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Fired Florida Lifeguard's Coworkers Out After Admitting They'd Save Man Outside Zone
ABC News ^ | July 4, 2012 | ALEXIS SHAW, MATT GUTMAN, CANDACE SMITH, KATIE MOISSE

Posted on 07/04/2012 3:58:33 PM PDT by dayglored

Six Florida lifeguards have lost their jobs for backing a coworker's decision to save a man struggling in the surf but outside their jurisdiction.

Tomas Lopez , 21, was fired Monday for vacating his lifeguarding zone to save a man drowning in unprotected waters 1,500 feet south of his post on Hallandale Beach, Fla.

"I knew I broke the rules," said Lopez, who ran past the buoy marking the boundary of his patrol zone to help the man. "I told the manager, I'm fired aren't I?"

Lopez said he jumped into the water and "I double underhooked him…I was worried about the guy and his health. He was blue."

Six of Lopez's coworkers said they would have done the same thing. And now, they've been fired too.

....

(Excerpt) Read more at abcnews.go.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: florida; lifeguard; moralabsolutes; zerotolerance
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Three thoughts come to mind immediately:
  1. The private company who hired the lifeguard who broke the agreed-to rules, to save someone outside his area, is entirely within their rights to fire the individual, for disobeying a direct order that he acknowledged. Likewise the others who said they would do the same thing.

  2. The lifeguard did what any reasonable, caring human being would do -- especially one who is trained in the saving of lives -- under the circumstances. He did the right thing, even though it cost him his job. The others did right to have been honest and backed him.

  3. I would like to hope that in the same circumstances, I too would risk my job to save another human being in dire trouble.

So, IMO, it's a shame they lost their jobs, but they did the right thing and for the rest of their lives the lifeguard who saved the person will be comforted by that knowledge. The company has to find some more lifeguards, but they too did the right thing. Can't have employees running around doing stuff they specifically aren't supposed to do.

But the, IMO, the original agreement is what is flawed. I don't think it's reasonable to ask, or to agree, to watch another human being in trouble, suffer and die.

1 posted on 07/04/2012 3:58:43 PM PDT by dayglored
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To: dayglored

What happens in an out of control tort system where lawyers have no limits...


2 posted on 07/04/2012 4:03:26 PM PDT by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - they want to die for islam and we want to kill them)
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To: dayglored

“The company has to find some more lifeguards, but they too did the right thing. “

The company did what their lawyers told them to do.


3 posted on 07/04/2012 4:03:36 PM PDT by Kirkwood (Zombie Hunter)
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To: Kirkwood
> The company did what their lawyers told them to do.

Doubtless true.

The very same lawyers that required such a horrible restriction in the first place.

4 posted on 07/04/2012 4:05:52 PM PDT by dayglored (Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!)
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To: dayglored

Well, they may be within the provisions of their contract, but it sounds like Jeff Ellis and Associates need to be put out of business.


5 posted on 07/04/2012 4:07:25 PM PDT by Truth29
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To: 2banana
> What happens in an out of control tort system where lawyers have no limits...

I wonder, if the lifeguard had stayed at his post, and the man had drowned, would the lifeguard, or his company, be sued successfully by (say) the man's family?

6 posted on 07/04/2012 4:07:43 PM PDT by dayglored (Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!)
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To: Truth29
> Well, they may be within the provisions of their contract,...

That's the (only) sense in which I meant that the company did the right thing by firing the lifeguard.

> ... but it sounds like Jeff Ellis and Associates need to be put out of business.

Or at least get some new/better lawyers.

7 posted on 07/04/2012 4:10:16 PM PDT by dayglored (Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!)
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To: dayglored
Actually, we have the trial lawyers to thank for this.
8 posted on 07/04/2012 4:10:47 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Government is the religion of the sociopath.)
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To: dayglored

Maybe they need a new rule that lawyers have to wear purple bathing suits, and lifeguards are not permitted to save them.


9 posted on 07/04/2012 4:11:20 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: dayglored

He broke the rules of Jeff Ellis and Associates, the aquatic safety contractor.

Looks like to me he obeyed the rules that exist far above Jeff Ellis and Associates.

Perfect example of Matthew 6:20 and Tomas has nothing to worry about.

Nor do the other five.

On the other hand, J.E. and Asso.?

Not so good.

.


10 posted on 07/04/2012 4:11:45 PM PDT by TLI ( ITINERIS IMPENDEO VALHALLA)
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To: dayglored
It is really a no-win situation - isn't it?

And if the man gets hurt while being saved he can sue too.

And this is why our tort system is just crushing businesses. FYI - Trial Lawyers are some of the biggest campaign contributors with most of the money going to democrats.

I wonder, if the lifeguard had stayed at his post, and the man had drowned, would the lifeguard, or his company, be sued successfully by (say) the man's family?

11 posted on 07/04/2012 4:11:45 PM PDT by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - they want to die for islam and we want to kill them)
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To: dayglored

I’m confused by the article.

First....”Lopez said he jumped into the water and “I double underhooked him....”

Then....”By the time Lopez arrived on the scene, other beachgoers had dragged the unconscious man ashore and started CPR....”

What exactly did Mr Lopez do?


12 posted on 07/04/2012 4:12:29 PM PDT by JoeDetweiler
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To: wagglebee
Respectfully request consideration of a "Moral Absolutes" ping.

This isn't the usual "pro-life" situation, as it involves an adult rather than a baby. But all life is sacred in the eyes of God, and I think it raises a valid moral values issue.

Is a contract valid or morally defensible, that requires an individual to watch another human being suffer and die, when they are trained to save them?

Thanks for your consideration.

13 posted on 07/04/2012 4:15:12 PM PDT by dayglored (Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!)
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To: dayglored
"I wonder, if the lifeguard had stayed at his post, and the man had drowned, would the lifeguard, or his company, be sued successfully by (say) the man's family"

No more than they could successfully sue you for not saving him.


14 posted on 07/04/2012 4:16:57 PM PDT by I see my hands (It's time to.. KICK OUT THE JAMS, MOTHER FREEPERS!)
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To: dayglored
I wonder, if the lifeguard had stayed at his post, and the man had drowned, would the lifeguard, or his company, be sued successfully by (say) the man's family?
I don't know, but if someone would have drowned in his area while he was saving the other guy, I guarantee his company would have been sued.

Still think he did the right thing, though.

15 posted on 07/04/2012 4:20:48 PM PDT by Bratch
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To: JoeDetweiler
> I’m confused by the article. First....”Lopez said he jumped into the water and “I double underhooked him....” Then....”By the time Lopez arrived on the scene, other beachgoers had dragged the unconscious man ashore and started CPR....” What exactly did Mr Lopez do?

Good question. Not particularly well-written description, or perhaps some stories got crossed -- there were four authors on this story and it may not have been edited properly. Hard to imagine doing CPR while the man is still in the water, though possibly he was in shallow water.

16 posted on 07/04/2012 4:22:05 PM PDT by dayglored (Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!)
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To: dayglored

Budget cuts force Calif. police and firemen to watch man drown

Posted on 06.1.11

Police and firemen in Alameda, California watched a man drown on Monday after realizing they did not have proper certifications for water rescue, leaving them open to possible lawsuits if they attempted to save him.

The drowning victim, 53-year-old Raymond Zack, was apparently suicidal, according to a report from the scene. He waded out about 150 yards into cold waters off Crown Beach in Alameda and took about an hour to drown himself.

A crowd of about 75 gathered to watch the bizarre scene, which saw police and firemen just standing at shoreline watching helplessly. After the man had drowned, authorities couldn’t even go into the surf to retrieve the body. They instead recruited a passer-by for the job.

City officials reportedly blamed the incident on budget cuts and said they would have a discussion about why Alameda, an island city, does not have proper authorization to rescue people from the waters surrounding it.

http://www.rawstory.com/rawreplay/2011/06/calif-police-and-firemen-watch-man-drown-due-to-budget-cuts/


17 posted on 07/04/2012 4:23:05 PM PDT by ilovesarah2012
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To: Bratch
> ...if someone would have drowned in his area while he was saving the other guy, I guarantee his company would have been sued.

Precisely. And therein lies the reason the lawyers required the restriction, and set up the moral dilemma for the lifeguard.

18 posted on 07/04/2012 4:25:03 PM PDT by dayglored (Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!)
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To: ilovesarah2012

That sounds a bit like the bunch that watched a man’s home burn down because he hadn’t paid the juice they required before putting it out.


19 posted on 07/04/2012 4:30:57 PM PDT by Venturer
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To: dayglored

“Hallandale Beach is a city in Broward County, Florida”

Enough said!


20 posted on 07/04/2012 4:36:30 PM PDT by blueyon (The U. S. Constitution - read it and weep)
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To: dayglored

Well our sue happy culture is to blame for this.


21 posted on 07/04/2012 4:39:03 PM PDT by moviefan8
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To: 2banana

I would rather save the life and be fired. Would rather be fired than work for a bunch of penny pinching sh*theels.
Common sense died a slow death at the hands of lawyers.


22 posted on 07/04/2012 4:41:36 PM PDT by Yorlik803 (better to die on your feet than live on your knees.)
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To: dayglored

“Is a contract valid or morally defensible, that requires an individual to watch another human being suffer and die, when they are trained to save them? “

No. There are some things you can not morally agree to do.

I hope someone out there in need of a lifeguard will hire these excellent employees.


23 posted on 07/04/2012 4:45:20 PM PDT by Persevero (Homeschooling for Excellence since 1992)
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To: dayglored
What we have here is a failure of common sense!

Your points are well taken and for the most part unarguable.

However there is a different viewpoint that is lacking here. In a effort not to get technical, that viewpoint can be summed up as "no harm, no foul."

In mine and other safety critical industries subject to civil crimes, even jail if we screw up . . . If you fired everyone caught making a mistake or wrong critical decision, these particular industries probably would no longer exist if truth be known.

About 20 years ago, common sense approach has started to take root. The concept is . . . If you screw up, but there are no consequences of the particular moment or action . . . the attitude is . . . the mistake did not happen in the sense as we used to view things.

However . . . Responsible individuals are "kinda" (yeah I know) required to report on themselves and even others so that . . . 1. Mainly we and everyone around can learn from the incident and become "better" for it 2. To help determine root cause of incident . . . i.e bad training, lack of supervision, uneven practices, etc etc etc. And the organization becomes stronger and better for it as it identifies practices that can NOT be complied with as in this specific incident.

Any one ask if the company could be sued for NOT responding?

24 posted on 07/04/2012 4:52:55 PM PDT by saywhatagain
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To: 2banana

They couldn’t have just received a warning or reprimand? You know, first offence kind of thing.....


25 posted on 07/04/2012 4:53:47 PM PDT by jeffc (Welcome to the United Socialist States of America)
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To: dayglored

Amen. Amen. Amen.

“No greater love.” Lifeguards....heroes....I love them.


26 posted on 07/04/2012 4:54:49 PM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: ilovesarah2012
> Police and firemen in Alameda, California watched a man drown on Monday after realizing they did not have proper certifications for water rescue, leaving them open to possible lawsuits if they attempted to save him.

Holy cr@p.

Puts all new meaning to the Shakespeare quote from Henry VI, "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."

27 posted on 07/04/2012 4:55:52 PM PDT by dayglored (Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!)
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To: dayglored

I wonder, if the lifeguard had stayed at his post, and the man had drowned, would the lifeguard, or his company, be sued successfully by (say) the man’s family?

____________________

But if someone in is sector drowned while he was saving this man, they would have been liable.


28 posted on 07/04/2012 4:55:55 PM PDT by Chickensoup (STOP The Great O-ppression)
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To: JoeDetweiler

Never misunderestimate the “ability” of reporters and media editors to mangle a story.


29 posted on 07/04/2012 4:56:32 PM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: I see my hands
> No more than they could successfully sue you for not saving him.

Ah, good point.

30 posted on 07/04/2012 5:01:06 PM PDT by dayglored (Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!)
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To: dayglored; 185JHP; 230FMJ; AKA Elena; APatientMan; Albion Wilde; Aleighanne; Alexander Rubin; ...
Moral Absolutes Ping!

Freepmail wagglebee to subscribe or unsubscribe from the moral absolutes ping list.

FreeRepublic moral absolutes keyword search
[ Add keyword moral absolutes to flag FR articles to this ping list ]

Saving an innocent life is ALWAYS the right and moral thing to do.

31 posted on 07/04/2012 5:07:39 PM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: dayglored

I would fire him on the spot. Then I would rehire him on the spot. I would duly note the actions, per regulations, in his file and also include a letter of commendation.


32 posted on 07/04/2012 5:10:18 PM PDT by WorkingClassFilth (I'm for Churchill in 1940!)
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To: dayglored
The company has to find some more lifeguards, but they too did the right thing. Can't have employees running around doing stuff they specifically aren't supposed to do.

B.S.!

33 posted on 07/04/2012 5:16:13 PM PDT by Osage Orange (8675309)
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To: wagglebee

Thank you for the ping!


34 posted on 07/04/2012 5:21:14 PM PDT by dayglored (Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!)
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To: Osage Orange
> B.S.!

Please my posts #7 and #18 above. The company was within their rights contractually, so in that sense they did the "right thing". However, I have real trouble with that contract in the first place.

As an employer whose employees read and sign employment contracts, am I expected to ignore those contractual agreements, especially if (as others pointed out) I am liable if someone else gets in trouble in the water my lifeguards are supposed to be guarding?

I think the original contract is morally indefensible.

35 posted on 07/04/2012 5:27:00 PM PDT by dayglored (Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!)
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To: dayglored

Stupid rules for rules’ sake trumped common sense and human decency. We must never follow rules that go against human decency. The Nazis conflagration proved that once again, and history is full of instances of heroes and idiots. The lifeguard company is filled with idiots and lacks the courage to be human.

tsk tsk.

“Right” it might be according to ‘the rules’ but wrong it is before the Great Throne of God. I hope some terrific company snaps these guys up and honors them appropriately; they will get great and honorable workers.

The lawyers be damned.


36 posted on 07/04/2012 5:27:36 PM PDT by bboop (Without justice, what else is the State but a great band of robbers? St. Augustine)
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To: WorkingClassFilth
> I would fire him on the spot. Then I would rehire him on the spot. I would duly note the actions, per regulations, in his file and also include a letter of commendation.

Now -that- is an interesting perspective! I rather like that -- assuming you can do something about the horrible contractual restrictions so you and the lifeguard aren't faced with the same problem next week or month..

37 posted on 07/04/2012 5:30:15 PM PDT by dayglored (Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!)
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To: dayglored

Whenever the lives of the customers or employees is at threat, no business should be able to fire someone for taking action to prevent the loss of life.

To cover for a business that punishes a moral responsibility is nothing more than Business Socialism.

And, if that lifeguard did not act, and the person drowned, the company will be sued...and will lose. No jury is going to rule in favor of a business that prevented life saving action from taking place

I am pro-Business....but no fan of Business Socialism. You never should shirk moral responsibility


38 posted on 07/04/2012 5:30:28 PM PDT by SeminoleCounty (Sad....George Zimmerman is in jail for rightfully defending himself...while Eric Holder walks free)
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To: ilovesarah2012

Before any budget cuts ever happened....you’d of thought these genius’s would have had some foresight to have a water rescue squad.


39 posted on 07/04/2012 5:32:02 PM PDT by Osage Orange (8675309)
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To: dayglored

Yes...the company providing the life guards would be sued...and for great amounts if there is loss of life


40 posted on 07/04/2012 5:32:02 PM PDT by SeminoleCounty (Sad....George Zimmerman is in jail for rightfully defending himself...while Eric Holder walks free)
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To: bboop

Very well put!


41 posted on 07/04/2012 5:33:02 PM PDT by dayglored (Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!)
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To: dayglored
Here's what you wrote: The company has to find some more lifeguards, but they too did the right thing.

No they didn't. And don't give me this rope a dope legal baloney trash.

If you didn't have the guts to say it was wrong in the first place....then just can it.

42 posted on 07/04/2012 5:36:39 PM PDT by Osage Orange (8675309)
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To: ilovesarah2012

first thing I thought of too


43 posted on 07/04/2012 5:36:41 PM PDT by yldstrk ( My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: yldstrk

My brother-in-law is a state park manager in Florida at a beach. They used to have lifeguards but someone drowned and the family sued the state. They no longer provide lifeguards at the beach. It is strictly “swim at your own risk”.


44 posted on 07/04/2012 5:41:31 PM PDT by ilovesarah2012
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To: Osage Orange
> If you didn't have the guts to say it was wrong in the first place....then just can it.

I'm sorry I wasn't more specific initially. You appear to think I am defending the company's position from a moral position. I'm absolutely NOT doing so.

In the case of the company, I meant they did the "contractually necessary" thing, the "legally correct for the liability of the company" thing. Not the "morally right" thing. That is what this whole discussion is about -- I think their contract is terrible.

It is horrifying to me that a contract can be legally made that requires a person to stand by and watch someone die whom they could save.

Therefore it is the contract that is is invalid and immoral.

I appreciate your concern, but you needn't worry about my guts, as my guts are just fine. I posted the article didn't I? :)

45 posted on 07/04/2012 5:44:49 PM PDT by dayglored (Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!)
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To: ilovesarah2012

Save a lot of moola too, in CA the lifeguards are pulling in 100K


46 posted on 07/04/2012 5:49:25 PM PDT by yldstrk ( My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: dayglored
An absolute outrage! Back in the old days the guiding maxim was "Necessity demands a rescue!" The law then, in the 19th Century, was articulated by a court in Texas in a case whose caption I have long forgotten: "The Law places such value on a human life that it will not impute negligence to an effort to save it." That's not an exact quote but pretty close.

This case is a good example of how low our society has sunk. In a better world, the term of the contract forbidding the lifeguards to pass the boundary of their jurisdiction would, IMHO, be unenforceable on the basis of being "malum in se" (inherently evil, or evil in itself.) The lifeguards, particularly the one who saved the drowning swimmer, deserve medals.

My 16 year-old son is working as a lifeguard in local pools this Summer. I haven't asked him, but I believe he would have gone past the boundary buoy to save a distressed swimmer. If he did not, I'd toss him out in the street as a craven cur.



Genuflectimus non ad principem sed ad Principem Pacis!

Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. (Isaiah 49:1 KJV)

47 posted on 07/04/2012 5:50:19 PM PDT by ConorMacNessa (HM/2 USN, 3/5 Marines RVN 1969 - St. Michael the Archangel defend us in Battle!)
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To: dayglored
I will repost...

If you didn't have the guts to say it was wrong in the first place....then just can it.

48 posted on 07/04/2012 5:54:14 PM PDT by Osage Orange (8675309)
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To: ConorMacNessa
> the term of the contract forbidding the lifeguards to pass the boundary of their jurisdiction would, IMHO, be unenforceable on the basis of being "malum in se" (inherently evil, or evil in itself.)

EXACTLY! You put it very well.

> I believe [my son] would have gone past the boundary buoy to save a distressed swimmer. If he did not, I'd toss him out in the street as a craven cur.

Spot on again. That's what I tried to convey in my third point at the top -- I could not live with myself if did not do so.

49 posted on 07/04/2012 5:55:25 PM PDT by dayglored (Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!)
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To: Osage Orange
> I will repost...

Ah, well, I see we are at an impasse about my guts. No matter, no great necessity to pursue that. I hope you have a pleasant Independence Day.

50 posted on 07/04/2012 5:59:56 PM PDT by dayglored (Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!)
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