The law is an ass (part 1)
Since moving to Canada in 1999, I've noticed a disturbing trend amongst many North Americans, especially, it has to be said, our friends in the US. Put simply, and I know that this doesn't apply to everyone, people (adults) do not want to take responsibility for their own actions. A story on the news last night exemplified this, and is what promoted this blog entry.
Before I get into the story, let me be absolutely clear: I am teetotal (I don't like the taste; I have no religous or moral reasons why I don't drink), and I think that people who get caught DUI should be severely punished--especially those that injur or kill someone. I also think that the legal blood-alcohol limits for drivers should be reduced: 0 tolerance would be best. Note that I don't have a problem with people drinking; I only have a problem with people who drink and drive.
OK, with the caveats out of the way, on to the gist of this blog entry. From what I understand, if you have an accident while drunk-driving, you or the people that you injur can sue the person who served you the alcohol. That means the barkeeper or owner of a pub, or the host at a private party. The rationale behind this nonsense is something like this: the judgment of the person who was drunk was impaired at the time they got into the car, so therefore the host or pub staff should go out of their way to ensure that the drunk person does not drive. Furthermore, if they don't do that, they (the host) are responsible for the drunk's actions and can therefore be sued for negligence.
All I can say about that is: what a load of bollocks! I agree that at the time of getting into the car the drinker's judgment was impaired, and they may therefore chose to drive when they shouldn't. But--and this is the crux of my point--their judgement wasn't impaired when they chose to have the first drink. They chose to have a drink (or drinks) when they knew that they'd be driving, and therefore they, and they alone, are responsible for their actions. To suggest that the host is responsible is stupidty taken to an extreme. I mean, what next? Liqour stores being sued because they are responsible for someone drinking from the bottle of booze that they just bought from that store? Knife merchants being sued because they are responsible for the actions of someone who uses the knife they bought to attack someone? Craft shops being sued because the glue they sold was sniffed rather than being used to stick bits of paper in a scrapbook? In my opinion, this is definately the case of the law being an ass.
It's time to stop all this nonsense before it gets even more out of hand. When people make a mistake, their first reaction shouldn't be "Who can I sue?" but "What can I learn?". The way things are going, we're going to have to ask our guests and house visitors to sign a disclaimer before they enter our houses. And that is just insane.
The above isn't the only example of the law gone mad. There's something very wrong in a society where the victims of crime have less rights than the perpetrators of that crime. But I can feel another rant coming on, so that'll have to wait until another time...