Friday, October 8, 2010

Life in the Sticks

I read articles of righteous indignation and am rarely surprised. I find myself unsurprised by the professionally-outraged nor by the inevitable and eminently predictable comments such articles spawn.

What makes it all so inevitable and predictable? Ignorance. The professionally-outraged earn their sheckles by being outraged. The commenters are generally people seeking to be outraged so that they can vent their righteous indignation and bile. None are really seeking to think or do anything beyond feeling a knee-jerk emotion. And, invariably, the articles and commentary are based on a very limited view of the outrageous situation.

Life in unencorporated areas carries risks. Heavy on the risks are lack of proximity to EMS. Often times, what EMS there is is either purely voluntary or, as in this case, "subscription" based. Again, that's if there's any EMS to be had, at all. It's been this way since before the founding of the country. What works in cities, suburbs and commuter-communities "in the country" just doesn't work in areas of extremely low population densities. It works even less well as the cost of providing EMS goes ever skyward.

Firetrucks and ambulances typically cost six-figures for used equipment. Training for staffs can only be ammortized over a small groups of citizens. Insurance costs, which our litigious society has made increasingly necessary and ever more costly, have to be born by a much smaller pool of contributors.

And, speaking of the issue of insurance, providing service to people who haven't paid their "subscription" can be grounds for an EMS unit losing their insurance coverage - either by straight-up revocation or because their rates became untenable after doing so. So, yeah, it was "heartless" of those mean firemen to standby and do nothing. However, it would have been even more "heartless" for them to have done something that would have cost their entire services-subscribing community from losing their fire services.

Do I think Glen Beck & Co. are utter douchebags for kicking the Cranicks while they are down? Yup, sure do. Do I think the fire department did wrong? Nope: not under the conditions they have to operate under.

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