It’s not bad enough that we’ve got sadistic, knife-wielding clowns haunting innocent communities, unarmed citizens being gunned down in the streets, and a giant, orange man-baby running for president. Now we’ve got to worry about psychotic ne’er-do-wells rigging baby swings at public parks with fishing hooks, something the community of Platte, South Dakota experienced on Saturday when a grandfather noticed the dangerous objects — THANKFULLY — before placing his toddler granddaughter in a swing at South Park in Platte.
The Platte Police Department wasted no time in issuing a public Facebook message on their page, asking residents to contact authorities if they knew the persons responsible for the heinous act.
The Facebook post, issued on Saturday afternoon, included three photos of the tampered swing, which, according to authorities, show the swing with four hooks total: “two on the left side, and two on the right.” The Platte Police Department went on to say:
The hooks were fastened to the swing with fishing line. No other swing or equipment was found to be tampered with. Thankfully, grandpa noticed this before seating granddaughter into the swing, as we can only imagine the extent of what her injuries would have been. Please be vigilant for your own children/grandchildren when attending public playgrounds.
In a twist of Karmic fate, the Platte Police Department issued an update Saturday night, stating:
The incident involving the fish hooks in the swing at South Park in Platte has been resolved. There is no threat of further danger to anyone or anything. The party responsible was a very young juvenile and the situation was a lapse in judgement rather than a despicable prank. Thank you for all of the tips in helping to get to the bottom of this.
Lapse of judgment or not, this is pretty fricking horrifying. What kind of world are we living in when we can’t even take our kids to the park for some nice, relaxing family time? This is a serious question.
I have no doubt that the juvenile responsible for this prank gone wrong likely did not recognize the serious consequences this action could have had. After all, according to brain researchers, teenage brains are not fully developed, something researchers credit to teens’ undeveloped frontal lobes: “It’s the part of the brain that says: ‘Is this a good idea? What is the consequence of this action?'” Frances Jenson, an epilepsy expert at Harvard, told NPR. “It’s not that they don’t have a frontal lobe. And they can use it. But they’re going to access it more slowly.”
Jenson goes on to say that “the nerve cells that connect teenagers’ frontal lobes with the rest of their brains are sluggish. Teenagers don’t have as much of the fatty coating called myelin, or ‘white matter,’ that adults have in this area,” which contributes to their sometimes seemingly ill-contemplated behavior.
While this helps to at least explain a tiny bit of the prankster’s actions in Platte, it serves as little comfort to parents who now have one more thing to worry about when it comes to keeping their kids safe in this big, scary world.
To reiterate the Platte Police Department, thank goodness the grandfather noticed the dangerous swing before placing his granddaughter in it. Anyone who’s ever been caught with a fishing hook or witnessed someone who has knows they can be extremely difficult and painful to remove, something no parent or decent human being wants to imagine for a small child.
As for the rest of us, this incident only strengthens the nauseating notion that the world is on fire and we’re all trapped, burning alive inside it.
Stay safe out there, parents. And don’t forget to add “check neighborhood swings” to your already overcrowded to-do list, I guess.