Burned III.

Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow.


It really is quite an experience, watching two guys on TV you kind of respect talking authoritatively for some reason about something they have no idea whatsoever about. It’s hilarious.

Olbermann tonight had on Jonathan Turley, a Constitutional scholar who is often a powerful presence on Countdown, on TRMS and on other programs including The Randi Rhodes Show on the radio. Never before have I seen two guys get so much wrong between commercial breaks.

First was Keith’s leading premise, wrong, wrong, wrong: Leading from a statement from the International Association of Firefighters, here’s Keith:

And here’s the latest crux right there: What if South Fulton or Obion County decided public safety should be entirely optional? What about a subscription police force?

Once again, Keith proves that he doesn’t know the FIRST THING about MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT.

Keith. Every county government in the United States of America has a police force. They are usually called a “sheriff.” And, if you’d taken a moment to look on the Google, you’d see clearly that, yes, Obion County has a sheriff’s office, too.

So your ridiculous straw-man is, guess what? Ridiculous. There is not, nor will there ever be, a-la-carte police service anywhere in Obion County, Tenn. South Fulton has a police department, paid for by and restricted to the jurisdiction of the city of South Fulton. Obion County has a sheriff”s department, paid for by and restricted to the jurisdiction of the residents of the unincorporated areas of the county.

See how that works?

This is an important distinction to grasp in order to understand this story in Tennessee. There is a city government, and there is a county government, and each government has its own taxing authority and its own jurisdiction. In the case of police protection, the county is patrolled by sheriffs’ deputies. The city is patrolled by city policemen.

In the case of fire protection, the city is covered by the South Fulton Fire Department. The county is covered by Duck and Cover. As I previously mentioned, Obion County Commissioners in 2008 had a plan in front of them to establish a county-wide system for fire protection, but they passed on it.

So, let’s review: The city of South Fulton has both a police and a fire department. The county of Obion has a sheriff’s department and bupkis. Okay?

(I am bashing you over the head with this point because, remarkably through this entire exchange between Olbermannn and Turley, NEITHER ONE of them acknowledges the present existence of such an entity of a “sheriff’s department.” You should have seen me yelling at my TV as I paced around in my kitchen this evening. Holy cow.)

Unfortunately, this is a distinction that Keith and several other liberal talkers I’ve heard on the matter can’t get straight or don’t think matters. Turley says something about contract negotiations. Olbermann segues.

On the subject of contract negotiations: I recall from my, you know, one little tiny law course in college that mutuality is the essence of the contract, and government is supposed to be a contract among the citizens, if Obion County can opt out of elemental responsibilities to me, can I just opt out of some of my taxes?

That’s not what happened. As we’ve established: Obion County does not have an active fire force. Obion County has never taken on the responsibility of fire response. It has never offered fire protection to its residents. Obion County had the opportunity to do so and it opted not to. The entity we’re discussing here is not Obion County. It is the incorporated municipality of South Fulton. And, on the subject of “contracts,” Gene Cranick did not have one with the city of South Fulton.

And still no mention from Keith of the reported attack on South Fulton Fire Chief David Wilds later that day and subsequent arrest. Isn’t that something?

Look, I’m not arguing that the fire department should have let the guy’s house burn down. Turley did have a point in this exchange, that at the very least the moral thing to do would have been to extinguish the fire nonetheless. All I’m saying is jeez louise, can we at least get the story right?

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