Well, Time, I’ll give you the short answer: NO! That we’re even asking the question or debating the topic only shows one thing- people by and large care more about money than anything else. It’s greed that drives the behavior of a fire department that watches a house burn down when they can do something to stop it but won’t because a little fee hasn’t been paid. The guy forgot. We all forget things. And he paid for it dearly.
Frankly, what they did out in West Tennessee strikes me as terribly immoral. Were I a resident there, I would be screaming bloody murder.
But the Time essay is interested in more than just that basic question.
What is more striking than the story itself is the debate it has set off, which has been raging now for more than a week. While the firefighters have come in for considerable criticism, a surprising number of commentators have come to their defense – and lashed out at the family that lost their home. (See pictures of crime in Middle America.) Yet underlying the Tennessee fire debate is something much more serious and fundamental than the the back-and-forth, talking head battles about who was more at fault in this incident. At a time when lots of Americans are debating who should have citizenship, the case of Gene and Paulette Cranicks’ burnt-down house hints at the more profound issue of what that citizenship should mean.
Do read the whole.