Like the rest of the community, we are outraged over the fact that a child was injured when he came across a discarded syringe in the creek by the City Park last week. It is unthinkable that such a thing could happen in our community, at our very own playground.
We also find it very unsettling that the matter can be investigated no further by the West Virginia State Police Lab to see exactly what was in those "vile vials", legal or not. Forensic tests on those syringes could keep that injured child from having to go through several series of blood tests in the next few months; they could provide evidence, once and for all, of exactly what was in those vials; and should the contents be illegal, these forensic tests could be used as evidence in the investigation or court case, should it come to that. As it stands now, without forensics, even if our police department found the culprit who discarded the syringes, he or she can only be charged with a small fine for littering.
The police chief and department find their hands tied with the further investigation of this incident, and not only by the lack of forensic tests. In order to hold an "awareness" meeting on the dangers and what to do if one of these syringes is found by a child, permission slips to be signed by parents had to be sent home with elementary school children last week because all parents will not see the necessity of their child learning about such things. These permission slips, if signed, will allow children to attend the awareness meeting. This means that some children will not participate. Some will not be warned, and this very same incident has every chance to happen again.
Our question is, who wouldn't want their children to participate? Who wouldn't want their children to know and recognize potential danger? What parent is 100 percent sure that their child will not come across a stray syringe somewhere, anywhere?
If they can be found by the ball field at the City Park, they can be found anywhere, in tall grass, uptown on the street, beside the road or a yard, near the school, or perhaps on the ball field itself . . . anywhere.
It is our responsibility as a community to do whatever we can to keep our children safe. This is becoming an increasingly difficult thing to do in this day and age with potential danger seeming to creep around every corner. It is made even more difficult when those trying to help, are hindered at every turn.
When this happens again, as it is very likely to, who will we put the blame on then?