8 February 2005

Over-emphasis of military negligence?

Yesterday, I complained about the complaints about the $900 nuisance-suit a lady won against two teens. I felt that it was an outlier [Wikipedia] event that shouldn't be held up as the norm. Today, I'm reading about generals who think it's fun to shoot some people and soldiers in Iraq who are making Marti Gras look like a tea party. Should these be considered events to not consider as important and telling?

I think there are two different questions for all of the situations described: (1) Are these events the norm and therefore representative of larger categories (the legal system, the military)? (2) How should these events be addressed (counter-suits, institutional changes)? The answer to (1) may affect the answer to (2).

When aberrant events such as a fondness for shooting people turns into an explicitly offensive situation such as Abu Ghraib, then outliers become more powerful than the norm. How can we not decry that, and how could we not hold that with greater importance than a nuisance suit? If we say that (A) Abu Ghraib is the result of (B) a callous disregard for human life, and we also say that (A) the $900 lawsuit is the result of (B) ambulance-chasing lawyers, then have they been mapped to equality?

Perhaps the biggest problem in categorizing any of this is that the connecting points are all assumed. However, even working with that, I think that the grave results that come from a callous military are of greater consequence than those from a permissive legal system.

[ posted by sstrader on 8 February 2005 at 11:08:32 AM in Culture & Society ]