Water – ally or antagonist?Water. It’s a part of our element since before we are born. Here in Minnesota – and particularly in the Northland – it’s a part of our legacy. It’s also a part of our lifeline, especially during the scorching days we have experienced in recent weeks.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Water. It’s a part of our element since before we are born.
Here in Minnesota – and particularly in the Northland – it’s a part of our legacy.
It’s also a part of our lifeline, especially during the scorching days we have experienced in recent weeks.
Water, however, can also be our antagonist, as those who have been swept out of their kayaks on Lake Superior this summer will attest, or the family who was caught in the riptides off Park Point last week, or the friends and loved ones of the 6-year-old boy who drowned in the Pinehurst Park pond on Thursday.
In all of those cases, and the other possible drowning incidents currently under investigation in Itasca and Cass counties, water has been the setting for many tragic endings that leave us wondering how, and if, they could have been prevented.
In Cloquet and Duluth this week for certain, there’s a lot of second guessing going on, a lot of speculation over who or what may have been to blame in the death of the little boy in the local swimming pond.
Were there enough lifeguards on duty for a crowded summer day? Did the school-run daycare group of which the little boy was a part have an adequate number of chaperones along? If the water in the sand-bottom pond had not been so murky, and if a better grade of washed sand had been used, would someone have been able to notice the little boy’s trauma in time to save him?
Granted, these are questions that need to, and must, be asked.
We’ve asked them. The facts are that the pool was fully staffed, less crowded than normal – well under capacity – and the sand there was triple washed before it went in. The ratio of childcare providers to children was well within the state guidelines of 15:1 for school-aged children.
Investigation can go a long way toward prevention, but panic, second-guessing and finger pointing can turn a positive into a negative.
Some folks are saying they will never allow their kids to go swimming in the pond again. Others have cast a critical eye toward the ages of the lifeguards on duty that day. Still others are no doubt looking to the city of Cloquet or the child’s daycare program for liability issues.
Not a one of the people there that day hasn’t wished he or she could go back and somehow change the outcome. Not a one of the people who championed the rebuild of the pond would have consciously compromised the wellbeing of a single human being by their belief in the pond’s merits for our community. Not a one of those who responded to the emergency that day could likely have done anything more to save that little boy than what they did.
What we can do, however, is learn from the past, take heed in the future – and hold our children close.