Thursday, February 02, 2006

Stupid people shouldn't buy cool toys

Ah, our wonderfully litigious society... it's so much more satisfying for people to sue rather than taking responsibility for their own mistakes. Now some mouth-breathing moron has filed suit against Apple because it's possible to turn up the iPod loud enough to damage your hearing. (see the Cnet news story here) Mind you, he's not claiming the iPod increases the volume on its own, or that listening to Mozart at low volumes will suddenly destroy your hearing just because you're using an iPod. He's claiming that if YOU turn up the volume all the way, the iPod gives you the ability to damage your own hearing.

Now, I've had stereo equipment you could do this kind of damage with for years. I've not been dumb enough to do it, or perhaps I've just not been devious enough to decide to sue Linn for making speakers that don't automatically shut off at some "danger level." Then I guess I could file another suit against musical talent who have the nerve to make music that sounds good at high volumes (and of course I'd name all the record companies in that suit just to add some deep pockets to the mix.) Then, hopefully, someone would SHOOT me for being a greedy, irresponsible sack of shit who's a burden to society.

There's a REASON for the concept of torts in the legal system... there are cases in which EvilBigCompany does something irresponsible or even malicious and deserves to get sued. There are cases when Danny Drunk runs over a pedestrian and deserves to get sued (though usually his insurance company ends up taking the brunt of that.) If I can't figure out that sticking a screwdriver into a live light socket is a bad idea (especially when instructions tell me "turn off the breaker" or "call a professional electrician") then I deserve a 120-volt shock, not a check for a million dollars.

Someone's going to say "We need tort reform!" Well, if tort reform were enacted by honest, responsible people with only the best interests of society in mind that would be great. Unfortunately, it would be enacted by trial lawyers and politicians, so my cynical semi-Libertarian side says that would probably end up being a bad thing. Can't we just have IQ tests for jurors?

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