A good barn fire.


A good barn fire is one that occurs after every living thing has left the building and nobody gets hurt. Although, this fire in Durham was the third in the wee hours of the morning, firefighters from the region were already on alert because of the big blaze they put down in Portsmouth earlier Friday night.

Lots of time and a half for lots of crews and plenty of camaraderie to go around. We need not begrudge them a cent. As a result of good union representation, our local emergency services retain a bit of the indispensable redundancy that’s been cut out of the private corporate sector in the interest of reaping ever increasing profits from a fixed base. If our electric service cuts out during every little storm, that’s largely because plant and facilities and redundancy in the distribution system has not been maintained.

When public utilities were first organized, they were a public function and service, rather than profit was the main issue. Then, perhaps laziness prompted our entrpreneurs to look on these captive markets and guaranteed income stream with envy and greed and, all of a sudden, private interests arrived on the scene, promising unimagined efficiencies. The problem is that when it’s necessities we’re dealing with, it’s not efficiency, but redundancy that’s needed to cope with the unpredictable vagaries of nature. Randomness is what we have to take into account. That’s really annoying to people convinced that everything can be made regular, if we just give it a try. Never mind that some of us want regulations to restrict and eliminate some events entirely. That’s not going to happen either. Better be prepared to respond quickly.