Look! A Squirrel!

     Do we need to be entertained all the time?
     I hadn’t thought so, but I walked into a restaurant restroom the other day and found something that made me wonder.
     Above each urinal at eye level was a small flat-screen television showing a soccer game.
     Was peeing so intensely boring or distressing that I needed something to take my mind off it? How had I endured this act without distraction all these years?
     All the screens were tuned to the same game that I’m pretty sure no one cared about with the sound turned off so it was a kind of meditative experience. I went with the flow.
     So to speak.
     I might have thought this experience was an anomaly but I’d witnessed another not-so-oddity just a few days before at another restaurant. (Do you think I’m eating too much?)
     It was a group of five fully uniformed Los Angeles police officers sitting around a table — all of them with heads bowed, ignoring each other in silence. It looked like a religious ritual.
     All of them were staring at or poking their cell phones.
     If a gang of robbers had started upending tables and forcing children to eat broccoli at gunpoint, they may not have noticed.
     Is this a good thing?
     I can see the pluses. You cut down on officer-involved shootings because officers are not involved. Stress levels are substantially reduced (unless they’re playing Angry Birds or Mortal Kombat on those things).
     And our police are likely to be much better informed about political issues and Kardashians.
     Still, call me old fashioned — go ahead, do it — but for some reason I don’t want to see officers on their cell phones while patrolling in their cars. You don’t want them to get motion sickness in mid-game.
     There are, however, some advantages to this culture of distraction and entertainment that you can put to use in your law practice.
     For example, conference rooms equipped with wall-to-wall monitors are ideal for settlement discussions when you don’t want the opposing side paying too much attention to your terms.
     Or if a client is having trouble understanding his or her legal options, try sending him or her a text — even if the client is right in front of you. If you can reduce the concept to emojis, you’ll make a real connection.
     
     Flipping injury: Flips are not an integral part of break dancing.
     I thought you’d like to know that now there is legal precedent for this statement. It’s in a California appellate ruling called Jimenez v. Roseville City School District, in which we learn that “contact with the floor is an inherent risk of any kind of dancing …”
     “But that does not mean every time a dancer contacts the floor, it is because of an inherent risk of dancing.”
     My guess is that walking is equally dangerous.
     
     Self-Protection? Sometimes I think some litigants have been watching too many gangster or alien invasion movies.
     Or maybe playing too many shooter computer games.
     Why else would we need a federal appellate ruling on the legality of ownership of a machine gun?
     Yes, some guy wanted his own machine gun, created a trust to own it, and then litigated up to a federal circuit court to try to keep it. I’m guessing the legal fees are a lot more than he might have lost in a home invasion.
     In case you’re wondering, the Third Circuit ruled in U.S. v. One Palmetto State Armory PA-15 Machingun Receiver/Frame, Unknown Caliber, that the government can restrict the possession of machine guns.
     We’re all going to be vulnerable to gangster attacks with Tommy guns.

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