Tuesday, September 14, 2004

More Ridiculous ... um ... stuff
Yesterday as I was driving on parish business with one of the other parish priests, we were listening to a radio call-in talk show. The subject that the host invited people to discuss was the following:

A person called the police because they thought someone was trying to break into their home. The police arrived and saw a man that looked like he was trying to break into the home in question. The police officer ten started to give chase to the suspect, but failed to notice the small fence around part of the yard and tripped, breaking his wrist. The police officer is now suing the property owner for $750,000 for the injury.

I share the talk show host's opinion: uh? Aren't the police suppose to "Protect and Serve the Public"? Don't they realize that police work may be dangerous? What if the officer was chasing a suspect down a city road and tripped in a pothole, would he be able to sue the city roads department?

When I mentioned this incident to another priest friend, he asked if a person could really sue for something like that, and of course you can pretty much file a lawsuit over anything. Whether you win is another matter, but sadly I fear that these types of lawsuits are too frequently decided more on emotion than reason. Juries often "feel" sorry for the victim, and just write it off as "its just an insurance company" that will have to pay. Another example of people not being able to look to see the consequences of their actions, for of course, the insurance companies just pass these costs onto the policy holders by increasing premiums. A few years ago, in Philadelphia, a jury awarded a woman who claimed to be a psychic several millions of dollars in damages after she claimed that dye contrast of a medical test destroyed her psychic ability, thus her income, and that the doctors and technicians had failed to adequately warn her that this was a possibility. Fortunately in that case the presiding judge had a brain and he liked to exercise this spiritual power we like to call the Intellect, for the judge set aside the jury's decision saying that there was no foundation for it in law nor fact since there was no proof that the woman ever had psychic powers. Basically the jury just felt sorry for her.

I feel sorry for people too. Some are in very unfortunate circumstances, and sometimes it is not even their fault. However, our society has to be based on reasonableness. Now I am not advocating a rigid, modernistic concept of reason as the only source of knowledge. I firmly hold that the Intellect (as is the Will) is a spiritual faculty/power, that is informed both by the senses (which include emotions) and Faith. Sadly it seems to me that in our society today emotivism is the primary basis for decision making, and not Reason, informed by Faith.

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