There ought to be a law against people saying, 'There ought to be a law'

The SE Texas Record Feb. 21, 2012, 5:00am

How often have you heard people say, "There ought to be a law"?

The would-be lawmakers always start out with that phrase, "There ought to be a law," and then they tell you the brilliant idea they have for the law that ought to be. Their inspiration almost always turns out to be lame excuse for a bad idea.

They hear about someone drowning in a waterbed, for instance, and they say there ought to be a law requiring all waterbed retailers to include a life vest with each waterbed sold.

Sure, it might drive up the cost of waterbeds and inconvenience people trying to sleep while wearing personal flotation devices; but hey, if it saves one life, it's worth it, right?

Some of the people going to court with negligence claims actually are saying, "There ought to be a law – a law to prevent what happened to me."

In fact, their cases are based on the premise that there was, or should have been, such a law. What they really want is for the judge to legislate from the bench, create such a law, and apply it ex post facto on their behalf, with a nice piece of settlement change as well.

How else to explain a suit like the one Pamela Licatino recently filed in Jefferson County District Court against Serenity Home Assisted Care Living in Port Arthur?

Licatino was working at Serenity on March 15, 2010, when she slipped on a "slick tile" at the entrance to the building and fell, allegedly injuring her back.

The "slick tile" was covered by a mat, but Pamela, a self-appointed authority on floor coverings, charges that the mat wasn't large enough to prevent her from slipping.

Maybe there should be a law mandating door mats of a size prescribed by Licatino.

Maybe not.

Maybe we have too many laws already.

There ought to be a law against too many laws.

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