Patterico's Pontifications

10/11/2007

Joey Cosmillo and the Police Sergeant who Saved Sued Him (Updated)

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 5:54 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

Another entrant in this year’s Unbelievable Lawsuits …

From the Orlando FL Sun-Sentinel:

“In January, 1-year-old Joey Cosmillo wandered into the backyard and fell into the family pool. When his mother hauled him out, he wasn’t breathing. Rescuers were able to bring him back to life, but he suffered severe brain damage and cannot walk, talk or even swallow.

Now, his family faces another burden: One of the rescuers, Casselberry police Sgt. Andrea Eichhorn, is suing, alleging the family left a puddle of water on the floor that afternoon, causing her to slip and fall.

The boy’s grandparents, named in the suit, are mystified and angry. “The loss we’ve suffered, and she’s seeking money?” said Richard Cosmillo, 69, the boy’s grandfather. “Of course there’s going to be water in the house. He was sopping wet when we brought him in.”

Eichhorn last week sued Richard Cosmillo; his wife, Maggie Cosmillo; and the boy’s mother, Angela Cosmillo, accusing them of negligence. They were careless, according to the suit, and allowed the home they shared to become unsafe. As a consequence, Eichhorn broke her knee, something that kept her off the job for two months, according to police Chief John Pavlis.

Joey now lives in a nursing home five miles away, where he gets 24-hour care. He breathes through one tube. He’s fed through another. “He doesn’t have any abilities — any,” his grandmother said. “He can’t sit. He can’t swallow. He can’t eat. We’re not even sure he can see.””

Joey’s mother found him in the pool, dove in and got him, carried him into the house to a bedroom, and called 911. Rescuers were working on Joey when Sgt. Eichhorn arrived:

As she stepped into the room where rescuers were working on the boy, she slipped and went down on one knee, then stood back up, according to Richard Cosmillo. Later that day, she went to an emergency care center and eventually to an orthopedist, according to her attorney, David Heil.

While she was on medical leave, Pavlis said, the city’s insurer paid her medical bills and provided disability checks. Eichhorn, a 12-year department veteran, would not discuss the suit. Her attorney said those benefits, paid by the city’s workers’ compensation carrier, were not enough. The suit seeks an unspecified amount of money. Eichhorn, he said, is a victim. Her knee aches, and she will likely develop arthritis.

If the Cosmillos had made their pool baby-proof, police would not have been called to the scene, there would have been no water on the floor, and Eichhorn would not have hurt herself, he said. “It’s a situation where the Cosmillos have caused these problems, brought them on themselves, then tried to play the victim,” he said.”

From a legal standpoint, Sgt. Eichhorn could conceivably recover against the Cosmillos and their homeowner’s insurance policy. Her case will likely focus on whether the Cosmillos breached a duty of care owed to persons in their home. That is, were the Cosmillos negligent when they failed to install a fence around the pool? However, I’m not sure Sgt. Eichhorn was the intended or expected beneficiary of a pool fence.

If it’s available under Florida law, the Cosmillos may consider a defense of Assumption of the Risk. The doctrine has been gutted over the years (and I don’t know its status or provisions under Florida law), but this might be a good case for a court to rejuvenate it. Police officers assume the risk of danger when they go into police work. Swimming pool drownings are events police officers can and do encounter, and slipping in a water puddle is a foreseeable risk of drowning calls.

From a common sense standpoint, I think Sgt. Eichhorn should have listened to her Police Chief:

“Sgt. Eichhorn is a good officer,” Pavlis said Tuesday. He urged her not to file the lawsuit, he said, but there was nothing he could do.

UPDATE: That was fast. Read NK’s comment #3.

— DRJ

122 Responses to “Joey Cosmillo and the Police Sergeant who Saved Sued Him (Updated)”

  1. The sergeant’s a dolt. Mother and grandparents are too. Why the hell did the kid drown in a pool?

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  2. That woman police officer is the other end of the scale from officer Ripatti. Too bad they can’t exchange spinal cords.

    Mike K (86bddb)

  3. They have not all gone crazy in that police department. It seems that she has been “placed on leave” and talked into dropping the suit.

    [NK – I need you to update all my posts! Thanks and I’ll note this above. — DRJ]

    nk (6e4f93)

  4. Spam filter ate my last comment and link. It appears that she “has been placed on leave” and talked into dropping the lawsuit. Let’s try the link one more time.

    nk (6e4f93)

  5. She might think that the parents are complete idiots for letting a one-year-old anywhere near a pool, causing the chaotic situation in the first place. Thus, she’s not offended by the fact that they’re offended by her lawsuit.

    Very few Americans these days get the true purpose of tort law — to place the cost of injuries on the actors with control over the instrument of injury. That way, they can make the economic calculation “hmm . . . my having a ground-level pool could cost me 1 disabled kid, plus one injured cop — is it worth it?”

    If they say “yes, the potential suffering of kids and cops is worth it to me to have a pool” then hell yeah they should pay for the cop’s knee. Why should the cop suffer the cost of the family’s enjoyment of a pool?

    Also, “assumption of risk” is not a doctrine I’d normally be thrilled about applying to law enforcement. Nothing like telling our brave public servants “too bad — you knew the job was risky when you took it” to encourage good people to become cops!

    Phil (aa9cba)

  6. Of course, firemen could sue because the homeowner knew full well their house was on fire when they called 911. Get real, Phil.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  7. Actually, the Fireman’s Rule (which applies to police and paramedics too) is based on assumption of risk and is the law in most states. Florida is one of a handful of states which have abandoned it in recent years. And Phil, won’t you please consider all the implications of the last sentence in your comment #4?

    nk (6e4f93)

  8. Depending on the case, if a firefighter were injured because of negligence, I’d say sure, let ’em sue. Who would you rather pay for a firefighter’s injuries, the homeowner or the city?

    That’s the other thing I don’t think people realize. The city’s health insurance and disability payments will be paid back out of any settlement or verdict for the police woman. So again, the idiot parents pay for the trouble they caused, instead of the city.

    After all, somebody has to pay for her medical bills. The only question is, who?

    So many people don’t understand that the tort system is a cost-allocating system, and not simply a system of dishing out windfalls.

    You don’t get to file a tort unless you’ve been injured. The only question in a tort case (leaving out punative damages) is who should bear the cost of the injury.

    I would think that in the case of stupid people causing injuries to police or firemen, conservatives would jump at the idea that the idiots, and not the city health care/workers comp system, should pay for the cost of their stupidity.

    Phil (aa9cba)

  9. BTW, what makes her a “rescuer”? Seems to me that the mother pulled the baby out and paramedics were resuscitating him when she waltzed into the people’s house. A cop in a situation like that is about as useful as ____ on a ____. The parents have a defense of, and countersuit, for trespass seems to me.

    nk (6e4f93)

  10. Officers can sue people who hurt them while resisting arrest for battery — I’m involved in just such a lawsuit right now where a drunk bit an officer. That risk isn’t “assumed” and I can’t think of a public policy reason why it should be.

    The assumption of risk doctrine requires, I think, that the risk was open and obvious, and of the kind that an ordinary fireman/officer/paramedic would expect to face as part of their job, and be able to prepare for.

    For a police officer hurrying onto a scene, the idea that parents have splashed water all over the house very well may not be open, obvious, or an expected hazard of the job.

    Phil (aa9cba)

  11. Phil, they were rescuing a baby who was had just been drowning in a pool. In this case at least, your point makes no sense.

    Do you want parents to hesitate before calling for help if they find their child drowning or just long enough for them to mop up and the residual moisture to evaporate?

    Or should they keep those McDonald’s style wet floor signs around in the case of drowning?

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  12. Phil #9,

    The duty is “the care a reasonable person would exercise in the situation”. So would a reasonable parent of a drowned baby have been mopping up the floor in this situation?

    nk (6e4f93)

  13. So if there’s a fire in a two story home and a firefighter gets hurt, can he/she sue based on the logic that adding a second floor and all the added dangers a second floor brings was a risk the homeowner took?

    Lifeguards could sue if they get hurt rescuing someones child from the ocean… after all, the beach is dangerous and the parents should never have taken a child there in the first place?

    Where does the line get drawn?

    SteveG (4e16fc)

  14. Cristoph, the question is, who should be responsible for the cop’s medical bills, since she was hurt coming onto the scene because of what the parents did?

    By saying the parents shouldn’t have to pay, you’re basically saying that we all should pay, though are taxes, the medical bills incurred as a result of the parents’ negligent supervision of their kid (since that negligence led to all of the splashing.)

    This isn’t about punishing the parents, it’s about cost-assignment.

    Let’s say that the parents had a $50,000.00 ming vase that was standing next to where the officer fell. The officer broke the vase when she slipped on the water — but the vase broke her fall, so she wasn’t hurt.

    This also is a “cost” that is caused by the parents’ letting water splash everywhere. But it’s a cost that you likely would have no problem making them bear. You certainly wouldn’t say “the cop and the city should pay for the vase!

    Yet, you’re saying “the cop and the city should pay for the cop’s medical bills! It’s not the poor parent’s fault!”

    Why?

    Phil (aa9cba)

  15. Goddamn, Phil. Just when I was thinking that douchebag prosecutors were the worst kind of lawyer, you pop up to remind me that douchebag trial attorneys are much worse.

    Water at the scene of a drowning isn’t a forseeable risk? Who you crapping, Phil?

    Dude (c21689)

  16. SteveG, that line drawing is the real question, you’re right. I just don’t see a problem drawing the line to make the parents’ homeowners insurance policy pay for the cop’s injuries.

    As for the firefighter in the two-story house; why do you think the firefighter/city, and not the homeowner, should bear the cost of his injuries? After all, the homeowner is the one whose home was being saved.

    The only reason I can think of that we’d want the city and the firefighter to bear the cost of fighting fires is because we think that fires are something we can’t control at all, and we should all share the risk of. Which is fair; if the homeowner didn’t do anything we’d consider negligent to cause the fire, then perhaps the cost of the fire should be born by all.

    With the lifeguard, too, I think the question is whether drowning kids at the beach are something that the parents can control. Let’s say a parent takes their kid out really far into the water, and then wanders off and forgets them. The lifeguard has to swim out unusually far to save the kid, and drowns. Still think the parents shouldn’t have to pay the cost of the injury?

    Phil (aa9cba)

  17. You’re misstating what I actually said, Phil, it was:

    “The sergeant’s a dolt. Mother and grandparents are too. Why the hell did the kid drown in a pool?

    A far cry from what you say I said. What I believe is they should be investigated (probably already happened) to see if this was just an unlucky accident or criminal negligence.

    That aside, I believe it’s a bad idea to throw barriers up that would make a family reluctant to call first responders… you won’t get this point as you don’t get many. Her police force gets the point, most people get that point… as I look at my home now I’m pretty sure it’s a bit cluttered. But if I had a heart attack, should I refrain from calling the ambulance or, having called them, must I be sued if one of them trips on a shoe on my kitchen floor?

    The reality is first responders have a dangerous job and one of the things they must do is look where they walk. When they get injured, it does indeed come out of taxes and insurance as per their employment agreements.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  18. Phil,

    You’re ignoring the fact that there has to be fault. It’s not strict liability and it’s not indemnity. So tell us the fault — the duty owed and the way it was breached.

    nk (6e4f93)

  19. Water at the scene of a drowning isn’t a forseeable risk? Who you crapping, Phil?

    A forseeable risk to who, Dude? Wasn’t it forseeable to the parents that having a pool and a one-year-old could lead to the chaos of having to pull their drowning boy out of the pool, with water splashing everywhere?

    You almost seem like a socialist — “I shouldn’t have to pay for the cost of my irresponsible behavior — Society as a whole should pay!

    Phil (aa9cba)

  20. Put another way, if I was a libertarian Ron Paul supporting tax evading nut and I had a shotgun trap set and that blew up a cop then, yes, I have a liability issue. As Dude so eloquently points out water at the scene of a drowning is not the same thing.

    I’m going to refrain from calling you retarded, but will second the douchebag.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  21. So if they were mopping the floor and it was wet their would have been a fault, Phil? If they had not mopped the floor and it had gotten dirty? If their kids played soccer and a first responder slipped on an errant soccer ball? If they vaccuum and a first responder wasn’t looking and hit their nuts against the handle?

    Where does the line fall?

    I have an idea — on the other side than Ron Paul supporting douchebags.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  22. NK, I am talking about fault. The fault was the parents’ they allowed the kid to get in a situation where he nearly drowned in the pool, thus causing the whole chaotic aftermath.

    Who was more at “fault” for the fact that the officer fell on the wet floor — the officer hurrying to help a drowing boy, or the parents who let the boy fall in the pool?

    If you say the officer was more at fault, I think that’s more of a knee-jerk aversion to shifting costs than a recognition of who was actually at fault.

    I just think “fault” has been basically whittled down to “criminal activity” in the minds of tort reformers, and the underlying purpose of tort law — to simply place the cost of injuries on those best situated to bear that cost from a policy perspective — has been lost to much of today’s society.

    Phil (aa9cba)

  23. Also, “assumption of risk” is not a doctrine I’d normally be thrilled about applying to law enforcement. Nothing like telling our brave public servants “too bad — you knew the job was risky when you took it” to encourage good people to become cops!

    That’s exactly how you do get good people to become cops. If it’s safe and entitled, you’re just going to get a lot of people in it for money and perks. Look at most of the politicians around today. It’s a sense of citizenship and honor that draws good people in because the job has to get done. I’m not saying that police shouldn’t be appreciated or compensated, but this certainly isn’t the case to highlight that position.

    Secondly, what if the boy had slipped while running through the sprinkler and had a severe head injury? He would probably still have been carried into the house where a puddle could have formed. How would that contribute to any negligence?

    Thirdly, the cost/benefit analysis you make is rather weak. You might as well say, “Does the potential suffering of other motorists or pedestrians if the brakes in my car fail make it worth driving?” By your reasoning, nobody should be allowed a ground-level pool (or a car) because there is always a possibility that someone might be hurt. How far back do we go in the blame-chain? If they hadn’t had a kid, he couldn’t have fallen in the pool, so no emergency call. Tort law is clearly out of control when suits like this seem reasonable.

    Stashiu3 (992297)

  24. He’s a trial lawyer, Stashiu3. You go back as far as necessary so he can make money.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  25. What does “ron paul supporting douchebag” have to do with anything?

    I’ll talk rationally, but if you have nothing rational to say, I’m not going to play the insult game with you.

    All you’ve posited so far is that this is a line-drawing question, and you disagree with me about where the line falls because … well, apparently because I support Ron Paul.

    I guess I must be stupid, because I don’t get the connection.

    Phil (aa9cba)

  26. I just think “fault” has been basically whittled down to “criminal activity” in the minds of tort reformers, and the underlying purpose of tort law — to simply place the cost of injuries on those best situated to bear that cost from a policy perspective — has been lost to much of today’s society.

    You’re wrong, Phil. You have it backwards. A tort is an “almost crime” in the common law and it is only in recent years that tort law has slipped into “I got hurt somebody’s gotta pay”.

    nk (6e4f93)

  27. Phil #21:

    … the underlying purpose of tort law — to simply place the cost of injuries on those best situated to bear that cost from a policy perspective — has been lost to much of today’s society.

    I completely disagree that this is the point of tort law. It has many functions, including to punish bad conduct through money damages, stimulate conduct that is beneficial to individuals and to society, and to allocate costs to accomplish those goals (and frequently that would not be the persons “best situated to bear that cost”).

    DRJ (74c23b)

  28. This chips-fall-where-they-may attitude is pretty disturbing. It basically says “I can do what I want, and if it hurts other people, that’s their problem.”

    Yes, I’m a trial lawyer — and it always amazes me how many injured people come in and say “I’m really not the type of person who sues people.”

    Because they are exactly the type of people who sue people. Until people are injured by someone else’s stupidity or carelessness, they always think that people who sue are trying to get something.

    But the truth is that people who sue have lost something, thanks to someone else’s carelessness, and they don’t know how to get it back. Then, they come to trial lawyers, and hold their noses because they think somehow they’re different from all those other people who sue.

    Phil (aa9cba)

  29. “I guess I must be stupid, because I don’t get the connection.”

    Touché. Acknowledged.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  30. I agree with NK’s #26.

    DRJ (74c23b)

  31. Still don’t get the connection.

    Although I suppose your one of those people who drives on roads where drivers kill 40,000 people a year, doesn’t blink at the idea that cigarette companies sell a product that kills 400,000 Americans a year — but is utterly terrified of a small group of muslims who have killed under 10,000 Americans in the last 7 years.

    Coldly logical, you war-on-terror folks are.

    Phil (aa9cba)

  32. I’m saying Paul is generally insane lunatic pacifist and if you read that article, plus the Hot Air comments, plus had a brain you’d know why — and it shows your lunacy in supporting him. Granted, your lunacy here is a separate issue, but I’m sure they’re related.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  33. As I see it, DRJ and NK, I’m in favor of making people personally responsible for the consequences of their actions.

    You, on the other hand, want people to be personally responsible for their own injuries, and only have people be personally responsible for the consequences of their actions if they rise to almost to the level of crime.

    Phil (aa9cba)

  34. No, in most cases, I support the right to sue. A first responder suing a parent because they called 911 after their baby drowned and the responder slipped on water — utterly predictable — is nutso.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  35. I think the issue is duty and whether the grandparents owed the police sergeant a duty of care that they breached. But my tort law instructor was from Louisiana so I tend to view these issues from a civil law perspective, e.g. a little off-kilter.

    DRJ (74c23b)

  36. Cristoph, it’d be great if you could actually express the reasons for your opinions, rather than just continually insulting me and then insulting me for not being convinced by your previous insults that you’re right.

    Phil (aa9cba)

  37. Phil,

    I want a person to be responsible for his/her conduct that negligently breaches a duty owed to another and that causes damages. If you feel otherwise, please tell me how you define tort law.

    DRJ (74c23b)

  38. Cristoph, I wrote comment 36 before I saw your 34. Thanks for at least taking a stab at expressing a reason without insulting me personally.

    Phil (aa9cba)

  39. Read that one article and the Hot Air comments. That’s not much reading. Once you’re done, tell me, and I’ll discuss it with you plus give you my reasons.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  40. Phil, you don’t need to get polite with me. I consider you absurd and wouldn’t bother being polite with you so, really, it’s unnecessary.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  41. Although I suppose your one of those people who drives on roads where drivers kill 40,000 people a year, doesn’t blink at the idea that cigarette companies sell a product that kills 400,000 Americans a year — but is utterly terrified of a small group of muslims who have killed under 10,000 Americans in the last 7 years. (emphasis mine)

    Ok, I’m not much for name-calling (despite being very good at it), so I’ll just say that you’ve lost all credibility with me (not that you are required to care). If you’re going to imply the “bedwetters” smear, you can’t be far from the “chickenhawk” smear. Thanks for playing, time to ignore you.

    Stashiu3 (992297)

  42. DRJ, I think that by saying “negligently breaches a duty owed” a bit redundant to me.

    Other than that, I think I’m right there with ya; I do think we probably would disagree on where the line of “duty” is drawn in certain situations.

    Phil (aa9cba)

  43. Phil, I almost apologized before Stashiu3 brought to my attention more of your lunacy.

    There are numerous differences including the intentional murder of the “small group of muslims”.
    They are enemies of your country and wish to enslave the entire world to their will. That rather makes a difference.

    Nutso.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  44. Sorry Stashiu3 . . .

    those who are so quick to accuse me of treason, lack of patriotism, etc., for opposing the current response to terrorism often do seem utterly unable to handle being called chicken . . . it’s almost like they’re afraid of it, lol.

    Phil (aa9cba)

  45. There are numerous differences including the intentional murder of the “small group of muslims”.
    They are enemies of your country and wish to enslave the entire world to their will. That rather makes a difference.

    I disagree as to your claim of intent on the part of the muslims. You’re saying the other deaths I mentioned aren’t intentional?. The cigarette companies sell their cigarettes intentionally, knowing they will cause death. We drive every day, intentionally, and know that as a group, by making that choice, 40,000 people will die each year in auto accidents. What’s not “intentional” about that?

    As for them enslaving the entire world, the real question is, do they have a chance at actually doing it? I don’t believe they do. If I did, I’d be scared, like you, I suppose.

    Phil (aa9cba)

  46. Phil,

    I find it very hard to believe that you graduated law school and passed the bar exam in light of your comment #45.

    nk (6e4f93)

  47. nk, my theory is a lot of jurors and judges are stupid, so, frankly having a lawyer who can pull out retarded arguments helps in some cases. It’s the only explanation I have for Phil’s potential legal successes.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  48. Because I disagree with you about the effectiveness of the use of massive military force to fight terrorism? Or because of the way I used the word “intent?”

    Phil (aa9cba)

  49. We drive every day, intentionally, and know that as a group, by making that choice, 40,000 people will die each year in auto accidents. What’s not “intentional” about that?

    That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever read.

    But it does bring up a whole lot of great criminal charges we can make against police officers riding in cruisers and milk truck delivery drivers… in what was previously an accident, we can now say they they “intentionally” ran over a dog. So we can charge them with animal cruelty ála Michael Vick. And on and on, etc., etc.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  50. DRJ,

    Thank you for your kind words in the addendum to my Comment #3 and for rescuing it from electronic limbo. And has Christoph apologized to you yet?

    nk (6e4f93)

  51. Phil #48,

    Because of how you used “intent”. You are also taking proximate cause to lengths Judge Cardozo could not even dream of.

    nk (6e4f93)

  52. Cristoph, I’m just trying to wrap my head around this idea that somehow because the terrorists “intend” to kill people, it’s somehow more scary to us as a nation than auto/cigarette deaths which aren’t directly intended, but are the result of intentional acts, and could be stopped if we all just stopped driving and forced everyone to stop smoking. So we intend to have those deaths happen, instead of choosing to stop driving and outlaw cigarettes.

    We aren’t in a panic trying to stop smoking deaths, or driving deaths. Why are we in such a huge panic to stop terrorism deaths?

    Is it just because the muslims intend for us to die, instead of us intending us to die?

    Phil (aa9cba)

  53. I’m going to go get some fast food in about 20 minutes. If the fry person slips on some oil and injures themselves I guess I’ll have to plead guilty to “intending” to commit aggravating assault. And, if I keel over and die of a heart attack, my girlfriend will have to sue Wendy’s and its staff for “intending” to force french fries down my throat.

    The fact that I could also stop by at the nearby open grocery store to pick up apples is, naturally, their fault: since they intend to do whatever bad thing happens to me of course. But if I get the apple core stuck in my teeth and cut myself while flossing?

    Blame New Zealand.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  54. Phil,

    You may the next Melvin Belli or just nuts. Or both.

    But good luck in any case. When you acquit a rapist because his victim was “intentionally” not in a burkha I’ll be able to say “Hey, I had a blog discussion with that guy”.

    nk (6e4f93)

  55. NK, my torts professor was actually of the belief that proximate cause was really just giving the jury the issue of duty — since duty and proximate cause are both about forseeability.

    I do tend to stretch foreseeability more in some circumstances. I’m inclined to put more of a burden on tortfeasors to “foresee” potential injuries when they’re doing activities that benefit themselves more than society — such as having an in-ground pool and a one-year-old at the same time.

    Phil (aa9cba)

  56. Christoph, you know how you’re not supposed to actually give kidnappers what they want? Sure, it feels good to get back the hostages, but you’re just encouraging them.

    The problem with the war on terror is we keep giving the terrorists what they want, over and over: we get terrified.

    That’s what circulating that video is, in my opinion. It’s giving the terrorists what they want.

    Phil (aa9cba)

  57. Phil #42:

    DRJ, I think that by saying “negligently breaches a duty owed” a bit redundant to me.

    Some people use negligence as an interchangeable term for tort law, but I was taught that negligence is the standard of care by which you measure a breach of duty. Blame my Louisiana tort law professor.

    DRJ (74c23b)

  58. To say you disgust me doesn’t begin to touch it. If we were in person I’d like to rescind my previous “wouldn’t move a muscle” comment and say I’d be glad to grab one of my super light weight knitted winter gloves from my shelf and slap it across your face, harmlessly, to see if you have the guts to do anything about it (the smart answer is no).

    But because I can’t, I’m getting fries.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  59. NK #50:

    Regarding the first part of your comment, I would rescue every comment you make from moderation but that’s not part of my job description. Patterico made a good call there because I would be too tempted to clean up some language (for tone, not content) and that would put me on a slippery and completely bone-headed slope.

    Regarding the second part, no.

    DRJ (74c23b)

  60. I’m not saying I’m right about the negligence being redundant, though. Ironically (since I do a lot of tort work) torts was the my lowest grade in law school. It confused me to death. Didn’t learn much of anything about torts, really, until I was studying for the bar.

    Phil (aa9cba)

  61. Why does that not shock me.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  62. Let’s see: Police/fire owe no duty to any specific citizen to respond to his/her call at all, let alone in a timely manner. If emergency personnel do show up and the disaster scene isn’t OSHA approved and they hurt themselves they can sue?

    Peter B (5cc8d7)

  63. Christoph, Wendy’s fries often need salt — be sure to ask for it.

    Phil (aa9cba)

  64. I prefer without salt. Thanks for mentioning it. I avoid salt not for my own health, you understand, but out of love for the poor salt miners. I wouldn’t want them to “intend” my hypertension and lose what little assets they have to your heavyweight lawsuit on my behalf.

    Alright, I’m outta here!

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  65. And if they intentionally give you the salt and you later develop high blood pressure, you know who to call – THE PHILINATOR.

    Hey, they didn’t have to give you that salt.

    Dude (c21689)

  66. those who are so quick to accuse me of treason, lack of patriotism, etc., for opposing the current response to terrorism often do seem utterly unable to handle being called chicken . . . it’s almost like they’re afraid of it, lol.

    Or they resent the hell out of it because it’s difficult enough to act like a responsible adult without being ridiculed for it. I never assume treason or a lack of patriotism when things can be explained by naiveté.

    Most of my disagreement with your position was because of where you draw the line on torts. However, you went and did precisely what you accused others of doing… descended to personal attacks. That’s where you lost credibility, not with where you draw the line on tort law. You were arguing your position well. Though I disagreed with your conclusions, I could understand your reasoning and respect it. Dismissing rational concerns about terrorists because you disagree with the response… over the line for me.

    If I did, I’d be scared, like you, I suppose.

    Unwarranted assumption, just as you say treason or lack of patriotism was assumed about you. Now, drawing a parallel between driving and terrorism? Really? I know justice is supposed to be blind, but come on, you honestly believe that everyone could support themselves, their families, and the country without ever entering a driven vehicle? This, as opposed to committing acts of terrorism, which you would have us ignore completely because it “gives them what they want”. Your position keeps getting further from reality by the moment. Check yourself, please. Do.it.now.

    Stashiu3 (992297)

  67. the underlying purpose of tort law — to simply place the cost of injuries on those best situated to bear that cost from a policy perspective — has been lost to much of today’s society.

    Bullshit.

    The underlying purpose of tort law, simlple observation reveals, is to provide a sweet living to a class of homunculus too lazy to work and too timid to steal.

    Also, since when did ambulance-chasing settlement-suckers arrogate to themselves the term “trial lawyers?” I thought that was a lawyer who actually went to, you know, trials, not settlement conferences with lawyers for insurance companies. Trial lawyer, my eye. It’s a euphemism a guy uses when he’s too cowardly to admit he’s a plaintiff’s attorney, and not quite cowardly enough to claim he’s something more socially prestigious — like a pedophile or v1@gra spammer.

    Finally, nobody who’s been around cops can possibly miss what’s going on here. This is the Holy Grail for a certain type of cop. You put a few years in, enough to be well vested and make the rank you’re going to make, then you get a lawyer (after convincing yourself they’re not actually slimy, just smooth and cool to the touch) and a couple of quacks to write up a soft tissue injury, and bang out on disability.

    Disability pension, tax-free for life, and without waiting out your whole boring twenty (or whatever) — that’s the real objective here. Her “trial lawyer” is leaving money on the table if he isn’t getting a perpetual cut.

    Kevin R.C. 'Hognose' O'Brien (88bf29)

  68. Phil, when even “Dude” can argue with you and end up sounding eloquent, consider that the equivalent of your friends telling you you’re drunk and it’s time to go home.

    The fireman’s rule is a sound doctrine; it’s too bad Florida appears to have abandoned it. Even so, assuming Florida does still recognize assumption of risk, I’m not sure I grasp the theory that a frantic call about a kid nearly drowning in a backyard pool creates a reasonable expectation on the part of the cop that all the floors in the house will be nice ‘n tidy, and certainly free of puddles. That bitch should be fired, and her asshole attorney disbarred, for even thinking of bringing such a case.

    Xrlq (8278ce)

  69. Fox News will be covering this story in a couple of minutes.

    Sean (e1d31a)

  70. Phil, when even “Dude” can argue with you and end up sounding eloquent, consider that the equivalent of your friends telling you you’re drunk and it’s time to go home.

    Of course you loved Dude’s responses because they were shrill, completely disrespectful of the opposing view, and left no possible room for disagreement. It’s how you and your group seem to generally approach the world.

    I’m used to the way neocons tend work by now. You spew profanity at those who disagree with you and then call each other “eloquent.” XRLQ you’re just one of the oldest examples of a longstanding tradition among a certain type of conservative have been screaming down those who disagree with you for years.

    I expect it, of course, because that’s how you neocons seem to handle any opposing view:

    1. you insult as stupid and dismiss as anti-American those those who disagree with you;

    2. you then tell each other how crazy the opposing arguments are, and that makes you feel like you must be right, because you all agree;

    3. and if that doesn’t work, you argue it’s time to send in the soldiers/cops (depending on whether it’s foreign or domestic disagreement), because the opposing view is out of control and a threat to America.

    It’s pretty much the established pattern that addresses virtually all dissent. Name a current hot-button issue and I can show you it happening live.

    That’s why the terrorists are so good at getting you to do what they want. That’s why you never actually accomplish much of anything politically, even though you’re always declaring “war” and “victory.”

    phil (aa9cba)

  71. “Of course you loved Dude’s responses because they were shrill, completely disrespectful of the opposing view…”

    No, it’s because even though his responses were shrill, completely disrespectful of the opposing view, they still made vastly more sense than your arguments.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  72. Fox News’ Take:

    The officer could go forward with the suit (she’s withdrawn it), but given the situation in this case, it is ridiculous for a civil servant who is to “Serve and Protect” to sue. They consulted Kimberly Guilfoyle, one of their legal contributors.

    Sean (e1d31a)

  73. Thanks for sharing, Sean. I don’t get Fox News and it was nice to hear their take.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  74. They also had the grandparents, whom own the home, on. They did not have a fence up around their pool because children are rarely at their house. Apparently, their daughter had recently moved into the home, they were not sure how long she was going to stay, and when it was determined she was staying longer than expected, they did not have the funds to build the fence.

    If the about is true (I have no reason to doubt it), the family is guilty of compassion and being financial strapped, nothing more.

    Sean (e1d31a)

  75. Mom or another responsible adult should have been watching the kid around the pool. Period, end of story.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  76. I’d add something here, but Phil’s gone through the equivelant of a gang-bang of people pointing out just how very, very wrong he is…

    My jumping in would just be redundant.

    Scott Jacobs (425810)

  77. Scott Jacobs, speaking of which you have to see this video from Ace of Spades… (not safe for work)

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  78. since I’m at work, I have no idea, since I can’t check it…

    Hell, I couldn’t check it even if it was safe for work. Flash doesn’t work on my system here… Darn them.

    Scott Jacobs (425810)

  79. Bookmark it unless you’re a prude. It’s funny enough to see.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  80. “unless I’m a prude”?

    Oh, then I DEFINATELY wanna see it…

    *snort* Prude…

    You are a very funny man today…

    Scott Jacobs (425810)

  81. Of course you loved Dude’s responses because they were shrill, completely disrespectful of the opposing view, and left no possible room for disagreement. It’s how you and your group seem to generally approach the world.

    I’m used to the way neocons tend work by now. You spew profanity at those who disagree with you and then call each other “eloquent.” XRLQ you’re just one of the oldest examples of a longstanding tradition among a certain type of conservative have been screaming down those who disagree with you for years.

    I expect it, of course, because that’s how you neocons seem to handle any opposing view:

    1. you insult as stupid and dismiss as anti-American those those who disagree with you;

    2. you then tell each other how crazy the opposing arguments are, and that makes you feel like you must be right, because you all agree;

    3. and if that doesn’t work, you argue it’s time to send in the soldiers/cops (depending on whether it’s foreign or domestic disagreement), because the opposing view is out of control and a threat to America.

    It’s pretty much the established pattern that addresses virtually all dissent. Name a current hot-button issue and I can show you it happening live.

    That’s why the terrorists are so good at getting you to do what they want. That’s why you never actually accomplish much of anything politically, even though you’re always declaring “war” and “victory.”

    Nice to know you can commit yourself. Is there any chance you might limit yourself to true statements instead of qualifying everything so you can hedge later? It’s a part of honest debate you are missing. If you can’t make the point without hedging, the point isn’t really being made, is it? Now, for every example on the right, I’ll find one just going to DKos, DU, or Huffpost… I don’t need to look beyond the leading liberal blogs.

    You’ve got your mind made up about conservatives:

    1. We’re all neo-cons (because it’s the latest rage among the bedwetters).
    2. You can’t be a conservative unless you lack intelligence, compassion, and nuance.
    3. We’re a bunch of chattering, group-thinking monkeys flinging poo everywhere they go.
    4. Hypocrisy, thy name is neo-con.
    5. We’re a bunch of moral absolutists who don’t realize that terrorists are drivers too (or something like that).
    6. I know you are, but what am I?

    Now, I haven’t used profanity, called you stupid or anti-American, crazy, or advocated deployment of the National Guard to every in-ground pool in America… how can I be a conservative?

    Stashiu3 (992297)

  82. That’s why you never actually accomplish much of anything politically, even though you’re always declaring “war” and “victory.”

    Remind me how this “most ethical Congress ever” is accomplishing what it has set out to do as mandated by the American people? Since the MSM and Democratic leadership have been insisting that the entire country (minus the bedwetters of course, but they don’t really count) wants the liberal agenda implemented immediately that is. Enlighten me.

    Stashiu3 (992297)

  83. It’s too bad phil hasn’t gotten over his fear of car accidents that he evidenced a few months ago when he was getting thrashed on this site. It does seem he has made a conscious effort to improve his writing, though. His logic and thought patterns, however, still not worth a damn and this was an example of his “A” game.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  84. Scott Jacobs said: I’d add something here, but Phil’s gone through the equivelant of a gang-bang of people pointing out just how very, very wrong he is…

    Ah, cue step 2 of my post #71 — the hail of shrill insults now progresses to me-too statements to the effect of “clearly we’re all right, because there are so many of us.”

    Stashiu3, said: Is there any chance you might limit yourself to true statements instead of qualifying everything so you can hedge later?

    I hedge because whatever point I make, I know I’ll be arguing the exception next with some backbiter who’s been standing behind me, acting uninterested but waiting for an opening (yes, you know that’s you — you keep saying you’re done talking to me, then hopping back in when you see what you think might be a weak spot).

    You’ve got your mind made up about conservatives. Labels are only useful if both parties agree on them. I talk about neocons in the hope that it’s a more specific term than naming every damn person on this blog who thinks killing terrorists will actually solve America’s terrorism problem someday. In my book, that term includes opportunistic democrats pandering to the war-hungry crowd.

    daleyrocks said It’s too bad phil hasn’t gotten over his fear of car accidents that he evidenced a few months ago when he was getting thrashed on this site.

    Good to see you again, too. I notice it’s October, and the frenzied terror over “dry runs” that was rampant last time I was around here has faded. Not a single death caused by a dry run, by the way. Meantime, more than 10,000 people have died in car accidents. Too bad I just can’t see how much more important it is to be afraid of imaginary dangers.

    Phil (6d9f2f)

  85. Have you actually passed the bar exam Phil or are you pretending?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  86. I think there is a simple fix to the tort issue. Tax all attorney fees at 100%. We then may see what portion of this is sheer greed.

    Ken Hahn (7742d5)

  87. Phil, this is not an echo chamber. In fact, it takes all effort I can muster not to dismiss certain posters out-of-hand given their propensity for churlish behavior.

    But if in fact you are a lawyer, then Xrlq (#69) and Christoph (#72) have you utterly pegged – your argument regarding assumed risk is bizarre beyond belief, and it is truely disturbing how little grasp you seem to have over the concept of “intent”.

    Someone intending to kill is certainly a much different thing than killing by accident (even an accident caused by negligence). Or is there not much difference in your mind between manslaughter and murder?

    JSinAZ (e71b0b)

  88. I think I need to sue Phil because I got some food lodged in my sinus cavity due to the snark I made reading the unbelivable positions he has been taking. Or maybe I should sue Patterico since he knew the posts on his blog would attract the type of comments Phil is making.

    I can’t believe someone would argue that the puddle on the floor was negligence on the part of the family. I could understand a police officer suing due to intent to injure or negligence (like having Crisco spread all over the floor), but a puddle of water caused by the rescue and treatment of a drowning victim is clearly unavoidable.

    Deaths from cars due to drunk driving and other law breaking actions should be prevented and subject to legal action. Deaths due to true accidents or mechanical failure are just risks of life. Terrorist activities are intentional.

    Getting rid of cars and swimming pools is the typical reaction of the nanny staters to use legislation to remove risk from life. The personal responsibility in this case should fall on the police officer.

    If you breathe, you’ll die.

    OC Chuck (0e95cc)

  89. (yes, you know that’s you — you keep saying you’re done talking to me, then hopping back in when you see what you think might be a weak spot).

    I did say it one time (not sure how this equates to “keep saying”, oh well) and failed to acknowledge that fact after reconsidering and deciding to respond to your continued nonsense. Mea culpa. Moral relativism bothers me quite a bit and I was moved to respond. Calling me a backbiter just reinforces my point and demeans only yourself. I know it’s not true and I expect most here who know me would agree.

    You root around in the slop and then complain that the pigs are dirty… poor you. So mistreated by the evil neo-cons. As I said before, I haven’t called you names or done anything of the sort. You cannot say the same thing. Your refusal to acknowledge a significant difference between terrorist acts (no matter how many or few there are) and accidental death from an auto accident demonstrates how truly dishonest you are. So keep your moral superiority to all things conservative and enjoy it… it’s just as ephemeral as any other position you’ve taken here. Or maybe you could just answer yes or no… is dying from a terrorist act morally (or legally, if you prefer) equivalent to an accidental auto death?

    Intellectual dishonesty, inability to make declarative statements, oppositional to any position if espoused by a non-liberal, and poor reasoning skills… I don’t think “weak spot” is quite the phrase you were looking for.

    Stashiu3 (992297)

  90. I’m guessing Phil may be taking some law classes and wanted to impress everyone with his newfound knowledge. He gave no hints of being a lawyer that I recall a few months ago. Given the inanity of his positions, I think he’s blowing smoke.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  91. daleyrocks #91,

    Don’t you just love the internet? For all anyone here knows, I could be the grocery story parking lot derelict from the opening scene in David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive”, posting from the public library.

    nk (6e4f93)

  92. Err, “grocery store”.

    nk (6e4f93)

  93. Ummmm… you’re not that guy? Ok, my bubble has officially burst. 😉

    Stashiu3 (992297)

  94. nk – True, but you make more sense than Phil.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  95. Your refusal to acknowledge a significant difference between terrorist acts (no matter how many or few there are) and accidental death from an auto accident demonstrates how truly dishonest you are.

    I acknowledge a significant difference between terrorist acts and auto accidents.

    The following LONG statement explains why I think car accidents are the same as terrorism, but a lot of Americans think they’re different. If you don’t feel like reading it, the short answer is, Americans get way more worked up over a death if they can say it was caused by “evil” and they will put far more resources into fighting an “evil” cause then simply an “inevitable” cause. Ironically, while they think they’re being strong to do this, that is what makes us weak to terrorism.

    Car accidents and terrorist attacks are both a threat to American lives every day. An unpredictable threat. A threat we haven’t figured out a solution for.

    When 40,000 people a year die on our roads, we simply say “that’s your problem” and let them figure out how to put their lives together by themselves. Why? Because we don’t see the cause of those deaths as “evil” — we see the cause as inevitable. Because the deaths are caused by us, and not “evil people.”

    We keep living our lives the same way, driving our cars the same way, knowing that another 40,000 will die this year. As a nation, are we even particularly disrupted by the fact that a person turns up dead from a car accident every few minutes? No.

    Yet if one person an hour started turning up dead from terrorism attacks, can you imagine the outcry? Even though that would still be only about one-quarter of the numbe of people killed in car accidents, we as a nation would think our lives could never be the same!

    This blog was alive with discussion this summer about the terrifying possibility that terrorists might be planning a way to bring down a jetliner. This was a horrifying prospect! Potential casualties? Almost certainly under 1,000 — about the losses we’ll see from car accidents in the next 10 days.

    In response to 3,000 deaths on 9/11 (the equivalent of one month worth of car accidents) we are fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and talking about fighting another one in Iran.

    And why? “To stop terror.”

    But is the terror being caused by the terrorists? Or to we choose to be terrified?

    Why are we so scared? If we had one 9/11-sized attack every month, we’d just be running neck-and-neck with the number of car accident deaths. We don’t live in terror every day from car accidents, even though we know they’re inevitable (unlike terrorism deaths, which really only happened on a large scale once, on 9/11).

    So why isn’t there a “war on car accidents”? Well, the obvious point that people will make is, we don’t know how to stop car accidents without changing our way of life.

    But that’s not good enough because, unlike car accidents, we are drastically changing our way of life to fight terrorism. We’re spending insane amounts of money, trillions of dollars to fight it. We’re sending hundreds of thousands of solders to risk their lives to fight it. We’re changing the way the government works, and the way the justice system works, to fight it.

    I think it’s a huge mistake and a huge misjudgement on the part of Americans. I think as a country, we could handle a couple 9/11s a year, and it wouldn’t hurt us as much as just driving cars hurts us.

    So again, why are we so afraid of terrorism?

    And more importantly, why are we making terrorists feel so important?

    I really suspect it’s just because a large portion of America likes the idea of solving problems with war, and gets really excited about “attacking evil.” You can fight a “war on terror.” You can’t fight a war on car accidents, because they are caused by us, and there’s no “evil” person to blame, so they simply accept those deaths as part of life.

    If you’ve got an “enemy” who is “evil” with a human face that you can fight, they’ll do anything they can to try and bring that enemy down.

    But when the deaths are caused by us, then we accept them, and move on.

    Phil (6d9f2f)

  96. Death comes one to a customer, but not all deaths are equal. Someone dying to save a life is different than someone dying during their attempt to rob a bank. Numbers alone don’t mean everything and reducing people to numbers is what you’re doing.

    By your reasoning, a person like SFC Paul Smith who is awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor is worth the same as someone like Al Zarqawi who beheads innocents. There are evil people and they have to be opposed. You can put scare quotes around “enemy” and “evil” all you wish, they exist. Your talk about how much we fear them is the only way you can deny your own fear. Whatever… good people are doing the jobs that allow your denial, despite your best efforts to undermine them.

    You still avoid answering yes or no, you never answered the question about the difference between murder and manslaughter, and you’re still intellectually dishonest. The fact is accidents will happen and intent matters. That the grandparents didn’t instantly child-proof (no such thing, just like idiot-proofing… can’t be done with 100% reliability) the pool doesn’t make them a candidate for tort action. It’s easy for liberals to play the woulda-shoulda-coulda game since they have to find someone to blame besides themselves or random chance. I’ll stay a grown-up, thank you. Try it sometime and you might look into a mirror with something other than shame for a change.

    Stashiu3 (992297)

  97. “Phil, when even “Dude” can argue with you and end up sounding eloquent, consider that the equivalent of your friends telling you you’re drunk and it’s time to go home.”

    Of course you loved Dude’s responses because they were shrill, completely disrespectful of the opposing view, and left no possible room for disagreement.

    If you honestly believe that, you might could invest in a dictionary. Had you done so, the “even” in my original comment, which you quoted, would have tipped you off to the fact that I’m not a big fan of “Dude” or his shrill, disrespectful style. My point was that if your position were merely wrong and not completely frivolous, a typical “Dude” response would have ended up making your position look good, simply by default. The only reason it didn’t is because your position was so inherently retarded that even “Dude” couldn’t make it look good by attacking it. If you’re OK with that, that’s your prerogative.

    I’m used to the way neocons tend work by now. You spew profanity at those who disagree with you and then call each other “eloquent.”

    See above. If you think I was calling “Dude” eloquent, you’ve completely missed the point. He only sounds “eloquent” when he’s arguing with you – and then only on this ridiculous topic (for all I know).

    XRLQ you’re just one of the oldest examples of a longstanding tradition among a certain type of conservative have been screaming down those who disagree with you for years.

    If by “screaming down” you mean telling you that you’re “full of crap” just because you’re … um .. full of crap – then I plead guilty as charged. What was I supposed to say instead? Something more PC, like maybe “filled with fertilizer?”

    1. you insult as stupid and dismiss as anti-American those those who disagree with you;

    WTF has any of this to do with being pro- or anti-American? In fact, if you had any firsthand knowledge of America-bashers abroad (I have, having traveled extensively and spent a year apiece in three foreign countries), you’d know that our detractors abroad sneer at our runaway tort system as much as they despise everything else about our society. To the extent this issue is either “pro” or “anti-American,” I’ve effectively taken the “anti-American” position myself. I certainly haven’t accused YOU of being “anti-American” for supporting an “everybody can sue everybody for everything culture,” which unfortunately is every bit as American as Mom and apple pie.

    2. you then tell each other how crazy the opposing arguments are, and that makes you feel like you must be right, because you all agree;

    Uh, no. I didn’t tell other people how crazy your arguments are, I told you. If you have any actual evidence that your argument is not crazy (and no, whining about what a big meanie I am isn’t “evidence”), then by all means, post it here. No one is stopping you, only the complete absence of any such evidence is.

    3. and if that doesn’t work, you argue it’s time to send in the soldiers/cops (depending on whether it’s foreign or domestic disagreement), because the opposing view is out of control and a threat to America.

    Sorry, but you lost me there. Even upon re-reading, and re-re-reading my original comment, I cannot for the life of me tell what part of that comment led you to believe I’m advocating that any soldiers, cops, lawyers, bloggers, or anything else be sent into Florida to abate this threat. Please cite the portion in question – or admit you were full of crap to have raised the argument.

    That’s why the terrorists are so good at getting you to do what they want. That’s why you never actually accomplish much of anything politically, even though you’re always declaring “war” and “victory.”

    OK, I get it. Allow crazy suits by cops who think their job is “to protect and to serve with papers,” or the terrorists have won. I’d like to say you’re off your rocker, but I’m sure that would make you feel unjustly oppressed, so let’s just say this: either you are like an idiot savant, only without the “savant” part, or you’re so fucking brilliant that you grasp an incredibly deep reality that commoners like me simply don’t get, and probably never will.

    Car accidents and terrorist attacks are both a threat to American lives every day. An unpredictable threat. A threat we haven’t figured out a solution for.

    Not sure what any of this has to do with crazy suits by cops unclear on the concept of being cops, but I’ll bite. The fact that they are both a threat is obvious. What’s less obvious is why everyone agrees it’s appropriate to take whatever reasonable steps we can to abate one threat, while the left and the civil looneytarians go apeshit every time anyone makes even a half-hearted attempt to rein in the other.

    If you seriously doubt that, feel free to conduct a survey just to see how many respondents are or are not upset over each of the following:

    The Patriot Act
    The war in Iraq, Afghanistan or both
    NSA wiretaps of international telephone conversations involving suspected terrorists
    The fact that Big Brother makes you get a &^%$ing license to drive a car
    The fact that Big Brother requires your car to come equipped with seatbelts (and, depending on which of our 50 Big Brothers applies to you, may probably even requires you to USE it)
    The fact that Big Brother requires your car to come equipped with airbags.
    Technological advances that caused my Blazer to crumple in the front in my recent accident, causing the vehicle to absorb 100% of the shock that was meant for me – without even needing to trip that eeeeeevil air bag.

    This blog was alive with discussion this summer about the terrifying possibility that terrorists might be planning a way to bring down a jetliner. This was a horrifying prospect! Potential casualties? Almost certainly under 1,000 — about the losses we’ll see from car accidents in the next 10 days.

    Do you have a point (other than the one on the top of your head)?! Those 1,000 (give or take a few thousand – bear in mind that 9/11 could easily have claimed 50K, as most of us initially assumed it had) would have died for no purpose other than to advance the political objectives of those who hate us. Beyond taking the reasonable safety measures we already do take, deaths in car accidents can only be eliminated by doing away with cars altogether – which most of us non-idiot non-savant readily acknowledge to be a dumb idea.

    But is the terror being caused by the terrorists? Or to we choose to be terrified?

    WTF are you arguing? That we non-savants ought to just sit back, relax, and not friggin’ care that our enemies are murdering us by the thousands? Or that inevitable deaths by cars should someone zero out the evitable deaths by the terrorists we could stave off, but you don’t want to?

    We don’t live in terror every day from car accidents, even though we know they’re inevitable (unlike terrorism deaths, which really only happened on a large scale once, on 9/11).

    That’s because of the supposedly irrational anti-terror measures we’ve been taking ever since. Do you really think our enemies stopped murdering us 3,000 people at a time simply because they got bored and had no desire to continue doing so? If it were up to them, they’d be repeating 9/11 not every month but every day.

    I really suspect it’s just because a large portion of America likes the idea of solving problems with war,

    OK, forget the either-or. You are an idiot, not a savant. Unless, of course, you can come up with some other, equally effective method other than war that would have been equally effective in combating the likes of al-Qaeda.

    Now, perhaps you’d care to explain one last time WTF any of this has to do with the topic of this thread?!

    Xrlq (facab4)

  98. phil – There has been a war against car accidents, but maybe not to the degree you would like to see. Seat belt laws, air bags, other safety eqiupment, safer roads, computerized driver records shared between states, sobriety check points, legal changes that vary by state and a whole passel of other changes. You seem to put a high benefit on reducing car accidents for whatever reason, while society to date has not been willing to pay the incremental cost of measures beyond those taken to date. You get your vote, others get theirs as well.

    You also felt very strongly about open borders and not deporting illegal immigrants. How do you feel about New York Governor Spitzer’s plan to allow illegal immigrants to obtain drivers licenses?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  99. Unless, of course, you can come up with some other, equally effective method other than war that would have been equally effective in combating the likes of al-Qaeda.

    What, you mean some way of combatting al-Qaeda that would have made it exponentially stronger and more famous than before 9/11? I don’t think I could think of anything that effective, sorry.

    Phil (aa9cba)

  100. You’re right Phil, Clinton did a good enough job of making them famous.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  101. Yeah, but there’s nothing like making them seem like they’re the shadowy force behind everyone from Saddam to Iran to the Taliban. Bush was the best PR al Qaeda ever got.

    Phil (aa9cba)

  102. That 9-11 thing was pretty good PR, too.

    DRJ (74c23b)

  103. What, you mean some way of combatting al-Qaeda that would have made it exponentially stronger and more famous than before 9/11?

    Um, no. I mean some way of rendering them incapable of pulling off a second 9-11 attack for six years and counting. But it’s one thing to argue tactics, and quite another to argue that we shouldn’t be fighting terrorism at all, ‘cuz gee whiz, cars kill people, too.

    Xrlq (5938d1)

  104. BTW, I’m still waiting for your explanation as to what all this “give terrorists a break” moonbattery has to do with the topic of this thread. Care to clue me in?

    Xrlq (5938d1)

  105. XRLQ, now you’re slipping into predictable neocon tactics I noted in post 71. You say I’m saying “give terrorists a break” just because I think declaring war in response to 9/11 just made us look like over-reacting imperialists and created more terrorists.

    You’d like to put me on the defensive about terrorism, by saying if I don’t support your ideas I must support terrorism. But that’s the oldest tactic in the neocon book. That’s how the war with Iraq got started in the first place — neocons saying “if you don’t support it, you must be supporting terrorism”! At some point, more people will see how stale that line is.

    Whatever. If you start your reasoning process with “anyone who disagrees with my strategy for fighting terrorism must want to give terrorists a break” then of course nobody has a chance to disagree with you.

    Because with that reasoning, we all just want to give terrorist a break. We can’t possibly really want a rational response to terrorism, instead of the current massive-overkill response that’s made America look like a lumbering, dumb beast that a small group of Islamic extremists can provoke into a declaring a full-scale multi-national war.

    Phil (aa9cba)

  106. As for what this topic has to do with this thread; It all started with post #29. I didn’t change the subject; Christoph decided that rather than argue with me, he’d call me a “ron paul supporting douchbag,” and link to a ron paul story about his criticism of the war. Then I started discussing that with him, and everyone else chimed in.

    Phil (aa9cba)

  107. Whatever. If you start your reasoning process with “anyone who disagrees with my strategy for fighting terrorism must want to give terrorists a break” then of course nobody has a chance to disagree with you.

    Nice try, but as I made clear in the prior comment, my objection is not to any disagreement as to what the appropriate strategy is for fighting terrorism, but with your goofy position – buttressed by your goofier analogy to cars – that we shouldn’t be taking terrorism seriously at all.

    Now, for the umpteenth time, will you finally explain WTF any of this has to do with a rogue cop’s reckless suit against the people she was supposed to be rescuing?!

    Xrlq (5938d1)

  108. America is a lumbering beast, Phil. America’s greatest strength is its productivity and logistics. We can outlast almost anyone and every now and then we out-think them, too.

    DRJ (74c23b)

  109. DRJ, you’ve given us some insightful strategic thinking on this post. Way above average sharp and astute.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  110. XRLQ see post 107 regarding the reason this topic is discussed here.

    I don’t say we shouldn’t take terrorism seriously. I say that by trying to stop terrorism out via declaring war on various nations, we are in effect trying to kill a cockroach in our house with a shotgun.

    Is that so crazy? To point out that Islamic extremists seem to be benefiting from the war on terror? They have far more notoriety than they ever did before 9/11. Heck now anyone who hates America knows where to go to really make us mad — joit al Qaeda!

    Phil (aa9cba)

  111. As for what this topic has to do with this thread; It all started with post #29. I didn’t change the subject; Christoph decided that rather than argue with me, he’d call me a “ron paul supporting douchbag,” and link to a ron paul story about his criticism of the war. Then I started discussing that with him, and everyone else chimed in.

    Bullshit. My original comment focused entirely on the ridiculous suit you were defending. It didn’t say word one about your equally idiotic views on terrorism, U.S. foreign policy, neoconservatism, or any of the other crap you babbled about in your response – which, in case your memory needs refreshing – was directed to me, not to Christoph.

    Xrlq (5938d1)

  112. I don’t say we shouldn’t take terrorism seriously.

    You’re right, you don’t “say” it. Your flippant analogy to cars screams it.

    I say that by trying to stop terrorism out via declaring war on various nations, we are in effect trying to kill a cockroach in our house with a shotgun.

    Is that so crazy?

    Yes, it is. Cockroaches are a relatively minor annoyance. 9/11 was not, and a nuclear Iran certainly would not be. Do you really fail to see how comparing terrorists first to cars, and then to cockroaches, leaves the impression you don’t take terrorism seriously?

    To point out that Islamic extremists seem to be benefiting from the war on terror? They have far more notoriety than they ever did before 9/11. Heck now anyone who hates America knows where to go to really make us mad — joit al Qaeda!

    Yeah, like they didn’t know that before. Just to recap, we tried your kinder, gentler approach in the 1990s, and that got us the first World Trade Center attack, the U.S.S. Cole, two embassies and 9/11. Since then, we’ve tightened the screws and for some strange reason, had no comparable attacks against us since. All coincidence, I’m sure.

    Are there things we could have done better? Absolutely, but any remotely constructive criticism has to start from the position that terrorism is a very serious threat, and needs to be treated as such, not from people who liken terrorists to cockroaches, let alone cars (which, last time I checked, did a wee bit more good for society than terrorists do).

    Xrlq (5938d1)

  113. XRLQ, is there a reason you’re taking metaphors literally?

    I suppose I should just call terrorists “The Evil Ones” and never refer to them by any other name — that’s the only level of reference that appears acceptable to you.

    Also, it’s interesting that you say me comparing terrorism to cars makes it seem like I’m not taking them seriously — since cars kill way MORE people than terrorists have in the U.S. Of course, if terrorists killed as many people as cars do, I wonder what the proper response would be? Neocons like you would probably just have your heads explode, because you couldn’t handle the threat.

    As usual, you are trying as hard as you can NOT to see what the other person is saying. This is what you do on your blog all the time, too — you try to distance yourself as far as possible from any opposing view, marginalize them and call them extremist and crazy.

    You’re virtually impossible to talk to on any reasonable level because of this. Do you ever actually try to reason with people rather than insult them and try to marginalize them? I can’t imagine ever feeling like I actually enjoy talking to you because you act like such a dick all the time.

    Phil (aa9cba)

  114. Phil,

    What would you know about reason? You think stopping everyone from driving would be a good thing. How can anyone that stupid be taken seriously? Who would enforce it and how? I would venture well over 95% of our citizens would be against a driving ban. You would have to establish a police state because that’s the only thing that could enforce such a ban. What about anyone who doesn’t grow their own food? How does it get distributed? After cars, how far do you take it? People get killed by trains, falling off horses or bicycles, and every other type of transportation. I asked before how families would support themselves but you chose to ignore that because you can’t answer.

    If you’re not serious about this idea, then why would anyone think you’re serious about terrorism? If you are serious about a driving ban, then you deserve every insult thrown at you until you present a rational plan to implement it. The idea that this police officer should sue the grandparents is just as stupid, and has been explained to you several times why. You choose to ignore these explanations as you do every other inconvenient exposure of how stupid your arguments truly are.

    Reason? You couldn’t reason if your life depended on it. Not only do I not believe you’re a lawyer, I don’t think you’ve ever graduated from a recognized college (St. Pete’s of San Machismo doesn’t count). I’m not even sure you’ve finished high school and no longer care. Talk about impossible to talk to. I applaud your talent as a troll, I was right in deciding to ignore you before and got sucked back in because you are good at trolling. Won’t happen again and I hope everyone else ignores you as well. You’re too stupid to continue dignifying with a response since you never really answer anyone else’s. If I respond to you again, that’s when you can say I “keep saying”. Until then, that’s just one more thing you’ve been proven wrong about.

    Have a nice life.

    Stashiu3 (992297)

  115. Stashiu3, I have no idea where you ever got the idea that I’m arguing we should ban driving.

    Maybe because you’re so enamored with the idea of war being a good thing you can’t imagine anything might imply that war is useless in certain situations.

    I suppose I could just as easily use heart disease deaths as an example of a devastating threat Americas live with on a daily basis without going to “war” on the threat.

    What if suddenly Americans decided that everyone had to be checked on a daily basis for heart disease? Blood pressure stations set up everywhere; diet monitors on every corner; no more fast food restaurants, etc., based on the justification that “heart disease is a terrible threat to our nation.”

    It would be an insane overreaction. And yet there are people who might just do it, if given the chance. That’s what’s disturbing to me about the “war will solve terrorism” people — we gave these meddlers a chance, and they’re not going to stop until they’ve spent every last dime of resources we have on fighting wars to stop “terror.”

    For whatever reason, war is your cure-all for terrorism. You can’t stop using it. And since it doesn’t cure terrorism, you’re going to keep feeding that medicine to the world as long as you can, because you can’t imagine that war won’t solve the problem.

    Phil (aa9cba)

  116. Phil – What are your suggestions for a War on Car Accidents. It sounds like you have given the subject much thought.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  117. XRLQ, is there a reason you’re taking metaphors literally?

    I’m not taking metaphors literally. You made that up.

    I suppose I should just call terrorists “The Evil Ones” and never refer to them by any other name — that’s the only level of reference that appears acceptable to you.

    Something on that level would imply that you take terrorism seriously, yes. Likening them to such minor inconveniences as cockroaches, let alone automobiles, suggests precisely the opposite. And then, to top it all off, you whine about me claiming that you don’t take terrorism seriously. They’re your metaphors, not mine.

    Also, it’s interesting that you say me comparing terrorism to cars makes it seem like I’m not taking them seriously — since cars kill way MORE people than terrorists have in the U.S.

    Raising and defending such a ludicrous analogy sure sounds to me like you don’t take terrorism seriously, but then again, I can think of three other possible explanations, none of which is good. One possibility is that you think terrorists are just as beneficial to society as cars are, and therefore, we should tolerate a comparable level of carnage from each. Another is that you think terrorists are already at their “sweet spot” of killing “only” a few thousand a year, which is all they would ever try for even if we “neocons” (your favorite epithet, apparently) dropped our crazy “war on terror” and allowed your misunderstood heroes to run unabated. A third is that you are just too fucking stupid to understand the concept of a cost-benefit analysis, or that if killing 40,000 Americans a year was the only thing cars did, they’d have been rightly banned from the market a long time ago.

    So you’re right, I don’t know for a fact that you don’t take terrorism seriously. By choosing that possible explanation over the others, I was just giving you the benefit of the doubt.

    Of course, if terrorists killed as many people as cars do, I wonder what the proper response would be?

    The same as it is now. Whether they kill more or less people than cars is irrelevant. We already do everything we reasonably can to make cars as safe as possible without pricing them out of the market. There is no such thing as a safe terrorist, or an acceptable amount of terrorism we should accept in exchange for … well, whatever the hell good you think terrorists contribute to our society, making them analogous to cars.

    As usual, you are trying as hard as you can NOT to see what the other person is saying. This is what you do on your blog all the time, too — you try to distance yourself as far as possible from any opposing view, marginalize them and call them extremist and crazy.

    Au contraire, I call you extremist and crazy because you prove that point just about every time you marginalize yourself by opening your yap on topics you know nothing about. Express a reasonable, educated, well-thought out opinion on any topic, and I’ll respond respectfully. Defend a rogue cop who sues the people she was supposed to help (not to mention hiring a lawyer to publicly insult them), and I won’t. Trivialize terrorism by comparing it to cars, and I really, really won’t. There are plenty of issues on which reasonable minds can differ, but these two are not among them.

    You’re virtually impossible to talk to on any reasonable level because of this. Do you ever actually try to reason with people rather than insult them and try to marginalize them?

    All the time. I have reasonable, respectful debates with reasonable people every day. Search the archives of this blog, and you’ll find plenty of spirited disagreements with other commenters, and even with the host himself. You, by contrast, have proven yourself time and time again not to be a reasonable person, so respectful debate with your kind is a goal I find neither realistic nor desirable. Have a nice day.

    Xrlq (0035c7)

  118. Xrlq, he’s really not worth responding to and is a proven liar.

    Phil #52:
    …and could be stopped if we all just stopped driving [emphasis mine] and forced everyone to stop smoking.

    versus this:

    Phil #116:
    …I have no idea where you ever got the idea that I’m arguing we should ban driving.

    As I’ve said repeatedly, he’s intellectually dishonest and not worth responding to. You’ve shredded him over and over, it’ll never sink in.

    Stashiu3 (992297)

  119. Stashiu3 – Patterico shamed him into leaving the blog about three months ago over his ridiculous positions on immigration. He was scared shitless of car accidents thenn too. I’m surprised he came back.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  120. Hopefully he leaves for good this time. Too stupid to be here.

    Stashiu3 (992297)

  121. Now that the case has been dropped we should not forget the little boy, Joey. He’s the real victim here.
    An assistance fund has been set up towards his medical care. Any Wachovia bank in the nation will take donations.
    The account is under the Baby Joey Cosmillo Assistance Fund – Account #1010184896967. If you happen to bank with Wachovia you can wire funds directly using routing #063000021.

    violinmom (0f1bff)


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