Hose Heroes?

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Cops (enforcers of the law) are far from “heroic” . . .  but what about firemen?

Are they “heroes”?

People are taught – pressured – to regard them as such. It has become an almost religious fetish – very much like cop worship. But the image and the reality are two very different things – in both cases.

Like cops, firemen rely on force. And when someone can legally use force to get their way, they tend to become arrogant, entitled and increasingly contemptuous of those whom they “serve.”

Does this sound, er . . . familiar?

You are probably forced to pay for fire “services” in your community. Just as you are forced to “help” pay for law enforcement, even if you yourself feel no need for either service and would rather opt-out, if that choice were available to you. But of course, you have no such choice. And because you (and others) are forced to pay, there is no check on what is spent. The formerly small-scale local all-volunteer FD becomesprofessional – with salaried full-time firefighters who have contracts guaranteeing them large salaries and, of course, benefits. Multiple ladder trucks and other such vehicles appear – the costs shuffled onto the backs of the taxpayers in the area – who no longer have much, if any, say as regards the need for all this elaborate (and often, over-the-top) equipment. Since appearances must be maintained, all this elaborate, over-the-top equipment is often sent out en masse to cat-in-a-tree calls, with much show of emergency lights, special costumes, cones being set up and traffic stopped in its tracks.

The FD becomes another services-at-gunpoint bureaucracy – and the primary mission of any bureaucracy is to preserve and perpetuate itself, expanding itself if possible. The fighting of fires becomes of secondary or even tertiary importance.

Firemen do more than merely fight fires, too.

They also write and enforce fire codes – bureaucratic edicts dictating to a private business owner how many customers he may serve in “his” (in quotes to emphasis the irony)  establishment. If the owner balks, the fire hero will summon other heroes – heroes with guns – to enforce compliance. Whether a building is a “fire hazard” – as defined by a fire hero – is not the issue. The issue is whether the building is private property – and whether the fire hero – or any other hero – has any right to impose his standards on the putative owner of the private property. If it is in fact his property, isn’t it up to him to gauge risk – and assume responsibility for same? Whence – how? – did it become the prerogative of Fire Fuhrers to overlord private property?

Firemen have also been known to prevent actual heroics. For instance, there was a case recently where a man was forcibly restrained by firemen and prevented from attempting to save his child, who was trapped inside a burning house. Ryan Miller was Tazered for “disobeying the orders of fire officials” who decided on his behalf that the life of his three-year-old stepson was not worth attempting to save. When Ryan ignored them, ” the fire chief then made the call to have Ryan handcuffed and taken to the police station” . .  (see news story here).

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