liability and morality

Subject: liability and morality
From: Thom Remington <remingtf -at- ENGG-MAIL -dot- LVS -dot- DUPONT -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 27 Jun 1996 08:26:00 -0400

Tim Altom asks "In short, are we responsible to the world at large, or only
to our
employers? And if there is a middle ground, what's the degree one way or the

Sticky question! If common sense were, in fact, common, then the question
would be far easier to answer. If we could count on the purchaser of an
electric lawn mower to have enough sense to keep precious body parts away
from the blades....

I knew someone who worked in a mower repair shop. A customer came in with a
mower that had just been fixed, but he couldn't start it. My friend calmly
pointed out that the customer hadn't turned the on-off switch to "on." The
mechanic turned the switch and pulled the rope. The mower started.

The customer was so miffed that he grabbed the still-running mower and
started to stalk off. Unfortunately, the tip of one of his fingers stalked
off in another direction....

Yep, this is a sticky question. And it's made all that much stickier by a
litigious populace in a nation that has more lawyers than it has engineers.

The moral side of this is probably answered by our own levels of comfort.
Have we covered all the bases accurately and clearly? Have we provided
enough information so that anyone who could reasonably be expected to use
this stuff might actually be able to do it?

Thom Remington remingtf -at- engg -dot- dnet -dot- dupont -dot- com
DuPont External Affairs
Information Design & Development
Speaking for myself, not for DuPont.

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