Bob Franken


July 20, 2007
Deadly Decisions (Bob Franken)
@ 10:47 am
“Homicide without malice aforethought.”

Isn’t that the classic definition of manslaughter?

Or this: “A person recklessly causes the death of another, or acting under extreme emotional disturbance, causes the death of another, or acting under circumstances when a person reasonably believes the circumstances provide a legal justification or excuse for his conduct constitutes manslaughter.”

How about when a company decides for financial reasons not to correct product flaws or to use questionable ingredients, and people die as a result. Is that manslaughter?

More to the point: What about the FEMA lawyers who advised against the agency testing for formaldehyde in its trailers because they were worried about legal liability? One man may have died as a result. Manslaughter?

And how about the politicians who are so wound up in their ideological prejudice that they ignore strong evidence and send thousands to die in war? What is that?

I do not expect anyone involved in these examples to be prosecuted. But isn’t it time that those so insulated by power look beyond their cocoons and make decisions realizing they can have tragic consequences? Sometimes it is clear that they take actions that are expedient or cavalier with no regard for the the damage they can do. And that is criminal — if not legally, then at least morally.

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