Saturday, November 6, 2004

I’m Irresponsible, Give Me Money!

We all have our favorites to trot out at cocktail parties (does anyone actually have those anymore?) but this will do for the moment, from today’s Washington Post:



HELENA, Mont. -- The parents of two 11-year-old boys whose frozen bodies were found in a snowy field after they skipped class and guzzled vodka have sued the school district for $4 million. The wrongful death lawsuit claims the Ronan School District failed to protect Justin Benoist and Frankie Nicolai III and did not hire enough native American staff members, who would be "sympathetic to the problem of alcoholism and alcohol disease prevention."



Well, gosh. Certainly the parents are not in any way responsible for letting a couple of pre-teen kids drink themselves to unconsciousness. If the original colonists were still around to sue, a case could be made that it’s their fault for introducing alcohol to Indians in the first place. Vodka, I guess it was. Polish and Russian, call the Embassies.



The article is yet another example of our need to find someone else to blame (and sue for $4 million, if possible) for the light that’s out on our porch, the brakes we failed to replace on our car, the hole in the pavement in front of the butcher-shop and the kids that we let grow up untended like weeds in the yard. On the other hand, I did the same damned dumb thing with a friend and a bottle of Jim Beam when I was fourteen. Stanley and I were lucky, but you can’t always depend on luck to pull you through.



The only difference is, if we had died in a snowbank our parents would have been pissed-off at us (fruitless), then blamed themselves (equally fruitless) and never even considered blaming someone else, much less asking for money.