our view

April 21, 2011 |

Taking candy from babies


By now you may know that Des Moines police say they will stop the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in 2012 unless organizers can solve crowd control issues. And by now, like us, you are probably pissed off about this.

Pissed off because the police are making an issue out of something that isn’t an issue. Pissed off because this popular event is being tarnished without reason. Pissed off because we have to waste the ink to even rant about this subject.

Yes, kids do run out to get candy from people on floats who throw it out. This happens at thousands of parades every year without incident. And, no, there were not any candy-related deaths or injuries in our city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. You may call it the luck of the Irish, but what’s the real problem here?

The police fear that an injury or death might happen. Yes, might happen.

With a record crowd of 22,000 people watching this year’s parade and no injuries, the greatest concern of our police is that something might happen? Needless to say, we would hope that our police have much bigger issues to deal with.

We applaud the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick for being, well, friendly with police on this matter. They don’t want to see the parade banned, they don’t want to see children hurt and they don’t want to have to scour $25,000 from the community to raise funds to erect a steel fence on the parade route, as some have suggested.

Others have offered that parade participants be required to walk alongside the floats and hand out candy rather than throw it. That might work. Might.

Others think that a chalk line marked a few feet from the curb will deter kids from crossing the line. Maybe. But kids will be kids.

The real solution is as simple as taking candy away from a baby, or at least from kids.

Here’s a little secret. Kids don’t really like parades; they like candy. Remove the candy, and the kids won’t show up. If that’s the goal — and we think it really is — then ban candy. Just don’t hide behind the safety issue as the reason. And expect a much smaller crowd, which will certainly make the police happy, too. CV