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.
GRANOLAPARK • BY GILBERT
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?
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