Gaston, Flood Walls, and School Safety

December 18, 2012 at 9:37 AM 1 comment

The NRA-funded politicians are lining up in favor of protecting school children by intentionally bringing guns into schools…legally concealed weapons in the hands of educators. The reality of the many things that can go wrong at the intersection of guns and children is too vivid. In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, it is unspeakable. I can only resort to allegory.

I grew up in Richmond, Virginia; a city built on seven hills along the James River that was first surveyed by Captain John Smith after his settlement in Jamestown. Progress rarely tampered with historical tradition there, but that was before we experienced two different 100-year floods within a three-year period.

Shockoe Slip was a gully between Church Hill and the Capital that was one of the oldest districts of the city. Once a thriving trade post, it was all but abandoned because it got washed out regularly during heavy rains. Shockoe Bottom didn’t stand a chance when the James rose. Only the city’s poorest lived along the cobblestone streets of yore.

Urban renewal came to Shockoe after the second major flood, made possible by an engineering feat. A retaining wall was built to keep the water out, and the rundown neighborhoods and abandoned tobacco warehouses were transformed into the hottest restaurants and shops in the city. Bankers and statesmen dined there by day. A chichi nightlife emerged in the revitalized historic district. The area flourished…

Fast-forward to the summer of 2004 when Hurricane Gaston hit the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. A weather trifecta trapped rain clouds over the city of Richmond. In a very short time, almost 13 inches of rain fell. Shockoe Slip’s flood wall became a retainer that trapped the water in the low-lying business district.

Flash flooding came with no warning. Workers on the 2nd floor looked out and saw tractor-trailers floating toward them that would knock out brick walls. People got trapped in their cars. And a man lost his family when their chain of linked hands broke as they tried to flee their home in the powerful current. The flood wall held. No water made it out to the James River. Nine people lost their lives.

The enemy in Shockoe Slip was water; the enemy at Newtown was a gun. Guns and children do not mix…either from inside or out. Fortifying schools by keeping the guns inside can only end tragically. This is no way to stop the madness.


Entry filed under: Journal Entries.

Pensions, Social Security, and the Fiscal Cliff Privacy and Data Solutions in Education – Part 1 of 2

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Steve Righter  |  September 12, 2013 at 5:34 PM

    The enemy at Newtown was mental illness.
    He could have used a bomb, poison gas, poison in the water, a machete, …


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

%d bloggers like this: