Three-Word Tort Reform: Common Sense

I confess: I’m not one to read directions. Ever.  But while hanging a mirror recently I happened to glance at the instructions on the back of the OOK package for picture wire (Will not fray!  Will not rust!).  I saw the best instructions ever:

Use Common Sense when hanging your pictures.

So simple.  So elegant.  “Use common sense.”  What would it be like if we could use this as the advice on everything?  Three-word tort reform.  No more fine print disclaimers.  And a vote for self-confidence, trusting our tummies.

Common Sense Tips

Herewith, an offbeat and highly personal collection:

Still, here’s one common sense rule you won’t find in any of these other blogs or books:  “Do not leave the settlements without a suitable gun, and experience in using it.”

From now on, let’s just preface our instructions, fine print and disclaimers with this simple three-word phrase:  use common sense.

0 replies
  1. Dan
    Dan says:

    The question that keeps haunting me is …”how did this country get so far out of whack?”   Reality and common sense are simple for us laymen to understand but when an injury occurs…the attorneys get to throw that out the window.

    • Chris Downing
      Chris Downing says:

      Money Dan. 
      Once there are shed loads of money sloshing around a community, there seems to develop a disconnect between how that money is being made, who deserves to ‘own’ it, and how it should be shared amongst the community.   I’ve been watching some old episodes of Deadwood recently.  Do you thing Al Swerengen would allow his ‘hard’ earned income to be shared out to those who slipped in the mud outside his Gem Theatre?  Do you think ANY lawyer, accountant, banker, consultant, artist, musician, environmentalist, politician, or do-gooder, would have any traction or income in Deadwood in 1876?  That’s because everyone was near to how the money was earned and how hard it was come by. 
      It’s only much later on , say 100 years on, that there’s a disconnect between entrepreneurial effort and the service industries.  A hundred years on it’s easier to sue Al Swerengen, knowing that it’s unlikely he’ll kill you rather than pay out.  And the local population will sympathize with your plight. 
      Nowadays nobody much likes some rich lucky business owner over and homely grandma who slipped on a pebble.  Even if we need more of the former in this economy.

  2. Sstyer
    Sstyer says:

    Dan:  that’s a great question, and not an easy one for any of us, I suspect.  My take on it is that we have come to think that someone “owes” us when there’s a problem, and that the world is supposed to make everything right.  All of this is exacerbated, as you say, by attorneys and huge settlements unrelated to common sense.

    When I broke my ankle rather badly last year on a patch of ice, my husband and I were joking that the worst part was that we couldn’t even sue ourselves:   it happened in our own driveway. Too often we forget that life has icy patches, bad days, terrible floods, desperately ill kids and all the rest, along with all the good things. 

    Thanks for your thought-provoking question!

  3. Chris Downing
    Chris Downing says:

    The one I rather like is “It’s done or it isn’t done.”  How many times do we hear a rationalisation of something that’s late, wrongly finished, hasn’t been started, or part finished?  It is done, or it isn’t.


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