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Ennis Daily News

Give us more to work with on address signs

A discussion that began Monday in Ellis County Commissioners Court chambers got this newspaper thinking, and it surely had members of the community interested.
Do we really need numbers on our houses? Should it be a government mandate and issue that can cause us grief in the eyes of the law if we don’t?

The common-sense crowd, in the line of thinking that safety should come before worries about privacy, advocate for it for the sake of emergency workers. If the worst were to happen in your home, you’d want police, fire fighters, paramedics and other emergency personnel to be able to find you quickly.

Having the numbers on your house makes it easy to confirm that it is a specific place and belongs to a specific person. That’s great for emergency workers.

To be fair, there are some people’s concerns about another aspect of that that are valid. What if you have valid, legitimate safety reasons for not wanting to be found?

Beyond that, the freedom vs. safety argument comes into play. Do we want the government telling us to do something with our property? It is ours, after all. How we mark or label it should, constitutionally and theoretically, be ours to decide.

This issue is obviously muddy. Ask any two people on the street and you’re likely to get different answers. Even if they have the same result — yes you should have numbers; no you shouldn’t — the way they get to those answers could come from a different line of thinking altogether.

What it behooves the county to do now is to back up the argument for having numbers on houses and enforcing it with the arm of the law if that is what they would like to do. As wise men would say, not all agree, but we’re definitely listening. Help us understand more than the “public safety, emergency responder” side of the issue. If that is all there is to it, then so be it. If there is more, it needs to be brought to our collective attention so we can fully consider it and make well-informed and thought-out decisions on the matter.

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Posted by on Oct 28 2009. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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