Libertarian Fire Service

H.P. Lovesauce wrote:

I'm mostly waiting until Aetius shows up to explain how this was a Good Thing, or how this wouldn't have happened in an orthodox Libertarian state because [insert arcane logical peregrination here].

By the way, did Tennessee pay its federal flood insurance this year?

I'm not going to put words in Aetius' mouth, but the only honest libertarian I know personally actually admitted that, though regrettable, this is an inevitable outcome of a society that regards "personal responsibility". When pressed, he even went further and said that the deaths of innocent, immunized children is also inevitable and necessary in a "free society" because forcing vaccinations is tantamount to fascism.

CheezePavilion wrote:

The Cranicks said they also forgot to pay their fire service fee on time about three years ago. But the fire department then did not hesitate to put out a chimney fire and let them pay the fee the next day. Link

I sympathize with the Cranicks, but if the citizens of a municipality are going to balk that much at paying for social services, then the Cranicks' forgetfulness is something that should be covered by churches and nonprofits, not by other people's tax dollars.

I'm more upset that the firefighters wouldn't go in to save the two dogs and a cat.

edited for gender neutrality. Why I'm still making that mistake in 2010, I have no idea.

CheezePavilion wrote:

The government should not be in the business of standing on its rights when dealing with people and when the destruction of property--especially a home--is a consequence?

Which is precisely why most civilized places have gone to services supported by tax dollars. If folks in a particular area prefer pay services, it isn't up to an individual fire crew to determine the policy should be amended on the spot.

Seth wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

The Cranicks said they also forgot to pay their fire service fee on time about three years ago. But the fire department then did not hesitate to put out a chimney fire and let them pay the fee the next day. Link

I sympathize with the Cranicks, but if the citizens of a municipality are going to balk that much at paying for social services, then the Cranicks' forgetfulness is something that should be covered by churches and nonprofits, not by other people's tax dollars.

Well one, they offered to pay--they weren't asking for the tax dollars of other people to pay for it, they were asking to pay their taxes late.

Two, that's not the kind of government I want to live under, where anything involving 'tax dollars' means the government gets to treat me like it's a for-profit corporation and not an entity tasked with public safety.

I mean, to me that would be the worst possible situation: all the personal responsibility of a Libertarian state, with all the Gun to the Head Coercion of a Social Welfare state.

CheezePavilion wrote:
Seth wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

The Cranicks said they also forgot to pay their fire service fee on time about three years ago. But the fire department then did not hesitate to put out a chimney fire and let them pay the fee the next day. Link

I sympathize with the Cranicks, but if the citizens of a municipality are going to balk that much at paying for social services, then the Cranicks' forgetfulness is something that should be covered by churches and nonprofits, not by other people's tax dollars.

Well one, they offered to pay--they weren't asking for the tax dollars of other people to pay for it, they were asking to pay their taxes late.

Two, that's not the kind of government I want to live under, where anything involving 'tax dollars' means the government gets to treat me like it's a for-profit corporation and not an entity tasked with public safety.

I mean, to me that would be the worst possible situation: all the personal responsibility of a Libertarian state, with all the Gun to the Head Coercion of a Social Welfare state.

Where was the gun to the head though? They exercised no coercion to get him to pay his fire protection fee. He simply didn't do it. It would be no different than developing liver cancer and not having health insurance.

Paleocon wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

The government should not be in the business of standing on its rights when dealing with people and when the destruction of property--especially a home--is a consequence?

Which is precisely why most civilized places have gone to services supported by tax dollars. If folks in a particular area prefer pay services, it isn't up to an individual fire crew to determine the policy should be amended on the spot.

Well that's different: that's getting into the issue of what the fire department should do when it's on the spot, not how to justify the government adopting a 'let it burn' policy in the first place. Which just in due process terms is ridiculous: imagine the house of someone who paid the fee burns down because of a clerical error.

CheezePavilion wrote:

Well that's different: that's getting into the issue of what the fire department should do when it's on the spot, not how to justify the government adopting a 'let it burn' policy in the first place. Which just in due process terms is ridiculous: imagine the house of someone who paid the fee burns down because of a clerical error.

I think you may be incorrectly reading my schadenfreude at watching a libertarian-style government fail as support for that exact same style of government.

Paleocon wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

Well one, they offered to pay--they weren't asking for the tax dollars of other people to pay for it, they were asking to pay their taxes late.

Two, that's not the kind of government I want to live under, where anything involving 'tax dollars' means the government gets to treat me like it's a for-profit corporation and not an entity tasked with public safety.

I mean, to me that would be the worst possible situation: all the personal responsibility of a Libertarian state, with all the Gun to the Head Coercion of a Social Welfare state.

Where was the gun to the head though?

When they collected his other taxes.

They exercised no coercion to get him to pay his fire protection fee. He simply didn't do it. It would be no different than developing liver cancer and not having health insurance.

Actually, it wouldn't--when Obamacare kicks in, they can't deny you for pre-existing conditions, right?

edit: and really, isn't this more like if your liver cancer causes a medical emergency? They have to take you in an emergency room, whether you have insurance or not.

CheezePavilion wrote:
Paleocon wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

The government should not be in the business of standing on its rights when dealing with people and when the destruction of property--especially a home--is a consequence?

Which is precisely why most civilized places have gone to services supported by tax dollars. If folks in a particular area prefer pay services, it isn't up to an individual fire crew to determine the policy should be amended on the spot.

Well that's different: that's getting into the issue of what the fire department should do when it's on the spot, not how to justify the government adopting a 'let it burn' policy in the first place. Which just in due process terms is ridiculous: imagine the house of someone who paid the fee burns down because of a clerical error.

What about it? There would be liability involved, of course, but the remedy would be determined as a simple matter of contract law.

What I don't think you're getting is that once the county residents determined to forgo tax-funded coverage and go to pay service, the fire department became nothing more than a paid contractor. They were not an empowered government entity outside the city of South Fulton irrespective of its responsibilities within it.

You may not like the system and that is your right. If you find this outcome unacceptable, you might want to work toward keeping the anti-tax nutbars out of your local government.

Seth wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

Well that's different: that's getting into the issue of what the fire department should do when it's on the spot, not how to justify the government adopting a 'let it burn' policy in the first place. Which just in due process terms is ridiculous: imagine the house of someone who paid the fee burns down because of a clerical error.

I think you may be incorrectly reading my schadenfreude at watching a libertarian-style government fail as support for that exact same style of government.

Seth wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

The Cranicks said they also forgot to pay their fire service fee on time about three years ago. But the fire department then did not hesitate to put out a chimney fire and let them pay the fee the next day. Link

I sympathize with the Cranicks, but if the citizens of a municipality are going to balk that much at paying for social services, then the Cranicks' forgetfulness is something that should be covered by churches and nonprofits, not by other people's tax dollars.

I'm more upset that the firefighters wouldn't go in to save the two dogs and a cat.

edited for gender neutrality. Why I'm still making that mistake in 2010, I have no idea.

I don't think you can both sympathize with and feel schadenfreude for someone. Or at least, that's one complex emotional response.

Kraint wrote:

We'd be having a debate over a headline about firefighters 'extorting' home owners and putting huge liens on their houses while they are on fire.

To clarify what I'm talking about, the way the system would work is that the choice is between 1) paying the $75 fee annually, or 2) paying X amount when the fire occurs. No matter which option you chose, the fire department comes and puts the fire out. So the homeowner and firefighters wouldn't be in any kind of decision-making situation.

CheezePavilion wrote:
Paleocon wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

Well one, they offered to pay--they weren't asking for the tax dollars of other people to pay for it, they were asking to pay their taxes late.

Two, that's not the kind of government I want to live under, where anything involving 'tax dollars' means the government gets to treat me like it's a for-profit corporation and not an entity tasked with public safety.

I mean, to me that would be the worst possible situation: all the personal responsibility of a Libertarian state, with all the Gun to the Head Coercion of a Social Welfare state.

Where was the gun to the head though?

When they collected his other taxes.

They exercised no coercion to get him to pay his fire protection fee. He simply didn't do it. It would be no different than developing liver cancer and not having health insurance.

Actually, it wouldn't--when Obamacare kicks in, they can't deny you for pre-existing conditions, right?

edit: and really, isn't this more like if your liver cancer causes a medical emergency? They have to take you in an emergency room, whether you have insurance or not.

They didn't collect his "other taxes". He lived in the county. The fire department is supported by city of South Fulton, in which he did not live.

edit: the only scenario in which I could see coercion even applying here is if the fire department was setting fires and demanding payment. No one is asserting that this is the case. All parties entered into their agreements (or didn't in the case of Cranick) of their own, informed free will. This is the exact inevitable outcome of a Libertarian society.

Funkenpants wrote:
Kraint wrote:

We'd be having a debate over a headline about firefighters 'extorting' home owners and putting huge liens on their houses while they are on fire.

To clarify what I'm talking about, the way the system would work is that the choice is between 1) paying the $75 fee annually, or 2) paying X amount when the fire occurs. No matter which option you chose, the fire department comes and puts the fire out. So the homeowner and firefighters wouldn't be in any kind of decision-making situation.

Once again, why bother? What legal or moral obligation does a contractor have to provide that service?

Would an on the spot payment mechanism/agreement to cover those who didn't pay on time would keep others from signing up through regular channels? i don't know if most people would have the stones to take such a big risk on the welfare of their property. In this situation, while Mr Cranick didn't pay the fee his neighbor wouldn't tolerate the risk and was paid up.

$75 vs cost of home = worst gamble ever. I wouldn't be surprised if his insurance doesn't pay, at least in full since he didn't avail himself the proper protection.

Edited for Paleo's comment
As stupid or nefarious and Cranick was (take your pick), keeping someone's home from burning down is the decent thing to do.

Ballotechnic wrote:

Would an on the spot payment mechanism/agreement to cover those who didn't pay on time would keep others from signing up through regular channels? i don't know if most people would have the stones to take such a big risk on the welfare of their property. In this situation, while Mr Cranick didn't pay the fee his neighbor wouldn't tolerate the risk and was paid up.

$75 vs cost of home = worst gamble ever. I wouldn't be surprised if his insurance doesn't pay, at least in full since he didn't avail himself the proper protection.

You're assuming that folks take rational risks. Though I agree with you that it is the worst gamble ever, folks make similar gambles all the time. It's the subject of an entire field of behavioral economics. Compliance with rational risk taking behavior goes up dramatically, btw, after stories like this hit the news.

Paleocon wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

Well that's different: that's getting into the issue of what the fire department should do when it's on the spot, not how to justify the government adopting a 'let it burn' policy in the first place. Which just in due process terms is ridiculous: imagine the house of someone who paid the fee burns down because of a clerical error.

What about it? There would be liability involved, of course, but the remedy would be determined as a simple matter of contract law.

What I don't think you're getting is that once the county residents determined to forgo tax-funded coverage and go to pay service, the fire department became nothing more than a paid contractor.

I get it, I just reject it.

They were not an empowered government entity outside the city of South Fulton irrespective of its responsibilities within it.

Yeah, but then governments could get around the Constitution just by hiring cops from other jurisdictions as 'security guards'. At some point, government involvement imparts government status to the operation, otherwise the government won't offer any public services, it'll just sign 'contracts' with the people.

Paleocon wrote:

They didn't collect his "other taxes". He lived in the county. The fire department is supported by city of South Fulton, in which he did not live.

Unless this city receives no funds from the county, state, or Federal government, it receives his taxes even if it does not collect them.

Paleocon wrote:
Funkenpants wrote:
Kraint wrote:

We'd be having a debate over a headline about firefighters 'extorting' home owners and putting huge liens on their houses while they are on fire.

To clarify what I'm talking about, the way the system would work is that the choice is between 1) paying the $75 fee annually, or 2) paying X amount when the fire occurs. No matter which option you chose, the fire department comes and puts the fire out. So the homeowner and firefighters wouldn't be in any kind of decision-making situation.

Once again, why bother? What legal or moral obligation does a contractor have to provide that service?

The state should not be acting purely as a contractor towards people in a non-commercial area like this. The state has higher legal and moral obligations towards people than a contractor does towards customers.

Paleocon wrote:

Compliance with rational risk taking behavior goes up dramatically, btw, after stories like this hit the news.

Too true unfortunately. I bet Mr Cranick never thought he was going to grow up to be an object lesson.

For those saying this is just a contract: where did the city get the right to contract out the services of its fire department? My guess is that public safety officers in this city are not held to the same standards in court as a private contractor: in order to sue cops or firefighters for not doing their job, you generally have to show a lot more wrongdoing than with a private contractor. That leads to three questions:

1) If this is just a contract, did the city go beyond its powers 'contracting out' the fire department? What gave the city the power to use public safety resources in this way?

2) What about the firefighters and their liability? Aren't they far less protected in their individual capacity from lawsuit as a contract worker than they are as public safety officers? Where in their contract with the city does it say they can be used in this capacity?

3) If these are just contract workers, the city is going to be exposed to liability not as a government providing a public safety service, but as a private contractor. Did anyone think of that?

CheezePavilion wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

There would be liability involved, of course, but the remedy would be determined as a simple matter of contract law.

What I don't think you're getting is that once the county residents determined to forgo tax-funded coverage and go to pay service, the fire department became nothing more than a paid contractor.

I get it, I just reject it.

I think you will find that the law is pretty clear on this though.

They were not an empowered government entity outside the city of South Fulton irrespective of its responsibilities within it.

Yeah, but then governments could get around the Constitution just by hiring cops from other jurisdictions as 'security guards'. At some point, government involvement imparts government status to the operation, otherwise the government won't offer any public services, it'll just sign 'contracts' with the people.

Not precisely. The government would still be responsible for the contracts and behavior of the security guards. This would be a lot more like your neighbor hiring off duty cops from the next town over to protect his house. They would have no obligation to help you in the event that MS 13 set fire to your car irrespective of their duties as sworn law enforcement in the city.

Paleocon wrote:

They didn't collect his "other taxes". He lived in the county. The fire department is supported by city of South Fulton, in which he did not live.

Unless this city receives no funds from the county, state, or Federal government, it receives his taxes even if it does not collect them.

I don't see how. By electing to live where he did, he made a conscious and informed choice to pay taxes that went to services other than the fire department (which was entirely funded by the city and subscribers of which he was not one). This one is pretty clear cut.

Paleocon wrote:

Once again, why bother? What legal or moral obligation does a contractor have to provide that service?

The state should not be acting purely as a contractor towards people in a non-commercial area like this. The state has higher legal and moral obligations towards people than a contractor does towards customers.

They weren't "the state" though. They were the very definition of a contractor in every possible legal definition of the word. If the residents of the county wanted to alter that status, it would have been a simple matter of instituting a $50 annual millage. They didn't. And the results were obvious.

Funkenpants wrote:
Kraint wrote:

We'd be having a debate over a headline about firefighters 'extorting' home owners and putting huge liens on their houses while they are on fire.

To clarify what I'm talking about, the way the system would work is that the choice is between 1) paying the $75 fee annually, or 2) paying X amount when the fire occurs. No matter which option you chose, the fire department comes and puts the fire out. So the homeowner and firefighters wouldn't be in any kind of decision-making situation.

Sure they would. The fire department comes out and gives the owner the option of paying $XXXX for the service, or they let the house burn down. The fiscal reality is that to pay for the firefighters, the trucks, the station house, etc., they will be charging a big pile of money per-fire. Further complicating things is home owner's insurance. They may cover the fee (great), or the fact you didn't pay the low monthly fee in the first place may invalidate your claim (not great).

It is basically like foregoing health insurance and having to pay the full $5k for your ER visit. The reason we don't see screaming about extortion from hospitals is that they treat you first regardless. The problem is, everyone who can't/won't pay their ER costs raises the costs for everyone who can pay/has insurance. Socializing the risk, privatizing the reward.

CheezePavilion wrote:

The state should not be acting purely as a contractor towards people in a non-commercial area like this. The state has higher legal and moral obligations towards people than a contractor does towards customers.

But they were acting as a contractor because the county decided to do it that way, rather than raise taxes. The people spoke, and their elected representatives followed the will of the (loud and stupid) people. The state is responsible to be a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. If the people want to go full-libertarian on services, then the state goes full-lib. The government/state is not a separate entity from the people, nor does it have the mission statement to love and coddle us no matter what. We, as a people, are free to make really, really stupid decisions.

Ballotechnic wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

Compliance with rational risk taking behavior goes up dramatically, btw, after stories like this hit the news.

Too true unfortunately. I bet Mr Cranick never thought he was going to grow up to be an object lesson.

IMAGE(http://themoderatevoice.com/wordpress-engine/files/2008-september/mistakes.jpg)

CheezePavilion wrote:
Seth wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

Well that's different: that's getting into the issue of what the fire department should do when it's on the spot, not how to justify the government adopting a 'let it burn' policy in the first place. Which just in due process terms is ridiculous: imagine the house of someone who paid the fee burns down because of a clerical error.

I think you may be incorrectly reading my schadenfreude at watching a libertarian-style government fail as support for that exact same style of government.

Seth wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

The Cranicks said they also forgot to pay their fire service fee on time about three years ago. But the fire department then did not hesitate to put out a chimney fire and let them pay the fee the next day. Link

I sympathize with the Cranicks, but if the citizens of a municipality are going to balk that much at paying for social services, then the Cranicks' forgetfulness is something that should be covered by churches and nonprofits, not by other people's tax dollars.

I'm more upset that the firefighters wouldn't go in to save the two dogs and a cat.

edited for gender neutrality. Why I'm still making that mistake in 2010, I have no idea.

I don't think you can both sympathize with and feel schadenfreude for someone. Or at least, that's one complex emotional response.

You're right, but read closely -- my satisfaction is with the failure of the government here, not with Cranick's pain. That still leaves me open to sympathize with Cranick. Note, too, that I said sympathize, not empathize. I pity him for his situation, but he chose to live outside the city's tax levies and he failed to pay for the fire dept to protect his house.

Of note -- had the county been able to pass a law in which county residents paid for the City's fire department in exchange for fire protection, it would've cost every single county resident. . . $0.15 in property tax increases.

Paleocon wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

Yeah, but then governments could get around the Constitution just by hiring cops from other jurisdictions as 'security guards'. At some point, government involvement imparts government status to the operation, otherwise the government won't offer any public services, it'll just sign 'contracts' with the people.

Not precisely. The government would still be responsible for the contracts and behavior of the security guards. This would be a lot more like your neighbor hiring off duty cops from the next town over to protect his house. They would have no obligation to help you in the event that MS 13 set fire to your car irrespective of their duties as sworn law enforcement in the city.

The state should not be acting purely as a contractor towards people in a non-commercial area like this. The state has higher legal and moral obligations towards people than a contractor does towards customers.

They weren't "the state" though. They were the very definition of a contractor in every possible legal definition of the word. If the residents of the county wanted to alter that status, it would have been a simple matter of instituting a $50 annual millage. They didn't. And the results were obvious.

No, that's my point: my neighbor hiring people is NOT like my government hiring people. For example, if my neighbor hires a security guard, that security guard has no 1st Amendment protections from being fired for speech, but he would if my government hired him. The government can't necessarily get around its status as government simply by contracting itself out of that status.

They didn't collect his "other taxes". He lived in the county. The fire department is supported by city of South Fulton, in which he did not live.

Unless this city receives no funds from the county, state, or Federal government, it receives his taxes even if it does not collect them.

I don't see how. By electing to live where he did, he made a conscious and informed choice to pay taxes that went to services other than the fire department (which was entirely funded by the city and subscribers of which he was not one). This one is pretty clear cut.

None of that is relevant to you seeing how: whatever choices he made, if the city is taking money from a source that collected taxes from him, the city is supported by funds from pools where his tax money went.

CheezePavilion wrote:

For those saying this is just a contract: where did the city get the right to contract out the services of its fire department? My guess is that public safety officers in this city are not held to the same standards in court as a private contractor: in order to sue cops or firefighters for not doing their job, you generally have to show a lot more wrongdoing than with a private contractor. That leads to three questions:

1) If this is just a contract, did the city go beyond its powers 'contracting out' the fire department? What gave the city the power to use public safety resources in this way?

2) What about the firefighters and their liability? Aren't they far less protected in their individual capacity from lawsuit as a contract worker than they are as public safety officers? Where in their contract with the city does it say they can be used in this capacity?

3) If these are just contract workers, the city is going to be exposed to liability not as a government providing a public safety service, but as a private contractor. Did anyone think of that?

I'd have to look at the individual decision, but there are numerous case of municipalities providing contract services. Public events like concerts, for instance, have to pay for extra police presence on a contract basis. There is literally books of case law on that. The same goes for fire department resources with things like lending resources for forest fires or disaster relief. Snow removal is another example.

My guess is that some sort bonded liability is issued for the contract work outside of the city limits. I further guess that providing that supplimental insurance is a large part of the cost of providing those services. I further speculate that the country provides limited liability protection to city firefighters in exchange for their services.

That is all fairly standard.

CheezePavilion wrote:
Paleocon wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

Yeah, but then governments could get around the Constitution just by hiring cops from other jurisdictions as 'security guards'. At some point, government involvement imparts government status to the operation, otherwise the government won't offer any public services, it'll just sign 'contracts' with the people.

Not precisely. The government would still be responsible for the contracts and behavior of the security guards. This would be a lot more like your neighbor hiring off duty cops from the next town over to protect his house. They would have no obligation to help you in the event that MS 13 set fire to your car irrespective of their duties as sworn law enforcement in the city.

The state should not be acting purely as a contractor towards people in a non-commercial area like this. The state has higher legal and moral obligations towards people than a contractor does towards customers.

They weren't "the state" though. They were the very definition of a contractor in every possible legal definition of the word. If the residents of the county wanted to alter that status, it would have been a simple matter of instituting a $50 annual millage. They didn't. And the results were obvious.

No, that's my point: my neighbor hiring people is NOT like my government hiring people. For example, if my neighbor hires a security guard, that security guard has no 1st Amendment protections from being fired for speech, but he would if my government hired him. The government can't necessarily get around its status as government simply by contracting itself out of that status.

They didn't collect his "other taxes". He lived in the county. The fire department is supported by city of South Fulton, in which he did not live.

Unless this city receives no funds from the county, state, or Federal government, it receives his taxes even if it does not collect them.

I don't see how. By electing to live where he did, he made a conscious and informed choice to pay taxes that went to services other than the fire department (which was entirely funded by the city and subscribers of which he was not one). This one is pretty clear cut.

None of that is relevant to you seeing how: whatever choices he made, if the city is taking money from a source that collected taxes from him, the city is supported by funds from pools where his tax money went.

Hmm. So does the fact that a small portion of my federal tax dollars go to support research at the University of Minnesota entitle me to attend classes there?

edit: And the county didn't hire the firefighters. They offer a subscription service to subscribers. They are contracted to private individuals.

Seth wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

I don't think you can both sympathize with and feel schadenfreude for someone. Or at least, that's one complex emotional response.

You're right, but read closely -- my satisfaction is with the failure of the government here, not with Cranick's pain. That still leaves me open to sympathize with Cranick.

Right, but I'm not sure even if I read closely, you've keeping the two separate.

Note, too, that I said sympathize, not empathize. I pity him for his situation, but he chose to live outside the city's tax levies and he failed to pay for the fire dept to protect his house.

I'm not sure I want to live in a country where so much depends on me being a taxpayer.

Of note -- had the county been able to pass a law in which county residents paid for the City's fire department in exchange for fire protection, it would've cost every single county resident. . . $0.15 in property tax increases.

I'm not saying it isn't dumb, just that

might be a little excessive, not to mention tragically ironic, especially if it's true this person is just forgetful and not one of those nutjobs.

CheezePavilion wrote:

I don't think you can both sympathize with and feel schadenfreude for someone. Or at least, that's one complex emotional response.

Sure you can. I do it all the time. You just say - wow, it sucks to be that dumbass.

BOOM! Schadenfrympathy.

CheezePavilion wrote:

No, that's my point: my neighbor hiring people is NOT like my government hiring people. For example, if my neighbor hires a security guard, that security guard has no 1st Amendment protections from being fired for speech, but he would if my government hired him. The government can't necessarily get around its status as government simply by contracting itself out of that status.

Sorry, you're wrong because your argument is flawed.

The government hiring a contractor cannot avoid the law, as you started to say. But government equities being privately contracted lose their government status. If the government is not paying the bills at the time, then no government status is there.

Government hires private security - you are protected by the Bill of Rights in their actions, etc.
Private entity hires off-duty cop - he's no longer a government law enforcement official until he goes back "on duty".

There was a private contract established between the people of this area and a fire fighting service. Those who did not or choose not to pay were not contracted for any fire fighting services. Hard lesson to learn as your house burns down. Bet he doesn't do it twice!

Paleocon wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

For those saying this is just a contract: where did the city get the right to contract out the services of its fire department? My guess is that public safety officers in this city are not held to the same standards in court as a private contractor: in order to sue cops or firefighters for not doing their job, you generally have to show a lot more wrongdoing than with a private contractor. That leads to three questions:

1) If this is just a contract, did the city go beyond its powers 'contracting out' the fire department? What gave the city the power to use public safety resources in this way?

2) What about the firefighters and their liability? Aren't they far less protected in their individual capacity from lawsuit as a contract worker than they are as public safety officers? Where in their contract with the city does it say they can be used in this capacity?

3) If these are just contract workers, the city is going to be exposed to liability not as a government providing a public safety service, but as a private contractor. Did anyone think of that?

I'd have to look at the individual decision, but there are numerous case of municipalities providing contract services. Public events like concerts, for instance, have to pay for extra police presence on a contract basis. There is literally books of case law on that. The same goes for fire department resources with things like lending resources for forest fires or disaster relief. Snow removal is another example.

My guess is that some sort bonded liability is issued for the contract work outside of the city limits. I further guess that providing that supplimental insurance is a large part of the cost of providing those services. I further speculate that the country provides limited liability protection to city firefighters in exchange for their services.

That is all fairly standard.

Sure, but is it based on the legal principle that it's just straight up contract law regarding this guy's house as people are putting forth here?

Hmm. So does the fact that a small portion of my federal tax dollars go to support research at the University of Minnesota entitle me to attend classes there?

Whether you are or not, that question is not relevant to the original one you asked of me: "Where was the gun to the head though?"

edit:

Paleocon wrote:

edit: And the county didn't hire the firefighters. They offer a subscription service to subscribers. They are contracted to private individuals.

Shoal07 wrote:

Government hires private security - you are protected by the Bill of Rights in their actions, etc.
Private entity hires off-duty cop - he's no longer a government law enforcement official until he goes back "on duty".

The firefighters aren't showing up in their spare time in engines and trucks they personally own--it's still a government involved here responding with "on duty" personnel.

CheezePavilion wrote:

I'm not sure I want to live in a country where so much depends on me being a taxpayer.

Let me know how well protected and cared for you feel after telling the IRS to go pound sand. Your very freedom is dependent on you paying the taxes applicable to you. Police aren't hired on goodwill and civil rights, it takes a big pile of cash to keep them on the job and properly resourced. Same for prisons, hospitals, social services, the DMV, the Marines, the EPA, and, yes, the firefighters.