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Who is financially responsible?

A View From the Edge

I think there is a case being made for every homeowner (and that includes renters) nationwide to start a class-action lawsuit against police departments, municipalities, states and, yes, the federal government for the increase in their home insurance and local and state and federal taxes. The point is, every single person in the USA will be paying more in insurance and taxes next year because, sadly, in just one example, one ill-trained police officer put his knee on a “suspect” and killed him.

Look, the basic fact is that humans have emotions. Ask any insurance adjuster and they will tell you that their evaluation of insurance liability is partly based on human reactions. Insurers assume you want to obey the law and not drive down the street in the wrong lane or set fire deliberately to your own house. Insurers adjust their rates according to how normally compliant the population is. Similarly, the government has long assumed that most people want to obey the law and therefore they only plan on a small percentage needing law enforcement. The government makes assumptions that, when warned of a hurricane, people will heed warnings and get out of the way. In fact, they are quite clear about this: If you chose to stay behind when made to leave, the loss of life is on you, bub.

But human emotions are sometimes less predictable. After 9/11, many people rushed in to help with rescue and support of the firemen and police. Many of these good people have become sick as a result and without the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA)rules of “pre-existing conditions,” many of those would have no health insurance at all. In fact, the ACA caused many insurers to increase rates to “spread the load of pre-existing conditions” patients. Please note, not one insurer lost any money with the ACA, remember that, they simply readjusted their actuarial tables and increased the costs to you and me. Personally, I’m all in favor. Like roads, the military, the internet, etc., we all need to shoulder part of reasonable loads.

However, with the actions of a few badly trained and perhaps poorly selected police officers (Who’s to blame? Those who hire and so-called train them.), we all may be paying increased taxes and insurance rates because, that one knee-on-neck officer sparked $2,000,000,000 in property damage, not to mention police and National Guard pay. Yes, $2,000,000,000. 

Do you want to blame the protesters? That’s like blaming the people who rushed in to help after 9/11 — their emotions governed their actions. You want to blame the BLM protesters? That’s also like blaming Mr. Floyd for being angry and protesting being killed. Emotions ruled the day, that’s human nature. So, too, with the BLM protesters who are frightened, outraged and demand change against a system that has, for hundreds of years, not really given a damn. Do you blame a forest fire on the trees being aflame, or the man who set a fire? Do you blame the 9/11 rescuers and volunteers for their emotional response, or do you blame the perpetrators?

If you blame the perpetrators, then, in the USA system, you can sue. Maybe sue police forces nationwide to make them take the two to three  years most of Europe takes to properly train a police officer, or the excellent basic training in the U.S. military that weeds out rogues and undisciplined officers. We know how, here in America, to make this problem disappear but maybe we need to sue those setting us up for disaster and, instead, fix the system?


Peter Riva, a former resident of Amenia Union, now resides in New Mexico.

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