Every once in a while I receive a comment that deserves it’s own post. I am about to quote one back and file it under ignorance is bliss.
I wrote a post about a story I saw in Phoenixville Patch on illegal dumping in Mont Clare. So I wrote a post . I write lots of posts, right? Also in this post I commented on a story in the Pottstown Mercury about kids who were swimming in the Schuylkill River. So I got this comment:
More information about Jes
IP: 18.104.22.168, pool-96-227-13-249.phlapa.east.verizon.net E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org URL: Whois: http://whois.arin.net/rest/ip/22.214.171.124
“Jes” , I am guessing, is responding specifically to this comment I made in that post:
So I looked online to see if any other media was covering this and other than something in the Pottstown-Mercury about kids from North Coventry looking for crawfish in the Schuykill and swimming who found guns instead. That was in the area of the Keim Street Bridge. Ok also bad, and were they decontaminated after being in the river? And who the heck lets their kids swim in the river?
Well, Jes, yes I dared make a comment, and here is how I feel: telling me it is “none of my concern” to comment doesn’t quite cut it. Every year there are stories in the papers and on the news on a state, local, regional, and national level about kids and adults who don’t know enough about large bodies of water and who drown unnecessarily.
Bringing it more local the Philadelphia region and being more specific, there are enough stories about kids drowning in the Schuylkill, that so sorry, I can indeed and will comment.
The Schuylkill is a body of water that needs to be respected and is hardly a still pond or pool. There are currents and drop offs – wading can quickly enough become something else. So do I think parents shouldn’t let their kids swim in the Schuylkill? Yes.
And what happens when this no harm/no foul swimming/wading goes bad?
Check these stories about drownings in the Schuylkill (and this is just a random sampling):
Girl rescued from near drowning on Schuylkill River
Missing Drexel Student from NJ Found Dead in River: Police
Body of 9-year-old found in Schuylkill
Teenage girl drowns in Schuylkill
Body pulled from river identified as missing Trappe boy
Crews search for boys in river
And related to “Crews Search for boys in river” from 2003 is a highly quotable article:
Official says there was no one to rescue in Schuylkill River
“We’ve had no reports of missing persons. No one has made known to us that anyone is missing, and we’ve had no additional information,” North Coventry Police Cpl. Robert Malason said Thursday….”We don’t believe it was a hoax, because they were seen in the water by at least three separate groups,” Malason said. ….. Police theorize that the two teenage boys spotted in the river managed to get out of the fast-flowing waters themselves after jumping into the turbulent river from the Hanover Street bridge, something police say area youths do too often.
The report was that the two boys got into trouble right away, but managed to stop their ride downstream by grabbing onto large branches of a tree that had toppled close to the water, at least one witness told police.
The witness told police he shouted at the two boys to hang on, jumped on his bike and rode quickly to the borough police station for help. By the time emergency units arrived on the scene, the boys were no longer hanging onto the tree branches.
Police had to treat the incident as though they had been swept away and possibly drowned, and so the search that involved fire companies and other emergency workers up and down the river from Pottstown to Phoenixville began.
First responder activity is expensive to municipalities, and I have been told these water rescue operations and even if they go from rescue to recovery are even more expensive. And there is risk involved for these first responders, you can say it is their job, but if the situation can be avoided through common sense, why not?
People do drown in the Schuylkill River. And a lot of times the people drowning are kids. The Schuylkill River is also not the cleanest body of water. Check out this thing on PhillyRiverCast:
The Schuylkill River, like all working rivers, is not a pristine body of water and is subject to contamination from many sources and activities that either discharge directly, or enter the river during rain events.
Because rivers are vulnerable to such contamination, recreation in or upon any body of water has with it an inherent risk of illness and infection for the individual involved.
And oh yes, check this out:
Published: Saturday, April 07, 2012
Despite the fact that it’s much cleaner than it used to be, the Schuylkill River may still deserve its reputation for being polluted – at least according to a report released March 22 that analyzes toxic chemicals discharged into all the river systems of the United States.
In Pennsylvania, the Schuylkill ranked as the third most polluted waterway in the state for cumulative toxic discharges and slipped under the wire into the 50 most polluted waterways in the nation, coming in at 49, according to the report releases by the environmental advocacy group PennEnvironment.
Perhaps more worrisome is that when looking at entire watersheds, the Schuylkill River and all its tributaries cumulatively rank 26th in the nation for “discharges of all toxic chemicals in 2010.”….The report, titled “Wasting our Waterways: Industrial Toxic Pollution and the Unfilled promise of the Clean Water Act,” examined industrial releases reported to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxic Release Inventory for 2010, the most recent data available.
So commenter, pardon me for the disagree, but golly gee whillikers, swimming in the Schuylkill River ain’t what it is cracked up to be. Yes, for kids, it is a tremendous amount of fun (probably because they know they aren’t supposed to be in the river unless they are in a recreation area that has tubing and boating and similar activities), it is also dangerous. From currents to contaminants.
Can I see this from my window? No. But can I comment? Yes. Heck kids can even drown or nearly drown in large creeks. The boy pulled from Ithan Creek in 2011 was in a coma as a result. He suffered as a result (brain injury), and this boy and his family are fighting every day so he will get back his life. Now obviously if you read about this boy, it’s not like he had uncaring parents who did not care what he did, but accidents happen.
And if accidents like what happened to Logan Schweiter can happen in a creek, and every year you hear stories of drownings and near drownings in the Schuylkill River, why can’t people comment about this topic?
Sorry, but I think it is irresponsible to say wading or swimming in the powerful Schuylkill River outside a designated recreation area is just fine. I think it is an accident waiting to happen.
Thanks for playing chestercountyramblings.