A Council of Adults
Tuesday evening’s City Council meeting was relatively short and efficiently run. Most of the commenters were prepared, there were no bathrobes or songs, and comments from the dais were mostly to the point being discussed.
One speaker at the Council meeting Tuesday was notable for his lack of compassion and his arrogance. He accused the Council of causing an employee’s suicide by sending him a “pink slip.”
Cruel and unfounded guess
Causes of suicide are mostly unknown and appear to be variable; mental health professionals can rarely even guess at causes. If two hundred notices were issued to two hundred employees, and one employee committed suicide, is the notice the defining factor—or even a significant factor? Mental health experts don’t know.
However, the speaker assumed that he knew, and stated the cause was the notice issued by the Council. Perhaps his argument was Post hoc ergo propter hoc. (“Since event Y followed event X, event Y must have been caused by event X.”) If he understands logical fallacies he should be ashamed: even grade-school children know better.
Don’t pick the scab
Finally, part of healing, as taught by grief counselors and hospice workers, is to allow the natural grief process to proceed at its own rate. That is, no compassionate person should ever “reopen the wound” and set the family’s grieving back artificially.
Was the decision to make this accusation a matter of evil intent? Probably not, as we know the speaker. Was it grandstanding to win accolades for his outspoken attack on the Council majority? Only he knows.
Was it a stupid, insensitive, unsupportable attack on the employee’s family in an attempt to blame the Council majority for something that no professional could declare they had done – or could do? Absolutely.
In other words, he hurt a grieving family through a rude and ill-advised statement used to try to blame the Council majority for something they couldn’t have done.
The City would be better off if he confined his performance art to singing off key and left pontificating and sermonizing to the regular speaker who wears a suit.
In other matters, the meeting went well, although only a few of the regular crew of commenters were present.
One of the usual crew demonstrated her legal expertise by warning the Council that an ordinance they were debating would open the City to legal liability. She apparently didn’t agree with the trained lawyers who vetted the ordinance. She’s also commented about the poor job of traffic engineering that left curbs where her car’s rear wheel bumped them on turns.
Amazing education and experience here; she’s apparently an expert on both law and traffic engineering. Perhaps she removes appendices and gall bladders in her off hours, too.
The meeting was relatively short, was well-organized, and took care of business. It was refreshing to watch the Council, the City staff, and many of the commenters behaving like responsible adults.