The families of nine of the 26 people killed two years ago at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut have filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer, distributor and seller of the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle used in the shooting. The lawsuit names Bushmaster, Camfour, a firearm distributor, and Riverview Gun Sales, the East Windsor store where Adam Lanza’s mother purchased the Bushmaster rifle in 2010. The plaintiffs include Sherlach and the families of Vicki Soto, Dylan Hockley, Noah Pozner, Lauren Rousseau, Benjamin Wheeler, Jesse Lewis, Daniel Barden, Rachel D’Avino and teacher Natalie Hammond (who was injured in the shooting). Despite great sympathy for these families and this teacher, the lawsuit has little merit in my view in seeking liability against the sale of a lawful weapon.
Archive for the ‘Society’ Category
The news continues to grow worse over global warming. The Peru meeting revealed new research showing that time is running out for humanity to act on climate change. Now to new reports indicate that we may have underestimate the rate of loss on the huge ice sheet of West Antarctica — new calculations under global warming could mean a rise in global sea levels of as much as 23 feet. That would create massive changes in the coasts of the world.
Midamar Corp. and directors Jalel and Bill Aossey have been criminally charged in Cedar Rapids for allegedly falsely marking $4.9 million worth of meat as meeting strict halal standards and selling the noncompliant meat to millions of Muslims worldwide in Malaysia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and other countries. Also indicated is Islamic Services of America, an organization approved by Malaysia, Indonesia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and UAE to certify beef for import under Islamic standards. They are facing 91 other counts for allegedly making false statements on export certificates, wire fraud and money laundering. The case could raise an interesting free exercise question.
Lauri Parks appears to have more zeros in her complaint against the city of Grand Rapids than arguments. Lauri is suing the Michigan city for $1 billion after she was fired as city clerk. She alleges racial discrimination despite that fact that the city went to the unprecedented step of hiring a “personal coach” to help her improve her performance and then offered to move her to an $80,000 position. When she refused, she was fired and sued the city for racial discrimination. It is a more difficult claim to make given the fact that her replacement, Darlene O’Neal, is African American.
We recently saw rather bizarre case of a college president having to publicly apologize for saying the “all lives matter” rather than “all Black lives matter” in supporting protests over the Ferguson and New York grand jury decisions. (Ironically, I listened this weekend to protests where leaders chanted “all lives matter” in Washington). Now, Serhat Tanyolacar, a University of Iowa visiting professor and printmaking fellow, has been denounced for a piece of art designed to protest racism after the decision. Iowa officials have declared the art to be the equivalent to hate speech and ordered its removal within hours — with President Sally Mason denouncing the art and apologizing profusely. Now, however, students are calling for the artist to be fired and for a new speech-regulating committee to be established for such public forums.
Despite the public pledge of President Obama to pull out of Afghanistan, we continue to spend huge amounts of money in the war and the Obama Administration has fought to keep U.S. troops in the country. Now an estimate from the Financial Times and independent researchers put the cost of the war at roughly $1 trillion with a commitment of hundreds of billions more in the coming years. There continues to be no serious debate over our ongoing losses both in personnel and money in this war.
The last ten years have been a windfall for insurance companies: first with the post-9-11 legislation and then Obamacare. Now however, lobbyists are threatening to cancel the Super Bowl unless Congress renews the TRIA—the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act to cover insurers so that they will not have to actually pay out for any costs associated with terrorism. There may be good reasons for the bill coverage but there are also some unanswered questions. Do not expect too many answers however.