Wednesday, January 30, 2008

You are a BAD man.

I don't know if the businessman in this story is just really into vengeance after being slighted or if he's simply barking mad. I don't know that being able to pin him down to being one or the other would help me to sleep at night, because either way he's still at liberty to roam the streets.

Here's the source article. HERE

The original incident from 2004 is that the Spanish businessman hit a 17-year old on a bicycle. The kid died instantly. It was night and the kid wasn't wearing a helmet or reflective equipment. The court ruled that the driver wasn't criminally responsible. So far, this is a tragedy for all involved.

It was determined that the driver was moving in excess of the speed limit. A police report says that the driver was moving at 70 mph inside a 50 mph limit. An independent investigator hired by the boy's family determined the car was moving at 107 mph. In any case, the kid was hit from behind and dragged 350 feet. The driver's insurance company awarded the family 33,000 EURO to acknowledge the "excess rate of speed". Not so much a tragedy for the driver, now. He's careless at best, or negligent.

Breathe deep.

Recently (several years after the fact), the driver filed charges against the family to recoup repair costs for his automobile. His Audi A8 suffered 14,000 EURO in damage. Also, he wants a further 6,000 EURO for the cost of hiring a rental car while his auto was in the shop. The businessman said of the charges, "I'm also a victim in all of this, you can't fix the lad's problems, but you can fix mine."

So.

Having just exited the Christmas season, I still have a fresh recollection of Lionel Barrymore as the crotchety old Mr. Potter from It's a Wonderful Life. I don't see it as that great of a stretch to see this Spanish businessman as a latter-day Potter, growling about how some kid's corpse scratched up his car.

Except that Mr. Potter is a film character (a Capra character, no less) whose designed to be nastier than real life, to make the hero seem angelic in comparison. This businessman is real. He lives in Europe and he's attacking his victim's parents through the court system. That is awful and dehumanizing.

It turns out that he's just withdrawn the case. According to CNN, his lawyer stated that the "extensive publicity" of the case in the Spanish newspapers amounted to a "public lynching." Hundreds of people had shown up at the courthouse in support of the kid's family.

And I'm back to my original thought: is this person just petty and trying to be vindictive against a family who caused his insurance rates to go up? Or is he a sociopath, who possesses no feeling of how a family grieves, and sees only a balance sheet?

Either situation is unsettling.

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