Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Perfect Scapegoat

The wife of Sean Benschop isn't the only one calling the man charged with Market Street's tragic building collapse a scapegoat. I'll call him one right now.

Michael Nutter, who has remained sheepishly quiet during his time as mayor, a puppet so afraid to ruffle feathers of any variety, has decided to come out of his shell in the most un-mayor like fashion possible and declare himself judge and jury over a man who hasn't yet gone to trial.

"Justice will only be served if Sean Benschop receives a sentence that buries him in a jailhouse forever." Mayor Michael Nutter

There are certain evils that come with being a politician, the least of which being the fact that most people will never, ever like you.

If Nutter's rabid pre-trial prosecution was an attempt to relate to a city that has repeatedly called for him and his bureaucrats to account for an ounce of responsibility in this tragedy, he doesn't just come across as someone transparently trying to scapegoat a guy who looks like the perfect scapegoat, he comes across as a First Class Dick.

Nutter's perfect scapegoat

Benschop was one of several employees on the site that day, a site he in no way was responsible for securing. Nutter's own city's 311 received calls regarding the safety of the site, calls that were ignored. L&I granted demolition permits despite the fact that a neighboring property that shared a wall was and would continue to be occupied.

Benschop had pot in his system at the time of the accident, a crime that he should be fired for and charged for. But aside from the safety of other employees insured to work at the site, Benschop was a mere employee demolishing a building.

Were pot not in his system, would he be on trial? As far as the judge and jury in Nutter's head is concerned, Benschop was wholly in charge of securing the vicinity, high or not. Accidents happen, and ones like these are very sad. But it's our leader's jobs to lead us to the most responsible way to deal with the aftermath of tragedy.

The fact that the building was able to collapse on a building full of shoppers and employees means that any demolition crew, whether under the influence of an illegal drug or not, could have made the exact same mistake. If Mayor Nutter should be doing anything he should be discouraging vigilantes from casting stones at a man convicted of nothing, not casting the first.

Shame on you, Michael Nutter. In your years of service as my elected leader I had written off your quiet demeanor off as that of an inexperienced lame duck, not as a man willing to throw his sworn duties under the bus of popular opinion.

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