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Monday, Jan. 16, 2017

Where's the responsibility?

Posted Monday, July 28, 2008, at 3:04 PM

The other day I reported on an traffic accident in which neither of the two drivers' vehicles were insured.

Casualty count: One slightly injured person, a few scared kids in one of the cars, one call to city public works to investigate a damaged utility pole. Our (taxpayers') cost: Probably little, in this case. The utility pole was apparently okay despite a hard hit, but without insurance, we would have paid. And hopefully the injured person had health insurance. At least the drivers were sober.

It's just one example of the need for individuals, and institutions, to take more personal responsibility. Vehicle insurance, costly as it is, is a must.

But some people have far deeper problems. The constant reports I see of drunken drivers and angry individuals threatening to kill or injure others (or actually doing so) -- personal actions which affect other, often innocent, victims -- indicate too many people could care less what's right.

On higher levels, irresponsibility is just as obvious.

During times in which prices seemingly inflate faster than a child's balloon -- and in times in which power-hungry politicians and money-comes-first business representatives sometimes don't seem to be any more mature than jealous playground bullies -- nearly all of us feel the effects of irresponsibility.

We keep hearing about banks and loan companies signing off on home loans which no one with common sense should have granted.

Gas prices have reached ridiculously high levels, driving prices up on many items we've taken for granted for years, while prices rise on cars with good gas mileage.

Our leaders sometimes seem so inadequate. Some of their decisions are driving the nation into the ground -- and, in the case of some individuals, into despair.

The police beat part of my job allows me to sometimes spot trends. And a recent trend is a very obvious rise within the past few months in the number of people claiming they want to commit suicide.

Practically all of those attempts were prevented by local law enforcement taking those people to the emergency room for intervention by crisis specialists. And reports aren't filed, so we don't know what caused their actions.

But I wonder: Were some of those people driven to despair by financial or personal problems caused by others' irresponsibilty?

In an ideal world, we'd look out for each other through business and personal decisions which aren't driven by greed or a perceived need to dominate -- and share responsibility. Too bad life often doesn't work that way.

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Easy answer. The State has to require proof of Insurance BEFORE licensing a vehicle. If the insurance lapses, law enforcement is notified and they come confiscate license plates. Other states do this. Why not here?

-- Posted by framestraight on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 4:49 PM

framestraight - other states might say they do it, but I think that law enforcement is too busy with other things to actually enforce it. when I still lived in CT, I knew of a lot of people who were driving around without insurance and nothing happened unless they were stopped for routine traffic stops.

And when I lived in Philadelphia, uninsured motorists was such a problem (they have some of the highest rates in the country), they the city law enforcement implemented a plan called "Live Stop" - where if you were stopped for anything, and could not show proof of insurance/driver's liscense/whatever documents you needed - your car was immediately confiscated. If you could not pay the fine within a certain amount of time, your car was auctioned.

Even though we were fully insured and legal drivers, my husband and I were always afraid to get pulled over because of it.

-- Posted by cfrich on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 4:58 PM

I believe that most people are driven to despiration because of the choices that they have made, not other people's irresponsibility, especially when it comes to finances. When you live far beyond your means, you can't blame that on anyone but yourself. There is so many people that have to have that big house or drive that big car and they simply can't afford to live that way. Then when hard times come, it is so easy to blame someone else.

We all have choices and decisions to make in life and it is our responsibility to make sure that they are the right ones.

-- Posted by cookie on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 6:44 PM

Some times it is health or the lost of a love one that pushes people over the edge.....Not all of us live high on the hog with a big house and big car....With the way it is now it is hard on alot of us and not because we are living far beyond our means....People that want to commit suicide is not something to chat about with other people...I am glad that you can not find out why some of these people go that far....That is a very private thing that should stay between them and their Doctor....It is not a joking matter.....

-- Posted by rebelrose on Wed, Jul 30, 2008, at 7:11 AM

Sometimes,the depression is the cause of problems rather than the symptom or the result.

People might fail to get help because they don't know the severity of their problem,they fear the stigma of being ill,they think they can't afford the aid available or they think they are beyond help.

Whether the difficulties start within or without,the person afflicted usually winds up with both.

Most depression has a physical origin such as a chemical imbalance,heart disease,etc. and can be helped to the point that outside factors don't seem so insurmountable.

Many people let car insurance lapse because their need for transportation doesn't end when when they can no longer pay for it.

After we learn to be responsible individually and collectively,there might be fewer people wondering how they can manage to be fed,clothed,housed,educated,employed and kept healthy.

Public transportation and accessible neighborhoods would remove a lot of our dependence on our vehicles.

Starting out our young on affordable,no frills cars that are safe and within their budget would be another good idea.

Too many people are tied to cars that are beyond their means or in poor repair just as others live in homes that have leaky roofs,bad wiring and plumbing or other structural problems they hope they can address "someday".

We need to insist that the necessary elements in people's lives get proper attention but we need to show them how that can be accomplished.

There needs to be hope and the sense of responsibility.

If these are not equally yoked,people will either become cavalier and assume that the world will make everything peachy-keen without their involvement or they will assume that nothing will ever be right no matter what they do.

We should try to emulate the tightrope walker.

She makes certain she has a decent,reliable safety net but she masters all her moves with both feet firmly on the ground before she touches the highwire.

That preparation won't prevent her ever taking a fall but it will make it less likely to occur and give her a greater chance of landing in good shape.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Wed, Jul 30, 2008, at 1:28 PM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.