Madison Madness

Another “unarmed black teen” has been shot and killed by a white police officer, this time in Madison, Wisconsin.

As usual, the “teen” Tony Robinson is actually 19, making him an adult. It turns out that the “teen” had a prior conviction for armed home invasion. What I find striking is that he was sentenced to mere probation for this reprehensible crime rather than actually serve jail time. How is this possible? How can anyone believe that probation is an appropriate sentence for someone who entered another person’s home for the purpose of robbing them and brought along a loaded firearm in order to kill or incapacitate the occupant in the event of resistance? It is absolutely unbelievable.

And yet, the “teen’s” white mother insists that he has “never been a violent person.” Well, thanks to Officer Matt Kenny, he’ll certainly never be a violent person again.

But the most disturbing thing about this situation is the pathetic, groveling, teary-eyed statement from Mayor Paul Soglin. He uses typical, politically-authorized language to describe the incident and his liberal sentiments. Of particular note is the misappropriation of the word “tragedy.” Indeed, it is tragic that even in a society which bends over backwards to afford opportunities to those of socioeconomic disadvantage there are still so many people who are simply incapable of acting in a civilized manner. But Mayor Soglin doesn’t mean that this is a tragedy in that sense; he means that Robinson’s death — independent of context — is tragic.

A tragedy is something bad that happens and is unavoidable in that it transcends mankind’s abilities to manipulate the material world to its will. Committing an act of violence, attacking a police officer, and getting shot is not unavoidable. These events do not transcend our ability to manipulate material reality. They are the decisions of a single person of moral and intellectual bankruptcy and the consequences of those decisions.

Madison Madness

Civil liability idiocy

I remember reading about Sidney Good and Alexis Fairchild’s parasailing accident a couple of years ago and finding it very distressing. But the outcome of their legal battles is distressing as well.

The lawsuit filed on their behalf named five defendants:

1) Parasailing ride operator

2) A business located on the beach

3) A rope manufacturer

4) The rope wholesaler

5) The condominium into which they crashed

As I understand it, all five defendants (in reality, their insurance companies) offered a settlement which was accepted by the girls’ attorneys. But which of the five defendants actually has any moral culpability for what happened? Clearly, the parasailing ride operator has culpability for failing to properly inspect and load-test their equipment at regular intervals. Just as clearly, the rope manufacturer is culpable for not ensuring adequate quality control in their processes. But the rope wholesaler? Presumably, the rope comes from the factory sealed with a quality control stamp. And the building they crashed into? What, are they liable for building the damn thing in the wrong spot?

In a sane world, neither of those businesses would have offered a settlement and the girls’ attorneys could have moved to take them to court. And in a sane world, they would have been laughed out of court, forced to pay the defendants’ court costs, and hit with some sort of penalty fee for wasting everyone’s time. But the fact is that those entities’ insurance companies know that the deck is stacked against them and offered the settlement just to avoid further legal expenses. Of course, the end result is that insurance prices go up.

Divorcing the concept of civil liability from objective moral culpability has contributed to making this country’s legal system a complete joke.

Civil liability idiocy