Day 400: How Much is your Pain Worth?

Stuart Hall is desperately scrambling to save his fortune by trying to pay off victims of his sexual abuse with ‘paltry’ out-of-court settlements.

The multi-millionaire broadcaster, 83, signed over the deeds of his £2million house to his wife just before he was jailed for 15 months for assaulting 13 girls.

Now the convicted paedophile, who targeted children as young as nine, has dealt his victims a new blow by offering them as little as £2,000 to prevent them claiming compensation. - Mail Online

How much is enough? At what point does someone say "You know what? That is exactly how much money it will take to make what happened to me OK and will absolve the other party of their guilt and/or responsibility."

So what is the part of the story above that is actually offensive to us: that this man molested girls, or that he offered them "paltry" payouts to those girls? Do you react with disgust when hearing about a case of molestation, but feel your disgust double upon hearing that whomsoever was the perpetrator offered a pittance as a payoff when he/she is rich and therefore able to pay much more?

Can one put a price on pain and suffering? If your answer is no, then why do we? Our justice system is based on a principle similar to "a piece of gold for an eye" - or in other cases "a long time doing absolutely nothing for an eye". Kinda doesn't make sense, but anyway.

And now how does this work: In America, the value of a life is an amount that is determined by a number of variables: economic status, social status, professional status, political status and so on - but when a person suffers some kind of abuse or injury and claims for compensation, the amount they claim for may be far more that the value of their actual life at that moment in time. Weird.

So pain and suffering is worth more than life in some cases, worth less in others, and there is no standard way of measuring either the value of a life or the value of pain and suffering. So then who decides? I suppose we'll apply our ever present and religion-worthy excuse of "there are many factors involved" - cos who can argue with that logic, right? Unfortunately it does distract from the actual issue at hand, being "what is the value of life and how is it determined?" It is not such an outlandish issue - it is an issue that actually applies to each and every one of us - why do we allow it to e handled in such an elusive manner? Is that how little we think of ourselves and our families?

There should be a practical answer to a question that so greatly impacts on all of our lives. And by practical i don't mean the whimsical "it depends" - that is not an answer, it is a justification. That particular answer is used to justify the foundation of inequality that we have built our society around. Do we really want to live like this? Do we want the value of our lives to be "to be determined"? Is that what we want for our children? Ask a parent what their child's life is worth, and most will say "anything and everything" - we should be demanding that this be actually applied. We should demand that the value of a life be worth more than anything else - that it be truly priceless. There is no amount of money that should soothe the soul, or the hurt of a grieving person. There should be no justification for the loss of a life when it is preventable. The answer of "I couldn't afford it" should never be applicable to any person when it comes to preserving life, or medical needs, or educational exploits, or nutritional requirements.

What is money when our very lives are at stake?