Last month, a family whose house caught on fire in Obion County, Tennessee watched helplessly as their home burned down, as their local fire department first refused to respond — then showed up only to watch as the house burned completely to the ground.
Residents of Obion County are not automatically provided with fire department protection. Each year, the residents are required to pay a separate $75 fee if they protection from the local fire department in South Fulton.
Homeowner Gene Cranick did not pay this fee. He claims he offered to pay anything it would take for the firefighters to put out the flames, but was told it was too late and that they couldn’t do anything to stop his house from burning.
The Federal Aviation Administration reports that in the last twelve months, the rate of “serious” near collisions between commercial airliners has increased from 2.44 per million flights to 3.28 per million flights.
This rise could be due to the fact that there are more aircraft in the sky today than ever before. Meanwhile, the air traffic control infrastructure that governs the increasingly packed skies has changed little. Moreover, approximately half of all commercial air traffic now consists of smaller regional jets flying short trips at low altitudes. This means that the airspace closest to airport terminals has never been more congested than it is today, and more planes are flying all the time.
The FAA, as well as pilot and air traffic controller organizations, have stated that they are monitoring the situation carefully. Meanwhile, the Washington Post has issued sobering reports of dangerous mistakes made by air traffic controllers in their state which could have led to mid-air collisions if they hadn’t been corrected.