Thursday, January 29, 2009

The murder of Marvin E Schur

A former resident of Bay City wrote, “I am so happy I no longer live there. At my age, I would fear for my life… Remember, folks, you may be old some day—if your city fathers don’t kill you first.”

The American Dream. You work hard your whole life - scrimping, saving, doing your very best to prepare for the years that you will no longer be able to work.

Marvin was a veteran, a former U.S. Army Medic who received a purple heart for rescuing wounded soldiers from the battlefield - on his return from war, he was gainfully employed as a skilled trades person for the rest of his adult life.

Most Americans would assume that this man has an adequate retirement income that would allow him to pay essential bills. He did not.

If Congress does not tackle the retirement crisis in this nation, this is the kind of treatment many retirees will recieve. The only way to avoid freezing to death will be volunteering to be placed in a long term care center.

Background: Heating bills in Bay City are averaging $500 a month. Bay City estimates that 60 to 70 homes currently have electricity limiters installed on them. Bay City, a Automotive industry dependent city, has been hit hard by the recession.

Excerpt from the Bay City News:

"On January 17, the frozen body of 93-year-old Marvin E. Schur was found by neighbors at his home in Bay City, Michigan, several days after the municipal power company had restricted his access to electricity due to outstanding bills. The death has provoked outrage among residents in this working class city of 36,000, located where the Saginaw River flows into Lake Huron, about 100 miles north of Detroit.

On January 13, the city ordered the installation of a device known as a “limiter” that restricts the amount of electricity a household can use. Between the time the limiter was placed and January 17, a bitter Arctic cold front settled over Michigan, with overnight temperatures in the Bay City area reaching minus 10 degrees below zero (Fahrenheit). It is not clear when Schur died, but an obituary from the local newspaper placed the death on January 15.

Robert Belleman, Bay City’s city manager, said that Schur had accrued over $1,000 in unpaid electricity bills over the preceding months. No effort was made to visit Schur prior to the suspension.

Neighbors became alarmed when they noticed that Schur’s windows had become covered with ice. When neighbors found Schur’s body, temperatures in his house were below freezing, and water in his sink was frozen. The oven door was propped open, which suggests that Schur made a futile attempt to heat his home using the appliance.

Kanu Virani, a medical examiner who performed the autopsy, said that Schur died of hypothermia, which she described as a “slow, painful death.” “He was wearing a double layer of clothes, trying to stay warm,” Virani said."

Excerpt taken from an article written by Tom Gilchrist, The Bay City Times, Wednesday January 28, 2009.

Think I'm being overly dramatic? (I wish). By the way, heat in Iceland is provided for free by the government. Oh, right, that's socialism. I'm sure it's better to freeze to death.

This is hardly a new topic. Here are articles from 2002 and 2004

Here's a link to the story about Marvin posted on Mario Kenny's blog in Florida:

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