The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age

    Firefighting and Capitalism, from Marcus Licinius Crassus to Obion County, Tennessee

    Public services, the call to duty and empathy for fellow citizens reach a new low in Tennessee. Even craven rich slave owning ancient Romans were not so odious as to offer no relief whatsoever to victims of a fire.

    Marcus Crassus

    Marcus Licinius Crassus was one of the ten most wealthy historical figures of all time. One of the ways he accumulated his wealth was by organizing one of the first fire brigades in history. When an area of Rome caught fire, Crassus firemen would arrive, not do anything, and would negotiate a price to pay for all the property threatened by the fire.  The price would go down by the minute as the fire continued and consumed the buildings and property. Only when property owners agreed to sell at 'fire sale' prices would the 500 man brigade pull down burning structures and put out the fire. Through the use of his fire brigade Crassus became one of the largest property owners in Rome. A few decades after Crassus death in a battle in Syria, Emperor Augustus organized public firefighting teams to serve all of Rome at public expense.

    Now to 21st century America. Reported on September, 29, 2010, the fire department of Obion County, Tennessee, although on the scene, refused to put out a fire consuming the home of a family who had not paid the $75 annual fire protection fee to the city of South Fulton. The fire department only showed up when the fire threatened the home of a neighbor who had paid the fee. The home owner involved offered to pay any price to the firemen to save their home, but was turned down. Would this happen anywhere else in the world today except in America? In the 'third world', I doubt it!

    The story brings up the question, if there was a person trapped in the home, would the firemen have let them burn too?

    The Firefighters Prayer

    When I'm called to duty God
    wherever flames may rage
    give me strength to save a life
    whatever be its age

    Help me to embrace a little child
    before it is too late
    or save an older person from
    the horror of that fate

    Enable me to be alert
    to hear the weakest shout
    and quickly and efficiently
    to put the fire out

    I want to fill my calling and
    to give the best in me
    to guard my neighbor and
    protect his property

    And if according to your will
    I have to lose my life
    bless with your protecting hand
    my children and my wife.



    Two thoughts:

    1) Now we know the point of origin of the term "crass" - or at least we have a good guess at it!

    2) The South Fulton municipal government officials that would countenance such a thing, and the fire crew that refused to help, deserve to witness their own homes vanishing in flames before their eyes.  I'm NOT advocating anyone taking any such action, just making an observation on what might constitute something close to justice.

    In an interview, the homeowner said he made a choice not to pay the fee.  He has no one to blame buy himself.  He hedged his bets hoping that they would save his home if something were to happen.  I don't think I will ever get in a car crash, but I continue to pay my car insurance payments just in case (and they are far more expensive than a $75 annual fee).  I do not think Gieco partakes in a business policy that allows for people to get insurance after the fact.  In my county, we have a 100% community volunteer fire department.  All members of the community donate their time and/or money for this service, there are no free lunches.  Something tells me everyone inside that area is sending their money in (again a months worth of coffee) in order to protect their homes in event of a fire.

    More Fallout Following House Fire

    South Fulton police arrested one of Gene Cranick's sons, Timothy Allen Cranick, on an aggravated assault charge. When officers arrived at the firehouse Wednesday, South Fulton Fire Chief David Wilds was in an ambulance receiving medical treatment. Police said Cranick was upset firefighters weren't putting out the fire and attacked the chief. The South Fulton city manager said Wilds was treated and released and will recover just fine.

    The incident is shining new light on a policy that's got a lot of people upset. But Union City Fire Chief Kelly Edmison is defending the firefighters in South Fulton.

    "If somebody is trapped in the house we're going to go because life safety is number one but we can't give the service away," Edmison said. "It's not South Fulton's problem. It's not Union City's problem. It's the county's problem. There is no county fire department."

    Libertarians, take note!

    Thanks for the updates. Seems like the old 'its not my job' excuse. Crassus didn't 'give away' his firefighting services either, but he did bargain at the scene of the fire, which South Fulton apparently does not do with county fire victims.

    Which proves beyond the shadow of any doubt that libertarians and the free market right are no better and perhaps marginally worse than the thugs of organized crime. They would make Machine Gun Kelly and Al Capone proud.


    cmaukonen, your a pinhead.  If it wasnt for capitalism there would not be a fire department!  It was capitalism that motivated the inventors of the automobile which produced the fire truck. 

    Having said that, it was Ben Franklin who organized the first fire department in America and he was, for sure, a capitalist.  Capitalist and right wing tugs are not against government they are again intrusive government and the assumption by socialist that the rights of individuals are only granted to you as some bureaucrat sees fit.  No one advocates the absence of government, which would be anarchy.

    I fail to see the note of personal responsibility in the comments on this story.  It sucks that his house burned down but he did have an opportunity to protect himself by paying the $75.  I am wondering where his neighbors are. 

    Why, if they do not want to pay the $75, hasnt someone organized a volunteer fire dept. in the county like many other counties around the country?

    So, socialist countries don't have fire departments?  What's next?  The armed forces standing by while terrorists murder a family that has failed to pay its taxes?  One can easily see where the libertarian capitalist argument is leading us.

    "cmaukonen, your a pinhead."


    If you're going to suggest that someone's intellect does not meet your standards, perhaps you might spend a little time checking your spelling. Just a suggestion.

    Can't possibly answer your 'only in America' question, so I'll guess 'maybe'.  That doesn't make this suck any less, though.

    Thanks for the firefighter prayer.  My son's on a wildland fire right now, and I got on a news site to see whassup with it.  I'ts in beetle-killed lodgepole pines, and they have to dig line among the dry, dry, barely-standing trees, fully aware of the risk of getting trapped by them. 

    Yet most of the comments under the news item and slideshow of the 80-foot high flames and huge plumes were assholes intent on blaming 'eco-nazis' or the FS-gummint for limiting logging, which would have fixed it all up juuuuuust riiiiiiiight ahead of time.

    Our prayers are with him, and that the leader of his team has the experience and the skills to keep them safe.

    And the Weather Gods...thanks for the prayers, NCD.  His boss is experienced, and they all now keep in mind the fourteen Prineville hotshots who died on Storm King Mountain.  Protocols have tightened considerably, and even their shake-and-bake sudden-deploy tents have been improved.  Congress hasn't approved money for a new fleet of air tankers, though, and the old military cargo planes are dying off.

    Like almost all news stories, I have more questions after reading them.  In this instance, I wonder how many subscription fees the fire department received the week after this story.

    The probably got quite a bit as people realized they could pay only $75 to have their house fire put out and not pay taxes, what a bargin!

    Maybe someone could organize a volunteer fire dept?  I would guess it would cost more than $75 per house though.

    Well, I think there is a nuance here that is being missed.  This is a city fire department.  The people who live in the county don't pay taxes that support the fire department and that is why the fee was implemented.  In this particular case, the resident was well aware of the fee and had the money to pay it, but as he Gene Cranick stated  "I thought they'd come out and put it out, even if you hadn't paid your $75, but I was wrong."

    Right now in the area I live we are experiencing massive government cuts because the people decided they didn't want to pay so much in property taxes.  Of course they still want the city and county governments to keep doing what they have been doing.  I don't know Gene Cranick and I am sorry he lost his house.  But there is a part of me that sees this as a cautionary tale to all those who mindlessly say "cut taxes" and "less government is better government." 

    Had the firefighters put out the fire, how many people in the rural area would pay their fees.  And how many would have just waited until they personally needed it and then pay the fee.  The point of such a fee, as well as with taxes in general, in this regard, is that some people will end up paying for a service they won't need.  In essence, subsidizing those who do need the service. And it has worked for a long time.  And people should take pride in this little socialism in their lives, that they helped the whole community be a better place through a financial sacrifice on their part.  (there is the enlightened interest aspect of it that maybe they will need the service)  Just like the person who doesn't have any children pays for the schools.

    Problem is that this smells exactly like the protection rackets run by organized crime. Pay the fee, or else....

    I would agree.  The answer is to impose some form of property tax in the rural areas in order to pay for fire protection.  But that is up to the country officials.  The city government, which receives no money from rural residents shouldn't be obligated to provide free services. 

    In the end, I don't think the firefighters should be made out to be the bad guys in all this.  It was the government officials (basically republicans from the stories I have seen) who created this system.  The firefighters are just playing by the rules of that system.

    I beg to differ with you.  I know of no volunteer from my community that would stand by and watch a house burn.  Shame on you South Fulton, Shame on you.  In our community our "volunteer" fire department responds to all neighboring fires.  Just yesterday we had 5 different fire departments respond to a fire of an abandoned farm home.  To stand by and watch is exactly why Jesus wept.  And for you to blame a republican!!! is my plate of Fudge for U  Our volunteers don't play politics, if it's burning, put it out!  I am crossing Tennessee off my visit list.


    And when the money runs out because everyone expects to receive the service without paying taxes? What then?  Who is going to pay for the upkeep of the fire trucks and the firehouse?  Who will pay the fire fighters?  I can bet you had the fire fighters saved this guy's house a whole slew of people who stop paying their fees.  And that would make Jesus weep because it shows just how selfish so many people are.

    Personally I think $75 a year is pretty reasonable, but as I've said I think there should universal fire service paid through taxes.  Then we don't have to be dependent on the generosity of volunteers. 

    And comparing multiple fire companies each supporting each other in dealing with a blaze to this this situation is offbase.  This is one community that refuses to create its own fire department and expecting another community to cover the costs of the service. 

    Again, I detest this system.  But this is the system that apparently is the will of the people.  They wanted it.  They got it.  Who am I (or you for that matter?) to tell them to adopt my views of community and sacrifice.

    So go ahead and cross Tennessee off your visit list.  I did a long time ago. 


    People who say "less government is better government" do not mean "No Government."  The first fire dept was started by Ben Franklin and he was for sure a capitalist.

    If I had been there I would have helped the guy if we had to run every water hose in the neighborhood to the fire but doesnt this guy have some responsibility in the matter?  His admission that he planned to not pay and expect services anyway should irritate people too, but no one has taken note of that.

    How about someone start a fund in the county to pay the $75 for families who do not have the ability to do so or forget to.  Government is essential for capitalism to function properly. 

    Government however is not what made this country the greatest, most prosperous, charitable, force for freedom in the world, it was CAPITALISM!

    TANSTAAFL (There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch)

    Actually, what I grasp from this is that the fire department came out for free to make sure no one was hurt or killed.

    I think that's pretty admirable, considering the risks that firefighters run.

    But once it was clear that no lives or limbs were in danger, they didn't risk their lives to save property. That's harsh, but on the other hand the homeowners were expecting the fire department that they refused to fund to risk firefighters' lives saving their house. That's an extraordinary thing to expect.

    I'm all for nice, socialized public safety services, and I don't believe in regressive taxes like the fees this county is using to paty for fire safety. I believe bottom-line services should be provided through a sliding scale of taxation. And I certainly feel badly for the loss of this family's home.

    But this has become a country where we expect services given to us for free, and claim to be victims of oppression when we are asked to pay for those services through taxes. You can't be a libertarian at tax time and a socialist whenever you want something.

    You can't be a libertarian at tax time and a socialist whenever you want something.

    Well put.  I think that kind of sums of a big part of what I was trying to say. Maybe put this on a large bumpersticker.  Because the thing is, this exactly what a lot of people want to be.


    You can't be a libertarian at tax time and a socialist whenever you want something.
    To which I would add, you also can't be a socialist for yourself and a libertarian for others. You want to cut something, give up something you value, don't just try to take things from others.

    Yet in this case one could argue that some thing was not taken from someone.  What occurred was one governmental entity created the capacity for a service which could be provided beyond the those who collectively created it.  That same entity offered the opportunity for those outside its jurisdiction to join the collective (do you think $75 really covers the cost of putting out a house ablaze?).  An individual chose not to participate, expecting to reap the rewards of the sacrifice of the collective without supporting personally supporting it.  And this was a person who was in position to support it at the asking price, so to say. 

    Personally I think the system is a terrible path to walk down.  But seemingly no one had a problem with it as far as I have seen far in the reporting until one aspect of the system came to light. 

    It was wrong in the initial premise, first.  The premise that there is no such thing as a public good, expressed in the a la carte government service menu, is wrong - on more than enough levels.

    Elsewhere, I have seen people raise, quite rightly, the notion that a simple clerical error could cost someone a home even when they have paid.

    The actions of the fire department, and the municipality and county in turn, are utterly indefensible, and I refuse to try to make any effort whatsoever to rationalize or understand them.  To do so would be a step in the direction of moral suicide.

    First off as I have said already, I utterly disagree with this approach to essential services.  Of course there is public good, and I would say that very emphatically, including to the homeowner who wouldn't part with his $75 for the public good, just as will and do to those who rail against the concept of taxes.  So I agree it with you that it sucks for reasons like a clerical error.  

    As someone else made in a comment else, and I pose as a question to you- what you say if the fire department was off tending a five-alarm charity fire out in the county and your house in the metropolitan area burned down because they didn't have enough go around.  I'm sure you'd be hey, i'll sacrifice my house for the common good by denying myself the services I paid through taxes so people who didn't were taken care of.

    There are a lot of scenarios - the bottom line is that the rural residents are unwilling to tax themselves to provide the service that is so essential - and this is the key to provide it through financial contributions even though one may not actually use the service in one's life.  In my forty-five years I have never needed the fire department but I have gladly paid all those years of taxes that have helped support it.  And why we're at it why doesn't Minnesota take care of Michigan highway infrastructure.  If they resist - yell think of the common good.

    And their actions are defensiable because - wait for it - the people were okay with it.  I haven't seen anything where this was protested.  The people voted from what I can see mainly republicans into power and now they get what they have sown.  Welcome to freakin' democracy at its tea party best.  Maybe next election they'll vote in some socialist democrats who will actually craft policies aimed at the public good.

    But if you're willing to write a check to the fire department for any budget overruns I am sure they'll be willing to do all the charity cases, including all the false alarms.

    Personally, I cannot envision the poorest (Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist?) village in some 3rd world country letting someone's house burn down, when they had whatever fire fighting capability they had there and ready to go, for any reason whatsoever. The villagers might be bigger on compassion, practicality and action than the average (Christian?) American community, which too often have a surfeit of talk, excuses and bean counting.

    Okay lets burn the firefighters at the stake - i guess pun intended.  Where is the compassion of the rural area folks who couldn't part with a few dollars to help fund essential fire services.  Why aren't you bashing them.  The more I think about the more pissed I get at this guy.  He knew about the fee and could afford it, but thought "naw, they'll do it for free."   The fire trucks that came rolling out to the scene were not like that of the poorest village.  It costs lots of money to purchase and maintain them.  And those firefighters need to make a living.  The last time I looked progressives were living wages.  But screw that.  Give 'em minimum wage and work with a skelton crew.  They can live like those in a poor third world village.  Because what's important is well-off folks in rural areas need free fire service if that is their fancy.

    As I've said, this system is awful. The true sign of the worst that libertarians have to offer.  But it is the system the voice of the people have put into place.  And to villify the firefighters is just knee jerk anybody-representing-the-system-is-evil crappola.  They didn't ask for the sucky system.  But they have to work with it so that they can remain viable and continue to operate to provide the greater good given their limited resources.

    No one made this guy live in the County rather than in town did they?  He choose to live in the county and not pay for Fire Coverage at the outrageous price of $75 per year!  What a rip-off!  Maybe he didnt think his house would ever catch fire?

    Third world countries don’t have fire departments; the shacks they live in can be rebuilt in about 20 mins.  They do not have the option to pay $75 to have fire protection because there is no fire dept.  They also would not have had this problem because they cook outside over a fire and those 50 gallon drums he was using would be premium appliances. 

    Besides, what was this guy doing burning in his dry back yard without a water hose close by and someone watching the fire?  I bet they walked off and left it burning and didn’t think about the possibility of it spreading.

    Now we know where to go for detailed information on village life in the poorest districts of the 3rd world-Capitalistpig!!

    My point was not to compare fire fighting technology of Tennessee to the 3rd world you dimwit, but the willingness to help a neighbor with whatever fire fighting capability available, action to aid those in distress being a supposed Christian trait.

    The irony is that 2,000 years after Roman Emperor Augustus formed the first universal fire fighting service in Rome, Americans can blow so much hot air on whether a fully equipped fire truck should fight a home fire. This in a country where so many vote for GOP gay bashing-abortion blathering-mosque hating-terrorist scaring-war starting-freedom spreading corporate funded politicians who claim they 'protect us'.

    What do you expect though in a country where a President trying to ensure health care coverage for all its citizens creates cries of rebellion among the delirious Fox News zombies of the former Bush Base?

    I appreciate your remark about one's willingness to help a neighbor....but then you go on to bash me for being a Republican!  You gonna ask for my voter's registration card before you help me?  Shame shame.  I wouldn't dream of asking for YOUR voters registration card before I helped you.  Our president is waving his magic wand and promising YOU something for nothing and you fall for it!   While his wishes are noble, they are not feasible and there were many other ways he could have helped the un-insured.  Bow to him. Bow.

    To each and every fire fighter from South Fulton....How do you sleep knowing what you did?  The tables will surely turn and bad kharma will come back to you threefold.




    You're not making any sense - you attack Obama because he is promising something for nothing, then attack the fire fighters because they refused to give the homeowner something for nothing.  Get your wires uncrossed dude.

    He promised YOU something for nothing....with MY money,   I repeat, anyone who can stand there and watch a house burn down, knowing they can help, and still refuse, is an immoral louse./ democrat. "Not unless I get sompfin fer it" Pig  "Not unless I get sompfin fer it"

    "Not unless I get sompfin fer it". 

      A REAL firefighter gives something for nothing EVERY DAY!  And the fact that you don't get that is really really really sad.



    The only real fighter fighters I have met (knowing there are volunteer fire fighters out there) expects their paycheck on payday because they have bills to pay, families to support.  And every fire department I've encountered has to live within a budget.  That money has to come from somewhere.

    What is sad is that you in your infinite desire to avoid the fact that taxes are needed in a modern world (as well it seems a desire to be uber righteous) will villify hardworking fire fighters who are only trying to maintain the economic viability of their firehouse so that they can continue providing their critical and heroic services to the community that supports them.   

    I must appologise, I did not mean to come across as Uber righteous.  My shock has faded as I learn more about the community.  My community and our neighbors run volunteer fire departments.  Our guys are the best, and I guess it's a brick up side the head that other communities are so screwed up.  Our volunteers hold events to raise money, and a couple times a year they pull out the boots for donations.  I don't see the heroism in this particular case of "paid" firefighters just doing their job watching a human's house burn down.  It's sad that no neighbors jumped the flaming fence to help.  Apparently this man deserved what he got, and when the little old lady with oldtimers forgets to send the check it's gonna be OK to watch her house burn too,  No heroes here folks.

    If you want to talk about bowing, which no one has done here, you can go bow to Rupert Murdoch, since you are a Republican you are working for him, and voting for his interests every time you pull the GOP lever.

    Oh, and I would rather see this country affording health care for those who don't have it, and fire department service in rural areas, than wasting TRILLIONS on a fool's mission to 'spread democracy' in places where it will not work and wasn't asked for by the inhabitants, all based on lies spouted by the Great GOP War President, George W. Bush. If you voted for him, the Tinpot Dictator from Crawford, you should be ashamed for the consequences of his disastrous 8 years in office.

    OMG!  A Bush basher!  tee hee.  You got it NCD!  You got it....I will be ashamed of Bush for his last 8 years (feelin' better yet?)  You gonna throw some shame at Bama when he's done with his 4 years?  That is if you still have the right to blog?  Again with the healthcare, we could have fixed it with reform, we didn't need to "force" every single American to do it "your" way.  Don't hate, I don't have insurance.  But I didn't want to make YOU pay for my healthcare.  I wanted to go after the greedy lawyers.  But YOU want to go after me.....thanks alot.



    Have you ever actually visited a third world country? 

    "But it is the system the voice of the people have put into place". 

    Your response absolves the participants from any ethical or moral considerations due to a "system' all ready in place.  The same thinking as that which you advance precipitated the current economic/employment calamity we suffer under.  Those mortgage writers/bankers were only functioning within the parameters of the system.  At some point I would hope people would rebel against such "systems" by exercising their own free will, doing unto others and all that jazz.  We can create just laws.  Even implement safeguards to promote fair treatment.  In the absence of that, can we, must we legislate morality?  I don't think so.  In colonial New York, a printer named Zenger was tried for slander of the crown's governor.  The fact that what he printed was true, had no legal bearing as the laws were written such that any offense given to the King or his representatives was deemed to be slander.  At the outset of the trial, the printer was assumed to be facing a conviction, and was represented by a court appointed attorney following a month's imprisonment.  After the opening statement a man in the gallery stood up and announced that he would be conducting the defense.  It was a lawyer, Alexander Hamilton,  from Philadelphia, who won the case for the defense by adjuring the jury that they were the last line of defense against unjust laws, and it was their right to acquit, in spite of the letter of the law.  Zenger was acquitted by a jury exercising their moral imperative.  Certainly what they believed to be just.  Without conscience, all systems are doomed.


    BTW, Hamilton's victory was the origination of the Phrase "When you're in times of need, you'd better get a Philadelphia lawyer".

    I can't help but recall the folk that thought it was neighborly to protect each other's houses from burglars. Where is that attitude when firefighting is involved instead of shooting? Seriously though, why isn't there a volunteer FD?

    Even a volunteer fire dept. costs quite a sum. They must have a fire truck, personal gear, a station to house it all, and likely some form of injury and liability insurance. They also need trained, dependable volunteers.

    I volunteered for years as a fire fighter.  The department started out with only fundraisers.  An old used fire truck was bought and a 2 1/2 ton Army truck fitted with a tank and pump for the woods.  We bought our own personal equipment used and only had a few air tanks.   The trucks were kept at a local business ready to go.  We trained at other departments as guests and fought many fires until we got some tax money to build a station.  At first before there was a income, when we were called out for a fire the property owner was charged a fee for the service and they or their insurance paid the fee.   Fire departments from other areas always responded when we needed them for large fires. The money for that came from a pool that was set up by the county to cover large fires.  Forestry was always at hand also.   I blame this on the county that these people live in and on them for not at least having a volunteer group to respond at first.    

    What you're speak of is...personal sacrifice for the greater good.  A lot of it.  And what could this guy not do? Write a check for $75 because he figured they'd do it anyways. 

    More information and commentary from Kevin Drum:

    Obion County is very aware of the problem - "A Presentation Regarding The Establishment And Implementation of a County-Wide Fire Department," dated March 18, 2008 (pdf)

    The county commissioners of Obion County apparently decided against this plan. Didn't want to increase taxes, I suppose. As a result, Gene Cranick's house burned down.

    About sums it up.


    No the house burned down because he didn’t pay the $75!  Hello?!

    The article tells how they had this same issue in years past so it should have been easy to conclude they really meant what they said when they told him he needed to pay the fee or he would not have fire protection.  duh?

    Don't duh me. Of course it was a direct result of his not paying the $75.  But the reason that there was a voluntary fee was because they weren't willing raise taxes which would have meant universal fire services for everyone in the country.  My larger point made elsewhere is the bad guys in this is not the fire department, but the idiots that set up this particular policy and the citizens that went along with it. 

    It's worth pointing out that if the county politicians had agreed to a mandatory tax in exchange for universal fire coverage, the cost for everyone would almost certainly have dropped -- to $50, $30, whatever. There might even have been a surplus some years to upgrade and expand firefighting equipment. But CapitalistPig is right, that smacks of socialism.

    Fire insurance policies, at least in the past, factored into their cost the distance to the nearest fire station. I am surprised this guy could by insurance while refusing to pay the $75.00.

    This is so infuriating. They put too much value in money and that freaking policy over the safety and comfort of the unfortunate family. Really dissapointing to know thats how their governing system works.

    ..........[spam removed]


    No, he put the value of the $75 above the value and safety of his home and family.  Everyone acts like he was an innocent bystander in this deal but he precipitated this problem by not preparing for the possibility of a fire. 

    Besides, he started the fire and didnt watch it close enough.  I mean what a dummy!  Start a fire in your back yard and walk off an leave it?  He must have done so because it's not hard to contain a fire in a 50 gallon drum with a garden hose.



    What is the matter with you people?  Granted it sucks that his house burned down and I am all for helping him and his family out because he screwed up!  We all screw up from time to time and he didnt think his house would ever catch on fire or he would have paid the $75, right?

    He set the fire and must not have been watching it very close and did not take action with the garden hose until it was too big to handle.  No one made the guy live in the county or not pay the $75 but it is absurd to blame capitalism on the guys house burning down. 

    There are obviously better ways to set up county fire protection.  Where is their volunteer fire department?  I bet the reason they dont have one is because the other county residents would rather pay the $75 and allow the city to respond to house fires than to fund a volunteer fire department.

    If it wasnt for capitalism there would not be a fire truck.  It was capitalism and the opportunity to better themselves and their families that motivated individuals to develop the automobile.  Henry Ford developed the assembly line to make cars affordable to the average man not out of the goodness of his heart but to make money.  There is nothing wrong with that motive, it have brought us almost all the advancements of the 19th and 20th centuries.  If you look at history just a little you can quickly see that the industrial age was issued  in because Americans had the freedom to pursue any idea they had to develop and sell a product.  That does not mean products can be developed and sold without any social responsibility but that freedom to better yourself it the catalysis that brought about the most prosperous time in human history.  Can we do things better, heck yea.  But that doesnt mean we should scrap the system that has given so many so much for the unattainable, idealistic, and failed system of the collective.  Read about William Bradford.

    So you think this guy didn't pay the $75 because of his socialist leaning?

    It was his greed to hold onto his money for his personal use rather than give it to the collective for a service he might not need that led to this tragedy. 

    The question is one of balance.  Why are there anti-trust laws?  Because capitalism is such a wonderful system?  Why do we have to have food inspectors?  And on and on?  And how do we ensure the regulations and other protections are enforced?  And it goes beyond just capitalism.  If your neighbor is creating a fire and health hazard with piling up junk and garbage in backyard, you should be able to call in the authorities to get him to deal with it.  Just as this guys fire threatened a neighbor's property. This deals with larger issues of what responsibility we have to each other, what sacrifices are willing to make for the greater good. 

    We don't know what sort of income he had compared to the expenses he was carrying. There are a lot of people trying to stretch their money right now. He may have been greedy, he may have been trying to make ends meet. I don't disagree that he made a bad choice, but I can't swear that I wouldn't have also done so.

    Based on his statements he had the money, he just thought they would provide the service even though he didn't pay the $6 a month fee.  We don't know how the fire department would have dealt with someone who came asking assistance because of financial hardship.

    And given the option I might have rolled the dice,too. Human nature being what it is. 

    But the big point of this story for me is - elections have consequences.  People put in county commissioners like these folks did and one will get what they got. 

    A point to be heeded by all those unenthusiastic liberals in places like Delaware and Nevada in my not so humble opinion.

    This story is just incredible.

    I wonder if Crassus' firefighters carried fiddles with them. hahaha

    I got to laugh so I do not cry.

    Sounds like a good tort suit though.

    I do not think the courts would countenance such behavior.

    Somehow this all ties in with Huckelberry and his stand on pre-existing conditions.


    Richard, you do not understand the George W. Bush post 9/11 world.

    We can afford to invade Iraq and turn it into a shining example of a place that had elections creating the second most corrupt country in the world (Afghanistan being the first).

    We can afford to payroll every politician, warlord, poppy kingpin, security force and Army General in Afghanistan AND Pakistan with US taxpayers money. That's all necessary for our 'protection'.

    We cannot afford, or agree on how to provide, fire department services in rural Tennessee!

    May a pox fall on the fire dept  May the fires of Hell ingulf you

    I live in Obion County, I pay the "protection money" every year. I know that it is due in April, I constantly ask my wife, have we paid the protection money this year. I am ok with this funding of rural fire protection.

    these so called "firefighters" are nothing more than gutless cowards.........scum of the earth........South Fulton is now a national well they should be

    Here is the contact information for the Fire Chief in South Fulton whose Fire Fighters let this happen. Feel free to call and v0ice your disgust...

    David Wilds
    117 2nd St
    South Fulton, TN 38257
    (731) 479-0194

    Here is a link to their website too with his picture...

    Because of Unpaid Fee, Firefighters Let Home Burn

    "I just forgot to pay my $75," Cranick told ABC News. "I did it last year, the year before. ... It slipped my mind."

    Because Cranick hadn't paid his fee, firefighters doused the border of his neighbor's property to protect that house in case the flames spread, but wouldn't help him. He lost all his possessions, plus three dogs and a cat. ...

    But one firefighting expert said the fee system isn't fair to homeowners or firefighters.

    "Professional, career firefighters shouldn't be forced to check a list before running out the door to see which homeowners have paid up," Harold Schatisberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, said in statement excerpted by MSNBC. "They get in their trucks and go."


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