The degree to which the average American, even the average educated American, even the average educated and rational American, is ignorant about the ethical mandates and structure of the legal profession and the justice system is by turns shocking, depressing, and frightening. The consequences of this ignorance, for which the legal profession itself is largely to blame, bursts forth in all their ugly splendor after the acquittal of a Casey Anthony or, even more disturbingly, a George Zimmerman. Well meaning members of the public, who are nicely represented in this Ethics Alarms thread, think they are declaring their support for justice when they advocate cutting through all the troublesome bureaucracy and making sure what “everyone knows” is the correct result happens, and process be damned. Just do the right thing! How hard can that be? This blogger, for example, has it all figured out. Leave it to him and people of a like mind, and we’ll have a police state in no time. Continue reading
Futile Ethics Lessons From the Luge
Long before Luger Nodar Kumaritashvili of the Republic of Georgia crashed and died on a training run there, Vancouver’s Whistler Sliding Centre, now the site of the Olympics luge, bobsled and skeleton competitions, had been the target of complaints, warnings and controversy regarding its safety. After the first international training event at Whistler in November 2008, the president of the luge governing body openly expressed worries over the speed of the track. Since then, there have been sufficient accidents on the track, not only in the luge, but also bobsled and skeleton races, that the fatal accident there could not fairly be called “a surprise.” Just a day before the Georgian was killed, United States luger Mark Grimmette was quoted as being concerned about the course’s speed, saying, “I think we’re probably getting close, too close, to the edge.” Later the same day, a Romanian luge racer was knocked unconscious during his training run. The frequency of crashes during the training runs last week were far above the norm.
Nevertheless, Olympic and luge officials chose not to make changes to the course that would limit the speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour that luge, bobsled and skeleton competitors were reaching, speeds beyond what they were used to, or had trained to handle.
And yet… Continue reading