Dallas’ big heart shining
The Dallas Morning News
Amid the chaos and clutter, what can be heard across Dallas are the roar of chainsaws as people across the city cut and clear and clean their way out of what Mother Nature has left behind. Amid this mess of felled trees and crushed cars and, tragically, the loss of life, what we also see are neighbors gathering together, volunteering to help each other drag branches to the curb or pry open garage doors or check on the people who perhaps have no one to check on them.
We see emergency crews — those who work maintain our power lines and mom-and-pop shops of plumbers, tree trimmers and electricians — turning out in force in the heat and humidity to secure the streets and to get the power flowing again.
If there is a lesson in this, it may be one that is a little more hopeful than we might have feared before the storm system swept through. Yes, we are often a country at loggerheads with itself, but we are also a community, one that stands together when it matters. ...
Children, pools and danger
We sincerely hope you can read to the end of this editorial before the Chronicle reports another Houston-area drowning. The past two weeks have brought an epidemic of children’s deaths and water-related injuries. Consider:
A 16-year-old boy drowned Sunday while playing catch in a marina in northeast Harris County. The boy, who was visiting from California, went missing when he hit a deep spot in the water at Magnolia Garden Park. He couldn’t swim and wasn’t wearing a life jacket.
A 5-year-old boy died Sunday, nearly two days after what Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls called a drowning incident in southwest Katy.
Also on Sunday, a 3-year-old child was hospitalized after being pulled from a swimming pool in Montgomery County.
The week before, during the Memorial Day weekend, four children drowned while unattended in Harris and Fort Bend County pools. Among the deaths was a 3-year-old boy who fell into a pool at a Sugar Land apartment complex as his family barbecued nearby.
In 2019 so far, at least 34 children under the age of 17 have drowned in Texas, according to Tiffani Butler, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family and Health Services. That agency not only tracks the grim statistics but also investigates the incidents for “neglectful supervision.” Butler’s mantra for parents and caregivers is: “Watch your children at the pool. Don’t take a book to read, and don’t have your music turned up too loud. A child drowning is so quiet.” ...
Organizations such as the YMCA, the American Red Cross and the Texas Drowning Prevention Alliance conduct community outreach on water safety, swimming lessons and CPR training. Information is readily available on their websites.
Seth Huston, head coach of the Rice University swimming team, notes that a child can drown in a matter of seconds. He offered a few tips to keep children safe around water, even in the shallow end, this summer.
Stay vigilant yourself, or make sure another responsible adult is supervising constantly. Cut out distractions. Make sure even young children know how to swim. Pre-K is not too early for lessons. Never become too comfortable around water, especially at lakes and rivers. Steep unexpected drop-offs mean that a single step could be the difference between waist-high water and being submerged.
Clear rape-kit backlog
If there’s a more infuriating problem in the Texas criminal-justice system than the delay in processing thousands of “rape kits,” we don’t know what it is — and we almost don’t want to know what it might be. Finally, however, this lingering and inexcusable issue could be resolved.
Last week Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill that will provide $54 million to hire more analysts to work in crime labs and expand access to specially trained sexual assault nurse examiners. Best of all, the new law also requires future evidence to be tested promptly. ...
The money from this bill needs to get into the cities and counties of Texas as soon as possible. Every rape kit that has not been tested must be examined as soon as possible. Never again must a Texas governor have to sign a bill to clear up a backlog like this.