Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pool drownings, media, and responsiblity

For those of you who live in the Montreal area, you're probably aware that this summer has seen a crazy number of pool/drowning related deaths. It's been hot and incredibly humid. I'm sure that has something to do with it.

The swimming pool where a teen drowned Tuesday night is alongside a wide boulevard across the street from homes in the Montreal borough of LaSalle.
image from the CBC (see link below)

An interview on the CBC about the most recent incident in Lasalle that happened on Tuesday night has me wondering about people's attitudes about the city's responsibility in terms of prevention.

In the interview, a local resident claimed that it was very easy to access this pool by climbing onto a roof near the fence in order to hop over the barbed wire. Apparently the fence has 2 structures on either side that make it fairly accessible to hop the fence without harm. The guest went on to admit that he has done this at another pool in the neighbourhood that was more private and harder for police to see. Moreover, the city gives out tickets when they catch people swimming illegally.

So far, so good, for the most part.

He then said that he felt the city could do more to make it more difficult to access the pool (as in not having the building near the fence that make it easy to climb over it), but went on to say that he'd still sneak into pools after hours because he doesn't think that he'd ever be in harm's way.

My question is this: if the city has put up fences, has police surveying the area, and is handing out tickets, is the city still responsible for doing more to prevent late night illegal swimming escapades?

I mean really? Even though we can climb over the fence, the fence itself is clearly there to tell us we're not allowed to go in, thus alleviating the city of responsibility for our actions when we violate the laws. We know what we're doing. It's pretty clear. So why should the city do more? Just because we can climb over the fence, does that mean that the city is suddenly responsible when we decide to do so? Call me crazy, but it seems to me like the city has done its job and as sad as this incident is, the city is not at fault in any way for failing to do its part in preventing it.

To me that just seems like common sense. Am I wrong?

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