John Stossel: Why Should We Rescue the Reckless?

But New Hampshire does charge for rescues -- when the state finds negligence. And it doesn't seem to have stopped those in trouble from calling for help.

"Since 1999 we've been billing people and they keep calling," said Lt. Todd Bogardus, who coordinates rescues for the state's Fish and Game department.

But that doesn't mean it's easy to collect.

John Rushenberg is a risk taker who likes all sorts of outdoor adventures. In Moab, Utah, he hiked up a canyon and got stuck on a ledge last year. The local sheriff, Jim Nyland of Grand County, said Rushenberg was reckless.

"I mean he had sandals on, you know, and I believe they were thongs," Nyland said.

Rushenberg freely admitted, "I was hiking in flip flops." But he also said, "I don't want to pay my bill."

Rushenberg said the rescue was unnecessary because before the county rescuers arrived, there were already people ready to help him down.

Rushenberg tried to argue that point with the sheriff, but Nyland didn't back down.

"I'm looking at the local tax payer. And you know when people go out and do ridiculous things, I mean I think they ought be held accountable," he said.

Rushenberg still owes the county more than $2,000 and suggests TV viewers might want to help pay his bill.

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