So, after much contemplation, the family of Robert Boardman is going to sue. Boardman was gored to death by a goat in Olympic National Park just over a year ago, and his family says that, since the Park Service knew this particular goat was a possible danger to human visitors, they should have removed him before the unfortunate incident happened. (Essentially, what they are saying is that it was not an "unfortunate incident" at all; it was a preventable tragedy, and the fact that the Park didn't prevent it should cost them. By "cost," they mean $10 million, and by "them," they mean the taxpayers.)
The lawyer who's orchestrating this money grab is John Messina, of Tacoma. Here's how he sees Olympic National Park: According to the TNT, he calls it a "specious argument" that Park visitors should have to accept any risk of encountering wild animals while in the park. "This is not that wild," he said. "Thousands and thousands and thousands of people and kids visit the park every year. This is a federal reserve created for the purpose of the use of the citizens of the United States. You don't just throw them in there with rogue animals and expect them to defend themselves." (Emphasis added.)
A couple things:
First of all, stop with the kids thing. Why is feigning concern for anonymous children such a default position for pompous windbags with bogus points of view? "For the love of God, think of the children." Get bent.
Second, there are a host of reasons for creating and maintaining a National Park. Wildlife preservation, habitat conservation, archaeological significance, history and so forth. They aren't necessarily put together for the "use of citizens." Gates of the Arctic National Park? How many citizens use that one? (Incidentally, there are a bunch of very wild animals up there and I'm sure they represent significant safety threats... probably ought to get that lawsuit warmed up too.)
I have not always felt so hostile in this case. When I first heard the news, I was sad and my heart went out to Boardman's family over their loss. Now, however, my supply of sympathy has been exhausted. Now that they have shown what is really important to them, my well has gone totally dry.
I have no idea how this case will percolate out, but I can't help but hope Messina and company lose, and lose big. I'd like to see not only a decision that affirms the notion of wilderness and wild creatures, but it would also be gratifying if his clients were held liable for the government's legal fees as well. I missed that day at law school where they covered frivolous litigation; looks like I'm not the only one.