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The Ugly, the Bad and the Good

Discretion: The only thing the following three articles have in common is that I read all of them on the same day.  The first two you will probably find sickening and the third should hopefully make you feel better.

Article 1: Lawyer for Newtown Shooting Survivor Seeks to File $100 Million Lawsuit, Published By Mary Ellen Godin, Reuters

Irv Pinsky, a New Haven-based attorney, has filed a claim with the Connecticut Claims Commission requesting permissionto file a lawsuit on behalf of an unidentified client, referred to as Jill Doe. (It appears that Connecticut, along with California and probably every other state, requires that a claim be filed to request permission to file a lawsuit against the government).

This is the basis for the lawsuit: The client heard “cursing, screaming and shooting” over the school intercom when the shooter opened fire. As a result, the “child has sustained emotional and psychological trauma and injury, the nature and extent of which are yet to be determined.”

The claim states that “the state Board of Education, Department of Education and Education Commissioner had failed to take appropriate steps to protect children from “foreseeable harm.” It says that they had failed to provide a “safe school setting” or design “an effective student safety emergency response plan and protocol.”

Pinsky said he was approached by the child’s parents within a week of the shooting.

There are so many things wrong with this story that I hardly know where to begin.

First, the various articles I have read indicated that it was a very smart move to turn on the intercom so the people in the school would know what was going on and take steps to protect the children. If it had not been turned on, many more could have been killed.

Second, unless there had been a previous shooting at the school, there was no “foreseeable harm.”

Third, it is my understanding that security protocols had just been upgraded. What exactly could the school have done, not having had a prior incident (thankfully) to protect against a person with an assault weapon who broke into the school? (See Post #19: So Who Needs an Assault Weapon?).

Fourth, interesting that the parents, whose child was not shot or killed, are the first to seek damages. Remember, twenty six and seven year old children and six adults were slaughtered yet it is the parents of a girl who heard cursing, screaming and shooting over the intercom who are looking to sue the state. Isn’t this special? Doesn’t it just warm your heart?

It is situations like this that give attorneys a bad reputation. Pinsky is one attorney I would never want to meet.

Article 2: Law School Students Accused of Beheading Bird in Vegas, Published By Chris Roberts, NBCBayArea.com

In another feel good story (note the sarcasm), we have California Berkeley law school students Justin Teixeira and Eric Cuellar, both 24, accused of stealing a 14-year-old helmeted guineafowl from a cage at the Flamingo resort and casino on October 12. “The pair were seen on surveillance video chasing the bird into some trees, and then emerging a short time later with the bird’s body and its severed head.”

The article goes on to say that “Teixeira’s charges include felony killing and felony torturing of an animal, while Cuellar’s charge is a misdemeanor. Teixeira could face prison time if convicted, while Cuellar’s maximum sentence is six months in jail.”

Since the State Bar of California requires lawyers to “demonstrate good moral character,” if convicted, the men’s future as attorneys may be at risk.

First, we can only hope that, if these guys are guilty, they NEVER be licensed to practice law in the state of California or any other state.

Second, I can’t wait to read what their defense is. Perhaps they happened to run into the trees after the bird, someone else was in the trees with a knife, beheaded the bird and ran off, and they felt so bad about the bird that they could not just let it lie there and carried it out to bury it? But, then again, since a subsequent article said that they “were seen October 12 laughing and throwing around the body” of the bird, maybe not.

For further reading on this subject, please view the “Law Student to be Tried in Vegas Bird Beheading” article published by Ken Ritter, Associated Press.

Article 3: You Can Literally Throw Your Negative Thoughts Away, Published By Cassie Shortsleeve, Men’s Health

Finally, as a relief from the two prior stories, it has been found that “writing down your negative thoughts and tossing them in the garbage can erase your bad mood.” This is according to new research in Psychological Science. Although Richard Petty, Ph.D., a professor at Ohio State University, admits that this sounds silly, “sometimes it’s the silly things that work.”

Previous research has shown that, if you sit up straight, you can feel more confident. If you smile, you will feel happier. In this case, write down your negative thoughts and throw the paper away… or delete it from Word or WordPerfect…or erase it from whatever means you express yourself. Dr. Petty says that getting rid of these thoughts in this manner “gives a greater finality to your thoughts.” “That means you’ll trick your brain into marking bad thoughts as gone, instead of suppressing them….”

Over the years, when I have been upset about something, I have written it down. If I didn’t, the negative thoughts would just kept swirling in my head making me feel bad. For me, it has worked. I have also tried the sitting up straight thing and smiling thing and that has also worked.

So, here are a few easy New Year’s resolutions: When you are feeling unsure of yourself, you will sit up straight. When you are feeling sad, you will smile. When you are thinking negative thoughts, you will write them down and throw them away. Silly? Maybe. However, the first two will only take a few seconds of your time and the third will only take as long as it takes you to write down your thoughts. What do you have to lose?

Published By: Patricia I. James, Esq.

**No portion of this Post is intended to constitute legal or medical advice.  The views expressed are solely those of the author.