Monday, January 12, 2009

Rule Stupor

George F. Will explores how fear of litigation has changed - warped - our society:

Someone hurt while running at recess might sue the school district for inadequate supervision of the runner, as Broward County knows: It settled 189 playground lawsuits in five years. In Indiana, a boy did what boys do: He went down a slide headfirst -- and broke his femur. The school district was sued for inadequate supervision. Because of fears of such liabilities, playgrounds all over America have been stripped of the equipment that made them fun. So now in front of televisions and computer terminals sit millions of obese children, casualties of what attorney and author Philip Howard calls "a bubble wrap approach to child rearing" produced by the "cult of safety." Long Beach removed the warning signs because it is safer to say nothing: Reckless swimmers injured by the tides might sue, claiming that the signs were not sufficiently large or shrill or numerous, or something. Only a public outcry got the signs restored.

[HT: Robinson and Long ]

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