ANST - Re: History Repeats Itself Again and again and again

Lisa A. May maaggie at
Wed Apr 18 21:41:23 PDT 2001

>>The argument about natural hazards is specious.  We went a long time
without *needing* eye protection before we introduced archery.<<

I've pretty much stayed out of this discussion, other than preparing a
letter to be sent to the BoD, but I feel I must answer this statement.
Unfortunately, my lord, the argument is not specious.  If the argument for
any change with respect to combat archery is safety, and a factor underlying
such change is a fear of legal liability, then the danger posed by natural
hazards is every bit as important to the issue as the danger posed by combat
archery.  This is especially true because the danger of natural hazards has
now been pointed out many times in a decidedly public forum, a forum to
which many officers of the SCA have access.  This constitutes more than
sufficient notice to the SCA of a danger which, if not appropriately
addressed, will now constitute a legal liability.

Like it or not, eventually, some fighter who suffered an eye or facial
injury due to the wing of an elbow cop, a natural hazard, or some other
cause having nothing to do with archery will file a lawsuit -- or his/her
insurance company will do so "on his/her behalf."  The fact that the SCA
knew of the danger posed by helms that did not protect from such eventuality
will be evidence in a case of negligence against the SCA.  However unfair
that may be, it doesn't change the fact that juries are uncertain creatures
and could easily find that the rules should have accounted for such a known
danger.  A good plaintiff's lawyer will likely point out the lengths to
which the rapier rules have been changed in answer to equally unlikely
injuries - why weren't the armored combat rules made more effective in
protecting people against this known danger?  Stupid?  Absolutely, but this
kind of idiocy happens every day and is a major reason I'm a corporate
lawyer and not a litigator.

>>Archery was introduced as an experimental thing, with the understanding
that we may need to modify things as we went.  The intention from the
beginning was to modify *archery* to make it doable, as an addition to
the game we were playing.<<

Perhaps so, but I'm not sure we can get away with just modifying archery any
more.  The standard of care imposed upon SCA officers and directors may no
longer allow them to ignore a danger that has been publicly pointed out and
discussed.  Ask the Ansteorran rapier fighters how they felt about having
new armor standards imposed upon them from above, with absolutely no
evidence that such changes were needed other than the *possibility* of
certain types of injuries, which have never in the history of fencing in the
SCA occurred.  I don't think the armored combat fighters will have it any
easier, nor am I sure (from a legal standpoint) that they should.  Whether
or not combat archery is modified, armor requirements for armored combatants
may have to be.

Countess Margaret ny Connor
Who, in her time, has been an authorized armored combatant, rapier combatant
and combat archer.

Lisa A. May, Esq.
Who, in a mundane time, is an attorney practicing corporate,
mergers/acquisitions and securities law

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