Has anyone been able to make sense of the NY judge’s ruling that the age of reason begins at 4 years old? Has anyone ever tried to reason with a 4-year old? Mostly a losing battle, right? [The ruling by the judge, Justice Paul Wooten of State Supreme Court in Manhattan, did not find that the girl was liable, but merely permitted a lawsuit brought against her, another boy and their parents to move forward, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/29/nyregion/29young.html?hp .]
It appears that New York state law does not hold parents responsible for the actions of their children – I say that this is the real story – and this begs the question: Why is this the first case (since 1928) that has made it to the nation’s attention? There must be a lot of willful 4 1/2 through 16-year-old children running rampant on Manhattan’s streets tripping up old people; keying cars; bumping people as they skateboard; causing steaming hot coffee accidents; tagging signs and park benches on which napping seniors sleep unaware of immediate danger; jaywalking incidents; pogo-sticking, yikes!; playing tag – your it!; playing video games while ignoring their surroundings; etc. And, Jarts; there may still be an old game of Jarts (banned lawn game from the late ’70s, early ’80s) that didn’t make it to the land-fill just waiting to be thrown at an innocent senior citizen walking on a sidewalk in Podunk, America, by some smart-aleck preschooler with a vengeance. Imagine all the suits that could pile up mountains of money and all the real-life drama TV spin-offs this could inspire! Especially, now that I think about it, child negligence insurance(!), which I am very surprised isn’t already in the works, could become a booming industry.
Look out for wild, negligent 4-year olds America! And 4-year olds hoodlums: be afraid, be very afraid – parents, don’t put your toddlers outside to play! A price tag has been put on each and every one of our young children’s heads.
The monetary payoff from such suits (you know how those 4-year olds have such deep pockets) will be equivalent to winning small state lotteries! People will start staking out toddlers in order to set up injury scenarios for civil suits – what’s it going to be … a preschooler vs 79-year old frail corporate CEO … who are you going to believe? This doesn’t take too much imagination and although my children have flown from the nest, there may be grandchildren in the future to have to isolate and protect from greedy plantiffs, ambulance chasing lawyers and crazy judges.
I write this all tongue-in-cheek but I can’t think of any other way to call this absurd ruling out, since when are parent’s not responsible? Here is another idea – open credit cards in your toddler’s name and then rack up the charges because, hey, take the irresponsible 4-year olds to court – no skin off the parent’s nose – scott free lending! Who cares if little Suzie or Bobby’s future is garnished, isn’t it already?