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Dollars And Sense

Hiking's a big thing here in New Hampshire. We have the White Mountains, which draw people from all over the place.

And hiking being somewhat less inherently safe than walking, every year we have hikers who get themselves into trouble and need rescuing.

Rescuing hikers isn't easy or cheap.

Many years ago, I was talking with a Fish and Game officer about a rescue. It seemed a 300-pound hiker blew out his knee deep in the White Mountain National Forest and needed help out. Considering his size, the officer said they'd briefly considering "gutting and quartering him."

(That is one reason I'm not a hiker. I already have somewhat messed-up knees.)

Anyway, the state of New Hampshire got tired at looking at these bills and passed a law: if a hiker who needed rescuing was what they considered "negligent," they could be billed for the cost of the rescue. Prior to 2008, the law required "recklessness."

The law was invoked earlier this year, when a Massachusetts Eagle Scout decided to climb Mount Washington alone last April. Scott Mason, 17, sprained his ankle and needed help. He used his Scouting skills to keep himself alive and safe (an amazing story in and of itself) until rescuers found him three days later.

But the state decided that climbing New England's highest mountain alone in April certainly qualified as "reckless," if not "negligent," and gave the teen a $25,234 bill for services rendered.

That story came to mind when I read about the New York Times reporter who was captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan, and then rescued by British soldiers. Stephen Farrell made it out of his ordeal fine, but his translator and a British commando both lost their lives.

Farrell was working on the recent bombing of a stolen fuel tanker. The tanker had been captured by the Taliban and driven to a nearby village. Allied forces, worried that the tanker would be used in a suicide bombing or in some other way against them, bombed it -- killing quite a few Taliban and surrounding villagers.

Farrell was warned, repeatedly, that the trip was very dangerous. He was told that the Taliban was ready to take Westerners hostage, either for ransom or to just kill them. And he was told that the people of that area, in general, weren't that fond of Westerners at the moment.

Not to mention that the Taliban has a fondness for kidnapping Western journalists -- witness Daniel Pearl and David Rohde.

Farrell was warned, repeatedly and in the strongest language, that he was putting himself (and his translator/guide) at great risk by traveling to the scene of the tanker bombing, and did so anyway. The price for his reckless conduct was paid in blood -- not his, but that of his translator and the British commando killed in the raid that rescued him.

Like it or not, Farrell owes a tremendous debt for his life. It's one that can never be truly repaid.

But it will be interesting to see how he might try to repay it.


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Comments (17)

Who said he was going to tr... (Below threshold)
Dave:

Who said he was going to try and repay it? Thats an awful big assumption being made for a piece of trash from the NY Slimes.

But his very career is a se... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

But his very career is a service to all of mankind! Bringing the light of the NY Times wisdom and progressive thinking to the dark corners of the world...
Isn't that payment enough?!?

Maybe he should be impresse... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Maybe he should be impressed into one of Her Majesty's services until such time the debt is deemed paid off. Since it is a Debt of Honor, whether it has been paid or not, should be up to the family and/or unit of the British Soldier. If not that, then at least blood money for should be paid by the reporter to the families of the Soldier and Interpeter.

even worse, he was (my gues... (Below threshold)

even worse, he was (my guess) looking to write a story on the attack on the tankers that would have reflected badly on the military that came to rescue him.

When someone proposes a law... (Below threshold)
Grace:

When someone proposes a law regarding journalistic negligence, we will be opening up a brand new place for all the lawyers to congregate.

Like so many good ideas, which are common sense and rational, the law would muck it up no end.

Journalism in a war zone is... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Journalism in a war zone is risky business. There's a difference between being kidnapped off the street of a busy city, quite another to decide to 'free lance' and just wander off on your own. Might make for a great story IF you make it back to the local MSM watering hole. In those cases it should be understood that you're on your own and don't expect the cavalry to come in any time soon.

So true, GarandFan, but you... (Below threshold)
Grace:

So true, GarandFan, but you know as well as I that our military are the best in the world.

They will even risk their own lives to save idiots and fools and in the case of some media persons, enemies.

God Bless our troops.

Here's a different dollars ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Here's a different dollars and sense for you: (via Tom McGuire)

Medicare will pay for Kidney transplant, but not he anti-rejection drugs. Since ALL dialysis patients (hence virtually all kidney transplant patients) end up on Medicare that means the Government pretty much controls the whole process.

Dialysis costs $71,00 per year
Kidney transplant costs $106,000
Anti-Rejection drugs cost $17,000 per year

So the transplant pays for itself in under 2 years, but the government stops the drugs after 3.

In what universe does this make sense?

How are we to suppose that Government run health care will save money when it is run by imbeciles such as these?

Keeping 2.7 recipients on drugs for 1 year pays for the added expense of giving 1 more person a transplant. Saving accrue the longer you keep someone on the drugs and not let them reject the transplant.

I am so sick of listening to these jackasses tell us how much better things are going to be when the government runs health care.

jim m:I'm sure Bar... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

jim m:

I'm sure Barry will get right on that. Oh, wait, he was in the Senate at one time wasn't he? Guess he was just too busy at the time. What with fighting waste and fraud at ACORN. Oh, he didn't, did he? Maybe it was waste and fraud at Medicare? Well, give Barry time, I'm sure he'll get around to that. Maybe get Michelle a part time 'outside expert' consulting job at say $500K a year.

In the Illinois Senate he s... (Below threshold)
jim m:

In the Illinois Senate he spent most of his time making sure that live babies could be murdered in hospitals.

Jay, your article is gonna ... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Jay, your article is gonna make me think twice about accepting a rescue. They wouldn't be able to bill you for a rescue if you refuse it, would they? Seriously though, I remember hearing that Scott Mason regained his sense of direction and was close to rescuing himself when he was found.

Sadly, he probably feels he... (Below threshold)

Sadly, he probably feels he doesn't owe anything to anyone because he was only doing his duty to the world. You know, somehow twisting this story to prove how wrong the American Military is for even being there. There was nothing altruistic in his quest for this story, and we all know that whatever he was planning on printing would have portrayed America as the villains. You know, remind the American people of the horrors of war. There is no such thing as journalistic integrity anymore. its all about printing the most outrageous story which will infuriate the most people. And the people killed during his rescuse? Well, if we weren't at war, then their deaths would ahve never occurred, so again, its America's fault. Because we're just plain bad

Journalists that risk their... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Journalists that risk their lives covering wars or just working in "dangerous" countries, perform a service no less noble than American soldiers.

Tina, my first reaction to ... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Tina, my first reaction to your comment was to almost get violently ill.

My second reaction, however, was a bit more temperate:

would you include these journalists in your fulsome praise?

http://www.zombietime.com/reuters_photo_fraud/

J.

Tina, you think journalists... (Below threshold)
Greg:

Tina, you think journalists are as noble as American soldiers? Then you should start watching Fox News so you could get smarter and better informed.

He could retire...... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

He could retire...

Hey Jay Tea,We can... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Hey Jay Tea,

We can both agree that war correspondents that falsify or print misleading photos are scumbags. Those that do should not be called journalists. I'd like to expand on this but have to work late tonight.

Do you read comments after more than a day or so? There is probably more that we agree with than disagree on this topic. A better explanation will follow.




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