Regretfully, our great country has strayed away from a climate individual responsibility and instead fallen back into one of victimization. For example, numbers of years ago a man who had been drinking too much one night dove headfirst off the Newport Pier into three feet of water, hit his head on the sand below and, tragically, became a paraplegic. So then what happened? He sued the City of Newport Beach on the theory that it should have posted a sign warning people that there was sand under the water. (As if, under those circumstances, it would have mattered.) And he won! (At least partially.) So he received some money, and the city posted the sign in self-protection. Recently, my sister sent me some pictures of similar public warning signs. These included signs:
- in a grocery store sitting on top of large numbers of peanuts in the shell saying “This product contains peanuts;”
- a ten by four-foot picture advertising a hot dog, saying at the bottom “Not Actual Size;”
- over a lit barbeque saying “Caution: Fire is Hot;”
- floating in a swimming pool saying: “Caution: Wet Floor,” and another saying “Caution: Do Not Breathe Under Water;”
- a picture of a metal clothes hanger saying: “Caution: Do Not Swallow;”
- in front of a door saying: “If Door Does Not Open, Do Not Enter;”
- on a public street saying “Wet When Raining;” and, finally,
- in front of a public beach saying “No Swimming If You Can’t Swim.”
Maybe some of these are simply meant to be funny, but all of them are at least unintentionally so, because they show how far astray we have come. So in response to that reality, I suggest that we should balance the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor by creating and installing a Statue of Responsibility in San Francisco Bay. At least that would be a start!
Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President
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