Friday, December 07, 2018

The Lawsuit You Don't See Coming

Back when a liberal arts college education was actually useful in teaching people how to think, I spent one quarter of my junior year in one of the most perennially effective courses I ever undertook. It was called An Introduction to Business Law, essentially a four-year law school education packed into ten torture-soaked weeks that were both agonizing and fascinating at the same time.

Perhaps the greatest impact the course had on me was the manner in which it shifted my thinking from purely reactive, youthful emotion to a more thoughtful, rational style of pre-adult logic.  Among its most fundamental precepts was how, for the first time in my life, I came to see how feelings took a back seat to concepts like "reasonableness" and critical thinking.  It was a whole new world for me.  A safer, more predictable -- and not to put too fine a point on it -- a more successful world, too.

Over the years, that one course allowed me to outwit some adversaries and completely vanquish others.  To this day, I compose all but my most intricate legal documents and agreements.  On those rare occasions when I do hire lawyers, the meetings are quick, decisive -- and deadly efficient.  The greatest benefit of the course, however, hasn't been its guidance as to how to get out of trouble, but how to avoid a problem by spotting it long before it has a chance to become a problem.

The fact is that with the exception of Black Swan events, most lawsuits are easily avoidable.  Usually, they're the result of one or more parties' inability or unwillingness to consider all the options of a given situation.  Those involved may be lazy, ignorant or in most cases, both.  But to the rational, fact-based critical observer, it really isn't that difficult to see trouble coming down the road, no matter how many miles or years away it may be.

Here's one that nobody sees coming, but it is.  Charging straight at us like a locomotive on rails:

Let me start by telling you I hold the unpopular opinion that there are only two genders.  I realize that some of you will stop reading at this point, but the rest of you who are mentally sound will want to keep reading, because it's within my unpopular opinion that my observation begins, with these two questions:

1.  Who decides a child's gender?
2.  When do they decide it?

At this writing, there are parents in the USA who are administering hormone-suppressants to their pre-pubescent children in a bid to stave off those children's sexual development.  The theory behind this practice is that these parents strongly believe their children may be/are misgendered.  I have to believe these parents think they're doing what's best for their child, but let's put that issue aside for now.  Here's the critical question that nobody is asking, let alone considering:

What happens ten or fifteen years after the child is robbed of his pubescent development?  What if the kid has a change of mind?  What if she's permanently sterilized, unable to have the family she's always dreamed of?  What if he's permanently physically disfigured?  Or psychologically impaired? Never mind that the transgender suicide rate is well north of 40%.  Forget about any moral or religious arguments you can muster.  Stick to the facts.  Like, say, this one from An Introduction to Business Law:

"Whenever one person is found to have unjustly caused harm to another, those matters are generally resolved in court as personal injury lawsuits," and unless I miss my guess, the fastest-growing segment of P.I. suits is set to pit children against their parents for the permanent damages suffered by those kids as a result of their parents' decisions to subject the kids to hormone-suppression treatments.

Just as with mesothelioma, Thalidomide and a whole spate of industrial and pharmaceutical disasters, it would seem that a whole new discipline is about to emerge, specializing in the psychological and physical damages inflicted on innocent children by parents who were supposed to know, who should have known better.  Like those parents who think chaining their kids in a dark closet with no food for a month is "good discipline."  Or those who feel that burning kids with cigarettes is "the only way they'll learn."  Yeah, like that.  Only for way bigger bucks and even more tragic consequences.

Think it can't happen?  It can. And it will.  Maybe not today and perhaps not tomorrow.  But thanks to An Introduction to Business Law, I can see trouble coming from twenty miles out.  If you open your eyes and take a look for yourself, maybe you can see it, too.


Blogger Ella S. said...

In the interest of all involved, you need to find a wider audience for this piece.

12:28 AM  

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