PTC’s Mayor Haddix and ‘Two-Gun’ Crowley
Watching the City Council Meeting last Thursday night (streaming video) reminded me of a true story I read years ago about “Two Gun” Crowley. The mental disposition of “Two Gun” is a lot like our current mayor in Peachtree City, Don Haddix. The events of Crowley are found towards the beginning of one of the best personal and business relationship management books ever written called “How To Win Friends and Influence People,” Dale Carnegie, 1937. It is apparent that the mayor has never read the book. The true account of “Two Gun” Crowley is described in the book as follows:
On May 7, 1931, the most sensational manhunt New York City had ever known had come to its climax. After weeks of search, “Two Gun” Crowley — the killer, the gunman who didn’t smoke or drink — was at bay, trapped in his sweetheart’s apartment on West End Avenue.
One hundred and fifty policemen and detectives laid siege to his top-floor hideaway. They chopped holes in the roof; they tried to smoke out Crowley, the “cop killer,” with tear gas. Then they mounted their machine guns on surrounding buildings, and for more than an hour one of New York’s fine residential areas reverberated with the crack of pistol fire and the rat-tat-tat of machine guns. Crowley, crouching behind an overstuffed chair, fired incessantly at the police. Ten thousand excited people watched the battle. Nothing like it had ever been seen before on the sidewalks of New York.
When Crowley was captured, Police Commissioner E. P. Mulrooney declared that the two-gun desperado was one of the most dangerous criminals ever encountered in the history of New York. “He will kill,” said the Commissioner, “at the drop of a feather.”
But how did “Two Gun” Crowley regard himself? We know, because while the police were firing into his apartment, he wrote a letter addressed “To whom it may concern.” And, as he wrote, the blood flowing from his wounds left a crimson trail on the paper. In his letter Crowley said: “Under my coat is a weary heart, but a kind one — one that would do nobody any harm.”
A short time before this, Crowley had been having a necking party with his girl friend on a country road out on Long Island. Suddenly a policeman walked up to the car and said: “Let me see your license.”
Without saying a word, Crowley drew his gun and cut the policeman down with a shower of lead. As the dying officer fell, Crowley leaped out of the car, grabbed the officer’s revolver, and fired another bullet into the prostrate body. And that was the killer who said: “Under my coat is a weary heart, but a kind one — one that would do nobody any harm.”
Crowley was sentenced to the electric chair. When he arrived at the death house in Sing Sing, did he say, “This is what I get for killing people”? No, he said: “This is what I get for defending myself.”
The point of the story is this: “Two Gun” Crowley didn’t blame himself for anything.
So here we have someone that, despite everything going on around him, despite the fact that 150 policemen were surrounding him, and if you had gone up and asked any citizen on the street, they would confirm that “Two Gun” Crowley was a cold-blooded killer, there was nothing that would ever convince Mr. Crowley that he did anything wrong. He was simply incapable of being honest with himself and one who lies to himself can never be honest with others.
There are many people in this world who go about their day and their life trusting in their own PR and believing anything and everything to avoid at all costs ever admitting that perhaps, just maybe, they had something to do with the circumstances they find themselves.
Fortunately for the rest of us, most of these people are never elevated to a position of enough importance where their decisions have much of an impact on other people. A person of this type being mayor of Peachtree City is an exception to that rule.
When three out of four council members (not including the mayor) vote on a rare censure of another’s behavior, most people would begin to see just a little bit of a puncture in their self-proclaimed perfection bubble.
When a majority of the residents who come to the meeting agree with the council on the need for that censure, that should be powerful substantiating evidence.
When the city has lawsuits brought against it due to the actions of that same person, well, it begins to become obvious. The question is, when (if ever) will the mayor begin to understand the fact that either the rest of the world is wrong and he is right, or just maybe, there is something the mayor doesn’t have quite right and the rest of the world may have a point.
Councilwoman Learnard asked a very reasonable, but pointed, question to the mayor that any person who genuinely had the best interest of the city at heart could answer without hesitation.
Paraphrasing, she asked if the mayor could, from this point forward, work in a positive manner and put a positive face on for Peachtree City?
You could see the mayor’s mind twisting and spinning trying to figure out if he was admitting any fault by giving an answer in the positive. Assuming that he might, he responded, “Boy, that sure is a loaded question.”
Really? I don’t see anything “loaded” about it, unless of course, being positive about your job and the city you work for somehow goes against your personal political agenda.
Of course, this mental disposition that the mayor displays can be corrected in an instance by admitting your faults, assuming responsibility for them, and apologizing to those that were affected and then moving forward trying not to make the same mistakes again.
Unfortunately, one of the symptoms of this malady is that the sufferer always believe its others that should do this to them, never that they should do these things for others. But those who practice these self-actualizing habits (admitting when they are wrong, apologizing, and promising to do better in the future) know that this is not a sign of weakness at all. In fact, this is what builds character, solicits respect, and garners trust in those around them ... attributes the mayor so desperately wants but has never obtained.
It is an amazing paradox for Mr. Haddix that the things he seems so enthralled to have: Power, respect, admiration, and trust, are exactly those things he will never have living under the constant strife of the “I am incapable of doing anything wrong” mentality ... and conversely, the actions he does every day to try to protect the power, respect, admiration, and trust he has created only in his own mind are exactly the actions that make them so unreachable for him. There is a cure. It is within him ... but I doubt Mayor Haddix is capable of realizing it.
Peachtree City, Ga.