Here in Atlanta last weekend, people were astounded to learn that a major house fire in the Grant Park area was allowed to burn for 20 minutes while callers to 9-1-1 were put on hold. The reason? The call center, which should never be staffed by less than 9 operators and optimally would have 10 to 12, had just six operators on duty.
Residents of Atlanta and Fulton County have been upset over the lack of civil protective services after a 9-1-1 operator with a history of poor work performance sent an ambulance to the wrong side of the county last year and a young bartender was killed while closing up shop earlier this month.
Okay, so these are local issues. Why am I posting them on RedState?
Members of Atlanta's delegation to the state legislature (mostly or all Democrats) have now proposed a referrendum to increase property taxes to generate more revenue for emergency responders.
This is indicative of two fallacies in liberal thinking:
1) That more taxes seem to be the solution to any problem and
2) that more government spending is necessary to combat crime.
Let's cover them in order.
First, while civil protective services like police and fire protection (which are necessary government functions) have seen major cuts, other parts of the city and county governments (which are not necessary functions of government) have seen only equal or lesser cuts. Recycling pickup continues, though on a limited schedule. Public pools will be delayed in opening, but they will open. The city continues to operate garbage pickup, and no one is even talking about privatizing that activity.
So instead of cutting unecessary programs and finding ways to allow the private-sector remove the burden on government, politicians want more government, more taxes, more spending. Liberal thinking at work.
The second point is equally important and just as relevant to a national discussion. Indeed, new presidents often make one of the priorities of their administration the reduction of crime. This almost always takes the form of more spending on police and crime prevention programs.
While it is of course necessary to have police to investigate crimes (and firemen to combat fires and EMTs to respond to emergencies), these are reactionary actions. In regard to the young bartender killed, no police action could have saved his life. Even with a fully staffed police force it is unlikely that any emergency responder could have arrived in time to prevent the shooting or even to save his life.
But the gunman knew the facts: The young man was alone, the bar had lots of cash after closing up and police don't patrol every street corner.
And he didn't have a gun. Not in this state, where having a gun in a bar is illegal, even if you're an employee.
As the saying goes, "When you have only seconds to live, the police are just minutes away."
Is it right to allow guns into bars? We can debate that idea, but liberals tend not to like guns. They see guns as the cause of crime, not as a method of equalizing victims and the police with the criminals who would harm us.
It is amazing how a budget crisis can crystalize two major issues of conservative thought: That government spending is not the solution to every problem, and that allowing people to care for and defend themselves is preferable to the lousy, lukewarm caress of a government embrace.