I’m a little late to this thread, but it is a great window into the conservative ‘blame-the-victim’ mindset.
We all heard about the firefighters in Tennessee that refused to put out a fire at someone’s house because the homeowner didn’t pay a $75.00 firefighting fee.
How AMGers reacted was interesting. Many had the reflexive reaction of, hey, this was a failure in personal responsibility. No one’s fault but the homeowners. They’d have let it burn too.
Some, like Naran, and more surprisingly Melvin Udall, showed a little sympathy.
“J Fred,” however, comes down squarely on the side of victim-blaming.
Apparently the guy didn’t think paying the fire protection bill was important. Now he does. Man learns lesson about responsibility.
Don’t worry, though, government will fix the problem. They’ll take over the fire department and make it protect everybody. Free!
Two things notable here. First, having your house burn down is not a lesson in responsibility. It’s cruel and unusual. There are other options. I mean, if homeowners were notified ahead of time and still didn’t pay the fee, the fire department could probably bill $500 as a “non-subscriber use fee.” Then there is still punishment for failure to pay the fee, but it doesn’t mean losing a house and the family pets.
Second, look at J Fred’s last sentence. He sarcastically states that the government will take over the fire department and make it protect everyone for free. Well, yeah! That has worked pretty well for pretty much everyone the last 150 years, don’t you think?
The other thing that amazes me about the situation in Tennessee is that the fire department is assuming a lot of legal liability. What happens when they check the list of paid homeowners and the name is spelled wrong? The address is off? It is bound to happen eventually. If this policy remains in place, eventually they’re going to let the house burn belonging to someone who paid. Mistakes happen!
And then they’ll be facing a big lawsuit for the value of the house. Maybe emotional distress. Is it worth that risk just to stick it to a few people that didn’t pay a $75 fee?
And imagine an even worse scenario: they watch a house burn and, unbeknownst to anybody, there is a person inside. Instant wrongful death suit.
There’s only one thing to say about this policy: It’s stupid. They should put out all fires and sort out the fees later. That is the only human- and to the Department’s insurance carrier, safe- option. And as usual, a lot of AMGers just don’t bother to think it through because they want to jump on the blame bandwagon.