The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Killed by Fumes—And Capitalism

Apr 13, 2015

Rodney Todd and his seven children ages six to 15 were found lying in bed dead of carbon monoxide poisoning on April 6 in the rural Maryland town of Princess Anne. Police say the fumes came from a gas powered generator he bought and operated in the kitchen to do the laundry and heat the rented house.

Delmarva Power, the utility in that part of Maryland, had cut the power on March 25, claiming the meter was illegally connected and was therefore unsafe!

Rodney Todd was 36 and worked in the privatized kitchen at the public University of Maryland Eastern Shore for $10 an hour. Divorced, he was getting some welfare and had asked a state program for help paying the electric bill in the past. But a job should let a person pay the bills!

When there is not enough money to cover all the basics, people make hard choices–rent and food come first. The children slept in beds, he slept on the couch and styled his daughters’ hair himself. He kept driving his truck, after the insurance lapsed and the tags expired.

Fumes may have killed this family of eight, but the capitalist system, which puts a price on every necessity of life, provided the fuel.