Re: New Twist to Seau Suicide?
posted at 5/15/2012 11:48 AM EDT
In Response to Re: New Twist to Seau Suicide?:
Prolate0spheroid and NYC I read and respect your comments. I dont want to come off as a cold hearted person, but I feel that a reasonable person who is aware of all the risks and still elects to perform a task (whether play football or bungi jump) assumes some risk. NYC, my heart goes out to you and your family over your nephews tragic accident. I dont feel you should beat yourself up or feel partially responsible at all. All you did was be a good positive role model for a young man who made a decision to follow in the family footsteps. I believe that sometimes, no matter how many precautions we take, unfortunate act occurs. Having said all that do I feel we should try to protect the football playes? Yes, absoloutely but I also feel they burden some responsibility. And although our opinions differ, I appreciate you both challenging me in a direct but polite way and not the namecalling and nonsense that goes on here alot. Peace out.
Posted by Quagmire3
Quag, I agree that someone who knowingly takes on risk is largely responsible for the consequences of his action. My point, though, is that when two parties enter a transaction both knowing that the transaction entails significant risk to one but not both of the parties, both parties have (or at least should have) some moral (if not legal) obligation to help mitigate the pain and suffering of the party at risk should that risk materialize.
I think the degree of responsibility varies depending on the circumstances. If we label the two parties A and B, with B being the party who is taking on risk, A's responsibility to help B should the risk to B materialize depends on the answers to all of the following:
- How much did A understand that there was a risk to B and, to the extent that A did understand that there was a risk to B, how much did A do (1) to make B aware of the risk or at least ensure that B understood the risk to the same extent A did and (2) to limit the risk to B to the extent A had some power to limit that risk?
- How much did A profit from the transaction personally?
- How hard did A try to persuade B to participate in the transaction despite the risks to B?
- What were the benefits of participating to B (or maybe to society as a whole) that might make taking on the risk a sensible decision for B?
A's responsibility (even culbability in some cases) increases in my mind the more A knew about the risks to B, the more A did to conceal those risks from B, the less A did to try to limit the risks to B, the more A profited from the transaction, the more A did to persuade B to participate despite the risks, and the less B benefited. The less A knew about the risks,the more A did to inform B of the risks and limit those risks, the less A had to gain, the less A did to persuade B, and the more B benefited, then the less A is responsible. In fact, in some cases, if B benefitted enough, A's participation in the transaction may even be praiseworthy.
In the case of the NFL, I think we're somewhere in the middle of that continuum. With the tobacco companies, I'd put them somewhere closer to the negative part of the continuum, since I think they know they're causing great harm and continue doing it primarily because they profit so much. With towns hiring policemen, I think we're on the positive side of the continuum because police jobs are good ones and they have great benefits to society. Still, I think towns have a duty to do all they can to limit the risk to policemen and also take responsibility for the care of policemen who are hurt in the line of duty. Towns are certainly not doing anything immoral in hiring policemen into risky jobs--but the towns still, in my opinion, have responsibility to care for the policemen if the policemen are injured on the job, even if the policemen are well paid and enter the job with full knowledge of the risks.