Wednesday, May 04, 2005

"State your emergency, please..." 

While Snopes.com hasn't completely signed off on the veracity of this story about an irate woman calling 911 to complain that Burger King wouldn't serve her a "Western Bacon Cheeseburger" (which is a Carl's Jr. product), news coverage tonight indicated that, indeed, the California Highway patrol, and 911 emergency systems everywhere, do get a large number of stupid, non-emergency calls.

Now, normally I'm not the type to think that government should solve all our problems by nosing in and fining people, but these cases are a little different. They're the equivalent, really, of not yielding to a firetruck or ambulance. You're getting in the way of real emergency workers doing real emergency work.

And so, a modest proposal. Since no 911 calls are anonymous, there's a simple solution. If it isn't an emergency, but some asshat who thinks that their minor inconvenience is worthy of police attention, bill the motherfuckers. The operators have the number. How hard could it be to add a feature that would tack, say, a $250 "inconvenience charge" on the phone bill?

I bet that would make a lot of these spoiled idiots think twice before dialing 911 because, say, their neighbor's stereo is too loud or they've locked themself out of the car. Hint, kids. If no one is going to be seriously injured or die, it's probably not an emergency call -- even if you feel like you're going to go strangle your inconsiderate neighbor. Know what? Police departments have regular phones, too, and that's where they take the regular calls.

Of course, the same morons who make these calls would bitch and whine about such a proposal, because it "wouldn't be fair." Well, y'know what? Don't be stupid. You want to avoid the fine, don't make the call unless it's a life/death/serious injury issue. Period.

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