A few weeks back, there were reports that a lawyer was killed in the court room when a shotgun submitted as evidence “went off.” The thing was fully loaded.
Addelaid Ferreira-Watt, a prominent South African attorney, was killed after a shotgun that had been entered as evidence in a robbery trial was accidentally dropped and fired into her leg. (Shared from News Break)
It is a tragedy when anyone dies like this.
But… I don’t know whether to cry or cheer. Partly, it is a matter of whether or not this woman was able to reproduce before her life ended. If she did not, does this mean we are cleaning up the gene pool of all humanity? Or are we just improving the gene pool of lawyers? That’s scary.
It wasn’t just this lawyer who was being stupid, of course. I cannot picture the court clerk not checking a piece of evidence to make sure it was safe to have in the courtroom. Or the bailiff (or sergeant-at-arms or whatever they call them in South Africa) not on the lookout for the safety of everyone in the courtroom.
But we don’t see this kind of nonsense just in the courtroom. Indeed, every day, we see evidence of the incredible stupidity of 95% of attorneys, and suffer from it. Especially when those lawyers are elected to legislatures or appointed to be judges.
But… and this is a big but. Are we, individual private people, exactly demonstrating that we are NOT stupid? After all, we let these lawyers decide things for us – time and time again. And in these Fifty States, we’ve done that for nearly 240 years! Worse, we let them decide more and more things for us with each passing year. And while we’ve complained, we have done very little about it.
Not even when we hear and watch them and their antics in Congressional hearings (both sitting up there on the dais and in the hot seats). When we see their inane and foolish questions, and their even more ridiculous answers? When we hear their speeches in their sessions – and on the campaign trail and back home in crackerbarrel sessions?
When it comes to incidents like this one in South Africa, should we not be concerned? If we are rid of the most stupid of the attorneys and their ilk, are we not raising the average intelligence of the profession? Still well below the average of humanity as a whole, but higher. Thereby making them more dangerous as a group? As I said before, that is scary.
Maybe I am worried about nothing. If large numbers of lawyers are killed off, or die off, perhaps the law schools will respond by producing more lawyers. And either lower the standards so that the average intel level remains unchanged? Or reduce the quality of the education even more. Or both.
And of course, maybe there is no “survival of the fittest” when it comes to the legal profession. The number of attorneys infesting our communities seems to constantly grow. The legislatures (from Congress on down) seem to constantly be passing new “Lawyer Employment Protection Acts” which provide more and more work for the breed. And their fees and other costs demonstrate very much a seller’s market: they charge more and more for less and less.
Perhaps high intelligence (a lack of stupidity) is NOT a survival trait in that particular profession, at all. Maybe the traits that ensure survival of lawyers as a profession are things that are dangerous or even deadly to the rest of us?
I know, that is a depressing thought. It has happened before. In medieval Europe, with the Roman Catholic Church’s enforcement of celibacy for clergy, it was a type of eugenics program. Since so many of the most intelligent and ambitious men in Europe became clergy, the honest, moral ones did not break the laws and so did not reproduce. Those who were dishonest and amoral or immoral did reproduce. It is sometimes claimed that a similar sorting led to intelligent, ambitious people moving to cities where there was more opportunity – only to die in the plagues which targeted and depopulated the urban centers. Some historians claim that the overall intelligence level of the European population declined over much of the Dark Ages. Just as the bloodletting of the Napoleonic wars and then the Great War and the Second World War seems to have reduced the overall level of courage and patriotism in those countries.
But what we need to do in response to the stupidity of attorneys today is pretty clear. We need to reduce their power, their influence, and their opportunities to create problems for society.
We can do that by taking back the power of government and government officials to lord it over us.
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I saw that story, and was amazed that a firearm could make it through crime scene seizure, delivery to the evidence locker, logging in as evidence, transport to a courtroom and handling as evidence without being checked multiple times by multiple people for its condition.
Improper handling through ignorance is legion, in real life as well as TV/movies; watch crime shows and you’ll see guns handed around freely without anyone inspecting them, and multiple people being muzzled, especially in courtroom scenes.
I won’t contest that too much power and authority has been granted the legal profession, or that common sense and basic human experience has been excised from societies and replaced with book-learned credentialism.
Ah, but to have such things routinely done, we have to assume that at least some of the people associated with the police force and court system are both competent and not totally corrupt… big assumptions in Zud-Afrika. But no one, not even an attorney, should be picking up a weapon without checking to see if it is loaded, even if she just saw someone else inspecting it!
I have always refereed to most people with college education and beyond as “educated idiots”. Most of them do not have enough common sence to come in out of the rain