An appalling story from the U.K. is making its way around the blogosphere this morning. In a nutshell: a housefire in South Yorkshire (h/t: samizdata) claimed the lives of a young (and expecting) couple, and their three year old son. Their 5 year old daughter is in critical condition at a local hospital and may not survive.
While awaiting the arrival of the fire department, the South Yorkshire police actively thwarted every effort by concerned neighbors to rescue the family trapped inside their burning home. A police spokeswoman indicated that the officers “handled this incident as professionally as possible.”
You be the judge.
Davey Davis, 38, a friend of the family, said: “It was the most harrowing thing I have ever witnessed. Michelle was at the bedroom window yelling, ‘Please save my kids’ and we wanted to help but the police were pushing us back and not allowing us near. We were willing to risk our lives to save those kiddies but the police wouldn’t let us.
I am utterly at a loss for words—not for want of emotion, the feeling I have is very real. It’s just that there are no words low enough or vile enough to accurately describe the actions of these first responders. None.
The presumption that the State owns you, and can therefore decide for you, whether you can aid your friends and neighbors even as they are dying, is absolutely inexcusable. May they be tormented by unabsolvable guilt, for the rest of their days.
Cowardice is understandable, even excusable, in the face of a very real and very serious threat. I’d like to think that I would, but I can’t promise that I’d charge headfirst into the flames to save complete strangers. I will not fault the officers for their unwillingness to risk their own lives in order to try and save that family, even as their house was burning down.
But when several “lads” are willing to put it all on the line, when they has the stones that you do not, and they are willing to risk death in order to save those in immediate danger, it is criminal to impede them.
Do you hear me? It is absolutely criminal to do anything but get the fuck out of their way.