There is a push to rename Pigeon Street in Waynesville Martin Luther King, Jr. Street. The purpose is not to conjure images of nobler thoughts than the mighty decorator of urban street furniture. It is a crumb thrown at African-Americans under the assumptions that (1) they have only one hero of their kind, and (2) they’ll all start living white, middle-class lifestyles if they can have a street named after one of their kind. I’d read paternalism into the move if I wanted to join the game of taking offense. But since people are encouraged to take offense these days, a little brawl started at a recent Waynesville public meeting. The press was quick to label as black or white all involved. But Mayor Gavin Brown showed true leadership.

Tempers visibly rose in both men as they faced each other, and more words began to fly but were cut short by the booming voice of Mayor Gavin Brown coming from the front of the room.

“No sir, I won’t have that in my meeting!” Brown bellowed, jumping from his chair and leaping out from behind the aldermen’s dais. “I won’t have that! No sir!”

As it turned out, Public Services Director David Foster isolated one of the perps and moved him to the other side of the room before the mayor could get into the fray, and then a police escort finished the de-escalation.