Kirk Mitchell reports that “faulty repairs to a boiler vent” leading to carbon monoxide poisoning may have caused the death of a 23 year old University of Denver Student. Horrible. Mitchell also points out that five other Coloradans have died of carbon monoxide in the last few weeks.
However, the appropriate response is not for the legislature to require carbon monoxide detectors, as some have argued. It is simply not a proper legislative function.
Instead, individuals should take it upon themselves to purchase carbon monoxide detectors for their homes. I bought one for mine. The cost is trivial compared to the risk it averts. I urge readers to buy one for their homes. If mortgage companies or insurance companies required their installation prior to loan approval, that might also make sense.
Where the property of others is concerned, the matter is properly one of torts. If investigation sustains the claim that faulty repairs caused the recent death, whatever company is responsible is probably looking at a massive law suit. I’m sure the family’s lawyers will also evaluate whether the apartment complex in question did anything negligently. It is indeed a shame that two failures — faulty repairs and lack of a detector — seem to have caused the death. If I were a member of the victim’s family, I would seek to sue anyone actually at fault and do whatever I could to spread the story in the media to help educate the public.
It is tempting to claim “there ought to be a law” to solve any given problem. But often new laws don’t solve the problem, or they generate other problems, and the answer lies beyond the legislature. Politicians are not there to do everything for us. They are properly there to protect liberty, property rights, and the rule of just law. The rest is up to us.