Today's news brings a classic "thinning-the-herd" story, and we suspect an outrageous lawsuit is sure to follow.
Here's the story: A 17-year-old boy decided it would be a good idea to scale two six-foot fences, and pass numerous signs saying the area was off limits and dangerous, in order to retrieve a hat he had lost while riding the Batman roller coaster at Six Flags Over Georgia near Atlanta. In the process of trying to retrieve the hat, the youth was decapitated when a roller coaster car struck him. The teen was identified as Asia Leeshawn Ferguson, of Springfield, South Carolina, who was at the park with his parents on a church trip.
Here is what should happen: Ferguson's parents, after having time to grieve and bury their son, should call a press conference and say something like this: "We are heartbroken at the tragic death of our son, but we want the public to know that no one associated with Six Flags Over Georgia was responsible for this accident. Asia knew better than to scale two fences and enter an area that clearly was marked as dangerous. For reasons we never will understand, he chose to ignore those warnings, and it cost him his life. We hope other parents will take this story and use it to help teach their children about the importance of respecting safety warnings. Our hope and prayer is that Asia's tragic mistake might help other young people to live long, healthy lives. We are deeply grateful to officials at Six Flags, and other members of the public, who assisted us on the day of Asia's death and have comforted us in this time of grief."
If I were head of Six Flags, and Ferguson's parents did this, I would quietly write them a generous check, as a way of saying thank you for taking responsibility and doing the right thing.
Here is what probably will happen: Sometime soon--probably within two months--a lawyer will file a lawsuit on behalf of Ferguson's family, claiming Six Flags and its personnel were negligent. The lawsuit will claim the fences were not high enough, there weren't enough fences, there weren't enough warning signs, etc. Facing the prospect of lengthy and expensive discovery, and fearing possible negative publicity, Six Flags and its insurers will cave in and pay the family tens of thousands--maybe hundreds of thousands--of dollars.
What a country.
This is the kind of case that makes trial lawyers look bad, and since trial lawyers tend to support the Democratic Party, it also can make the Democratic Party look bad. I certainly have no love for the corporate types who run Six Flags. But for the good of our country, I hope trial lawyers show some common sense and stay away from this case.