Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.

What do citizens have to worry about when they live in a country with a lower homicide rate than Luxembourg and when the biggest criminal threat comes from pickpockets?

Icicles. Big, scary icicles.

The Swedish news wire service TT reported Friday that worried residents lodged a record 1,800 complaints with the city’s “icicle hotline” about ice and overhanging snow they feared could fall from building rooftops and threaten the safety of pedestrians below. In case you thought you read that wrong, I will repeat: the city has an “icicle hotline.” Now we continue.

It is such a concern here, the city mandates that property owners clear the ice and snow from the top of their buildings. I can attest to this as every morning I make a wide arc around the cordoned-off sidewalk as snow and ice fly at alarming speeds toward the pavement. There are even signs on every street warning passersby about falling ice, a dangerous phenomenon I have only seen when property owners are shoveling it off their roofs.

I mean to mock this lightly because in 2003, a 14-year-old boy was killed when an icicle fell on his head on the downtown shopping street Drottninggatan. But for someone from a country with a pathetic gun-control policy that leads to daily front page reports of shooting deaths, the extreme danger of falling icicles just doesn’t get me all worked up.

By the way, the two women injured by the falling frozen water that prompted the concerned news article are okay. I am assured that one of the women who received 10 stitches on her head is healing nicely at home.


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