We start with a little joke (?) submitted by Agent 6. Ed. calls him "Mr Reliable" because when we need a chuckle to dispel the gloom, he's got one! This is a story about a heartbroken lawyer... as if a lawyer would have a heart!
When a father sent his three sons to university, he told them, "I feel it's my duty to provide you with the best possible education. You don't owe me anything for that, but I want to know that you to appreciate it. As a gesture of appreciation, please each put $1000 into my coffin when I die."
And so it happened. His sons became a doctor, a lawyer and a financial planner, each very successful financially. When their father’s time came, and they saw him in his coffin, they remembered his wish.
First to approach the casket was the doctor, who put ten $100 bills onto the chest of the deceased. Then came the financial planner, who also placed $1000 in the folded hands of his dad. Finally, it was the turn of the heartbroken lawyer. He reached into his pocket, took out his cheque-book, wrote a cheque for $3000, put it into his father's coffin, and took the $2000 cash!
Agent 6 goes on to say that the heartbroken lawyer went on to become a successful politician, which is hardly surprising. But the story is really about the trouble with lawyers, which happens to be the theme of The Case Against Lawyers (Broadway Books, New York, 2002), by Catherine Crier, a former lawyer and judge. This highly recommendable book tells how the lawyers, politicians and bureaucrats have turned the law into an instrument of tyranny... and what we as citizens must do about it.
A few days ago, Walt posted "15 warnings that really shouldn't be needed". In Chapter One of her book, headed "We Love Our Rules", Ms Crier gives 10 examples from the Wacky Warning Label contest sponsored by Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch, as follows.
10. The label on a handheld massager advises "Do not use while sleeping or unconscious."
9. A sign on a public toilet reads "Recycled flush water unsafe for drinking.:
8. A can of pepper spray warns users "May irritate eyes."
7. Please heed the warning on a laser printer cartridge: "Do not eat toner."
6. A 13-inch wheel on a wheelbarrow warns "Not intended for highway use."
5. A label on prescription sleeping pills warns that they "may cause drowsiness."
4. A cardboard car sunshield that keeps sun off the dashboard warns "Do not drive with sunshield in place."
3. Bicycle shin guards warn "Shin pads cannot protect any part of the body they do not cover."
2. A household iron warns "Never iron clothes while they are being worn."
And finally, the author's favourite...
1. The baby stroller label that cautions "Remove child before folding."
Ms Crier asks us to remember that these are all legitimate labels to protect us from ourselves. They're not superfluous "information" (she writes) but responses to lawsuits in which courts have expanded and approved the right to be an idiot. Who's to blame? Lawyers -- the USA has more of them per 100,000 than any nation on earth -- and politicians -- ditto.