Many of us have lamented society's drift away from individual responsibility. It's not the drunken driver's fault -- it's the fault of the bartender who served him. It's not the murderer's fault, but that of the company that manufactured the gun. It's not the homeowner to blame who entered a too-risky mortgage agreement; the blame goes to the "predatory lender" who talked him into it.
Here's our chance to have another go at the issue from a slightly different angle:
Meanwhile, Pulaski County authorities announced Monday the arrest of a man who allegedly provided Solano with the weapon used in the shooting of his wife and himself.Officials contend the man, Timothy McCorkle, knew Solano's intentions to kill his wife when he gave him the weapon.
I suspect they'll have a hard time actually proving he knew of the killer's intentions, but what about the broader question? If you are suicidal and ask me to shoot you, and I agree, that's at one end of the scale. If I merely suspect you're suicidal and choose not to say anything to anyone, that's at the other end. What's my liability, moral if not legal, if I suspect you're suicidal, you ask to borrow my gun, and I give it to you?
It's another way of thinking about that bartender. Certainly the drunk has the greatest responsibility for his actions. But what if the bartender can observe that the drinker is clearly drunk? Doesn't he bear some responsibility for what happens next if he keeps serving the drunk instead of cutting him off, given the extremely high probability that the drunk is going to get behind the wheel upon leaving the bar?