David Rodeback's Blog

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Monday, February 28, 2005
Garage Jumping

A colleague pointed out this article on the latest extreme sport in Florida, garage jumping.

These folks are just begging for a Darwin Award, but, miraculously, they are still in the gene pool, so they don't qualify. I don't even want to imagine the attorney who can argue for the plaintiffs in the pending lawsuit. Thrill-seekers jump from the top of one multi-story parking garage to another, and if they fall 80 feet to the ground, it's the garages' fault? Why not just blame Sir Isaac Newton for discovering gravity?

For what it's worth, I took the online poll at that page, which asks whether the garages or the jumpers are responsible. The results are about 30-to-1 saying the jumpers, not the garages, are responsible. That's pretty good, and maybe even somewhat reassuring. But extrapolate that result over a population of 300 million or so (perhaps not a sound statistical technique in this case), and there are probably almost 10 million Americans who blame the garages or, rather, the people who own or run them. Are there that many trial lawyers in the US? I don't know. If not, we might need to call this group something else. Perhaps: "foolish children." Perhaps: "the jury pool."

Now, you may ask, what does this have to do with politics? Quite a lot, actually, and not just because the law allows these 10 million people to vote, if they are at least 18. A great deal of our politics these days consists of blaming the wrong people and making them pay.

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