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Author Topic: OSU Parade Accident
Rafi
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For those not aware of this tragic event:
quote:
Five people remained in a critical condition Sunday morning, police said, after a driver mowed into an Oklahoma State University homecoming parade in Stillwater Saturday, killing four and injuring 47.
The driver, Adacia Chambers, was arrested on a DUI charge after the crash and remained jailed Sunday. She was driving a Hyuandai Elantra and investigations are ongoing.

So based on current understandings, who bears responsibility for this? Is Chambers responsible or do others share some responsibility?

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TomDavidson
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quote:
So based on current understandings, who bears responsibility for this?
Why on God's green Earth should anyone but Chambers and the families of the injured care?
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Fenring
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I didn't even understand the question.
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Rafi
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The question is, who's responsible for this tragedy? Is Chambers alone responsible for the accident or does anyone else have some responsibility?
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Rafi:
The question is, who's responsible for this tragedy? Is Chambers alone responsible for the accident or does anyone else have some responsibility?

Is this an oblique reference to Hillary saying gun victims should be able to sue gun companies?
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TomDavidson
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God, I hope not. G# isn't usually stupid.
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Rafi
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No, I'll elaborate. For example, If she was in fact DUI does the staff or management that over served her and allowed her to drive away bear some responsibility for the accident?
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TomDavidson
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Potentially, sure. There are regulations in many states preventing most bars from serving drunk customers, and from knowingly allowing a drunk customer to drive away. I think there's a certain amount of moral culpability there.

But there's also something to be said of self-determination and the limits of collective responsibility. Had she been drinking a little at a bar and said, "You know, my life sucks. After I get off, here, I'm going to go out and buy a knife and stab my ex-husband" or whatever, the bartender wouldn't be an accomplice to that crime even if he or she failed to say something to someone.
There are roles -- and jobs -- where we feel people are more likely to hear this kind of serious confession and should be expected or required to intervene (or protected from culpability when they do not intervene). Those are usually explicitly spelled out. (People who work with children are often required to tell authorities about any potential mention of child abuse, for example, while reporters and lawyers are expressly shielded from the repercussions of not telling someone about criminal confessions.)

Certainly it's possible to spread blame over a pretty wide swath. Presumably Chambers had friends and parents, bartenders and driver's ed teachers. Maybe at some point she passed a cop who noticed she was driving erratically but didn't act to pull her over. Maybe her brake line got tied up with her accelerator. Heck, maybe she had a small stroke while driving. *shrug*

When you're dealing with accidents -- even ones that can be traced back to bad decisions, like failing to take a map into the woods, or choosing to drink before driving -- rather than intentional harm, blame is often less useful than triage; it's generally better to ask "how could society have prevented this" than "who is at fault for this." Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between those two questions, but it's usually a useful exercise.

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AI Wessex
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We don't yet know that she was DUI, but the blood tests will provide the answer. Her lawyer says she is "mentally impaired", but hasn't provided more detail. That likewise will be found to be a plausible contributing factor, or not.

I take back what I said in the other thread about Rafi/G#'s lack of seriousness (for the moment, at least, and assuming this is not a trojan horse of some kind). This is a small and anecdotal story of an unnecessary and possibly preventable tragedy that offers the opportunity to discuss societal obligations (a step up from responsibilities).

Briefly put, how do we protect the weak among ourselves from doing harm to the rest of us, either intended or unintended? In other words, what can/should society do to inhibit them from doing harm rather than how do we protect ourselves from the harm they might do us? On a personal level the companion to freedom is responsibility; on a societal level the companion to freedom is obligation.

This is ever a fraught discussion. Nobody wants to limit people's freedoms or rights, but people with known mental or physical disabilities should not necessarily have all of the same access to dangerous objects or methods as everyone else. That requires society, via laws, to take an active role to provide possible solutions.

Even Republicans say that rather than limit access to guns we should improve mental health screening and treatment to prevent violent outbursts against innocent victims (who might be just themselves). I haven't seen proposals in Congress to fund initiatives, but perhaps they will come soon.

We need better ways to educate children (and adults) about the dangers of excessive drinking or other social impairments and better counseling of people who commit domestic violence because of uncontrolled behaviors.

There's a lot we could and should do on many fronts. But as to this particular event, all we can say about it is that it was a tragedy that didn't need to happen.

[ October 26, 2015, 09:58 AM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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Rafi
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Her lawyer is arguing that she was not DUI but instead mentally ill. Her employer had just sent her home early and Chambers was distraught according to the lawyer(I assume there was some issue with her performance or something that resulted in this). Does her employer bear some responsibility? The management put a mentally ill person in a situation where she could react negatively and allowed her to drive away.

[ October 26, 2015, 11:06 AM: Message edited by: Rafi ]

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AI Wessex
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You're asking questions, but you started the discussion. What do you think?
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Fenring
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It depends how you define "mentally ill." Does it mean she went in to work feeling fine and something traumatic happened during the day to cripple her mental balance? Or does it mean she had a chronic condition that would make driving inadvisable at any time?

If "being distraught" is all it was then obviously no one is responsible other than the driver. You can't legally tell someone not to drive a car when they're upset. If she had some kind of mental breakdown and should have been hospitalized or something, and was sent home in her car instead, I guess that would be different. Don't forget, though, that your average employer isn't a licensed psychiatrist and can't be considered competent to judge whether someone is of sound mind or not on simple inspection.

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Rafi
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I suspect they are setting up the "not guilty by reason of insanity defense" so they mean serious mental illness. Consequently, I'd expect them to mean Chambers was so fragile that whatever it was that happened at her work caused her to have a mental break and become so distraught she was unable to handle operating a vehicle in a safe manner. If that is indeed the case, she very likely would have been obviously overwhelmed to her management and coworkers - they apend hours every day with her and it's safe to assume they'd know if she was a flake or if she was over the edge wouldn't it? Unless this was her first day on the job or something. Her lawyer says there have been "warning signs" for years.

A co worker has gone on record saying she was sent home under the suspicion that she was under the influence of something (they say drugs).

[ October 26, 2015, 04:10 PM: Message edited by: Rafi ]

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Rafi
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Thinking about this some...

She was at work and sufficiently impaired that flipping burgers or whatever she was doing at the fast food job was beyond here ability to do properly. They sent her home, via her car. They almost certainly watched her drive away, manager to make sure she left and the rest to see the end of the show. So if she was, in fact, under the influence and sent on her way by her work, then I think everyone agrees that her employer has a rather significant responsibility here. There's no way they should have allowed her to drive off without at least calling police if not actually preventing her from leaving.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
So based on current understandings, who bears responsibility for this?
Why on God's green Earth should anyone but Chambers and the families of the injured care?
I imagine anyone who might be affected by a the lawsuit should care.

Unless Arch u let take is at least a multi-million, she is perhaps the one member of society LEAST affected by that legal question.

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jasonr
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quote:
No, I'll elaborate. For example, If she was in fact DUI does the staff or management that over served her and allowed her to drive away bear some responsibility for the accident?
Legally speaking, sure. If they over-served her, particularly if they knew she was intending to drive, they would be potentially liable in tort.

Bars around here have their employees "trained" not to "overserve" (i.e. let people get drunk) to cover their asses over this sort of thing. It's really pretty stupid and I doubt it has ever saved a single life. Any bar that actually enforced these requirements would be out of business in a week.

It's along the same lines as snow contractors having their employees fill out sheets showing where and when they put down salt or plowed a parking lot to establish a "reasonable system of maintenance" for slip and fall claims. It's litigation paperwork basically.

But getting back to your original premise, no, bars aren't morally responsible for what their drunk patrons do. The only reason the law pretends they are is to get access to their insurance policies to pay settlements.

[ October 26, 2015, 08:39 PM: Message edited by: jasonr ]

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Rafi
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So what about her employer,mlegally responsible and their insurance should pay?
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TomDavidson
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No. I've actually been in a very similar position -- having sent home someone who was clearly inebriated -- and legally an employer can't prevent you from driving. They can report you to police, but there is explicitly no legal obligation to do ao (just like there's no requirement to report someone you pass on the road who seems to be driving erratically.) There may be some moral culpability, but there is no legal one.
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AI Wessex
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quote:
A co worker has gone on record saying she was sent home under the suspicion that she was under the influence of something (they say drugs).
Her behavior (apparently) was erratic. Not sure how a co-worker could make the determination that it was due to drugs or some sort of mental impairment. If drugs were involved, but there is a history of mental illness treatment, the drugs could have been related to that. Or conversely, if she takes drugs to treat a mental condition but failed to take them that day, she could have been suffering the effects from that lack.

No judgement, just tossing out possible explanations given that have no details to explain what happened.

I'm beginning to wonder why we're spending so much time on this, since blood tests and interviews with her and her doctors will reveal a lot more information.

As to whether her employer is liable in some way, that too is completely dependent on what is revealed by information that we don't have.

Seems a tad early to speculate on any of these things.

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Rafi
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
No. I've actually been in a very similar position -- having sent home someone who was clearly inebriated -- and legally an employer can't prevent you from driving. They can report you to police, but there is explicitly no legal obligation to do ao (just like there's no requirement to report someone you pass on the road who seems to be driving erratically.) There may be some moral culpability, but there is no legal one.

Shouldn't there be? We hold bars and restaurants responsible, why not everyone else?
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Rafi
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Ok, back to the mental illness angle. First , drugs or alcohol may be out:
quote:
Gaylord said Chambers, an honors student who took in advanced classes and played in the band in high school, had trouble sleeping the night before the crash, but the couple rarely drinks, and he's never seen his girlfriend take drugs. "There's no way she was drunk or impaired," Gaylord said. "She's just not that kind of person."
But:
quote:
Chambers' father, Floyd Chambers told reporters before the arraignment that his daughter had been hospitalized for mental issues for two weeks around 2013 and again later and that "she might have underlying problems that I wasn't fully aware of."
Acacia says in court filings that she was suicidal the day of the accident.

So, she definitely has mental issues. Suicidal, homicidal, pretty crazy alright and people around her knew it. She was working at a fast food restaurant, how did she buy that car? Is the person who helped her buy it responsible in any way? Putting someone you know is nuts behind the wheel, creating the framework for this accident, surely that person has some culpability here.

How about the person that sold the car to Adacia? We hold retailers responsible for the criminal use of their products, why not here?

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TomDavidson
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Aw, man, I just said you weren't stupid. [Frown]
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AI Wessex
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And I said he wasn't trolling, my bad.
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Rafi
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I get that you're a forum troll, I really do. But maybe you should take a break from trolling every thread. Mmmmkay? I know, troll,s gotta troll but can you at least try?

Obviously there are gun control parallels but I'm also thinking of other transportation parallels. We spent billions and remodeled an entire industry after 9/11 to make air travel safe. Background checks, no fly lists, new laws, etc. More than 10 times e number of people are killed every year by cars. Shouldn't we look at similar efforts for the automotive industry?

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TomDavidson
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G#, no one on this board could possibly believe that you have any sincere concern for human safety.
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Rafi
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I get that you're all butthurt, I really do and I'm sorry you are. But this acting out, you need to grow up dude. Seriously.

Yes, the same logic applied to gun control applies here, sorry you're not comfortable having that exposed. We can talk about that if you want. But I'm am very interested in why we avoid applying the same standards to the automotive industry that we applied to the aviation industry. Should we screen drivers beyond the current level? Chambers was mentally ill for years, should she have been allowed to drive?

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TomDavidson
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quote:
But I'm am very interested in why we avoid applying the same standards to the automotive industry that we applied to the aviation industry.
We don't, actually. Not in any meaningful way.
You need a license to fly, and if you own your own plane you don't have to perform a mental evaluation every time you step into the cockpit.

And the comparison between guns and cars is imbecilic; we all know this, which is why we all rolled our eyes when it first appeared that was where you were headed. If your understanding of the logic is "X can be potentially used for harm, so therefore cannot be made available to anyone who might do harm," then you also believe that access to bricks, bicycles, and microwave ovens should be similarly regulated. Since no one is asking for this, it's pretty clear that this is not the entirety of that logical process.

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AI Wessex
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Tell us what we should do. There are conclusions in your assumptions, but you don't answer your own questions based on them. For instance, should the answer to everything you ask be "yes"?

Rafi:
quote:
So based on current understandings, who bears responsibility for this? Is Chambers responsible or do others share some responsibility?
...
The question is, who's responsible for this tragedy? Is Chambers alone responsible for the accident or does anyone else have some responsibility?
...
If she was in fact DUI does the staff or management that over served her and allowed her to drive away bear some responsibility for the accident?
...
Does her employer bear some responsibility?
...
So what about her employer,mlegally responsible and their insurance should pay?
...
Shouldn't there be? We hold bars and restaurants responsible, why not everyone else?
...
She was working at a fast food restaurant, how did she buy that car? Is the person who helped her buy it responsible in any way?
...
How about the person that sold the car to Adacia? We hold retailers responsible for the criminal use of their products, why not here?
...
Shouldn't we look at similar efforts for the automotive industry?
...
Should we screen drivers beyond the current level? Chambers was mentally ill for years, should she have been allowed to drive?

ETA: From now on, I'll let Tom work this out. I promised Mod that I would try to avoid "provoking" you when I returned. I'm really trying, but it's hard, it's hard...

[ October 27, 2015, 09:19 AM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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Fenring
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Heh, I guess I called it, although Rafi denied it at first.

In his defence, I actually agree that automobiles are not comparable to other appliances like microwaves and bicycles. Driving a motor vehicle is a huge responsibility and potentially very dangerous, and I have thought for a long time that it should be more regulated than it currently is. There are too many people on the road who are obviously too incompetent for their own safety and that of others. Heck, I see drivers all the time who are harried just getting from one corner to the next, and this is excluding any mitigating circumstances such as either an emerging event (kid running on the street, another driver ignoring a sign, etc) or an unusually bad day for the driver. I think the standard for operating a 1 ton vehicle at high speeds should be more than it is now.

That being said part of this has to do with continued training, which is untenable in our society at present, and part of it has to do with access to transportation to get to work, which isn't always convenient depending on a person's location. I've thought about this a lot and I don't see how it's tenable to increase standards substantially in a functional way at present.

This is all somewhat tangential to Rafi's question about giving a car to someone 'mentally impaired', since a psych evaluation is another kettle of fish entirely from having more rigorous safety standards for drivers. I think mandatory psych tests would require a standard to be fair, and since no standard is actually possible the question is therefore moot. I suppose you could raise the issue of a history of violence or crime in granting driver's licenses, but how many drivers per year deliberately use their vehicles to commit violent crime?

I've spent the last 10 years looking forward to the day when no human is permitted to operate motor vehicles, and happily this day is coming and will be seen in my lifetime.

[ October 27, 2015, 09:55 AM: Message edited by: Fenring ]

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Rafi
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Vehicular manslaughter was charged about 300 times last year. I don't know how many times a vehicular assault occurred but I know they do and, of course, automotive related deaths occur by the thousands each month although it's the criminal use aspect I'm talking about and the responsibility those involved have.

We do take steps already in this area. Required licensing, defensive driving etc. There are lockout devices on cars of repeat DUI offenders where they have to blow and prove they are under the legal limit before being allowed to start the car. Why aren't these required on all cars? If Chambers was DUI, this would have prevented the accident and would undoubtedly save thousands of lives every year.

Keep in mind, we are not taking about something that is a protected right but merely a privilege. Exercising this privilege results in a death toll equivalent to 9/11 every month and we have the means to prevent a great deal of it. So why don't we?

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Fenring
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Let's keep the actual issue straight. Your point is that since Hillary is saying gun merchants should be sued for gun-related misuse that you can create an absurd parallel in other areas such as automotive. On this point I think Hillary's position is ridiculous and bespeaks a desire to effectively enact gun control legislation bypassing the Congress. If this is your point then I agree. If you are actually making a separate case for automotive security measures then you're barking up the wrong tree. It won't happen and it would be highly discriminatory if it did.
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Rafi
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I'm really not sure what Hillary has to do with this. Merchants are sued for selling guns - last week a jury of Wisconsin legal illiterates violated federal law to award $6 million in damages against a merchant in a legal gun sale (straw man purchase). But, as far as I know, Hillary took no position on it and may not even be aware of it. So I'm not sure where you're going with the Hillary thing.

That being said, why are safety measure for cars discriminatory?

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TomDavidson
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quote:
last week a jury of Wisconsin legal illiterates violated federal law to award $6 million in damages against a merchant in a legal gun sale (straw man purchase)
It should be noted that it is not a violation of federal law to find a gun seller liable for "negligent entrustment," a specific exception that applies to this case -- in which the merchant (infamous for its lenient sales policies) quite specifically not only allowed a straw purchase but guided the buyers through it.

This was hardly the only time Badger had done this, but this time the gun in question was used to shoot two cops. And since it was understandably registered to someone other than the shooter, and who would not have normally been able to purchase the gun, it quickly became obvious that something had happened. And it didn't take long before people realized that Badger had knowingly and willfully violated the law. (The difference this time, mind, was that they got caught; Badger had quite a local reputation already.)

Hey, don't you think we should spend more time enforcing existing gun laws, instead of making new ones?

------

Per this discussion, I would love it if we could somehow make cars safer and drivers better. Among other frustrating things about the Wisconsin legislature, I deeply resent their willingness to allow people several, several DUI convictions. Unlike guns, sadly, cars are pretty much a necessary part of life, and so that makes any restriction complicated; I'd gladly trade our existing infrastructure for one with superior public transportation and/or self-driving/driver-monitoring vehicles, but the costs associated are ones that penny-pinching politicians can't accept.

[ October 27, 2015, 04:28 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Rafi:
I'm really not sure what Hillary has to do with this. Merchants are sued for selling guns - last week a jury of Wisconsin legal illiterates violated federal law to award $6 million in damages against a merchant in a legal gun sale (straw man purchase). But, as far as I know, Hillary took no position on it and may not even be aware of it. So I'm not sure where you're going with the Hillary thing.

Hillary is relevant since she's made it her position that one way to deal with gun violence is to facilitate suing manufacturers and merchants for what their customers do with guns. It's my assessment that she is taking this position since she knows that she'll meet a stonewall in a legislative route, and so she is trying to get around it another way. Since I presume you hate Hillary I also presume you disagree with her position on this and would enjoy undermining it.

Maybe I overextended on the Hillary connection, but then again I seem to have at least predicted the turn of conversation towards gun control [Wink]

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Rafi
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You presume too much. Predicting the reactions of forum trolls is ridiculously easy, don't let that lull you into complacency.
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TomDavidson
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G#, I'm curious: what do you think you gain by calling everyone else trolls? Do you think there are readers here who are unfamiliar with you?
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AI Wessex
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quote:
last week a jury of Wisconsin legal illiterates violated federal law to award $6 million in damages against a merchant in a legal gun sale (straw man purchase).
Straw man purchases are illegal. The buyer first said he was buying the gun for someone else (who was with him) who was not legally allowed to buy or possess a gun. The gun dealer instructed him to change his application to say that the gun was for him. Then it turned out that the gun cost more than the money either of them had, so the straw purchaser went out and returned with the rest of the money.

How was any of that legal? Not to mention that that gun shop has the highest incidence in the country of selling guns that later turn out to be collected from criminals who used them in the committing of an armed crime.

How is any of this legal? If you think it is, then I can't fathom why you are pursuing this discussion, unless of course this is actually a Trojan horse so you can talk about holding gun dealers or manufacturers responsible for crimes committed with weapons they provided to the market.

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Rafi
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
G#, I'm curious: what do you think you gain by calling everyone else trolls? Do you think there are readers here who are unfamiliar with you?

Here's a tip - If my calling you out on your constant trolling upsets you, stop doing it. It's actually not that hard to behave like an adult.
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TomDavidson
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Ah, no. It doesn't upset me. It confuses me, because you clearly think it's doing something for you, but I can't for the life of me imagine what. It's not like there are newbies around here who aren't familiar with the actual dynamics of the board.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Hillary is relevant since she's made it her position that one way to deal with gun violence is to facilitate suing manufacturers and merchants for what their customers do with guns. It's my assessment that she is taking this position since she knows that she'll meet a stonewall in a legislative route, and so she is trying to get around it another way. Since I presume you hate Hillary I also presume you disagree with her position on this and would enjoy undermining it.
In general, unless some form of gross negligence or knowing involvement can be shown (such as knowingly facilitating a strawman purchase in the case of Badger mentioned above) we may differ a bit on where reasonable due diligence lies, but I think the general principle holds.

On the other hand, the Hobby Lobby decision blew the lid off of this and pretty much opened the door to claiming that anyone up the chain can be considered culpable for the actions of someone further down the chain.

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