Snow is coming down fast in D.C., where four to seven inches of wintry fun are expected to accumulate today. Schools are closed, and the blustery weather has sent Congress home for the weekend.
Despite all this, children are still not allowed to sled on the Capitol grounds. Not that D.C.’s congressional delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton didn’t try. She has been unsuccessfully trying to get the Capitol Police to open up the hill outside her place of work all winter. Now that it’s March, Norton figured this might be her last chance to make it happen.
“This could be the last snowstorm the D.C. area gets this winter, and may be one of the best for sledding in years,” Norton said, addressing Sergeant at Arms Frank Larkin. “Children and their parents should able to enjoy sledding on one of the best hills in the city … Have a heart, Mr. Larkin, a kid’s heart that is.”
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid agreed that protecting fun was crucial.
If this had been a movie, the Capitol Police would have broken down into Claire Danes–worthy sobs upon hearing such a dramatic plea, but in the real world, Capitol Police officials do not have a kid’s heart.
“If the forecast holds true, there are many families who will want to enjoy the snow tomorrow,” Larkin responded. “Although, for security reasons, the Capitol grounds are not your typical neighborhood hill or playground.” He cited a need to protect the Capitol grounds — and the heads of would-be sledders. “According to recent media reports, at least 20,000 sledding injuries occur in the U.S. each year,” the Capitol Police statement continued. For liability reasons, a growing number of U.S. cities are banning sledding on public property.” The Capitol Police last awarded a sledding waiver in 2010.
Several children and their parents decided to protest the ban and sled anyway. Washington City Paper heard one kid proclaim, “I regret that I have but one run to give for my country,” before testing the freshly fallen snow.
Despite the cancellations, one hearing is still on the schedule today — a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing examining “opportunities for the United States in the Arctic.” The committee spokesperson told Fox News, “We only hope that [the snow] might stay around long enough so that we can build a snowman tomorrow after work.”