Incentive Effects, Parental Responsibility, and Tort Law
Lance and Diane White share 70 percent of the blame for the 2003 attack on Casey Hilmer, the Hamilton County jury found Friday. Their son Benjamin, who was 17 at the time, bears the rest.It should not take long for parents of such children in the future to
... Court records indicate that the Whites' son had a history of aggressive attacks on classmates and drug abuse, and that his parents knew he carried a knife. In Ohio, parents can be held liable if they negligently entrust a weapon to their child.
The jury foreman... said jurors held the parents responsible because they found no evidence that they had disciplined their son.
- take such weapons away from their children, or
- failing that, report the possession of the weapons to the local police force.
It won't stop the children from obtaining knives, but it will make it less likely they will have the knives with them as often. The only question is about the size of this incentive effect. I expect it will be larger in the long run than in the short run.