Let me begin this visit with you by citing a simple principle. There are no free lunches in this world. A corollary to this might be, "…if it looks too good to be true, then it probably isn't. You might remember that I noted this concept in my commentary on the fire department which did not fight the fire in Tennessee late in September. I want to thank you all for making that my most well-read piece in a long, long time. Your comments have gotten the juices flowing in my think tank once again. Now that they have been mixed with the requisite amount of cigar smoke out on my thinking porch, I believe that I am ready to share them with you.
One of the indisputable facts of life is that everything has a price. Make no mistake about it. When I say everything, I mean everything. The words you are reading were created on my computer. The computer was not a gift, nor did it come from a giveaway. I chose this computer and the Dell Corporation sent me what I desired. But they only sent it to me when I allowed them access to my credit card for the necessary cost of buying the unit. There was a cost involved.
My favorite chiropractor Dr. Tim Hayes has taken care of me for nearly a quarter of a century now. I am actually patient number 0001 in his practice. We are buddies, and we get along very well. However, we have a long-standing agreement. He treats me for my pain and suffering and my insurance company and I pay him for the good things he does. This has worked well for a long time. I know there is a price to be paid, but that does not stop me. The price that I pay keeps the pain away. To me that is a really important exchange.
A great number of people in our nation have never come to understand this business of each thing we receive in our lives having a price (or attendant cost). You see this on the news all the time when someone is highlighted for protesting a cut in this program or that program. Rather than realizing there is a price to be paid, these people prattle on about what they are entitled to and how hard life is without their chosen array of government services.
They are only protesting because the cuts affect their friends and them. If we are not careful, you and I can be cast into this same sort of situation when we complain publicly about the impact of budgetary cuts on fire protection services in our communities. While it seems to make sense to complain about our lot in life, we need to go beyond the standard ranting and raving about how lives will be lost if our services are cut. Rare is the case when you can prove that point.
Let me suggest to you my friends that we all need to do more than simply bitch and moan. You and I have seen the impact of fire, and all manner of emergencies, upon the people we have been called to help. We know the chaos and confusions which a lack of staff, equipment, or apparatus can bring to our communities. Rather than crying over spilled mile, we need to gather the requisite facts and tell the very simple story of how everything has a price.
This is not a difficult task to perform. But as I have said for more than a quarter of a century now, you need to arm yourself with three very important things. You must have the three F's: