Electric Company Murders 93-Year Old Vet, Freezing Him to Death in the Dark
The stiff, frozen carcass of a 93-year old World War II veteran was excavated from his home in Bay City, MI on January 17, transformed into an icy tomb by the Bay City Electric Light & Power which cut off his power earlier this month for arrearages in his electrical bill. Marvin E. Schur’s story is a parable for our monstrous times, a 93-year old widower murdered by a machine he probably didn’t know existed and had designs to kill him.
Murdered as effectively as a battered geriatric stuffed into an gas chamber at Auschwitz, with a far cleaner technology, however, and the patina of deniability, Schur went the way we will all go as Wall Street rips the economy of the United States to shreds and the militarized, high-tech culture of hair-trigger state-sponsored violence churns to life to confront and neutralize the desperate throngs of debtors and dispossessed millions.
Pay attention, because Schur’s story will be all of ours very soon: when the maxed-out credit card is refused at the emergency room; when the RBOC decides there are too many abandoned homes in a community to support the copper-based service there any longer and kills the local circuit; when a bank is close to failing and starts calling in notes early; when starving, unpaid military men abandon their bases and garrison a city’s supermarkets; when the looted pension fund runs out and the federal pension insurance safety net fails; as scores of millions of unemployed roam the streets facing down surprisingly fatal non-lethal and less-than-lethal weapons deployed by cops, mercenaries and US armed forces. Then people will die, not intentionally, of course, but as certainly as Schur did.
In the frigid depths of Michigan winter, a Bay City Electric Light & Power placed a “limiter” device between the electrical service on his street and the billing meter on the side of Schur’s house on January 13 – because he owed in excess of $1000 for electrical service. The device is automated dunning gear that shuts off power after the consumption of some predetermined number of kilowatts during some predetermined time period.
To restart the device, the homeowner needs to find it and reset it. Clever, eh? Keeps those unapproachable deadbeats on notice. Beats tazing them or tear-gassing them, other non-fatal technologies that should really only be deployed when someone gets disagreeable or looks threatening. Big problem in this case, however, is that this clever gear was not something that could be managed by 93-year old Schur, who was apparently deaf and possibly demented.
The city doesn’t even know if the technician explained to him how his electrical service was being jury-rigged with the auto-dunner or if he actually understood anything if indeed it was explained to him, or even if he would have had the dexterity to reset it when it finally when into fail-safe mode sometime after the 13th and Schur began to slowly, painfully freeze to death.
No one heard him wail in the freezing dark before he died and no one’s to blame. It just happened. Right? No need to question the madness of putting a lifeline utility on automatic shut-off in the dead of winter. No need to question why it makes more sense to hire two full-time people to place and remove these limiters in the winter than to establish a lifeline trust for the old and bankrupt. No need to ask why, after more than 100 years of nearly universal electrical service, it’s impossible to handle arrearages for these servicse without subjecting human beings to the humiliations of an automated cattle prod.
No, Stinquers, America’s way beyond that kind of quibbling. You learn your place in the machine and how to manage it or you die. No questions! No reprieve! Zero tolerance or anarchy! Right, Marvin? You can’t reset the dunnomatic death-switch in the dead of winter, you freeze in the dark alone. It’s brilliantly efficient and think, just imagine, if you will, the cost savings compared to having to pay for a truck roll with a licensed marksman to go out there, grab the old man by the hair and blow his fucking brains out. This is the kind of management culture that makes America great.