Warning: Reading this could entail responsibility

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    NewsNet Editorial Board

    CAUTION: DO NOT READ THIS EDITORIAL! THE ELECTRONS FROM THE SCREEN COULD SERIOUSLY BURN YOUR RETINAS.

    That shouldn’t surprise you. These days, such breathless warnings are becoming commonplace – and highly necessary – in this lawsuit-happy society.

    Here at The Universe, we’re handing out such caveats simply to protect ourselves from future court action.

    We’ve learned from what happened recently at Wymount Terrace, where a student sued BYU after his child touched a hot stove.

    And to think, Wymount didn’t even have a warning sign! Of all the nerve, indeed.

    The school promptly replied by placing signs in every kitchen that read: “Stove and range surfaces are hot. Do not leave children alone or unattended where a stove or a range is hot or in operation. They could be seriously burned.”

    This is a fabulous idea – a real step in conforming to the sue-’em-all surge of society.

    Forget glitzy TV quiz shows. The way to get rich these days is to act irresponsibly – and then make someone else pay for your stupidity!

    Chain smokers have certainly caught on to the idea, becoming instant millionaires for – drumroll, please – destroying their lungs.

    Got a cup of coffee? Dump it on yourself, claim you never thought it would be that hot, and watch McDonald’s quake at your presence, offering millions if you’ll only please settle outside of court.

    Now before BYU students join in the litigation lollapalooza, campus institutions better begin protecting themselves.

    Outside of the Cougareat Food Court’s Sugar and Spice could hang a sign like this: “Caution: Donuts may cause a widening of the hips, a narrowing of the arteries, an upset stomach, indigestion and – have we forgotten anything here? – a shorter life span, among other things.”

    Between the Harold B. Lee Library and the Abraham O. Smoot Administration Building, workers could install signs next to the glass coverings of the library’s underground floor: “Warning: Throwing large objects on the glass – such as pianos, elephants and certain textbooks – could cause it to break, thus allowing unsuspecting students to fall in.”

    And next to every elevator on campus, placards could snuff any chance at an electrocution suit: “Caution: Touching the up and down buttons may cause a low-voltage jolt in very rare instances! This, of course, has never actually happened, but we’re covering our bases.”

    Campus Craft and Floral could adequately protect itself with this: “We do NOT guarantee our flowers will make her want to go out with you, let alone speak to you again. Nor do we guarantee our flowers are immune to 110-degree heat, freezing, hurricane winds or flames.”

    Even students could get involved, guarding themselves against personal lawsuits by posting signs on their backpacks that read: “Caution: If my backpack’s zipper were to suddenly come undone, my books may fall on your foot, thus causing you indescribable pain. Please beware.”

    See? It’s that easy. With such tactful warnings, stupidity is suddenly snagged and irresponsibility loses its precious perks.

    If BYU students and faculty – knowing what they do about the gospel’s emphasis on personal responsibility – can’t face up to the consequences of their own actions, how can we ask the same of the rest of society?

    Unless a little responsibility and common sense are restored, the lawsuit over the burned hand on a Wymount stove is only the initial trickle of a future flood of frivolous lawsuits.

    And that’s a warning.

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