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Friday, 11 May 2012

Public Liability vs Personal Responsibility

Australia is getting bad.  Just the other day when my car broke down, I had to call RACQ (AAA equivalent); the guy who comes tells me that I had to stay on the sidewalk while he hooked everything up, because the government has made him responsible for my actions.  He was publicly liable for my safety.


Since when did someone else become responsible for something I do?  I thought I became responsible for the things I do when I hit the age of 16.

Society here needs to re-examine the notion of personal responsibility.

Lets take the above situation.  If, for some reason, I stepped out into traffic and got clobbered by a passing semi, he becomes responsible?  He didn't step out.  I did.  What a way to commit suicide.  He shows up.  I step in front of a bus- get cleaned up and my family still gets to sue.  Its ridiculous.

Let's take another example.  I own a bar.  Guy comes to bar, gets smashed, walks home.  On the way home, he trips over a crack in the sidewalk and breaks his ankle.  Whose fault is this?

Apparently its mine.  I served him the drinks.  Alcohol impairs judgement, so he is not.  Yet, the guy was sober when he came in.  Sober enough to understand the possible consequences of drinking.  Not arranging for a safe way home, and choosing to engage in it anyway is a decision he made.  The responsibility should be his.

Example Three.  I own a bar (a romantic notion, but not one I think I'd want).  Like I do every night, I lock the place up and make it as secure as possible.  Next day, I come to work, and in the ceiling of the cold beer room there is a great big hole and on the floor, a guy with a broken leg.  Guess what?

He gets to sue.  He breaks into my business, destroys property, but I'm at fault because he hurt himself.

What kind of twisted reality is this?

This guy would have known the possible risks of ceiling entry, and chose to do it.  But it happened on my property so I'm at fault.

I know this isn't just Australia.  In Alberta, if I owned an acreage, and some moron was snowmobiling on my property and hit a buried tree, he would get to plan the lawsuit while flying through the air before hitting the nearest tree.  This could happen whether or not the guy had permission to be there.  But its not like I begged the guy to ride on property, or even gave him permission.  All I did was buy the acreage.

I didn't buy the skidoo.  I didn't ask him to be on my property.  I didn't put a gun to his head and force him to ride on unfamiliar land.  The guy did all of this by himself. Is not the fault for the accident also his?

In the USA, Phil Hartman's family sues the doctor because the prescription drugs Phil's wife was taking reacted poorly with cocaine.  Yet Brynn was, without consulting the physician, self medicating with illegal substances- substances she chose to take, and similarly chose to keep quiet about it.  Yet Zoloft manufacturer Pfizer was successfully sued.

Why has personal responsibility fallen by the wayside?  Why are we content to legislate away responsibility?  How does the guilty become a victim?

The whole concept of shifting blame is sickening.  It needs to be stopped.

If we have the right to live free then we also must be responsible for our actions, and I wish to be free, therefore, for my actions, I am responsible.


  1. So true. It's ridiculous the things people sue for and win. Then there are instances when a company or person really was at fault and should be sued, but they somehow get out of it. It makes no sense.

    1. The sad part about it all is that we need to sue in the first place. No one steps up to the plate to admit they've done something wrong. It has to pulled out of them like rotten teeth.

    2. So very sad and so very true.

  2. The world is surely a topsy turvy place.

    Enjoyed your post.


    1. I wonder if it would it would truly look better if I was upside down.

  3. I AGREE! Glad to see I'm not alone in the thought that sometimes it IS your OWN fault.

    1. Thanks Jenn. I knew this topic wouldn't offend anyone. Pointing fingers is ultimately destructive.