. Not paying either means you don’t get protection in case of those events.

We can feel sorry for the homeowner you didn’t pay flood insurance and gets flooded and we could feel sorry for the homeowner who didn’t pay $75 and who’s house burns down. In the end, the result is both the insurance company and the FD saying “Well, we’re really sorry you lost everything, but oh well.” Meanwhile both groups lost everything they own.

Rightwingguy on October 6, 2010 at 9:01 AM

Thank you for being honest, and thank you for demonstrating the point of my first post in this thread so well!

According to you, the FD was heartless, and the morally right thing for the FD to do would have been to put out the fire, despite the fact Cranick didn’t pay what was in actuality a negligible fee. Duh, right? So, what exactly is your problem with me pointing out that doing what’s right is superior to not doing what’s right? You make no sense to me.

Some of us get what really happened here, and some of us don’t. You can see who those Social Darwinists, living in a bubble of unreality, are by their defensive prattle about how this wasn’t about decency, how not paying the fee was somehow the equivalent of not buying car or flood insurance, how Cranick needed to be made an example of and got what he deserved, etc.

Social Darwinists do not have what it takes to be wise, unifying, and good leaders.

Bizarro No. 1 on October 6, 2010 at 2:57 PM

Badger40 on October 6, 2010 at 2:35 PM:
This incident should show the need for better fire protection measures in that area of the country.

Totally agreed. The real villain in this drama is the Obion County government that took no action to provide services for their constituents.

I can only hope that across America there will be some communities that will use this example to become more aware of, & FIX their current infrastructure when responding to emergencies.

That would be great!! Now, after the way everyone has reacted to this, who do you suppose will be pressured to make changes? THAT’S RIGHT!!! The poor saps in towns that fund fire departments will have to change their policies to provide for county residents, lest their city officials be assaulted like the SF Fire Chief was. Yippee; I live in the city limits, so I’ll get to pay for fire service for the county residents (app. 10 times as many as there are in the city, but who cares; fighting fires doesn’t cost money; just compassion!).

God help the poor soul who doesn’t get an ambulance to visit their house when they’re having a heart attack or something for this very same reason.

Fear not; the rich, rich, RICH people in the city will come to their rescue. Well, they’d BETTER, by gosh!

But then haven’t we seen people like this since the dawn of time? People who won’t do anything unless there’s something in it for them and people who refuse to budge on the rules at all, even when it means another human being must suffer needlessly. It’s a chilling division in humanity that we have.

You’re right! I’ve seen the light! We’re such money-grubbing hateful types! Those were some mean, MEAN, BAD guys! If they hadn’t been, they’d have just sprinkled a little bit of Brother Barry’s Miracle Mixture on the firetrucks, and *MAGICALLY* there would be enough capacity to serve a population 15 times the size of the population that pays for it! SHAME ON THEM!!

Sarcasm aside, it would be great if this guy still had his house. I really REALLY wish he did. If I had been there, I’d have done whatever I could to help; and if I have the opportunity to go help rebuild, or to donate to a fund to help him, I will. But I’ll do it voluntarily; and I’ll fight like a cornered coyote if someone tries to COMPEL me to pay.

The thing no one seems to want to see here is that the city had to choose between two evils:
1. The obvious evil is to allow a man’s house to burn down when it was possible to save it.
2. The less obvious evil (which is not necessarily the lesser evil) is to COMPEL the people of the city to fund firefighting for the whole county.

I’m a BIG believer in charity. I engage in charity — well above the average. I buy lunch for panhandlers whenever I can (but won’t give them cash). In fact, pertinent to this discussion, in the past three months I’ve given more to fund the county rescue squad (which operates on donations, as a 501c(3)) than it would have cost this fellow to have fire coverage; and I don’t live in the county!

But I’m NOT a big believer in compulsion. That’s what the whole conservative/liberal dust-up is about, isn’t it? That it’s immoral to COMPEL one man to give the fruits of his labor to another? We’re conservatives not because we don’t want to give charitably and generously, but because we want to give according to the dictates of our consciences, to persons or causes we CHOOSE to give to.

This city went to extraordinary measures to try to get people covered with fire protection, sending every resident — included the fellow whose house burned — a letter, and then calling those who didn’t respond. But their responsibility for the people of the county must have some limit. Even the Good Samaritan couldn’t save all of Judea.

RegularJoe on October 6, 2010 at 4:34 PM

Right2bright is talking about government that has compassion, as if there were such a thing. Individuals have compassion, not government bureaucracies. Clearly, these people illustrate a disregard for their own property. So, is it the job of the government to protect these people no matter what? Their system isn’t set up that way.

The government has to be constrained in any way possible or it will absorb as much power as it possibly can. If this county would have taxed for fire services, then I don’t think any of us would be in disagreement

Geministorm on October 5, 2010 at 5:50 PM
Your are so foolish, you don’t even understand a simple post.
I am not talking about a government with compassion…just the opposite, and you can’t see it.
It is about a government bureaucrat that only follows the letter of the law and allows no compassion, no decision, only the law.
People have compassion, not bureaucrats or the government, as proven by this thread.
It’s not the government job to protect people, it is each of our duty to make this country what it is…not the government. In this case the gov. got in the way of helping someone.
You don’t have to be paid to help someone…all this talk about Christians on here helping and lending a hand…and when it is right in front of them, they rely on the government to tell them not to.
If they were men, real men, they would have said “screw you government”, I am not letting a fellow man lose his possesions…but no, they (and you) are saying “but it is the law, the government told us he has to pay $75″.
Your thinking is the opposite of mine, I say screw the system, helping your fellow man is more important.
And you say…”The system works, let his house burn”.
That is where you and I differ, you want the government to lean on…I don’t.

right2bright on October 6, 2010 at 5:11 PM

I feel sorry for the homeowner or perhaps now the lot-owner.

However, I’ll bet everybody else in the neighborhood is lining up to pay their $75 fee. This reminds me of when Al Capone was finally convicted for tax evasion. After that everyone starting paying their taxes. Let’s just call it a teachable moment.

Texas Mike on October 6, 2010 at 5:24 PM

That is where you and I differ, you want the government to lean on… your government officials to obey the laws as passed by your duly elected representatives. I don’t.

right2bright on October 6, 2010 at 5:11 PM

Fixed. No charge; it seemed like the compassionate thing to do.

RegularJoe on October 6, 2010 at 5:25 PM

Bic667 on October 6, 2010 at 7:36 AM

And this is the problem in a nutshell.
You believe that the government imposing arbitrary districts and lines of jurisdiction is preferable to actually accomplishing things.

That’s some different brand of conservatism than I’m aware of.
The reason I like less government is because I believe it adds layers of inefficiencies and waste and incompetence, as we see in this example. Your world apparently prefers police to stand on a street corner while they watch your house be burglarized because it’s a different jurisdiction.

My conservative world believes police and firefighters are there to take care of their job, not have their hands tied by bureaucrats miles away.

But you continue to enjoy your layers of government as they make us all as useless and inefficient as possible.

12thMonkey on October 6, 2010 at 5:36 PM

Bizarro No. 1 on October 6, 2010 at 2:57 PM

According to you, the FD was heartless, and the morally right thing for the FD to do would have been to put out the fire, despite the fact Cranick didn’t pay what was in actuality a negligible fee. Duh, right? So, what exactly is your problem with me pointing out that doing what’s right is superior to not doing what’s right?

Well the simple fact is that we can both agree that it was wrong for them to watch the house be consumed. However, as a great man once said “Rules is rules”. Sometimes they are heartless, but they are needed for the normal functioning of our society. As another wise man once said “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”. In order for fire services to be provided for that area, a fee has to be assessed and paid. I can agree with you on what I feel as a compassionate human being and disagree with you on what I feel as a citizen in our free society.

You make no sense to me.

Dude, I’ve been trying to follow your logic and have been similarly confounded. Oh well. :-)

Some of us get what really happened here, and some of us don’t. You can see who those Social Darwinists, living in a bubble of unreality, are by their defensive prattle about how this wasn’t about decency, how not paying the fee was somehow the equivalent of not buying car or flood insurance, how Cranick needed to be made an example of and got what he deserved, etc.

No, you aren’t picking up what I’m putting down. I’m saying that rules are that he has to pay a fee. And also state that there is no “Oh wait, I think I’ll pay that fee now” business. Pay it up front or deal with it. He says in the video essentially “I didn’t pay the fee, but figured that they’d put it out for me.” Well, they didn’t. He gambled and lost. That is far different from saying he deserved it in any shape way or form. He. Lost. Everything. He. Owned. That is a serious blow for anyone.

The flood insurance (didn’t mention anywhere about car insurance) is similar. You buy it so that when a flood comes, you’ll be covered. You can’t buy it retroactively and guess what, if you are flooded and haven’t paid for it, you lose everything as well.

Rightwingguy on October 6, 2010 at 5:38 PM

I just heard my Dad’s voice in my head — a discussion we had over 30 years ago — and I think it’s applicable to this situation.

When I was in High School, there was a boy I knew who needed a ride to school every day. It wasn’t on the way; in fact, it was quite a bit out of the way. But my parents had made a car available to me, and I wanted to help, so I offered to go by every day and take him to school.

After a couple of weeks, my Dad called me in and sat me down, and asked about the increase in miles driven and gas used. I explained the situation, how I was helping this friend.

Dad paused for a moment, and said

“Son, I’m proud that you want to help someone. Kindness and generosity are wonderful traits, and I know that’s where your heart was.

But YOU are not being generous when you put wear and tear on MY car, and take an increased risk of getting MY car in an accident, and burn MY gas in the process. If this boy needs a ride, send him around to talk to me, and in all likelihood I’ll be generous to him. But use of my car, even with you behind the wheel, is not yours to give.”

It was an eye-opener for me. I wasn’t being generous. It wasn’t costing ME anything. I was getting all of the praise for being a generous, great guy; and I was getting to drive more, which in my High School days was exactly what I wanted to do. But my Dad was bearing the risk and expense.

It’s easy to be generous with someone else’s resources. Easy for posters here; easy for the deadbeats of Obion County; would have, no doubt, been easy for the Fire Chief of S. Fulton. And yet wrong.

RegularJoe on October 6, 2010 at 5:43 PM

Bizarro No. 1 on October 6, 2010 at 2:57 PM

Part II. (Sorry, hit the submit button when I wanted the preview.)

My entire point is this. We all have personal responsibility to take care of our business. While we are blessed with compassionate strangers, it is illogical to depend on the kindness of strangers because there are jerks in this world. The cop that pulls me over for speeding may let me go with a warning and he may not. I can’t depend on his kindness, I have to obey the laws of the road so I won’t get pulled over

So, you may be saying that getting pulled over is different from having your house burn down. Agreed. But Mr. Cranick was depending on the fact that those firefighters would feel compassion and save his home and let this one just slide. They didn’t. Oops!

My argument in sum is that we all need to take responsibility for our business. If you have a fee assessed to have fire protection, pay it. If not and the people who respond are heartless jerks who have no problem letting you get shafted, then the reason you are in that position isn’t because you were forced into it. It’s a result of your own actions and decisions.

Responsibility: It’s what governs our society.

Rightwingguy on October 6, 2010 at 5:45 PM

To me, real conservatism is about getting things done, to put it simply.
Those claiming to be conservatives on here, yet saying a $75 fee not paid in a given year, or a box not checked or a form not filed, is enough to justify sitting and watching a man’s house burn to the ground are driving me nuts.
If you believe that because form 22a1b wasn’t filled out and submitted in triplicate to your local government is a good reason for firemen to watch a man’s house burn you are not a conservative.
Let me repeat. You are not conservative.
That would make you a big government liberal.
Conservatives get things done. Liberals bitch because a form wasn’t filed or a fee wasn’t paid.
Choose your side.

12thMonkey on October 6, 2010 at 5:46 PM

I think I’ve seen the flood example a couple of times here, and I’d like to address that.

Certainly, if you have flood insurance available, and you choose not to pay for it, and you’re hit by a flood, you’re in trouble. As you should be.

However, that having been said, if I were genuinely capable, using resources that you did not pay for, to save your home from a flood… I would do it without hesitation.

Sitting and watching your house flood to the second story, were I able to prevent it in some fashion, is simply inconceivable to me in a civilized society. And doing so to teach everyone that they need to pay more in fees to a particular level of government even more so.

To me, if you have no health insurance and experience a stroke, I would not shut the door in your face. I would do my best for you under the circumstances. However, if you come to me demanding a breast augmentation or your teeth fixed, we’re going to have another discussion entirely.

12thMonkey on October 6, 2010 at 5:54 PM

But you continue to enjoy your layers of government as they make us all as useless and inefficient as possible.

12thMonkey on October 6, 2010 at 5:36 PM

Whatever castles you may have constructed in the sky, the fact is that jurisdictions DO exist. Taxes — real, honest-to-goodness moolah — is exacted by compulsion from the citizens of South Fulton, in order to fund a Fire Department for their benefit. It is a legitimate form of government, one the people of the city have, through their elected representatives in the city council, supported. The people — again, through their representatives — have also outline the rules for use of that resource: it is to be used for fires in the city, and fires on the property of those who pay an annual $75 subscription.

Perhaps you simply don’t believe in representative government.

Or perhaps you think that any resource that exists, even if paid for by a small group of individuals, must be available for universal, communal use.

BTW, can you please tell me, how many of the 30,000 county residents the 2500 city residents are actually responsible for taking care of?

RegularJoe on October 6, 2010 at 5:54 PM

However, that having been said, if I were genuinely capable, using resources that you did not pay for, to save your home from a flood… I would do it without hesitation.

Sitting and watching your house flood to the second story, were I able to prevent it in some fashion, is simply inconceivable to me in a civilized society. And doing so to teach everyone that they need to pay more in fees to a particular level of government even more so.

To me, if you have no health insurance and experience a stroke, I would not shut the door in your face. I would do my best for you under the circumstances. However, if you come to me demanding a breast augmentation or your teeth fixed, we’re going to have another discussion entirely.

12thMonkey on October 6, 2010 at 5:54 PM

yes, of course, we would ALL, as individuals, wear ourselves out to help a fellowman. The question is whether we will COMPEL OTHERS to do so, whether they want to or not — whether we will take that which belongs to them. Whether, as I suggested above, it’s okay to be generous with someone else’s wealth.

RegularJoe on October 6, 2010 at 5:57 PM

To any latecomers; we can save a lot of time if you will read THIS account from the local paper before commenting further. There is so much misinformation (and missing information, which is just as bad in this case) in national accounts, it’s pathetic.

RegularJoe on October 6, 2010 at 6:00 PM

And this is the problem in a nutshell.
You believe that the government imposing arbitrary districts and lines of jurisdiction is preferable to actually accomplishing things.

That’s some different brand of conservatism than I’m aware of.
The reason I like less government is because I believe it adds layers of inefficiencies and waste and incompetence, as we see in this example. Your world apparently prefers police to stand on a street corner while they watch your house be burglarized because it’s a different jurisdiction.

My conservative world believes police and firefighters are there to take care of their job, not have their hands tied by bureaucrats miles away.

But you continue to enjoy your layers of government as they make us all as useless and inefficient as possible.

12thMonkey on October 6, 2010 at 5:36 PM

This wasn’t layers and layers of bureaucrats miles away, this was the local governments, those most responsive to the people wants. They are the ones who set up the system, they are the ones who created the rules based on the wants and needs of their constituents.

One of the reasons jurisdictions exist is to allow people to set up different rules based on their priorities and desires. If town “A” wants a smoking ban but Town “B” doesn’t, without jurisdictional lines the police from town “A” are free to arrest people in town “B” who are smoking in a restaurant in town “B”. The lines exist to allow both people to live how they want and to allow other people to make the free choice as to whether they prefer town “A”‘s rules or town “B”‘s rules.

On a grander scale this is the same reason for boundary lines between countries exist so using you’re own logic they should be abolished. Well that’s one way to fix the illegal alien issue in the States; no borders, no problems. I myself prefer clear cut borders and jurisdictions where people know what rules apply and where and are able to make their own choices using such knowledge and to live by their decisions, but to each his or her own I guess.

Bic667 on October 6, 2010 at 6:15 PM

Bic667 on October 6, 2010 at 6:15 PM

Bravo. Well said. Jurisdictional boundaries are property rights, writ large.

RegularJoe on October 6, 2010 at 6:29 PM

RegularJoe on October 6, 2010 at 5:57 PM
Bic667 on October 6, 2010 at 6:15 PM

Although you both seem to be arguing that you are conservatives, I’m going to ask you both a very simple question.

If government were taken entirely out of the equation in this situation, either through a privately-funded fire fighting service or through an entirely volunteer based system involving neighbors with buckets… do either of you believe this man would have received some assistance, or no?

12thMonkey on October 6, 2010 at 6:34 PM

Fixed. No charge; it seemed like the compassionate thing to do.

RegularJoe on October 6, 2010 at 5:25 PM

You are a good comrade…they will honor you for your service to the government. You have been well educated. The vules must be followed, without exception or yu vill be punished!!

right2bright on October 6, 2010 at 6:36 PM

12th Monkey – the man DID get assistance from people. Just not from the government of a city to which he does not contribute taxes, and with whom he declined to enter a contract for services.

—————

right2bright – as long as “the government” is through duly elected representatives, it by God BETTER obey its own laws! How does that expectation make me a “Comrade”?!? That is freakin’ insane.

I’m just not a fan of petty tyrants deciding they know better than the people what to do with the public treasury. And that’s what you are advocating. The City Council — representing the people of South Fulton — passed an ordinance prescribing the use of the Fire Department. Neither the dispatcher, the Fire Chief, nor the Mayor had any right to use that resource — the PEOPLE’S resource — in any other way.

Think of it this way; imagine President Obama decided to send the PLA, say, 50 tanks and, oh, 100 Patriot missiles to help them resist the “occupation” of “Palestine”. No congressional approval; no authorization; he just — gives them. Done. He saw something that needed doing (in his opinion), so he did it. Boom. Didn’t let pesky “rules” get in his way!

How would you feel about that? Heck, maybe you think that pesky ol’ Constitution is nothing but a big buzzkill. If so, we have nothing further to discuss.
————–
I give up trying to talk like an adult to petulant children. To quote Mr. Green from Clue, “I’m going home to sleep with my wife.”

RegularJoe on October 6, 2010 at 6:50 PM

BTW, can you please tell me, how many of the 30,000 county residents the 2500 city residents are actually responsible for taking care of?

RegularJoe on October 6, 2010 at 5:54 PM

Absolutely none.

The question is whether we will COMPEL OTHERS to do so, whether they want to or not — whether we will take that which belongs to them.

No, we shouldn’t.

You guys seem to be arguing little picture bureaucratic BS while some of us on here are arguing big picture problems.

Little picture: Slob didn’t pay his $75 to the gubmint. Let his house burn. Show the other slobs they needs to pay.

Big picture: We already pay outrageous sums to every level of government and get nothing out of it. I fund company takeovers, bank bailouts, foreign aid, welfare checks, government pensions… but can’t get a fireman to put out the blaze on my home.

You see the problem here yet?

You keep arguing that you’re conservative and whimpering about how he didn’t pay up to the city so screw him, and technically, you’re absolutely right.

But if you can’t see the big picture on how taxpaying citizens get screwed over, constantly, by every level of government, please stop suggesting you’re conservatives.

You’re not.

12thMonkey on October 6, 2010 at 7:00 PM

Sorry, I just realized one more thing that MUST be said –

If government were taken entirely out of the equation in this situation, either through a privately-funded fire fighting service or through an entirely volunteer based system involving neighbors with buckets… do either of you believe this man would have received some assistance, or no?

12thMonkey on October 6, 2010 at 6:34 PM

If government were taken out of the equation, there would be no fire department to fight ANY fire, in South Fulton, or in Obion Country.

You seem to be under the illusion that conservatism is the equivalent of anarchy. Quite the contrary. To quote the Declaration of Independence,

to secure these rights [to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness], Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

“The governed” in this case are the citizens of South Fulton. Anyone who doesn’t want that “arbitrary layer” of government can move outside of it, at which time they owe it no tribute. BUT — they cannot expect it to “secure these rights” for them, either.

You seem to be under the illusion that conservatism is the equivalent of anarchy. Quite the contrary. A conservative government secures the rights of the individual. It is a GOOD thing. Too bad the government of the county residents didn’t secure their rights; but ultimately, that’s not the problem of the citizens of South Fulton.

And right2bright — the “just powers” of the S. Fulton City Government must be derived from the consent of the governed. If they do something they are strictly forbidden to do, by the elected representatives of that city, the next clause of the Declaration comes into play:

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,…

RegularJoe on October 6, 2010 at 7:03 PM

12th Monkey – the man DID get assistance from people. Just not from the government of a city to which he does not contribute taxes, and with whom he declined to enter a contract for services.
RegularJoe on October 6, 2010 at 6:50 PM

Yes, I know. The GOVERNMENT did not help him out. I get that part.

Again, let me ask…

If government were taken entirely out of the equation in this situation, and the firefighters that arrived were either a privately-funded fire fighting service or an entirely volunteer based system involving neighbors with buckets… do you believe this man would have received some assistance, or no?

12thMonkey on October 6, 2010 at 7:08 PM

Big picture: We already pay outrageous sums to every level of government and get nothing out of it. I fund company takeovers, bank bailouts, foreign aid, welfare checks, government pensions… but can’t get a fireman to put out the blaze on my home.

You see the problem here yet?

You keep arguing that you’re conservative and whimpering about how he didn’t pay up to the city so screw him, and technically, you’re absolutely right.

But if you can’t see the big picture on how taxpaying citizens get screwed over, constantly, by every level of government, please stop suggesting you’re conservatives.

You’re not.

12thMonkey on October 6, 2010 at 7:00 PM

AAAAARRRRGGGHGHHH!!!!!! Do you ever LISTEN to yourself?!?

Okay, you pay and pay to government. So do I. So, since you pay and pay, you expect it to cover everything.

Well, let me give an analogy. I pay a car payment. And licensing fees. And insurance. And gas. And maintenance. And parking fees. So when my car breaks down, by golly, that mechanic ought to fix it for free! After all, I’ve paid and paid and paid….

Think of it from the perspective of the poor sap in South Fulton. You don’t think HE is paying and paying and paying? More so than the county guy, I guarantee you. But you think nothing of appropriating his tax money to provide for someone who doesn’t live in that city???

Taxes that we pay and pay and pay don’t just go into one big barrel that magically never runs dry. We pay taxes into a whole BUNCH of little buckets, and some not so little; and each one has a finite amount of money to accomplish a finite task. Some of that money the city-folk paid was to fund a fire department. It’s paid for by city people to put out city fires. They are kind enough to offer, to people in the county, the opportunity to join that club. They don’t have to; but they do.

Then some guy who never paid his dues wants to use the clubhouse, and the club says “sorry; members only”. And you think — even though they have invited him EVERY YEAR to join the club — that they are the bad guys.

I’m going out of my freakin’ mind. I didn’t want to think the other side in this argument was stupid; but now I’m not so sure you’re even SANE.

RegularJoe on October 6, 2010 at 7:11 PM

If government were taken out of the equation, there would be no fire department to fight ANY fire, in South Fulton, or in Obion Country.

You seem to be under the illusion that conservatism is the equivalent of anarchy.

No, I’m not.

I guarantee you that a private, for profit, organization that showed up at his doorstep while he was screaming he’d pay anything to save his house would have put out the fire and made a pretty penny while doing so.

Instead, because of the benevolent hand of government, they were told not to and his house burned to the ground.

I don’t think conservatism is about anarchy. I think it’s about efficiency and freedom.

In this case, the firefighters were allowed to act in a way that was neither efficient nor free.

12thMonkey on October 6, 2010 at 7:14 PM

Again, let me ask…

If government were taken entirely out of the equation in this situation, and the firefighters that arrived were either a privately-funded fire fighting service or an entirely volunteer based system involving neighbors with buckets… do you believe this man would have received some assistance, or no?

12thMonkey on October 6, 2010 at 7:08 PM

Okay, then, again let me reply:

If government were taken out of the equation, there would be no fire department to fight ANY fire, in South Fulton, or in Obion Country.

Understand? No government, no fire department. No fire department, no “firefighters”. The firefighters wouldn’t have arrived, because they wouldn’t exist. Just people with garden hoses. Which is what they had. Your question doesn’t make any sense — it’s like asking “if I didn’t have a car, would it be out of gas?”

Please, please — THINK before you post again. Please. At least it will give me time to get out the door.

RegularJoe on October 6, 2010 at 7:15 PM

I guarantee you that a private, for profit, organization that showed up at his doorstep while he was screaming he’d pay anything to save his house would have put out the fire and made a pretty penny while doing so.

Instead, because of the benevolent hand of government, they were told not to and his house burned to the ground.

I don’t think conservatism is about anarchy. I think it’s about efficiency and freedom.

In this case, the firefighters were allowed to act in a way that was neither efficient nor free.

12thMonkey on October 6, 2010 at 7:14 PM

Okay, so you didn’t read the article I linked to. Here it is again.

http://www.nwtntoday.com/news.php?viewStory=46801

Please inform yourself. The city used to allow just such a deal — in fact, they gave county people a BARGAIN — a flat rate of $500 to fight their fires. Unfortunately, they had a pay-up rate of less than 50%. And before you suggest they could place a lien on the property, the city doesn’t have the authority to place liens on county property.

RegularJoe on October 6, 2010 at 7:19 PM

So, since you pay and pay, you expect it to cover everything.

No, I don’t.

But if firefighters on my doorstep are not allowed to put out a fire while I’m throwing money in the air at them, it’s not good for anything.

But you think nothing of appropriating his tax money to provide for someone who doesn’t live in that city???

The problem here is that multiple levels of government, all of which are being fed, are unable to provide the most basic services to people in this country. But yet they install multi-billion dollar schools, public swimming facilities, parks…

ell, let me give an analogy. I pay a car payment. And licensing fees. And insurance. And gas. And maintenance. And parking fees. So when my car breaks down, by golly, that mechanic ought to fix it for free! After all, I’ve paid and paid and paid…

And if you paid all of this and you pull out of your driveway and wreck your car because of a pothole the city couldn’t fix due to lack of funds, you’d damn well better be pissed.

I didn’t want to think the other side in this argument was stupid; but now I’m not so sure you’re even SANE.

Settle down, sparky.

I agree he didn’t pay his miserable little $75, and I agree that the city he does not belong to and does not pay taxes to owe him nothing.

What I am saying is that when all is said and done, after all of the government layers and fees and taxes, the average citizen in this country, one who abides by the law and pays their taxes, gets little to nothing in return.

You seem to be able to focus in on this slob’s $75 idiocy, but you can’t see how the rest of the layers in this mess are breaking down all around.

12thMonkey on October 6, 2010 at 7:26 PM

Understand? No government, no fire department. No fire department, no “firefighters”.

Now I’m starting to understand. You can’t imagine a situation where problems are resolved without jurisdictions and departments and fees and taxes. All right then.

Again, I’m arguing that instead of making things better, all of the above made things worse in this situation.

Please inform yourself.

Please, please — THINK before you post again. Please.

Yes, thank you. I’m glad you’re here to set me straight.

12thMonkey on October 6, 2010 at 7:36 PM

but now I’m not so sure you’re even SANE.

I like this idea that everyone who disagrees with you is either not informed or not sane. Can I subscribe to your newsletter?

Here are a couple of articles at the NRO Corner.
I guess they should check in with you before they write, eh?

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/248665/re-pay-spray-jonah-goldberg

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/248672/re-re-pay-spray-daniel-foster

12thMonkey on October 6, 2010 at 7:47 PM

Beating a Dead Horse!

As a former Fireman, I’d remind the bunnyhuggers hereabouts that the City’s fire plan, and risk insurance coverage for first reponders, dictates, where, and who is served by their Fire Dept.. Evidently the City Manager communicated this fact to the Fire Chief.

To presume there is liability insurance coverage for injured or killed fireman, who are functioning outside the terms of the City’s insurance contract, reveals the ignorance of those who would have them RUSH-IN to fight any and every fire in the adjacent county — fires which could prove lethal to uninsured personel.

Fact is the turd aka homeowner, not only refused to pay a lousy $75 bucks for fire protection, it was his careless, if not criminally negligent(no fire watch) burning of his household trash that started the blaze that consumed his trailer! Fluck him and the Nag he rode in on!

“Let’s Roll”

On Watch on October 6, 2010 at 7:58 PM

12th, you seem to be discounting the notion that what was going on was Cranick claiming that he’d be willing to “pay anything” for them to do it after the fact.

But we have hard evidence that when the bargain price of $500 per incident was offered before, less than half of the people actually paid it.

Do you have evidence that Cranick really did have the “anything” available as cash-on-hand ready to pay BEFORE they started fighting the fire?

This is the same Cranick that already had one “gimme” given to him by this fire department, when they let him slide on the fact that he hadn’t paid his fee before his earlier chimney fire. They let him pay the fee retroactively, and despite all of the efforts that South Fulton goes through to ensure people know it’s time to pay their annual fee again… he conveniently “forgot” to pay it again, and had another fire.

Cranick was trying to game the system, to the detriment of the fire department. What attitude did he develop after they generously let him “bend the rules” the first time?

“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.

If they continued to induce this moral hazard by repeatedly putting out fires when people are choosing to gut the funding for this fire department, certain that they can free-ride on the good will of the firefighters, there is one obvious conclusion.

Payment rates will fall drastically, because a huge number of those folks won’t pay a $75 fee if they don’t have to.

That is the big picture, not the small one.

Your “big picture” seems to be an incoherent mishmash about too many other things being on your plate w/r/t government fees, but that has nothing to do with this circumstance.

You can either induce the moral hazard, or stop inducing it. The city forced the firefighters to stop inducing that hazard, and we now have a vivid illustration for all of the non-compliers in that area. They are serious.

If you don’t do your part in advance (which is the only way that insurance can work long-term), you don’t get coverage.

I’d be happy to see them add an extra per-incident option for those who hadn’t opted for that… with the proviso that the fee is at least $2000. Cash in hand. No promises to pay. This area has far too many that have skipped out on their obligations to just trust that everyone will just do the right thing.

Don’t want to see that happen? Here’s another solution. Start a charity to fund the $75 fee at renewal time for all of those in the outlying county who “forget” to pay on time, and have that charity go back after the fact and present a bill for $100 to the lax homeowners after the fact.

I predict that charity will lose money even though everyone ends up with full fire coverage.

VekTor on October 6, 2010 at 8:31 PM

12thMonkey on October 6, 2010 at 5:54 PM

If you believe that because form 22a1b wasn’t filled out and submitted in triplicate to your local government is a good reason for firemen to watch a man’s house burn you are not a conservative.
Let me repeat. You are not conservative.

Actually it’s the IT-10T form. Filled out in triplicate and notarized. :-)

I think I’ve seen the flood example a couple of times here, and I’d like to address that.

Well, I’ve been trying to use it as an example, without much success apparently….

Certainly, if you have flood insurance available, and you choose not to pay for it, and you’re hit by a flood, you’re in trouble. As you should be.

Yes! You don’t pay for protection, you don’t get it. We are in perfect agreement!

However, that having been said, if I were genuinely capable, using resources that you did not pay for, to save your home from a flood… I would do it without hesitation.

Yes! I would do everything in my power to help those in need. You are 100% correct!

Sitting and watching your house flood to the second story, were I able to prevent it in some fashion, is simply inconceivable to me in a civilized society. And doing so to teach everyone that they need to pay more in fees to a particular level of government even more so.

…now you’re losing me. Weren’t you just saying that if you don’t pay for flood insurance, you don’t get protection?

To me, if you have no health insurance and experience a stroke, I would not shut the door in your face. I would do my best for you under the circumstances. However, if you come to me demanding a breast augmentation or your teeth fixed, we’re going to have another discussion entirely.

So you are saying that dire emergency needs will be met to the best of your ability, yes? Bravo, sir. You are an exemplary human being. No sarcasm intended or implied.

You guys seem to be arguing little picture bureaucratic BS while some of us on here are arguing big picture problems.

Little picture: Slob didn’t pay his $75 to the gubmint. Let his house burn. Show the other slobs they needs to pay.

Wait, I thought you just said, essentially, you don’t pay for flood insurance, you don’t get coverage? So that’s true, but the same thing applied to the fire department is big brother being a big meanie and punishing the little guy?

I hear what you are saying about the intangled government bureaucracy. You are 100% correct.

I hear what you are saying about how unfair and cruel it is for a man to lose EVERYTHING HE AND HIS FAMILY OWNS for $75. You are, again, 100% correct.

My point is that if you reside in an area where such fees are assessed. AND fire-fighting services are contingent on this fee being paid. AND they say, “Hey, pay the fee or no coverage”. AND you don’t pay the fee. AND your house catches fire. AND the FD does nothing to help you. Then yes, the FD is made up of a bunch of jerks. BUT, no one forced you not to pay the fee or reside in an area where such fees are assessed.

I am arguing that at some point in this chain of events, the homeowner made a decision, a gamble if you will, and lost. No one forced him, nor deceived him. Therefore, he is at least partially to blame for the consequences.

We all have to take personal responsibility for our actions. Sometimes, when we make mistakes, generous and kind people help us out. Sometimes jerks are all we get.

Rightwingguy on October 6, 2010 at 8:49 PM

12thMonkey on October 6, 2010 at 5:54 PM

Actually, I’d also like to say that you sound like a fantastic individual and I hope that one day, if/when I make a dumb mistake, that someone as kind and compassionate as you is able to come to my aid.

If not…. well, then I got myself to blame for getting into such a mess in the first place. :-)

Rightwingguy on October 6, 2010 at 8:55 PM

Do’oh!ID-10T form.

(For those not in the know, it spells “idiot” and people make newbies find the ID-10T form. Also grid squares, batteries to sound-powered headphones, bulkhead remover, etc.)

Rightwingguy on October 6, 2010 at 8:58 PM

…Also grid squares, batteries to sound-powered headphones, bulkhead remover, etc.)Rightwingguy on October 6, 2010 at 8:58 PM

…and a few NQPs may still be searching for
a Sky-Hook and Relative Bearing Grease….
as they were last seen head-down tail-up diving the Engineroom bilges, as the duty throttleman did all he could to keep a straight face!

“Let’s Roll”

On Watch on October 6, 2010 at 9:32 PM

You guys on the “S. Fulton should put out every fire in the county” side call us “there has to be a limit” guys heartless bastards. You impugn our sense of justice, our Christian charity, our conservative credentials (which is a RIOT, especially when you are so critical of the government — layers and all — prescribed by our Constitution), and our basic humanity. Then you get bent out of shape because I criticize your argument and your thought process or question your grasp of the facts? Sheesh.

You have utterly refused to address the morality of taking tax money from one group of people and using it, without their permission, to provide services for another group of people. You’ve yet to acknowledge the fact that the city has tried the “second chance” route, and found it unviable. You’ve ignored the relative fairness of expecting a town of 2500 to fund firefighting for a county of 30,000. You’ve ignored the fact that the elected city council, after weighing all options, had enacted a law prohibiting response to county fires where there was no subscription. You haven’t explained how it makes you more moral than me or the Fire Chief that you’re willing to be generous with someone else’s resources.

I still think that you, 12Monkeys, and most of those on your side of this issue are either not aware of the basic facts, not thinking, or not conservative. And that goes for Jonah Goldberg & (to a lesser degree) Dan Foster. I’m a big admirer of Goldberg’s work, but he clearly doesn’t know, for example, that the city had already tried the ‘pay a big fee if you didn’t pay the little fee in advance’ route, and that people would promise to pay but then not do so.

Maybe “insane” is too strong, though. Maybe it’s just immaturity. You see an outcome you don’t like — an outcome NO ONE likes — and need to blame someone. Okay, that’s a normal response. But why not blame the parties that are actually responsible, which are the county of Obion (which failed to act to provide a comprehensive fire service for its constituents) and the Cralicks. They made conscious choices, over a protracted period of time, not to take action to provide for fire service. The city, on the other hand, took positive action, over a protracted period of time, to make that service available, even though they had no responsibility to do so. And yet they are the bad guys?

Consider some of the unknowns: does the city’s insurance cover them if they fight a fire on a property when they had no agreement? How much surplus capacity does the city have? How far was this house from water, should more be needed to fight a fire for one of their residents or paying subscribers? How far was the house from TOWN, should the equipment and men be needed to fight a fire for one of their residents? Honestly, without knowing the answers to these, I don’t see how anyone could conclude that they should have fought this fire.

One final argument I know will come from this: “if they had any decency, they wouldn’t worry about ‘liability’, they’d just help the dude”. Think about this: they go to fight the fire, and a fireman dies. His family sues the city for negligence in his death (fighting a fire that they weren’t supposed to fight, perhaps). Let’s say they win $1,000,000 — not a lot, really. But without insurance, it’s going to cost $400 for every man, woman, boy and girl in that town. Your all-American family of 4 has to pony up $1600. I wonder which of the good Samaritans here would send $100 to help cover that loss? I wonder how many have even LOOKED to see if they can find a fund to help the Cralicks rebuild (I’ve looked; I can’t find one, so far).

I’ll say it again: it’s cheap compassion to be generous with someone else’s dough. And it certainly isn’t conservative.

RegularJoe on October 6, 2010 at 9:56 PM

Rightwingguy on October 6, 2010 at 8:49 PM

First, I’d like to say I’m trying to argue what I believe is the real point here, that a man that I imagine paid through the nose all of his life, because he was an idiot and didn’t acquiesce to yet another government fee, he lost everything he owned–while people were there able to prevent it. I still live in society where, I hope, while no one will be mandated by government to look after each other, we will when able to.

The entangled government bureaucracy, to me at least, is the key point. Without government in this mix, in true laissez faire style, a contract could have been produced, or whatever, and the firefighters could have gone to work. Or else perhaps they would have done so out of charity. The sole reason, I believe, they did nothing was because the next cog in the government machine told them box A wasn’t checked and they needed to stand down.

I also believe that, while I want a tight, small and efficient government, I think an argument can be made that fire fighting is pretty essential to everyone, and may be something that we need to take care of. If I’ve paid for fire protection, but I’m in the middle of circle of a hundred who didn’t, is that fire going to rage all around me until it hits my doorstep, out of control? It may be a good idea for me, who paid, makes sure that the fire on your property is taken care of, even if you didn’t pay.

Wait, I thought you just said, essentially, you don’t pay for flood insurance, you don’t get coverage? So that’s true, but the same thing applied to the fire department is big brother being a big meanie and punishing the little guy?

If I’m a taxpayer in South Fulton, and Cranick says, “Look, I just had a fire… rebuild my house because you didn’t come out.” That’s another conversation entirely. I’m not by any stretch what would be called a “compassionate conservative” but you really need to be a serious hard-ass to have firefighters on his front lawn and refusing to even pee on the fire for him. People don’t typically do that. But government will.

My point is that if you reside in an area where such fees are assessed. AND fire-fighting services are contingent on this fee being paid. AND they say, “Hey, pay the fee or no coverage”. AND you don’t pay the fee. AND your house catches fire. AND the FD does nothing to help you. Then yes, the FD is made up of a bunch of jerks. BUT, no one forced you not to pay the fee or reside in an area where such fees are assessed.

You’re right.

But how much do you pay in taxes, in total, every year, and what do you get out of it? How can we not say that everything is broken when something this basic can’t be addressed? Do we really think this guy is just some kind of welfare mooch who’s never had a job in his life and has been receiving check after check from the state to sit on his ass? I’m guessing the opposite. And you can argue the legalistic specifics of this case and say, Well, he didn’t pay fee X to city government Y, and you’d be correct, but you still didn’t address the problem that 100 fees and 1000 taxes still can’t get water on a house…

To me, the answer isn’t one more fee. If government in general were pared down and we were paying some insignificant amount and he still felt no obligation to pay a fee to some private firefighting company, I’d feel a lot less infuriated about it. To me it is absolute insanity that we can pay as much as we do and still, still, not have basics to show for it.

Damn, that was too long. Sorry. :)

12thMonkey on October 6, 2010 at 10:07 PM

I don’t know that “everything” is broken; but fire service in Obion county is broken. But that’s in spite of South Fulton bending over BACKWARDS to help them try to fix it. But they — the county in general, and Cranick in particular — refused to pay the cost of that service.

As for your assumption that the guy pays tax upon tax and fee upon fee, that may or may not be true (probably not; taxes here in TN are very, VERY low). But the fire department can’t pay for trucks, hoses, salaries, O2 tanks, etc. with “dude sure paid a lot of taxes to other government agencies”. They need actual money, like a big pile of $75 checks.

Finally, the irony of saying that a government that gets no proceeds from the county should provide services anyway is “Laissez Faire” — rich.

Maybe it would help a little if I dispose of this: I’m not opposed to a company providing these sorts of services. Our local ambulances are “Rural Metro”, a private company that contracts with various counties and cities to provide services. I got hit head-on three years ago, and they did an exemplary job. But I’ll challenge you to find one that will work on a fee/service basis. They contract with a county or city, which taxes its citizens and pays them a flat fee for coverage. And if you’re not in that service area, they’re not going to hammer out a contract on the hood of an ambulance. They’re just not going to come. Period.

RegularJoe on October 6, 2010 at 10:24 PM

Maybe “insane” is too strong, though.

Thank you.

Maybe it’s just immaturity.

I guess.

You have utterly refused to address the morality of taking tax money from one group of people and using it, without their permission, to provide services for another group of people.

I have no interest in obligating anyone from another community to pay for my foolishness or for this Cranick’s.

You see an outcome you don’t like — an outcome NO ONE likes — and need to blame someone.

I’m not blaming someone, I’m blaming something. The government bureaucracy that led to this.

I don’t know if you’re a fan or not, but the TEA Party is gaining support because of a general feeling that we’re all just some half-dead corpses for the bureaucrat vampires to feed off of.

When you read this story, you see Cranick as some looter sucking off of the city, and to a certain extent you’re right. When I read this story, I see every level of government funding failing… and government claiming that, well, all it takes is one more fee.

If we could send Milton Friedman’s ghost down there to poke about a bit, I can guarantee you we’d have a solution tomorrow that would not only provide efficient service for the needed areas, but would have a lot of money left over, to boot.

I don’t read this and get the feeling that one more fee will solve things. It’s more of an issue with mismanagement. One more fee/more money is just a crutch that all levels of government fall back on.

One final argument I know will come from this: “if they had any decency, they wouldn’t worry about ‘liability’, they’d just help the dude”. Think about this: they go to fight the fire, and a fireman dies.

I’m not asking for any firefighter to die saving a home. Nor do I believe that paying $75 would entitle me to have a firefighter rush in and die saving burning pictures. If the firefighters assess the situation, and there are no lives to save, and feel they can’t contribute without someone dying, please don’t. That’s not the issue here. And $75 won’t make that better, or worse.

Two questions: Do you fell this whole situation worked well?

Do you feel that, based on your overall level of taxation, you should have some sort of basic fire/police protection?

12thMonkey on October 6, 2010 at 10:45 PM

Finally, the irony of saying that a government that gets no proceeds from the county should provide services anyway is “Laissez Faire” — rich.

No no… they shouldn’t be obligated to provide services for the county. But there most certainly is enough money in the pot to cover some basic essential like firefighting, if it cannot be provided by private means. Stop wasting my money. And I say this to federal, state, county and city levels.

And before you correct me, I understand there is no “pot.” But as a taxpayer who receives very little from what is confiscated from me, that’s mostly irrelevant.

They need actual money, like a big pile of $75 checks.

You’re right. But here’s one of my objections: Is the actual money there, and just being wasted? And I don’t necessarily mean the city, please understand. I mean it’s been taken from us and still can’t provide basic services.

All levels of government have this habit of claiming they need just one more fee or one final tax increase and then they’ve got stuff covered. That’s a crutch and a lie. Most levels of government in this nation are well funded… it’s just a matter of where the funding goes.

I’m not arguing specifics with you about this. I don’t think the city is obligated to pay jack. What I am arguing is the broader idea that after all we pay, we still get mostly nothing. And that making this poor fool the example doesn’t accomplish anything.

Reasonable people could have reallocated funds, could have made agreements between the city and the county, could have done probably a hundred things to get this fixed.

This story to me is just another example of why “Going Galt” makes some sense. What’s even the point of all these levels if still nothing can be taken care of?

12thMonkey on October 6, 2010 at 11:02 PM

I’ve already said that it didn’t work well.

Obion county should have started their own fire department, or contracted with someone — S. Fulton or some private company — and taxed their residents to pay for it. For years, they failed to do that.

Since they didn’t, Cranick should have paid the fee. But for years, he failed to do that.

We all should try to help others. Maybe governments, in some cases, should help others, too. But a government’s first responsibility is to the people it governs.

My last word, then I’ll read replies in the morning: the best, the most generous, the most compassionate have SOME limit to how many they can help, just as surely as a lifeboat has a limit to how many it can carry to safety. Put too many in a lifeboat, and it will sink. Put too many non-paying citizens in the subscription service of a fire department, and it will go broke. And no matter how many people S. Fulton helped, at some point there would be SOMEONE they couldn’t help. They’ve made exceptions before, even for this exact guy; but now they’ve simply hit their limit. And because they declared a limit to their generosity, they’re being crucified. Just not fair.

RegularJoe on October 6, 2010 at 11:05 PM

Do you feel that, based on your overall level of taxation, you should have some sort of basic fire/police protection?

12thMonkey on October 6, 2010 at 10:45 PM

Sorry, I forgot to answer your second question.

Yes, I believe that based upon my level of taxation I should have basic fire/police protection.

But I probably pay a lot more taxes than a guy in Obion county. His county has failed to contract for fire service (or, I’ll bet, a great library system, top-notch schools, or an elaborate system of parks and greenways), so their expenses are doubtless MUCH lower, so their taxes are most likely also much lower.

Ultimately, city, county and state governments can’t print money, so they can only spend what they bring in. Even if it seems like a lot to you or me, they STILL can’t pay out more than they receive.

And with that, I bid you goodnight.

RegularJoe on October 6, 2010 at 11:15 PM

12thMonkey on October 6, 2010 at 10:07 PM

First, I’d like to say I’m trying to argue what I believe is the real point here, that a man that I imagine paid through the nose all of his life, because he was an idiot and didn’t acquiesce to yet another government fee, he lost everything he owned–while people were there able to prevent it. I still live in society where, I hope, while no one will be mandated by government to look after each other, we will when able to.

I agree with you. I would like to think that if I was faced with a situation that could be improved with my action, then I would go for it. I’ve always detested reading about stories where no one acted because everyone was so focused on their own lives that they never once saw that an individual needed help. Reading about someone getting hurt while everyone else watched appalls me.

The sole reason, I believe, they did nothing was because the next cog in the government machine told them box A wasn’t checked and they needed to stand down.

Yep. Totally correct. The argument then becomes if it is so important that box “A” be checked, then what, if any exceptions exist? At what point do we abandon procedure for humanity? It’s a very tricky slope. One that I am not qualified to begin to try and make sense of. I’d like to think that if someone was trapped inside, then the FD would rush to action. After all, service before self is the best thing we can ever hope to accomplish in this life.

I also believe that, while I want a tight, small and efficient government, I think an argument can be made that fire fighting is pretty essential to everyone, and may be something that we need to take care of. If I’ve paid for fire protection, but I’m in the middle of circle of a hundred who didn’t, is that fire going to rage all around me until it hits my doorstep, out of control? It may be a good idea for me, who paid, makes sure that the fire on your property is taken care of, even if you didn’t pay.

Well, yes. It would be extremely short-sighted to pursue such a policy because, arguably, by the time such a fire reaches you, it will be more expensive and hazardous to put out than when it was much smaller and affecting a non-payee. Stomping out a problem earlier on saves everyone time and money.

If I’m a taxpayer in South Fulton, and Cranick says, “Look, I just had a fire… rebuild my house because you didn’t come out.” That’s another conversation entirely. I’m not by any stretch what would be called a “compassionate conservative” but you really need to be a serious hard-ass to have firefighters on his front lawn and refusing to even pee on the fire for him. People don’t typically do that. But government will.

Agreed. Humanity tends to be sucked out when efficiency is the name of the game. Frankly, I don’t want a part of that because I believe that we as human beings should do everything in our power to help each other in a crisis.

But how much do you pay in taxes, in total, every year, and what do you get out of it? How can we not say that everything is broken when something this basic can’t be addressed?

From what I understand, the city itself is largely rural and can’t afford it’s own fire department. I agree that taxes should pay for fire service, but I;d hesitate to dictate what a city can and cannot do because I’m not familiar with it’s resources.

Damn, that was too long. Sorry. :)

LOL. No problem. I’ve written posts just as long. :-)

Rightwingguy on October 6, 2010 at 11:38 PM

As usual in stuff like this, we’re probably much closer in terms of belief than what it first appears. :)

I agree the city has no obligation to Cranick. Nor do the taxpayers of Fulton. Yes, I agree the coutry probably screwed up. Yes, absolutely there are too many looters in our society, and Cranick may indeed be one, I don’t know him.

But in stuff like this, my first inclination is to throw the rocks at the bureaucrats, not the “Regular Joe,” and usually that proves to be the right direction.

Obion county should have started their own fire department, or contracted with someone — S. Fulton or some private company — and taxed their residents to pay for it. For years, they failed to do that.

Since they didn’t, Cranick should have paid the fee. But for years, he failed to do that.

Yes, you’re right (although I’m not sure I agree with the taxes part).

Ultimately, city, county and state governments can’t print money, so they can only spend what they bring in. Even if it seems like a lot to you or me, they STILL can’t pay out more than they receive.

Sure, but to me, that’s the point. Ultimately, they decided to make an example of this man for not paying, what seems to me, a pretty insignificant sum. And it’s a sum that, perhaps with some stern cutting, we could very well manage. We both agree that fire services are pretty basic if we’re going to have a government at all, so what’s in that county budget that maybe isn’t so necessary, after all?

Again, not talking specifics, just a general idea here, because I don’t know enough of the local area, but how would we feel if we started poking about, and discovered that something as basic as fire protection service could have been covered, had the county reallocated some money and/or made a reasonable agreement (which I can’t help but think is entirely possible) with the city in exchange for county fees or some such thing.

Or perhaps there’s State money being blown on trips to the Caribbean (as there was recently in my state) that could be returned to a local area, or even *gasp* to the taxpayers. I’m sure you disagree with my notion of a giant tax “pot” but I use it because if money is being confiscated and wasted at the federal or state level, that’s money that could be used to fund something we might actually need at another level, like fire services. And the reason I keep bringing up our total level of taxation, and where this money is going, and how little we get out of it.

I mean, for just a little less bureaucratic red tape, and maybe a little more efficiency, this fee may not have been needed after all.

And in the end, money could have been re-directed to something a little more necessary, like putting out fires, and an agreement made with the city, and this insignificant additional fee not needed after all.

But instead, to prove a point, the bureaucrats let this poor bloke lose everything. To make sure everyone else paid what I would argue is likely a needless extra fee.

You and I both know we could take a pen to some level of government, and cut out enough to spare for some mutual fire protection agreement between this county and city.

Is Cranick dumb? Sure. Did he take a gamble? Yup, and he lost.

If, in the end, this was a service that could have been funded by wasted county, state or federal dollars, how necessary was this additional fee? And if this additional fee was just a way to keep the bureaucrats from making hard decisions about where to cut… to me that makes this fee very close to some immoral sort of shakedown. And at that point, I don’t know how bad I feel about Cranick just saying, “Another damn fee? Screw it.”

But instead of doing what’s right and reasonable before this became an issue, the bureaucrats would rather just piss on us. That’s my real problem here.

Damn, that was long again. Sorry. :)

12thMonkey on October 7, 2010 at 12:37 AM

Well, of course, if there’s a way to cut other expenses instead of adding more tax, that would be better. I know a little bit about rural county governments in Tennessee, though. They are LOW taxes, LOW budget, NO frills. So I think that’s unlikely, but if they (the county) could pay it without raising taxes, that’d be great.

But I take issue with the notion that they were trying to teach Cranick a lesson or send a message to the county. They have a policy that seems, to me, obviously necessary — that they simply can’t provide fire service to the entire county, unless they get a lot more money. Suppose they did this house. Then the next. And the next. And the one after that and the one after that and the one after that. Suppose after making a thousand exceptions, they finally reached the point where they literally couldn’t afford to do even one more. Is there SOME number they could cover, after which you’d say it’s okay for them to say “no more”?

The other day I was at a restaurant. For at least the 20th time in a week, I was asked if I’d like to add a dollar for worth cause X (different causes; breast cancer, childrens’ miracle network, St. Jude). I stunned the waitress when, for the first time that week, I said “No, I’ve reached the limit of how much I can afford to give away this week.” But the fact is, I had reached the limit of what I could afford. I’m not a tightwad; but I have a finite amount of money. Just like S. Fulton.

RegularJoe on October 7, 2010 at 7:52 AM

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