Police Let Suicidal Man Drown to Save Taxpayers' Money


west.mIt's a horrible story all around. A mom called the police. Her son was trying to commit suicide. He was going to drown himself. But when help responded -- firefighters and police both -- they just stood on the beach and watched 53-year-old Raymond Zack die. What a bunch of jerks, right?

It pains me to say this, but not really. They did the right thing. They protected their city from the lunacy of a litigious society. See, in Alameda, California, police and firefighters are not trained for land-to-water rescue situations because of budget constraints (they're looking into that now).

If they'd entered the water and, God forbid, failed at the mission, they would have left the city up wide open to a lawsuit with merit. These are the kinds of things that bankrupt entire cities, affecting anywhere from hundreds to thousands of residents. We're talking city employees -- like the firemen and police -- but also the residents, whose lives are thrown into turmoil when their taxes suddenly skyrocket to help a city cover its bills, when they suddenly have to find resources to manage garbage collection and the like. In short: total social upheaval ... and all because a few guys disregarded orders to play hero. 

Who's the jerk now?

Studies have proven that even when cops do indeed do something wrong, and the city is successfully sued, it isn't the cop who pays but the taxpayers -- often as much as three times over to cover the damages. The monies generally come not from the police fund but the general fund, which means a reduction in the kinds of services that the average citizen depends on -- again, Tom, Dick, and Harry are getting hit, not the cop who did or didn't do a good job.

These kinds of figures leave cities, leave emergency workers, hog-tied. They're damned by the threat of lawsuits in court if they do. They're damned by the court of public opinion if they don't.

So I'll leave it to you. Should they have gone in to rescue this suicidal man against orders? Or should they have done their jobs?


Image via west.m/Flickr

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Ella Christina Jones Hollingsworth

how any human can watch another human just kill themselves is beyond me...i just can't wrap my mind around it ...

Pam Dill

are you kidding me, their job is to save people, all those morons should be fired, thank god i dont live in alameda, all you have to do is listen to chief of police and fire chief and draw your own conclusions . who voted these idiots in

justgg justgg

wow ~ money or life .......only in america

Lauri Jones

You can't save a man unless you are prepared to give him what he needs at all costs.  That means don't attempt unless you are willing to sacrifice yourself for the good of another.  This is what we are supposed to be doing anyway.  We just grow selfish in our years of life.  Its unfortunate that someone at 53 is so miserable that death is more appealing than life and it is also sad that most people in this world will just stand around like a bunch of idiots and do nothing.


justgg justgg

so are we saying EVERYONE who was there just stood back and watched a human die without ever lifting a finger to help...........sad and wrong

justgg justgg

so the cost of doing their "job" was death? and when he did finally drown did they then go in and get him out ?kinda a thought

Catlin Ryan Fairfield

Partly to Priscilla: If there were other people around, they could have gone in to help. Just because the responders hands might have been tied-whether by lack of training or the fact that everyone gets sued for everything, doesn't mean that another person on the beach couldn't have gone in to help. It's not like they watched a man drown accidentally. The adult walked into the water with the intent of dying. Until we are in the shoes of any of the people involved - we can't comdemn their actions.

Trish... Trishintraining

:/ It's against the law to commit suicide. They're supposed to uphold the law. Yes, I think they should have saved him. 

squish squish

Did anyone actually read the article? The man was so far out that a rescue boat was necessary, and the coast guard had a 1 hour response time. I feel sorry for the firefighters and police that were put in a lose-lose situation. Had the city paid enough taxes to train the firefighters and purchase boats, this would not have happened. It's time America wakes up and realizes that these services come at a price. I am sure that this scene was incredibly disturbing to all who watched helplessly. It is very sad.

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