One Big Happy (12/13/10)

If you walk through downtown Chicago, you’ll notice hundreds of signs that read, “Caution: Falling Ice.” Our litigious society demands that building owners warn pedestrians about the dangers dangling above their heads, but for all intents and purposes, these signs are useless. Sure, an icicle falling from a skyscraper could cause serious damage. It could even kill a person, but there’s no way to guard against such an event. Even if you’re aware of the possibility of falling ice, there are no steps you can take to avoid it. Using an umbrella would be insufficient, easing yourself toward the street would be inadequate, and walking with your head constantly craned toward the sky would be impractical. Nothing can save a person from a speeding chunk of ice, not even a starkly worded sign.

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