Sir: It is univerally agreed, and adopted as a principle thoughout our legislation and the court system, that no bad things should ever happen. Therefore, when bad thngs do happen, it is our first and most pressing duty to determine responsibility, so that the guilty parties may be held accountable.
Now, I have been analyzing the news for some time, and I may lay claim to a fair amount of personal experience of my own, so I am in a position to speak with some authority. It has become clear through my researches that one party in particular is responsible for more of the bad things that happen in our city, and almost certainly in the entire world, than any other agent. I will not shirk my duty: when I have discovered unequivocal evidence that this party is guilty, I will allow no timorousness or fear of reprisal to cloud my judgment and stand in the way of my speaking the truth. The agent responsible for more bad things in the world than any other is gravity.
Consider the notorious Fern Hollow Bridge collapse. Making every allowance for poor maintenance, and without ignoring potential design flaws, it is clear that the primary agent in the collapse was gravity. This is true in spite of the fact that the entire bridge was nothing but a machine designed to resist gravity. Think of the millions of dollars that were wasted on that ultimately fruitless endeavor!
Just yesterday I tripped and fell on the sidewalk, and my knee yet preserves the memory of that unhappy event in the form of a somewhat painful scrape. Again, making every allowance for the other circumstances, including the uneven brick surface of the sidewalk and the fact that I was reading a very funny story about my second cousin’s cat on Facebook at the time, it is still true that without the agency of gravity I would not have fallen. I would have remained suspended in the air until I had found the sidewalk with my feet again, and then I would have continued on my way.
Some charitable but mistaken souls may object that there is much to be said in favor of gravity, that its benefits outweigh its risks, and that we are better off with it than without it. But this flies in the face of all legal principle. As a community, we have decided that mistakes and tragedies must not be tolerated. We have a zero-tolerance policy for bad things. Are we to make an exception merely because the culprit has some good qualities as well? Do we pardon serial killers who are kind to their mothers? Is an embezzler let off the hook because he gave a quarter to a street musician? Do we tolerate rain merely because the same clouds gave us pleasant shade? No, we must stick to our principles. No matter what the cost to us in the short term, gravity must be held responsible, or the forces of nature will think they can get away with whatever they like.
This is why I have introduced Bill No. 2023-B-954.88G, entitled, An Ordinance to Prevent Tragedy and Loss Through the Agency of Natural Forces, in the city council. I believe we have enough votes to pass the bill, and Mayor Gainey has promised to sign it, although we did more or less leave him with the impression that it had something to do with transit improvements in Upper Lawrenceville. So don’t get too specific with him when you remind him of his promise. But please do write your own representatives on city council if you are not in my district, and if you could leave your note attached to a six-pack of Duke outside your council representative’s office, that will probably help a lot.
This is only a start. I hope our legislation will serve as a model for action at the state and even federal level. But at least we are making that start. We are showing gravity that we will not stand aside and let it have its way with our best-laid plans. And once we have accomplished that, we shall have a precedent to rely on when we train our sights on momentum.
City Council, 11th District