August 09, 2005

Questions-Boys Die in Car Trunk

Ogre sometimes does various questions from various sources. He did a post on these questions from Homespun Bloggers, about this incident.

Briefly, 3 kids, 11, 6, and 5 were playing, and managed to lock themselves in a car trunk. A multi-day police search was made, eventually the kids' bodies were found [by a relative, not the police].

The questions:

1. Who is ultimately responsible for the loss of these three children?

The parents. A 5 and 6 year old don't know enough not to get themselves into dangerous situations. With hindsight, obviously the 11 year old was not adequate supervision.

2. Do you believe that the police were at all responsible for not finding the children in time? (It's hinted that on of the parents has decided to sue the City of Camden New Jersey)

No. Finding lost kids isn't part of the police's core mission [to my mind, anyway] [although finding kidnapped kids would be, children are very rarely kidnapped by complete strangers, in spite of the various scary messages we get]. Besides which, just because you failed to do something, shouldn't open you up to liability.

Also, I suspect the various people involved might have cut corners on what they told police, to avoid CPS getting involved.

3. Do you believe that auto manufacturers are responsible for providing additional safety features that would prevent this type of tragedy in the future? (They've also been named as potential litigants in this case.)

No. Spending money to prevent a one in 10,000,000,000 chance may not make sense. It should be a marketing decision, not a state mandated one.

4. Why do you think that if this parent feels so strongly about going after the "wrongdoers" in this case, why doesn't he try to sue the parents of the other children lost in the incident?

Easy, guilt. The parent is trying to avoid feeling guilty, so s/he tries to blame everyone else. But if s/he sues a parent, that parent could sue right back, leading to a direct confrontation about the guilty party. Much easier to blame someone not directly involved.

Posted by Owlish at August 9, 2005 05:37 PM | TrackBack

And cash! You don't think the possible settlement from the city and/or the car manufacturer didn't enter into these people's minds at all? Sure, guilt is some, but I'm betting some lawyer flashed some dollar signs in their eyes, too.

Posted by: Ogre at August 9, 2005 07:31 PM

I read your answers after I did mine. I don't know, and it's probably a combination of both.

Thinking of medical malpractice suits, not every possible suit that could be pressed happens, it's clearly a necessary condition but not enough.

And on a practical side, presumably no lawyer would take on a suit against the other parents unless significant amounts of cash could be gotten.

Posted by: owlish at August 9, 2005 10:10 PM
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