Your Views for September 12

‘Police state’ in Puna

I submit a modest proposal, so that the state of Hawaii need not treat the people of Puna like an insurrection to an invading army in the event of volcanic eruption.

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As was the case this time. The U.S. Constitution was shredded and tossed to the wind for a reason: Trial lawyers, state liability for the safety of imbeciles, and jackpot judgments in the many millions of dollars. I get it.

There is a simple alternative. In the state of Virginia, where I came from, wineries and “farm tourism” are common. But these are shoestring, mom-and-pop operations with no budget for massive liability insurance. No problem. The state Legislature stepped in.

Virginia is a functional state. Yes, they exist.

At the entrance to each winery or tourist farm, a sign is prominently posted. Some include a skull and crossbones.

It warns all attendees that while on the property they surrender all legal recourse to civil suit for any reason, including serious injury or death. Their continued presence on the property signifies acceptance of the terms of occupancy. You cannot sue the property owner for any reason, negligence or otherwise.

It works very well and challenges have been thrown out of court. Agri-tourism is a booming industry in Virginia.

So why can’t Hawaii declare any eruption zone a zone of no legal recourse to civil suit, regardless of circumstance, including negligence leading to injury or death?

Or is the right of trial lawyers to hold us all hostage to their insane greed more important than treating American citizens as people who also have rights ?

As usual, I suppose we must follow the money to find the reason why things are done the way they are done here.

Frankly, I have a very big problem being treated like an enemy combatant in a war zone, simply because some lava came out of the ground. It does that here. So why the panic and police state? Adults are pretty good at getting out of the way of lava.

But no. We get $5,000 and a year in jail to stand beside a road. And you call that America?

Hawaii was is on the wrong side of the U.S. Constitution in its handling of eruption events. It is the Constitution, 0; trial lawyers, 1.

And that is progressive?

I would laugh, but it is not funny. Really, it is pathetic. And it is not progressive at all.

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John Powers

Pahoa