Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

An Explosion of Stupid Choices

Been busy with business, with teaching, with Dad's estate, and with looking after Mom (whose adjustment to widowhood is not coming about as orderly (if such is possible) as normal (whatever that may be).  I saw what my wife's mother (she had not yet become my mother-in-law at the time) went through, and how she handled the loss of her husband.  While my m-i-l was certainly bereaved, she did come to terms with the fact that life would be different, and she went about the business of dealing with her husband's estate (including the sale of his health care practice).  My own Mom is not yet doing so well.  I am concerned.

The demands upon my schedule will, in all likelihood, continue to affect the frequency and quality of postings on this Blog.

But I digress.

One matter which has concerned me for years is the law's tendency to facilitate (if not encourage) stupidity, and to discourage rational mental reasoning.  What message does it send when landowners are compelled to pay stupid trespassers for their injuries?

And, of course, New York is one of the nanniest of the nanny states.

So it came as both a surprise and a reassurance to read the case of Wolfe v. Hatch, in which Branden Wolfe (or, rather, his mother as his not so vigilant guardian) was denied recovery for the loss of his hand, incurred while playing with illegal home-made fireworks.  Because the then 14-year-old was engaged in a dangerous criminal act which was the direct cause of his injuries, he was unable to maintain a lawsuit against his playmate who had manufactured the fireworks.

The trial court decision was sustained on appeal.  Reading the Appellate Division's opinion in the case, the stupidity of everyone involved is very apparent.  And because Branden had a videocam which he gave to a friend to record the incident, there were few if any disputes of material facts.

If the law fails to protect enough people from the consequences of their stupid choices, then perhaps a few more individuals in the population will find that they are capable of making good decisions after all.


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