This latest story of government tyranny comes to us from north Minneapolis, which was recently devastated by a tornado.
Mike Haege, of Hastings, owns a tree cutting service which operates in several cities. When he saw the news of devastation in the town he decided to put his business to use for free, volunteering to remove trees and debris from peoples’ homes, many of whom did not have insurance and were otherwise stuck without his help.
The city requires a license to conduct a tree cutting business within the city, which Haege did not have. Of course, that shouldn’t have mattered since he was not running a business that day – all the work he was doing was being done for free.
Have no fear, local government had its priorities strait and somehow managed to spare the resources to harass and threaten a local volunteer in their own devastated city.
A city inspector arrived at the scene. She told Haege he had to leave. Immediately.
“You have to leave right now,” the inspector told Haege. “You’re not licensed to be here.”
“I said, ‘I’m just a volunteer,’ and she didn’t believe me.”
Haege went back to his truck and got his volunteer paperwork. Still, that did little to get the inspector off his back.
“I don’t want to see you up here,” she told him.
“She just didn’t believe me,” he said.
And it gets even better. The charity he was helping and the citizens whom he had just helped all came to his defense, but to no avail. Soon he was forced to leave, chased out of a city he was trying to help, for free, by a government that apparently cares more about its own pathetic bureaucracy than the suffering of their own people.
Even that wasn’t good enough for these, apparently, vindictive bureaucrats. As Mr. Haege was driving home local police were following him in order to ensure his departure. He was unaware of this, however, when his help was requested again.
As they were on their way back to the volunteer area, residents waved down Haege, pleading for help. He pulled over and helped get a tree out of the way for them.
Haege had no idea police officers were behind him in a sort of unofficial escort out of town. He said they stopped traffic for about two hours while they figured out what to do with him. At one point, officers threatened to throw him in jail, he said.
Ultimately he went home and received a $275 fine in the mail.
A lot of words come to mind to describe the city’s actions that day, but I like Haege’s the best:
“I happened to have a day off, and I happened to get run out of the city for no reason,” he said. “It was really kind of disturbing. Going up there, thinking you’ll be welcomed. The residents welcomed me. They were very grateful, but the Gestapo wasn’t. ”[emphasis mine]
On a related note, why should one need a license to remove trees and debris even if they are charging? What’s wrong with enriching yourself by providing a service to your fellow man?