Monday, January 26, 2009

Beyond Cold-Hearted

I know times are tough, and after getting our utility bill last week, I have become a power nazi. (It was bad, but not as bad as I had feared.) Even so, after reading this horrible, unbelievable, and unconscionable story at lunch today I will NOT chide the mother for repeatedly cranking up the heat. As long as I’m not sweating, she can keep it as warm as she needs it.

In Illinois, there are laws restricting the utility company’s ability to turn off power during certain times of year or when it’s a certain temperature. Do these same kinds of laws not exist in Michigan? It’s January for Chrissakes and this is the mid-freakin’ west!

How in God’s name do you allow an elderly man to freeze to death INSIDE his own home? HOW?! And what’s worse, it sounds like a city official quoted in the story is trying to pass off some on the blame onto the man’s neighbors. Did they turn his power off? I don’t think so. In most cases, how would they even know? It’s not something you’d expect someone to go and tell all of their neighbors either. (If you couldn’t afford to pay your bill, would you want all your neighbors to know about it? I know I wouldn’t.)

The actions of this utility company are nothing short of criminal. They were judge, jury, and executioner, condemning this man to a “slow, painful death,” according to the coroner. This was a 93-year-old man who had no one to make sure he DIDN'T freeze to death.

I don’t think any of my neighbors are in this spot but I guess I had better be paying a little more attention even though none of them are elderly and live alone. (The couple next door is a few years older than the mother but they have each other.) So I guess the bottom line is that if you think something like this might be happening, check on your neighbor and intervene if you have to.

I can’t stand the thought of anyone else suffering such a horrible fate.

8 comments:

StuccoHouse said...

I actually cried when I read that this afternoon. 93 yrs old. Money on the table clipped to the bills. What on earth? It doesn't get more sad than that. Reminds you that we need to keep an eye on each other.

MonkeyGirl said...

They didn't know if anyone explained to him how the limiter worked? That makes my blood boil. Let's hope that their rules change because of this awful event, at least maybe no one else has to suffer because of greed and stupidity.

Jayne said...

I agree with you and MonkeyGirl--sounds like the utility company's shifting the blame. It makes me very angry and very sad.

kspinning said...

This is one of the worst things I have ever heard, though sadly, it doesn't surprise me about the power co. There are some seriously greedy people out there! That poor man...

NV said...

Stucco -- It was all I could do not to! there just aren't adjectives strong enough ...

MG -- I know! I got stuck on that line, too. WTF?!

Jayne -- Well, yeah, what else are the going to do after they've essentially killed someone? If this doesn't make you angry, something's wrong. :-)

kspin -- You're so right. It's sad the level we set our expectations at and what it takes to truly shock us, isn't it?

Ann said...

Yep, this IS the story I was also thinking of...

Vicki said...

We need to watch out for each other because when it comes down to it, it's the money that the city, county, state, federal people want. That story is so sad. It reminds of the post I wrote about not knowing my neighbors. We don't have any elderly in this neighborhood, but I'll be sure to find out if there are in the next one we live in.

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