Close the Park

I have been behind on updating several threads on the blog lately, and I aim to start updating again soon. In the meantime, thanks to a tweet I got today, this reminded me of a column I wrote last month for the Platte County Landmark. One month after I wrote this… it’s still there.

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Every morning, it’s there. Sometimes, I see it appear on the horizon, others, it’s front and center of my gaze. But every day, it’s there.

My day job is out near the Kansas Speedway, and on the eighth floor of the building I work in, one of our conference rooms faces it. When I walk to the bathroom, it catches my eye. When I drive home out of the parking lot, it looms in the background.

It is Verruckt, the abomination of a water slide that has been shut down for nearly two years since it caused the death of 10-year old Caleb Schwab. Just about everyone associated with the slide wants it taken down, however, it has been held up for legal reasons apparently by the state of Kansas.

The investigation into the Schlitterbahn water park has already put three people in jail, charged with involuntary manslaughter, and just this past week, it was exposed that 11 more of the park’s rides would not be open because they didn’t pass inspections. The document from the KDOL mentioned missing safety documentation, lack of training, lack of safety signs, and parts that hadn’t been replaced on rides after they hit their life span.

Roadside carnivals seem to be better run than Schlitterbahn. Not only has the flagship ride killed a little boy, but the other rides seem to be right behind. The rides were closed after the Kansas Department of Labor cited 160 violations in a recent inspection. These weren’t just un-emptied trash cans, these were safety violations. And it seems to be the standard procedure for this company.

According to Fox 4, “Court documents show, from August 2014 until Caleb’s death in August 2016, more than a dozen people reported injuries from the ride including concussions, whiplash and herniated spinal disk injuries.”

There are reports of intentionally skirting safety warnings during the building of Verruckt. The idea only being made to make a TV show about extreme waterslides. It’s no wonder that Kansas is throwing the book at them.

But that’s simply not enough. The park has simply got to close. It opened for the season last week, and I simply can’t understand anyone who would walk through the gates and past the ride that murdered a boy in the most gruesome way. The park needs to be shuttered and Verruckt needs to be bulldozed. Today.

That entire area, just southwest of Platte County had been growing, so I have no doubt the land would be made into a Quiktrip or a Costco.

It’s time to shut the place down and run the crooks who continually put safety behind profits out of our city.

In the meantime, I certainly hope that you choose better summer entertainment. I’d take the front yard hose before I’d give Schlitterbahn a dime of my money.

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