Today in the news was the story of a man who's home he watched burn to the ground with a group of fire fighters by his side. The man had decided it was not necessary to pay the $75 fee a nearby town charges to extend fire service coverage into the rural area of Tennessee where he lives. When he initially called 911 he offered to pay 'whatever it takes' to save his home. Still the fire fighters did not intervene until the fire threatened his neighbor's property. The neighbor had paid the $75 fee.
No one was inside, no one was hurt, but the man did lose everything. (Lets just hope he didn't skimp on insurance)
This reminds me of a story in the Alaska news a while back of a family who's home was burning and as the fire fighters approached the family was able to watch in horror as the engines turned off their lights, and sirens and turned around. This family was just outside the fire service area, and as I recall had also decided against paying the fee/tax whatever you want to call it.
So this brings up a very important question. Do have the right to refuse services if they want to, and does society owe it to them to provide those services even if they are not paying into the system. In my mind it comes down to 2 words, personal responsibility. The idea that people are responsible for their own actions and decisions and that no one is obligated to save them from it. Now in both cases I understand why the firefighters chose not to intervene. In the Alaska situation as I recall it had to do with them not being insured to fight fires outside the service area if it was not being paid for, and I am fairly certain that a similar circumstance is in effect in the more recent case. In other words the fire fighters were taking personal responsibility. I'm sure it was a hard decision to make, but when its only a loss of property is it worth the possibility of injury or death with no insurance? They seem to have decided its not.
Now we need to ask if the home owners were taking personal responsibility....the answer is no. In these cases the home owners decided a small cost savings was worth the risk of not having fire protection or better yet perhaps thought that if the need ever did arise that they would receive the service anyway. I would not be surprised if, ironically enough, these folks thought of themselves as very 'independent' and 'self-sufficient'. There is a price to pay for such avarice, and if someone does want to walk that path they must be prepared to be RESPONSIBLE for what they may find.
A lack of personal responsibility, or perhaps the illusion of it, is incredible rampant today in American society. We have an entire culture built around escaping blame and pushing it onto others. Its to the point where we can't be responsible for spilling coffee on our self, its not our fault if the coffee wasn't so hot I could have spilt all I wanted to and not burned myself. So I better sue. Or perhaps that its not our fault we lost our home to foreclosure, its not because I purchased more than I could afford its because the loan agent lied about my income to get me the loan. Yes I knew the information was wrong but that's not my fault either.
See where this is going? Nothing bad that ever happens to anyone is their fault, it's always someone else's. Well bad news. Your responsible.....hell your even responsible for things you can't control! Car ran a red light and hit your motorcycle and broke your back? Guess who should have seen it coming? YOU. Someone comes into your yard and is bitten by your dog. Guess who should have had the dog chained? YOU. Someone picks a fight with your son at school and your son ends up hurting the other kid? Guess who should have taught their son not to stick up for themselves. That's right.....YOU.
Sure you can take any one of those examples and try to push the blame on someone else. But the fact of the matter is you are responsible and in most cases the only reason why you'd have a problem is because the other party won't take responsibility. 'Motorcycles are so hard to see', or 'He was speeding!' (how this changes running the red light I don't know...). Nevermind that person should have never been in your yard anyway and was probably up to no good, and nevermind that the other kid started the fight with your son. Their failure is your liability.
Life is most like a game in that its only fun when everyone plays by the same rules. Those who refuse to take responsibility for themselves are a burden on all the rest of us and are often the ones who believe themselves the most responsible, or in the right. However, for the most part (some exceptions exist) they deserve to reap the fruits of their illusion, however rotten they may be.
P.S. I bet he wished he paid the $75 and I'm sure there is a lawsuit in the works against the fire department.