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Thursday 7 October 2010

Let It Burn

Earlier this week, in Obion County, Tennessee, Gene Cranick was burning some trash. The fire got out of control and spread to his house. He called the Fire Department in the nearby city of South Fulton. They declined to turn out: Cranick had forgotten to pay an annual 75 dollar charge which residents outside South Fulton’s city limits have to stump up – in addition to their taxes – for fire protection.

Worse, when the fire spread to a neighbour’s property – someone who had paid the fee – the Fire Department turned out, put out the neighbour’s fire, but watched the Cranick house continue to burn. The thought that they might have cut the unfortunate Cranick some slack, especially given he offered to pay for them to turn out, does not appear to have entered.

But there was worse to come for Gene Cranick. Not only is he now reduced to living out of a trailer, the downmarket part of the national media have decided to mock him. And there is little further downmarket that one can go beyond the radio show of the increasingly wayward Glenn Beck, “star” of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse).

Beck and his toadying sidekick Pat Gray defended the Fire Department’s refusal to help, accused Cranick of “sponging” off his neighbours, and all the while mocking his rural accent. No doubt Beck’s most passionate supporters will be egging him on to do yet more, but the impression is given that he is merely picking on the little people.

And, of course, you can afford to dump on the poor when you’re as well off as Beck.

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