Springfield’s mayor, Tim Davlin, was found dead in his home yesterday morning from “an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound”. I’m not here to speak on how he died, why he died, any sort of speculation into that or any sort of conspiracy, actual or perceived.
I want to speak about the man.
I never met Mayor Davlin, which is rather surprising in a town this size, and considering how he always seemed to pop up just about everywhere, sometimes in a political capacity, but most often in a personal capacity. He and I stood on opposite sides of that arbitrary political designation line, but while I didn’t agree with some of his stances, I feel he did a good job not just for the city of Springfield but also for the state of Illinois.
I am currently listening to WMAY, the local talk radio station, and while I hate listening to talk radio because of the whack jobs that routinely call in, it’s actually surprisingly nice hearing some of the callers’ stories about how Mayor Davlin touched their lives. Whether you agreed with and/or supported him or not, his impact on his constituents, the citizens of Springfield, cannot be denied. I am sure there are people who are saying he did not do anything without the ulterior motive of political gain, and I imagine that at least to SOME degree there may be a *little* bit of truth to that, but even having not known him, I believe that a grand majority of his actions were simply out of the notion that that is simply the type of person he was.
As the radio host just said, even if you could not stand his politics, you couldn’t NOT like the guy. He was a handsome man, extremely charismatic and charming. Again, due to his being a politician, I’m sure there are people who will argue it was all an act. I disagree, especially after hearing some of the calls coming in. And while I am the first to admit I don’t have much faith in most people, I just don’t think people can be THAT good an actor THAT often. As I mentioned before, it seemed Mayor Davlin turned up darned near everywhere. Yes, some events would fall under the “mayoral photo op” category, but more often than not, it was because he simply wanted to be there, not as “Mayor Davlin” but as “Tim”.
Mayor Davlin was a strong, tireless supporter of veterans and would often appear at various functions honoring and/or raising money for veterans’ associations. He marched in the St. Patrick’s Day parade handing out candy, flowers, green clown noses, whatever, and again, he was just “Tim”, not “Mayor Davlin”. I’m hearing on the radio that, to the majority of the people calling in, he introduced himself as “Tim”. He was our mayor, but he was also one of us, first and foremost. Just a resident of a town he loved; he just happened to run the town he loved, and I believe that’s how he viewed his terms as mayor.
As I type this, an autopsy is being performed on his body, and results are expected to be announced any time. I am not looking forward to the inevitable wave of speculation as to why the mayor shot himself- IF that is ultimately what happened. WMAY has already had people calling in wanting to “end the pity party”, with one guy talking about how we need to take this time to “clean up the corruption, with one governor in prison, another heading to prison, and the capital’s mayor killing himself…”
Now do you get why I think most people suck?
He was not without his blemishes, personally and professionally, as none of us are, but to once again quote the radio host, this is truly a sad day for the city of Springfield. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, especially his children. I cannot even begin to imagine what they are going through, especially with this being the Christmas season.
I never met Mayor Davlin- or Tim, for that matter- but in an odd way I feel like I have lost a friend.