Monday, April 08, 2013

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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?

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?

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...

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.

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Anonymous Bruce Dickinson said...

Chard harped on what we already know- kids make mistakes. Crushing them with penalties only foments rebellion, not responsibility. While condemnation is done in a couple of minutes, teaching and mentoring actually require time and effort.

4/09/2013 12:16:00 AM  
Anonymous the thing of the thing is said...

It would be hard to nail down what the 'extra' costs of a rescue operation like this is.
The agencies involved are already up and running (costing the taxpayer) when they are sent out on this mission. While there is likely going to be some overtime paid out that wouldn't have been had these kids not screwed up, most of the cost is just going to the daily expence of having these resourses already on duty.
Many of the 'additional' resources are good hearted volunteers who have the right set of values and just want to help.
Some of these good people have no rescue experience but volunteer their resourses (like Peter Adderton footing the bill for the use of his helicopter) and others, like the professional public safety people (Costa Mesa police officer pilots for example) volunteer their time between working their regular shifts because they also have the right set of values.
If you think about it, a lot of what public safety does is because somebody screwed up.
Maybe this Mr. Chard never has.
Maybe he should have volunteered to get out there and help in some way to keep those costs down.
Maybe he should just go spend some time looking in the mirror.

4/09/2013 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

Anyone else think it's interesting that this event began on Easter Sunday?

4/09/2013 07:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Skeptic or keen. said...

Of course eveyone is happy they are safe but come on people. If you read the stories and heard the conflicting comments from rescuers, doctors and the hikers themselves this is fishy!

Sorry but what everyone is avoiding is the question were they on drugs? Ask yourself how do they hallucinate within hours of being out there. I am sorry but it would take more than a few hours without water to hallucinate and now Jack has claimed they had 3 small water bottles.

They can't remember things but remember their hallucinations vividly. She was fighting off a python and trying to light the sky. They were delirious but had enough sense to call 911 twice the first night. The first night having hallucinations like that. There's a lot more. Just watch the press conference of Jack's.

Scrooge doesn't live in Costa Mesa skeptical does.

But still even if they were drugged out I am happy they are safe and more rescuers weren't hurt.

4/09/2013 08:30:00 AM  
Anonymous William said...

The reason we have police, fire fighters, lifeguards etc. is to protect the public and save lives regardless of an individual’s ability to pay for the service. That is why they are government functions. You are suggesting we go down a very slippery slope. First we start off with paying for paramedic services, then search and rescue functions. Maybe we should send a bill when the fire department comes and puts out your fire. Your house just got broken into but if you call the police it will cost you $100 dollars an hour to have a report taken and an investigator track down the suspect. What you are really suggesting is "outsourcing" the public safety sector. (Are you friends with Righeimer?) So in the end only people who can afford to pay for their protection, pay for their medical care and pay for firefighting / search and rescue services will receive it. This is a typical response from a wealthy American who is wondering why he has to pay for someone else’s stupidity. This is why you have to pay, because if we did not all contribute for these services, natural selection would take over to thin the herd, and we have decided as a society that is morally reprehensible. Everyone has the right to be a moron, including you Mr. Chard.

4/09/2013 09:19:00 AM  
Anonymous College Park Resident said...

While I am glad that these two were found safe, I too would like to see them shoulder some of the costs for their rescue. It has been strongly suggested by many involved, but not reported in the media that these two where going on a hike to get "high". If that is the case, they should take responsibility for their actions.

4/09/2013 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

I didn't read Chard's letter, but the premise doesn't appear much different from that of the ordinance that Huntington Beach passed to charge non-residents for emergency services:

BTW; in that article it states that Costa Mesa, Santa Ana and Fullerton already do this.

I am not saying I agree with Chard's position. I am only pointing out that cash strapped agencies are having to look for ways of dealing with ever rising costs.

4/09/2013 09:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

I don't know all the circs here, but charging folks for their rescue is not unheard of. It happens when skiers go out of bounds while skiing. I doubt that applies to these two. The rationale is usually but for the out of bounds activity, those resources would have been used elsewhere, potentially for those within the bounds.

4/09/2013 10:56:00 AM  
Anonymous level2troll said...

if we charged them we could increase pensions or pay for public safety personnel ! didn't the fire department suggest that for accident response? let's not balance the budget on the backs of public safety employees, they may make a lot of money but they spend a lot too.

4/09/2013 12:03:00 PM  
Anonymous George Ponzini said...

sarcastic troll:
"let's not balance the budget on the backs of public safety employees, they may make a lot of money but they spend a lot too"

This, from a "man" who couldn't last 4 days in the police or fire academies, and who we doubt can properly handle a 40 hour work week.

4/09/2013 01:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Tim Leary said...

They ate plants after running out of water. Sounds like they ate Jimson Weed, which grows in the area:

4/09/2013 01:16:00 PM  
Anonymous level2troll said...

George:think i couldn't last 4 days huh? hell isn't that a week and a third in fireman schedule. i can cook the meals and polish the wheel rims and go to Vons. only 200K, such a deal. the real ponzi is my pension. gl in paying it.

4/09/2013 03:06:00 PM  
Anonymous trolls got no love when they were puppies said...

L2T... You would if you could. But.... you can't. Never coulda or you woulda. You know it... we know it. Live with it or... become a troll. Oh, you did.... never mind.

4/09/2013 04:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Thank you responders said...

I was "rescued" similarly once in the mountains

We werent missing for days, but our car couldnt make it down a very steep hill in the snow. A freak mid april snow storm. We tried to drive it down, but then it almost spun off over a cliff without a rail. We also ruined the side of the car trying to keep as far away from the cliff edge as possible. It was just impossible to manage a minivan in those conditions on that road on that kind of a steep downhill. We then gave up on the car. We saw one other car and asked if someone could get a ride into town so we could figure things out form there, they radioed into somewhere and got us help, but something was misrepresented in the game of telephone. We just wanted a ride, but we were fine and could have walked. We didnt have snowboots, thats why we really wanted the ride down. Help came.

THere were firetrucks, ambulances, news reporters a huge production bc we asked for a lift rather than walking an hour or so. To this day im not sure why they thought we were in such peril. Nobody injured, no need for three ambulances! What hit the 10 oclock news that night was a story that we were in peril, lost, had no way down and needed the rescue; exactly opposite of what we told them in interviews afterward.

Im greatful they responded and that if we were in harms way we would have been saved by the wonderful responders. I felt so grateful to know that these people really are here for you when you need them. Who knows, maybe one of us might have lost a toe trying to walk down. Had this happened today, that probably would have been blown up into this! Tax money wasted blah blah blah.

I would want to ask that writer: how much is a human life worth to him? Yes, some unsound decisions were made. But, thats part of youth. Usually people make it through ok and just reflect later "oh man, what were we thinking?"

4/09/2013 05:04:00 PM  

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