What if

instead of the ugly sign prohibiting swimming or climbing on the enticing rocks that make a very walkable bridge across the lagoon, there was no sign? If someone climbs on the rocks, who cares? Instead of that sign marring the scene what if there was an entity that noticed if someone entered the water, whether from the rocks or from the grassy shore, and loudly announced that there was a person in water?

If the person needed help, the voice (think Irish female Siri if you’d like) would make anyone present aware of that. If the person climbed out the voice would thank them then go quiet. If the person stayed in the water (which in this case isn’t terribly deep, though we all know it only takes four inches of water in which to drown unconscious face down) perhaps the voice could ascertain the weight of the person– or object, maybe there’s a way for the voice to tell if the thing in water is alive or not– using displacement (eureka!), and a few different scenarios could play out.

If the (living) object was under a certain weight, an alarm could sound. 911 could be called, by the voice. But the tableau to which I’m partial is one where the voice calmly explains to the bather that this is not water to bathe in. As a retention pond, its purpose is to drain and filter stormwater. The water in the pond likely contains harmful bacteria, toxic chemicals and possibly parasites. Please get out of the water now to preserve your health.

Now the problem becomes, what if the person has no health worth preserving?

The sign exists in the first place not to protect the public from drowning or becoming infested with e. coli, but to protect the property developer from lawsuits.

What might a post-capitalist legal system look like?

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