Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Litigiousness is now a default position

I want to start by saying that I think it is a terrible thing that the families of the trapped miners in West Virginia were given erroneous information about the fate of their men - at one point being told they had been found alive, only to learn a short time later that all but one had perished.

It is natural in a situation like this to maybe say anything, and to act irrationally. That being said, it is telling that one of the first things uttered by a relative of one of the victims was a vow to sue somebody. Not for the dangerous conditions in the mine. Not for any delayed response to the emergency by rescue officials. No, this person is suing because of the erroneous information received that at first indicated the miners might be alive. A paraphrase of the statement made by the relative: "I call this unjustice (sic), and I tell you all right here and now I plan on suing." Unjustice? How is justice even germane to this situation? Who will she sue?

It is just another indicator that the "take it to court" mentality has become completely entrenched in our collective psyche. "This is someone's fault, and I am going to get money because of it."

Also, take a look at this morning's Star Tribune front page. From everything I am learning about the debacle, less than a half hour passed from the time of the erroneous status report to the time when the miners' true fate was discerned. How does any self respecting news organization with a editorial staff dedicated to the facts and truth telling print a headline like that without confirming the information?

Oh, I forgot. The Strib has never really bothered with facts or truth telling.

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