Humans are trusting by nature. I think this evolved from our time in the caves where we had to trust our fellow dwellers not to beat us in the head with a rock while sleeping and/or steal our freshly killed wooly mammoth filet mignon.
An unspoken social contract emerged where both parties instinctively agreed to look out for one another or at the very least, not to screw each other over. Most of the time this worked out for our prehistoric ancestors, but every now and again someone would get hit in the head with a rock. Over time, our brain developed mechanisms to discern who we could and couldn’t trust. But these mechanisms are far from foolproof. Even today, thousands and thousands of years later, the most skeptical or intuitive, and of course, the most trusting, still get burned by others with competing desires, who feel it is in their own best interest to break that social contract.
This exchange (or lack thereof) does not just occur in our personal lives. We put trust in the leaders we elect to make good, sound, honest decisions for us and our city, but even they, and in turn, us, take a boulder to the head some times.
Looking back over the media reports from when we got our first cruise ship, the administration at the time was so proud. It had been the culmination of a decade of hard work by at least two mayoral administrations.
Building the $20 million terminal was a symbol of progress. And I do trust they all had great intentions. But no contract was signed with Carnival guaranteeing they would keep a ship here even if we footed the bill for the terminal. Assurances were made. Trust us, they said. Carnival had never pulled a cruise ship out of a port without replacing it with another. But they did.
And they didn’t just take our mammoth steak, so to speak, they made sure to deal us a death blow by labeling us as the port where you couldn’t make any money. People cruising out of Mobile, they said, weren’t willing to pay an “acceptable level of pricing” and those same people didn’t spend enough money while they were on the ship.
Thanks Carnie! That’s has made us sound really attractive to other cruise lines. Way to bash our brains in with that rock! You could have at least just left us with a minor head injury.
Hindsight is definitely 20/20, and I am sure if our leaders had it to do over again they probably wouldn’t have just made a gentlemen’s agreement with businessmen who had their own interests in mind — not ours — using millions of our tax dollars. Doh!
But what’s done is done. And now, we have that building just sitting down there, with a gangway to nowhere serving as a giant middle finger and a reminder of what it feels like to get screwed over by a company you trusted. And it makes you question if you should have ever trusted said entity in the first place?
Hemingway once said, “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” But I prefer Lady Gaga’s take on the matter: “Trust is like a mirror, you can fix it if it’s broken, but you can still see the crack in that mother f*cker’s reflection.”
Hopefully, our current governmental brain trust learned from this and developed new mechanisms in their frontal lobes to deal with any future companies interested in the terminal, especially Carnival. Remember the crack in that MF-er’s reflection, dear leaders.
I trust they have and will, and hopefully at some point, the terminal will transform from a giant birdie finger into something of which we actually can be proud.
If there is anyone we have to trust more than our elected leaders, it is our police department. So far, I have been impressed with our new chief, James Barber, on how forthcoming he has been – even on matters that aren’t so pleasant. That goes a long way to restoring the trust that was lost in the department under the previous chief and administration.
But this latest incident, with an officer running inside someone’s fenced backyard and shooting their dogs, killing one of them, is highly disturbing, to say the least.
I know being a police officer is a thankless job. If we are experiencing a crime wave, it’s their fault. If they are cracking down on it and interrogate the wrong person, they are hotheaded thugs infringing on our rights. They just can’t win.
And I know pursuits like the one they were involved in last week, when that poor pup was killed, force them to make split-second decisions, and that ain’t easy. But that is part of the job — the ability to make smart decisions quickly, even under extreme pressure. And if you don’t have that skill set, you probably don’t need a badge or the gun that comes along with it.
Right now, I trust Chief Barber and the internal affairs division to conduct a thorough investigation and make the correct determination about this officer’s ability to do such. How they handle this horribly unfortunate issue will either continue to restore our faith in the department or begin to make us question it. I have no reason to believe it won’t be the former.
I think we all want to place our trust in our police department and give our officers the space to make us “the safest, most family- and business-friendly city by 2020,” but the activity in that space certainly can’t include pumping bullets into the most trusting and furriest souls on the planet.
We all make mistakes. As long as we admit to and learn from them, we will continue to evolve and progress. Otherwise, we might as well go back to the cave and beat our own heads against the wall.