We live in a “victim society” that believes that all harm can be atoned for by large infusions of cash.  A bull accidentally got away from its experienced handlers; now both the Fair and the owners are in danger of losing everything because the victims (who suffered minor injuries) “deserve compensation” in the form of bankruptcy-inducing lawsuits.  Is this the American way?

A story out of Colorado is more honest than most:  lawyers already have gathered a group of victims from the recent theater shooting, and are shopping around for someone to sue.  Now, I understand that these people suffered physical and emotional harm at the hands of a wicked, deranged murderer, and that’s a terrible thing.  They deserve our prayers; they deserve proper medical care; they deserve counseling to help deal with the grief and the nightmares.  The question is, who should pay?  The thug who committed the crime is an underfunded grad student whose remaining funds (if any) will be tied up in his own legal defense, supplemented by our tax dollars.  The victims cannot expect to get a dime from the one who caused their harm.  So they start looking for someone else to sue.

Perhaps the theater is really responsible for their pain, and needs to be taught a lesson.  Besides, it’s a large chain and has lots of money; a few million out of their corporate pockets wouldn’t hurt them a bit; after all corporations are not people, so no one is losing out when a corporation loses money, right?

Perhaps the counselors who noticed irregularities in the killer’s behavior should pony up the dough for damages.  After all, even though he had neither threatened nor committed any crime to their knowledge, they should have known what he would do and had him locked away as a precaution. 

And while we’re at it, why not sue his parents?  They produced his rotten genes.  What about his schoolteachers, who molded him into what he is?  And maybe they should go after the movies for teaching him about violence.  Or perhaps they should go against churches for not preventing the movies from teaching him about violence, or the Jews who financed Hollywood, or Edison for inventing the movie projector.

The greed that would demand payment from innocent parties sickens me almost as much as the wickedness that caused the suffering in the first place.

Old Testament law, upon determining the guilt of a murderer, would have executed him swiftly.  In the case of a criminal who caused injury but not death, he would have been forced to make restitution, even if it took years as a bond slave to effect it.  Unfortunately, neither of those options are available under our current legal system.  And there is one other major difference between the Old Testament law and today’s system:  back then, there were no lawyers promoting civil cases for profit.

Maybe all Americans should join a class action suit against the lawyers who have spawned and cultivated our ravenous litigious society.  But who would represent us?

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