As a survivor of the Jesusita Fire, I read with interest Ray Ford’s article describing the confidential payout to homeowners whose houses were destroyed in that fire. To paraphrase the oft-quoted National Rifle Association, “Weed whackers don’t start fires, people do.”
As a civilized society, we attempt to allocate the costs of harm to those who caused it. In the case of shooting, penalties are usually imposed on the shooter. But what about gun-makers and dealers who make and sell weapons to the shooter? Ah, the gun lobby has no use for that kind of justice (take note, Stihl Inc.) and in 2005 Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, essentially reducing the legal liability of gun manufacturers, distributors, and dealers. Not surprisingly, the NRA called it “the most significant piece of pro-gun legislation in 20 years.”
Consequently, thanks to the wisdom of Congressional gun-lobby lackeys, the makers of guns can turn a blind eye to the lethal consequences of what they sell, whereas the makers of weed whackers cannot. Are we schizoid, or what?