GRANOLAPARK: Children will die

PHOTO: Resident Miles Hill asks the city council to save the Piney Branch Elementary Pool last April. Proponents made the case that many low income youngsters are taught to swim at the pool, and that low-income people are prone to drowning because they tend to be non-swimmers. So, if the pool were closed CHILDREN WOULD DIE.


Dear Readers,

City council is on recess. You’ve probably seen them hanging around the playground. While they are away, Your Gilbert takes on the deep issues.

You know Godwin’s Rule, don’t you? The rule says that when somebody calls somebody else a Nazi, or says they are “just like” Nazis/Hitler/Himmler/Gestapo/SS/etc., which always seem to happen in internet bulletin board arguments, that person has lost the argument, and the discussion is over.

Gilbert’s Rule is similar. When somebody says “CHILDREN WILL DIE” at a Takoma Park city council meeting, they’ve lost the argument and the discussion is over.

“CHILDREN WILL DIE” comes up a lot in discussions about city streets and sidewalks. It came up in public hearings about the Safe Grow Zone pesticide/herbicide ban. It came up in the Takoma Junction development hearings; if a school were located in such a high-traffic area, or if the Co-op loading dock was located where trucks would be near a sidewalk – CHILDREN WOULD DIE. It even came up a few years ago when residents complained about gum trees planted next to sidewalks. The round seed-pods would drop on the sidewalks, children would step on them, slip and the CHILDREN WOULD DIE.

Reasonable discussion ends when the crepe-hangers begin to describe their worst-case-scenarios. it’s a fantastic organizing tool.

Saying CHILDREN WILL DIE within a mile of any mom and dad brings them charging out of the house like fire-breathing rhinos. But, then so does telling them their child won’t get into the school magnet program. Parents are so cute that way.

The fact is, however, that no Takoma Park children have died. Not from lack of speed humps, drive-through traffic or stepping on gum-tree balls, anyway.

The counter argument: BUT THEY MIGHT!

Well, yes, and a Carolina wren might fall out of the sky, land on your child’s face, blind her so she can’t see the hockey puck lying on the sidewalk, which she trips on, flipping it into the air so it lodges in her throat, KILLING YOUR CHILD! It MIGHT happen. It’s POSSIBLE. You can’t say with 100% certainty that it will NEVER happen. Does that mean we should exterminate all Carolina wrens and ban the game of hockey?

Wait, no! Come back! Calm down! Why are you marching into the city council chambers? Where did you get that that petition banning Carolina wrens and hockey?

– Gilbert


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About the Author

Gilbert is the pseudonym of a hard-bitten, hard-drinking, long-time Takoma Park resident who maintains the granolapark blog. Gilbert and William L. Brown — Granola Park's mild-mannered chief of staff, researcher, and drink pourer — have never been seen in the same place at the same time.

7 Comments on "GRANOLAPARK: Children will die"

  1. What a refreshing article! The phrases “children will die” and “if it saves just one life” have been used by politicians and lobbying groups for at least the past 10 years. All the way from gun control supporters to pro-life activists. Hopefully this article will have legs and be seen by many! Great article!

    • “Children will die”=”Taxes will go up” in conservative areas. 🙂

      I agree with Brian. Thanks for the great article.

  2. Carroll Green | August 21, 2015 at 9:58 pm |

    It is so refreshing and informative to read the Voice. All municipalities would do well to emulate
    the idyllic nature of Granolapark…

  3. Safe Grow Zone | August 29, 2015 at 7:17 pm |

    You forget that Safe Grow won the argument & the Pool stays open.

    • Forget? That’s the (tongue in cheek) point. “Children will die” is the strongest trump card a citizen or group can lay on the public hearing table. In most if not all instances in which it is played, they win the council’s vote.

  4. Catherine Cummings | August 29, 2015 at 10:21 pm |

    It’s only refreshing for old grumps. Children have suffered terribly at the hands of adults, and exposure to toxins that set them up for higher risks of respiratory illness and cancer are some of those ways. Protecting living children–people who are are here today–is a great investment for any community. It gives children and their parents greater freedoms from the plagues in less fortunate areas. Remember the 22 children who did die after ingesting pesticide residue in India two years ago? Probably not. You were wrong, Gilbert, and you are sour.

  5. “Old grumps?” Nice ageism, Catherine.

Comments are closed.