Scrooge Lives In Irvine
It was a long, long day, during which I learned of the passing of two women who were very influential in my life - Annette Funicello and Margaret Thatcher. Annette was the focus of the unrequited passion of a teenager in the 1950's and Thatcher was a woman who aroused a different kind of passion later in my life - admiration of a truly remarkable woman, a leader in the truest sense of the word. It was at the end of this day - as I contemplated their loss - that I stumbled across a commentary in the Daily Pilot by something named Kevin Chard, from Irvine. You can read it HERE.
HE GRIPES ABOUT RESCUE COSTS
Chard bemoans the cost of rescuing two Costa Mesa young people from a hiking adventure gone very wrong last week and suggests that - apparently because those teenagers were novice hikers - they should be held accountable for the costs incurred for their rescue. Those "costs" that did, in fact, save their lives.
PERILS OF THE LOST
In the past couple days we've heard from both of those young folks - Nicholas Cendoya and Kyndall Jack - that they strayed off the established trail, became disoriented, tried to call for help but their cell phone battery died, ate dirt trying to survive and suffered hallucinations. From all reports, they each were within hours of succumbing to exposure.
DID WE BILL HIM?
From the tone of Chard's essay you'd suspect someone had just showed up on his doorstep with a bill for his part of the cost of the services necessary to carry out the rescue, for goodness sake.
WAS IT WORTH IT?
Yes, the rescue efforts were very costly, but how do you measure the cost against the lives of those children? And what of the hundreds of tireless unpaid volunteers who helped search for them? And the various agencies involved - Jack was plucked from her precarious location by a Los Angeles County Sheriff's helicopter - one of several from many organizations on the scene. And what about, for example, the costs incurred by Newport Beach resident Peter Adderton, who made his personal helicopter available to aid in the effort, and of those former A.B.L.E. helicopter pilots who volunteered to fly it as part of the search team?
PAY FOR PLAY?
If we follow Chard's line of thought - if you can call it that - perhaps we should require a credit card before dispatching emergency responders to any situation. If Chard were to be injured in an auto accident, maybe we should pay up front for paramedic care and/or transportation to a hospital?
If Chard should happen to be burglarized, perhaps we should require his card number before sending officers to his home to investigate the crime?
...OR, MAYBE NOT
If Chard takes his kids to the beach and one of them has a problem with a rip tide, is he OK with the lifeguard who jumps off his tower, runs to the surf line, ready to rescue the child first asking for payment before he leaps into the water? If he forgot his wallet will he be OK with his child drowning because he can't pay the bill?
THIS IS WHY WE HAVE PUBLIC SAFETY ORGANIZATIONS
Chard fails to acknowledge that people - especially young people - do silly things. Sometimes they do really stupid things - that's just how it is. And, we have public safety personnel for that very reason. They put out fires started by a careless smoker. They respond to accidents caused by careless drivers. They give tickets to thoughtless and/or careless drivers. They rescue cats stuck in trees. And, they rescue hikers who over-estimated their skills. And we say thank you for their efforts and return safely to our homes...
SCROOGE LIVES IN IRVINE
Chard's closing comment tells us that he thinks we should now bill those youngsters - to teach them a lesson. As he said, "In today's world the only thing that sees to get people's attention is to hit them where it counts or hurts: their pocketbooks." I feel very sad for Kevin Chard.