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AmWiser's avatar

What is happening to human compassion?

Asked by AmWiser (14927points) October 6th, 2010

Do stories like this tend to upset you Because of Unpaid Fee, Firefighters Let Home Burn
. When I see stories like this I really, really wonder what is the depth of human mercilessness
. What do you think of this story or do you have your own story of what’s happening within society that ”grind your gears?

You are welcome to sound off here.

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22 Answers

iamthemob's avatar

Nothing – for every story like that, I just think of how when I evacuated from hurricane katrina, I had to turn away help from friends, neighbors, strangers.

Human compassion is alive and well. This was just a bad, bad situation.

tedd's avatar

The news will never have a headline story of a good Samaritan helping someone in need. Why just yesterday I took in a cat that found its way to my door step, emaciated, scared on its face, and barely walking… vet appointment at 5:20.

There’s plenty of people doing good things out there…. TV execs have just figured out that no one cares to see that.

marinelife's avatar

For every story like that one, there is the story of the man who recognized the truck of an abduction suspect, who followed the man yelling at him to give back the child until the man pushed the little girl out of the truck. Then he stayed with the child until help came.

CMaz's avatar

Human compassion?

It has to suck to have your home burn down. And it really sucks that you have to pay an additional “insurance” to have to fire department show up at your home.

But, that person knew. Decided not to pay.

GladysMensch's avatar

@tedd You’re definitely right about news agencies/directors deciding what constitutes news.
“Man saves stray cat” – not news.
“Man runs over stray cat” – not news.
“Man runs over stray cat and crashes into famous person’s tree” – News!

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I really don’t think that we are any less compassionate as a society. I see people doing good every single day. Of course stories like that make me sad, but I think that people are more good than bad.
@tedd is right, those stories just rarely make the news.

MeinTeil's avatar

Its becoming something the Liberal state wishes to commodify and politicize.

It wishes to force you to pay for it in the form of taxes then dole it out as it sees fit.

iamthemob's avatar

@MeinTeil – what is the rest of your day LIKE that you’re always wearing your negative pants…

Cruiser's avatar

Human compassion is alive and well and so is utter stupidity. No need to lump them all together.

YoBob's avatar

I am less concerned with the general state of human compassion than I am with the growing attitude that no matter what you do, somebody else will swoop in and make things OK for you..

Context is everything in situations like this and the papers often do a poor job of supplying that context. I can’t help but wonder about the unwritten part of the story. Did he choose not to pay because he was really unable to afford such a fee, or if he was just a crusty old guy with an attitude problem and a history of conflict with the community taxing authority. I would feel differently depending on whether he was on a fixed income and had to choose between paying the fee or buying groceries than I would if the day before the fire he drove up to the fire station in his Lexus, shot the finger, and told them where they could stick their fee.

iamthemob's avatar

There’s very little that someone I barely knew could do to make me distance myself so much from them that I could sit, with a hose in my hand, and water available, and watch as his house and everything he owned burned away in front of him and his wife.

I don’t think those details are relevant. In this case, if he needed to be taught a lesson, this certainly wasn’t the way.

AmWiser's avatar

@ChazMaz I do understand where you’re coming from, it just struck a nerve that the very people who are trained to save lives were the ones who sat by and did nothing. At the very least they should have gone ahead and put out the fire, and then put the $75 fee or the cost of the fire run on his property taxes for the year.

Zyx's avatar

I’ll agree there’s been no change.
But I’ll suggest we’ve always been bastards.

downtide's avatar

There were stories like this in the 1980s, the 1950s, and probably every decade since humanity first came down out of the trees. I think people as a whole are getting more compassionate, not less.

tedd's avatar

@ChazMaz You’re aware the man offered to pay cash the total sum of cost it would cost the firemen right? You’re also aware that the “rule” of not putting out fires for people who haven’t paid the fee has been waived multiple times, including for the man who’s home burnt down’s son a year or so ago?

This is amazing that this is even a debate. This should be covered under your taxes, this is one of the clear and obvious no crap things government should do. No one should have to decide whether or not to pay a fee, what if they can’t afford the fee? Bad news for everyone living in poverty, I hope your stuff doesn’t catch on fire!

iamthemob's avatar


The practical issue is that the house wasn’t taxed as a part of the town supporting the fire department. That’s why there needed to be a separate payment.

YARNLADY's avatar

If a lack of human compassion were the issue, this item would have never made national news. It is news simply because it was so out of place.

Jabe73's avatar

Well trying not to relate to just the fire incident you mentioned but your question in general I would say there is a very alot of bad mixed in with the good. People have to be reasonable enough to expect the bad news to override the good news due to basic common sense. Seriously, if you were walking down an alley and on one side of you there was a dead body all bloodied up laying there but on the other side you were seeing a person giving a homeless man sitting there some money which do you think would grab your attention first? Of course people will always see the bad before the good, it’s a human instinct to do so and good lord I am very glad it is this way for very obvious reasons I shouldn’t even need to mention here. Ignoring the bad/evil can be a very dangerous habit.

People seeing the bad in something is showing compassion, I would question someone’s level of compassion if they were ignoring something very horrible happening to someone while pretending all is good or just focusing on their own immediate situation. It takes decent people to point out the bad to begin with, I’m glad it’s this way.

Berserker's avatar

If you lived during the sixteenth century Inquisition you might sing a different tune?

I agree that’s bullshit, but all awesome answers here regarding that.

mattbrowne's avatar

Nothing. But the media select stories that are selling best.

99.9% of all firefighters worldwide are compassionate about saving lives and property

wouldn’t make for a very catchy title.

Coloma's avatar

I’m still pissed that the Ebola nurses dog was euthanized. That did not need to happen, talk about adding insult to injury.

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