Once upon a time Americans were free to take risks . . . and bear the consequences. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:
Little things can tell you a lot. For instance, the signs they used to hang by the entrance to hotel swimming pools and adjacent to the paths that led to public beaches that read:
Swim at Your Own Risk.
These signs were common before the 1990s – which is roughly the era when America began to transition into something fundamentally different, kind of like Bruce.
Whatever its faults, the America that existed before the ‘90s was a place that was still largely in favor of personal responsibility, which requires the exercise of the individual’s judgment, enlightened by the prospect of positive gain – but chastened by consequences for the exercise of poor judgment.
In the case of swimming pools, it was culturally and socially expected that you knew how to swim if you went for one and that if not, you didn’t – in the absence of a lifeguard. If you were dumb enough to go for a swim when you didn’t know how and ended up drowning, that was on you – not the hotel. Or the county where the beach happened to be.
Just as it was on you, if you happened to be a parent, to keep track of your kids. If you didn’t and one fell into an unattended pool, that was due to your irresponsible/negligent parenting – not because the hotel didn’t keep a lifeguard posted or keep the gate locked otherwise.
Other parents weren’t held responsible, either.
Probably someone who didn’t want to accept blame for their own poor judgment decided to hire a lawyer – so as to drape the blame around someone else; i.e., the hotel or whomever else could be conveniently made to pay for the “constructive hazard” they chose to avail themselves of – or allowed their children to avail themselves of, unsupervised.
The lawyers, of course, made money.