As I’ve sat in our relatively new downtown office today and watched random people wander by doing random things, it’s made me feel … well, random, I suppose.

The day started strangely as we had a woman stagger by and fall down in front of the office, then sit back and attempt to pass out against the wall. When I checked on her she said she was fine, then pulled a tube of denture adhesive out of her purse for some reason. So we called for someone to come help her. (No, not a dentist, an ambulance.)

The woman got up to stumble away and fire department personnel caught up with her down the street, and I assumed the issue was handled. An hour later we spotted her staggering across Government Street and soon she came and sat down in front of the office again and passed out with her back against a post.

When a police officer and ambulance showed up, the officer managed to somehow find the woman’s purse around the corner while paramedics tried to figure out what was wrong. The woman pulled a pill bottle out of her bag and the paramedics thought it might be the cause of her delirious state.

In the long run, though, the woman refused the ambulance ride and there was nothing the officer or paramedics could do. She plopped down on a curb nearby with a couple of other homeless people and the ambulance and police officer left.

Fifteen minutes later, she came staggering by the office window again. I guess that’s just part of the colorful nature of downtown living (or working).

Some other random thoughts:


No litter-quitter

Mayor Sandy Stimpson came out swinging again two weeks ago in his Sisyphean fight against litter. Stimpson identified cleaning up this trashy town as one of his major goals when he first ran for mayor five years ago, and while he’s had great success in many areas over that time, getting Mobilians to change their trashy ways has proven tougher than a piece of Samsonite luggage.

When the mayor’s news conference concerning litter was first announced a couple of weeks ago, I thought maybe he was going to do the politically smart thing and announce a new goal — that Mobile will become the city that most resembles an overflowing dumpster by 2020. It seems like a pretty safe bet given the gusto with which Mobilians hurl trash all over town.

Apparently Stimpson isn’t ready to quit, though. He’s talking about more litter traps and maybe even overhauling state law to make it easier to hammer businesses and individuals who “work the system.” It’s all a step in the right direction, but while he’s getting state laws changed, Sandy might want to go ahead and get them to legalize Litter Death Squads, just in case he needs more muscle.

Just an idea.

In the meantime, if you see someone littering, do your civic duty and run over them with your car. It’s time to clean up this trashy town.


Hazing gone wild

The video of poor Rodney Kim Jr. being beaten and jumped on during a so-called “hazing incident” at Davidson High School nearly two weeks ago is a tough one to watch.

Kim, who had just been promoted to the varsity team as a freshman, was pummeled unmercifully by teammates in the locker room and wound up with a broken arm before the incident was over. His parents are calling for the termination of the entire coaching staff and for the team to forfeit all of its games, and have filed a $12 million lawsuit against Mobile County Public School System.

It’s hard to blame the Kims for their anger. For her part, soon-to-retire Superintendent Martha Peek has condemned the incident, but so far no coaches have faced any disciplinary actions. Peek says coaches stopped the attack as soon as they heard it going on, although the Kims have called that description of events a lie and say their son didn’t see a coach until after he left the locker room with his broken arm.

So far three arrests have been made, but officials say the blurry video of the attack shows roughly 20 teens attacking Kim. But because of its low quality, all of the attackers may never be positively identified. While the courts and the police will have to hash out any criminal and civil matters, it seems pretty clear Davidson should suspend its 2018 varsity season because of this attack involving so many players, and certainly there needs to be a thorough investigation of what kind of atmosphere the coaches are promoting.

The $12 million lawsuit may send the school system into paralysis, since fining or disciplining anyone may look like an admission of guilt in some way, but I hope Dr. Peek will want to leave on a high note by handling this disturbing situation the right way.


Not so Rosie

Our last U.S. Senate election has this Energizer battery component to it that makes it keep going, and going, and going when it comes to looking back at what happened.

The latest drum-pounding pink bunny in this saga is comedienne Rosie O’Donnell, who donated to Democratic nominee Doug Jones’ campaign. O’Donnell made two donations totaling $4,000 to Alabama’s junior senator, and that’s just $1,300 more than the law will allow. (Sing that last part to the “Dukes of Hazzard” theme song and it’s more fun.)

Now that the over-donating has come to light, Jones is quickly moving to give back the illegal amount, and at the same time O’Donnell is under fire for allegedly trying to skirt the law in other races as well. The Jones camp offered a reasonable explanation as to why they didn’t immediately see the second donation — it came the day before the election from an online donation system that doesn’t automatically bar users from exceeding federal limits.

It may all sound pretty innocent — and it may actually be a completely innocent mistake — but other famous people have gotten into legal trouble for pushing too much money to a favored candidate. Rosie may not face any legal ramifications, but in a state as conservative as Alabama, Jones probably didn’t need a financial dustup tying him to one of the country’s most outspoken liberals.