Dudley Moore in 1990's Crazy People
Dudley Moore in 1990’s Crazy People

In 1990, Dudley Moore and Darryl Hannah started in a cynical satire of the advertising industry called Crazy People.

The movie—which bombed—was based around an advertising agency executive who had a mental breakdown and who was sent to a mental institution. Due his breakdown, the executive (played by Moore) wrote “honest ads,” one of which got out became wildly popular. Ads such as “Volvo: They’re boxy both they’re good,” and “Metamucil: If you don’t use it you’ll get cancer and die,” were highly effective in the movie. They ads weren’t any more true than any other advertising, but they sounded real to consumers in the movie.

Here in the real world, such ads don’t work. They simply don’t move products.

Yes, we all know we’re being lied to in advertising. We know that our choice of light beer is not going to make us irresistibly attractive to the opposite sex, and that a beige mid-priced sedan is not “sporty.” We accept a little bit of exaggeration, because such harmless escapist fantasies are fun.

But the escapist silliness that is the advertising industry is now on trial, thanks to a very cynical and money-hungry efforts of litigators attempting to profit from the deaths of children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs, who include the families of nine children and adults who died and a teacher who survived, say the lawsuit is permitted under an exception to the federal law that allows litigation against companies that know, or should know, that their weapons are likely to be used in a way that risks injury to others.

The victims’ attorneys say the lawsuit appears to be the first of its kind against a manufacturer to claim that exception.

Bridgeport Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis is set to hear arguments Monday afternoon on Freedom Group’s motion to dismiss.

“No lawsuit will ever bring back any of the 26 innocent lives that were stolen or bring peace to the families that will never recover from this,” said Nicole Hockley, a plaintiff whose son, Dylan, was killed. “But gun companies must be held accountable for marketing and selling the AR-15, a killing machine designed only for military use, to violence-prone young men.

“We’re bringing this lawsuit to save other families from having to live with the nightmare that we do every single day,” she said.

State police say the 20-year-old gunman, Adam Lanza, killed his victims with a Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle, a model of the AR-15, on Dec. 14, 2012. Lanza killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, at their Newtown home before going to the school a few miles away, and then killed himself as police arrived. Nancy Lanza legally bought the rifle, state police said.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers, Joshua Koskoff, Alinor Sterling and Katherine Mesner-Hage, argue in the lawsuit that the Bushmaster rifle used in the shooting is too dangerous to sell to the general public. The families are seeking unspecified monetary damages and other potential court actions.

The exploitative lawsuit filed by Koshoff, Sterling, and Mesner-Hage is based on the theory of “negligent entrustment.” The plaintiff’s argument is that the Freedom Group, which owns Bushmaster Firearms, the manufacturer of the XM15-E2S, marketed their guns in such a way as to encourage violent crazy people to buy them. Of course, the Sandy Hook murderer didn’t buy the carbine he used in his attack. He murdered his own mother to gain access to it.

But hey, reality be damned; lawyers wanna get paid.

Further, these shysters are arguing that AR-15s—the most common rifle sold in the United States year after year, used in more than a half-dozen kinds of formal shooting competitions, for informal target shooting, home defense, hunting, and simply for fun—is a “weapon of war” that no civilian should have.

The semi-automatic AR-15s sold to U.S. civilians, of course, are not used in combat by any known military on earth.

Militaries instead use selective-fire M16s and M4s, which American civilians have not been able to buy from manufacturers at any price since the Hughes Amendment passed as part of the Firearm Owners Protection Act in 1986.

The vultures of Koskoff Koskoff and Bieder are arguing that the most common rifle sold in the United States, which is, as a subset of rifles is one of the least likely instruments of murder in the nation, should be banned Put bluntly, these attorney appear to be hoping to find a way to sue gun companies out of existence, and get rich in the process.

The judge has a very simple choice in this case.

She can allow the continuance of an obviously frivolous lawsuit filed by unscrupulous attorneys, and set the stage for every company in the world to be sued out of their existence due to their choice of advertising, or she can throw this case out.

Let’s hope Bridgeport Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis is not among the world’s crazy people.