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Motorist shoots bicyclist

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  • Jenni Ertl
    A motorist argued with, then shot a bicyclist after confronting him about riding with his 3 year old on a busy street. The bullet went through his helmet, but
    Message 1 of 29 , Jul 27, 2009
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      A motorist argued with, then shot a bicyclist after confronting him about riding with his 3 year old on a busy street. The bullet went through his helmet, but did not strike him.

       

      http://www.citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090727/NEWS01/907270323

       

    • jj
      cuz nothing says, I care for you and your son s wellbeing like a bullet through a piece of foam. sheesh. good thing there is room in the freeloaders for my
      Message 2 of 29 , Jul 27, 2009
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        cuz nothing says, "I care for you and your son's wellbeing" like a bullet through a piece of foam.

        sheesh.

        good thing there is room in the freeloaders for my shoulder mounted anti-SUV weapon.

        JJ

        Jenni Ertl wrote:
         

        A motorist argued with, then shot a bicyclist after confronting him about riding with his 3 year old on a busy street. The bullet went through his helmet, but did not strike him.

         

        http://www.citizen- times.com/ apps/pbcs. dll/article? AID=/20090727/ NEWS01/907270323

         


      • Devin Quince
        And this person should have their firefighters, paramedics, etc. license taken away forever since he has no concern for life and his job is caring for life.
        Message 3 of 29 , Jul 27, 2009
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          And this person should have their firefighters, paramedics, etc. license taken away forever since he has no concern for life and his job is caring for life.

          On Mon, Jul 27, 2009 at 1:41 PM, Jenni Ertl <ertlnet@...> wrote:
           

          A motorist argued with, then shot a bicyclist after confronting him about riding with his 3 year old on a busy street. The bullet went through his helmet, but did not strike him.

           

          http://www.citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090727/NEWS01/907270323

           


        • Mighk Wilson
          Food for thought: What if the cultural norm was to believe bicycling on roadways -- even ones with heavy traffic -- is a reasonably safe activity provided one
          Message 4 of 29 , Jul 27, 2009
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            Food for thought:

            What if the cultural norm was to believe bicycling on roadways -- even ones with heavy traffic -- is a reasonably safe activity provided one follows the rules for vehicles?  Would that guy have believed the cyclists were being irresponsible then?  If he didn't believe the cyclists were irresponsible would have even given them a second thought?

            BTW, traffic safety studies consistently show that bicycling on roadways -- even ones with heavy traffic -- is a reasonably safe activity provided one follows the rules for vehicles.

            So which is a better strategy for cyclists -- to complain that bicycling in traffic is dangerous and insist on segregated facilities, or to teach and encourage their fellow cyclists to ride correctly on the roadways?

            Mighk


            -----Original Message-----
            From: Jenni Ertl
            Sent: Jul 27, 2009 2:41 PM
            To: rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [rootsradicals] Motorist shoots bicyclist

             

            A motorist argued with, then shot a bicyclist after confronting him about riding with his 3 year old on a busy street. The bullet went through his helmet, but did not strike him.

             

            http://www.citizen- times.com/ apps/pbcs. dll/article? AID=/20090727/ NEWS01/907270323

             

          • David Chase
            ... Haven t we run that experiment, and haven t we had our asses collectively kicked, at least as measured by ride-share, when compared to the Netherlands?
            Message 5 of 29 , Jul 27, 2009
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              On 2009-07-27, at 4:56 PM, Mighk Wilson wrote:
              > So which is a better strategy for cyclists -- to complain that
              > bicycling in traffic is dangerous and insist on segregated
              > facilities, or to teach and encourage their fellow cyclists to ride
              > correctly on the roadways?
              >
              Haven't we run that experiment, and haven't we had our asses
              collectively kicked, at least as measured by ride-share, when compared
              to the Netherlands? I've been riding for many many years, and I've
              been riding 50 miles per week for about three years now, and still
              there are days when, even on familiar roads, I'm not that interested
              in "sharing" the road, and I take a one-mile detour to the bike paths
              to avoid cars.

              I could also offer to you the example of the Boston metro area, where
              for a while the smoothest part of my 10+ mile to work, was the unpaved
              bike path. The roads up here are a horror; never cleaned, filled with
              potholes, and they still have grates-O-death.

              See, for example: http://gallery.me.com/dr2chase/100060/IMG_4386/web.jpg?ver=12483955920001

              David
            • Bill Bonney
              I was surprised by this segregated cycle ways in the Netherlands and so did some digging around. Looking at wikipedia it stated (with citation) see
              Message 6 of 29 , Jul 27, 2009
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                I was surprised by this segregated cycle ways in the Netherlands and so did some digging around. Looking at wikipedia it stated (with citation)

                see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Segregated_cycle_facilities

                "The Netherlands and Denmark, which have the highest rates of cycle usage combined with the best records for safety, used to give their segregated cycle path networks primary importance in achieving these goals. However, the largest study undertaken into the safety of Danish cycle facilities has found that safety has decreased as a result.[25] More recently, Shared Space redesigns of urban streets in those and other countries have achieved significant improvements in safety (as well as congestion and quality of life) by replacing segregated facilities with integrated space."

                So, they are not convinced this segregated bike path actually works. And in any case, there will always be time you will need to share the road.

                I personally would still advocate that eduction that cyclists have the same entitlement to use the road (as i assume to Horses, Tractors, Mopeds), and awareness of how to interact with cyclists. And vice versa of Cyclist understanding of the rules of roads also.

                I do spend as much time on cycle routes as possible, but then a minority of drivers still use these routes as main routes to work and drive the same selfish life threatening ways (and that's before thinking about guns)

                As for the grate'o'death. nasty.... Is it square, can it be flipped conveniently 90deg. (not that's a long term solution, but something for an interim measure to avoid fyling)

                Cheers

                Bill


                2009/7/27 David Chase <dr2chase@...>
                 


                On 2009-07-27, at 4:56 PM, Mighk Wilson wrote:
                > So which is a better strategy for cyclists -- to complain that
                > bicycling in traffic is dangerous and insist on segregated
                > facilities, or to teach and encourage their fellow cyclists to ride
                > correctly on the roadways?
                >
                Haven't we run that experiment, and haven't we had our asses
                collectively kicked, at least as measured by ride-share, when compared
                to the Netherlands? I've been riding for many many years, and I've
                been riding 50 miles per week for about three years now, and still
                there are days when, even on familiar roads, I'm not that interested
                in "sharing" the road, and I take a one-mile detour to the bike paths
                to avoid cars.

                I could also offer to you the example of the Boston metro area, where
                for a while the smoothest part of my 10+ mile to work, was the unpaved
                bike path. The roads up here are a horror; never cleaned, filled with
                potholes, and they still have grates-O-death.

                See, for example: http://gallery.me.com/dr2chase/100060/IMG_4386/web.jpg?ver=12483955920001

                David


              • Rick | Xtracycle, Inc
                I m still under the impression that positive exposure to ANYTHING in this world yields tolerance and understanding. Take traveling for instance, I ve found my
                Message 7 of 29 , Jul 27, 2009
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                  I'm still under the impression that positive exposure to ANYTHING in this world yields tolerance and understanding.

                  Take traveling for instance, I've found my viewpoints to be broadened and my stereotypes winnowed by exposure to other cultures and people.

                  A beneficial program might be full fledged bicycle education programs, just like we do for teens in driver's ed. All of the same concepts are already present when riding a bicycle (reading signs, obeying them, communicating intention (hand signals), mainentance, etc.) and would at least expose children, early on, that cyclists are human and have every right to sharing the road.

                  Rick

                  On Mon, Jul 27, 2009 at 4:22 PM, Bill Bonney <billbonney@...> wrote:
                   

                  I was surprised by this segregated cycle ways in the Netherlands and so did some digging around. Looking at wikipedia it stated (with citation)

                  see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Segregated_cycle_facilities

                  "The Netherlands and Denmark, which have the highest rates of cycle usage combined with the best records for safety, used to give their segregated cycle path networks primary importance in achieving these goals. However, the largest study undertaken into the safety of Danish cycle facilities has found that safety has decreased as a result.[25] More recently, Shared Space redesigns of urban streets in those and other countries have achieved significant improvements in safety (as well as congestion and quality of life) by replacing segregated facilities with integrated space."

                  So, they are not convinced this segregated bike path actually works. And in any case, there will always be time you will need to share the road.

                  I personally would still advocate that eduction that cyclists have the same entitlement to use the road (as i assume to Horses, Tractors, Mopeds), and awareness of how to interact with cyclists. And vice versa of Cyclist understanding of the rules of roads also.

                  I do spend as much time on cycle routes as possible, but then a minority of drivers still use these routes as main routes to work and drive the same selfish life threatening ways (and that's before thinking about guns)

                  As for the grate'o'death. nasty.... Is it square, can it be flipped conveniently 90deg. (not that's a long term solution, but something for an interim measure to avoid fyling)

                  Cheers

                  Bill


                  2009/7/27 David Chase <dr2chase@...>

                   


                  On 2009-07-27, at 4:56 PM, Mighk Wilson wrote:
                  > So which is a better strategy for cyclists -- to complain that
                  > bicycling in traffic is dangerous and insist on segregated
                  > facilities, or to teach and encourage their fellow cyclists to ride
                  > correctly on the roadways?
                  >
                  Haven't we run that experiment, and haven't we had our asses
                  collectively kicked, at least as measured by ride-share, when compared
                  to the Netherlands? I've been riding for many many years, and I've
                  been riding 50 miles per week for about three years now, and still
                  there are days when, even on familiar roads, I'm not that interested
                  in "sharing" the road, and I take a one-mile detour to the bike paths
                  to avoid cars.

                  I could also offer to you the example of the Boston metro area, where
                  for a while the smoothest part of my 10+ mile to work, was the unpaved
                  bike path. The roads up here are a horror; never cleaned, filled with
                  potholes, and they still have grates-O-death.

                  See, for example: http://gallery.me.com/dr2chase/100060/IMG_4386/web.jpg?ver=12483955920001

                  David





                  --
                  graphic structuralist | rick@...
                  888 537 1401 x709 | the original longtail company
                • David Chase
                  ... I would imagine selection effects play a part. Do the same percentage of kids ride there?. We have an intersection that is essentially one of those
                  Message 8 of 29 , Jul 27, 2009
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                    On 2009-07-27, at 7:22 PM, Bill Bonney wrote:
                    > "The Netherlands and Denmark, which have the highest rates of cycle
                    > usage combined with the best records for safety, used to give their
                    > segregated cycle path networks primary importance in achieving these
                    > goals. However, the largest study undertaken into the safety of
                    > Danish cycle facilities has found that safety has decreased as a
                    > result.[25] More recently, Shared Space redesigns of urban streets
                    > in those and other countries have achieved significant improvements
                    > in safety (as well as congestion and quality of life) by replacing
                    > segregated facilities with integrated space."
                    >
                    I would imagine selection effects play a part. Do the same percentage
                    of kids ride there?. We have an intersection that is essentially one
                    of those shared space intersections (three roads, no rules, I mean it)
                    and there are almost no bicycle accidents, because there are almost no
                    bicycles, and all my kids have been taught how to get around it on
                    foot and on bike.

                    Or perhaps, that is a different experiment -- once they get to double-
                    digit ride shares, they try shared spaces. The share-the-road rules
                    have been the law of the land here for decades (have been in Florida
                    since I was a kid), and our roads don't have many bikes on them.
                    > As for the grate'o'death. nasty.... Is it square, can it be flipped
                    > conveniently 90deg. (not that's a long term solution, but something
                    > for an interim measure to avoid fyling)
                    >
                    Last time I came across three of these in the row, I sent an email to
                    the selectmen of the relevant town, letting them know that such grates
                    were a long- and well-known hazard, and if they didn't fix it, my
                    warning them would probably put them more on the hook for damages when
                    a cyclist, sooner or later, was harmed by the grate.

                    Eventually, it got fixed.

                    David
                  • Travers, Neil
                    It is utterly ridiculous that cycling is seen as dangerous (it isn t), and that someone would think anyone was being irresponsible for cycling with their child
                    Message 9 of 29 , Jul 28, 2009
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                      It is utterly ridiculous that cycling is seen as dangerous (it isn't),
                      and that someone would think anyone was being irresponsible for cycling
                      with their child (it's not). And obviously that motorists has a screw
                      loose if he stopped with concern over their safety (hmmm, really?) and
                      then ends up shooting them. So liar or looney, either way a danger to
                      everyone.

                      Onto the spin off discussion -

                      I think the Danish study showed that their latest increase in facilities
                      had introduced some accidents, but that it was a relatively small
                      amount. Also the study showed that those facilities increased the number
                      of people cycling and people felt safer, so the facilities were seen as
                      positive overall.

                      Also remember that Dutch facilities tend to be more separated than the
                      Danish ones, at least from what I read. e.g. many cycle lanes in
                      Copenhagen are part of the road with a painted line - wide, but not
                      physically separated as many of the Dutch ones are. So the Danish study
                      may not apply so well to Netherlands.


                      > insist on segregated facilities, or to teach and encourage their
                      fellow
                      > cyclists to ride correctly on the roadways?

                      Personally I think that both strategies are needed - certainly for USA
                      and UK. Not everyone will ride on the road regardless of what anyone
                      else says, everyone is different and each journey is different.
                      Facilities encourage more riders and more riding, however, it is hard to
                      get the same solution to meet the needs of young children, unconfident
                      riders, teenage daredevils, fast experienced commuters, couriers, etc.
                      Every situation depends on circumstances of the person, the journey, the
                      conditions (weather, traffic, etc).

                      We absolutely have the right to use the road, and separate facilities
                      should never take that away. What should happen is building facilities
                      that are better than the road system so cyclists decide of their own
                      free will (not rules, bullying or peer pressure) whichever best suits
                      their needs. The Dutch system (at least as described by
                      http://hembrow.blogspot.com/ ) appears to offer such a good experience
                      that cyclist always seem to want to use them. Who wouldn't want that?

                      Also, while I am happy to use roads, even quite busy ones, a bicycle
                      should not be considered as just another vehicle. Or at least, not from
                      the car-centric view of road traffic. A huge advantage is being able to
                      take short cuts across parks, or dead ends with cycle passes,
                      contraflows on one ways, etc. They all help the permeability of cycling.
                      Cycling is discouraged if it is treated as a car and forced to go the
                      long way round all the time. If it is ever more convenient to dismount
                      and push your bike down a footpath, then that indicates a need for a
                      better cycle route if at all possible.
                    • Tone
                      After reading the article about the cyclist shooting I brought it up with my wife. Unfortunately it resulted in a bit of an argument. Of course she thought it
                      Message 10 of 29 , Jul 30, 2009
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                                    After reading the article about the cyclist shooting I brought it up with my wife. Unfortunately it resulted in a bit of an argument. Of course she thought it was appalling. That was not the issue in debate. Instead what we raised voices over was the appropriate punishment.

                                    I told her I somewhat felt that the motorist should not be imprisoned as usual, but punished in a different way...

                                    1)  I felt he should not be allowed to work as a fireman anymore. Shooting someone over any traffic situation (except deliberate attempts to harm or kill someone with a vehicle) should not be how a public servant would ever react, and especially not in the situation in question no matter how harsh words were exchanged.

                                    2) The fireman’s gun/rifle licenses should be revoked for life, which I think might occur anyway due to criminal laws in most states.

                                    3) He should be mandated to attend either counseling and/or traffic education classes for a long time.

                                    4) Instead of prison I felt the fireman should be punished in a way, which was relative to the reason he ended up shooting the cyclist and which would also generate more public awareness to avoid future situations like it. By this I mean the fireman should also have his driver’s license revoked for life or for a time period at least matching whatever imprisonment sentence a normal attempted murder sentence would exist for. The sentence for the fireman could also include a requirement for the fireman to be forced to use a bicycle for his personal transportation for a year or some other appropriate amount of time. Any of his family members could use a motor vehicle with him in it, but if he had to travel somewhere alone he would simply have to do it by bicycle unless weather condition were extreme enough to prevent safe cycling (snow, ice, hurricane winds, etc.)

                                    5) He should be forced to pay for a replacement helmet for the cyclist and maybe even pay for replacement helmets for the cyclist’s whole family for life.

                         

                                    My wife became agitated by my opinion on this type of sentence because she strongly felt the fireman should be punished and imprisoned like anyone else, who attempted to shoot another person in the head. Her reasons were because she felt the fireman did not shoot the cyclist specifically because of the cyclist was endangering the child, but rather because the fireman clearly had pre-existing issues/anger unrelated to the encounter with the cyclist and that encounter just sparked him off. Her argument was that anyone, who reaches the point where they shoot at someone else for any other reason than protecting themselves or someone else’s well-being, is not mentally stable and should be imprisoned like anyone else.

                                    My wife was probably more annoyed by my opinion because she is the driver in the family and I am the cyclist. I do not even have a driver’s license, and I always use my Big Dummy for personal transportation unless my wife and I are going somewhere together. She has a bike and rides to work and other places occasionally, but her primary mode of transportation is our car. In any case, I think she feels I am biased because of my cycling-predominant perspective, and felt my opinionated punishment was not fair when considering justice should be blind and equal for everyone.

                         

                                    Now this is where my argument for my punishment comes into play. I completely agree the fireman most likely had pre-existing issues before the encounter with the cyclist. However, I am not sure imprisoning the fireman for 10-20 years or whatever would really solve anything. I would imagine the fireman might even build up more aggression towards cyclist while in jail, especially if he is surrounded by convicted criminals rather than public servants/fireman.

                                    Imprisoning the fireman might also result in unnecessary punishment and hardship for any family he might have and be supporting. I am sure the cyclist can appreciate this considering he has a wife and child of his own. If the fireman had killed the cyclist, then he would have had to live with that guilt of killing the father of a child. If the fireman was sent to prison for several years or more then the cyclist might contend with knowing another person’s wife and children had to support themselves and grow without a father present. The fireman’s family might even possibly develop a biased against cyclists.

                                    We all know that regular cycling has a strong tendency of easing people’s tensions, as clearly demonstrated by the cyclist in this situation because he was able to simply walk away from the confrontation. Along with counseling, if the fireman was forced to ride a bike to most places he had to go, it is a good possibility his stresses would decrease to some degree. Being forced to bike around would also give the fireman first hand knowledge of what it is like to be a regular cyclist and just how safe it is.

                                    Once again, if the fireman has any family and children they would probably not develop as much (if any) biased toward cyclists if he was not sent to jail. If anything, they might also actually grow to appreciate what it is like for cyclists. Even if the fireman did not bike everywhere he would most likely need to be driven places by his family and/or friends. Apart from reducing emissions due to the inherent car-pool effect, this could also potentially result in more family or communal time and therefore increase positive reinforcing bonds with his family and friends.

                                    I always thought that the punishment for crimes was supposed to rehabilitate offenders rather than simply disconnect them from society. Not only would imprisoning the fireman exactly the same as anyone else convicted of a first degree murder not rehabilitate the fireman much in my opinion, but it would also most certainly be completely ignored and/or forgotten by the public. At the moment we all have heard of this shooting only because it is relevant to our cycling lifestyles/enjoyment. The average person/driver might only hear a mention of a shooting and a 10-20 year imprisonment on the local radio/TV or small article in a local paper. After that, it would most likely be forgotten… except to the fireman and his family.

                                    On the other hand if the fireman was given the punishment I suggested, then it might come up more prominently in the public awareness. Every day everyone may or may not hear about shootings and their resulting prison sentences, and almost no one except the victims and the defendants hears or remembers the judgment. However, if the average Joe hears about someone loosing their constitutional right to bear arms, their job as a fireman, and (god forbid) their privilege to drive (and it is a privilege not a right!) I think the average Joe would actually perceive that to be a more real threat to a person’s freedom than the always-heard prison sentence.

                                    I really think that most people do not think or at least comprehend in terms of “if I go through with this I might be put in jail” because for the average good law abiding American… prison is an almost foreign concept. Jail is simply somewhere they send bad people, and “I am not a bad person”. At least they do not think they are bad until AFTER they might have a bad day and a cyclist annoys them enough on their way home from work while driving their two-ton motor vehicle. However, I think the average American can definitely comprehend the unlikely concept of no longer being able to hop in their car and drive anywhere they want. Many of us probably experience it when our cars break down and are in the shop, but we know we will get it back ASAP. When a car breaks down it truly sucks and is a big inconvenience, but you could probably imagine what it would be like to not have your car or be able to drive yourself places for a year and god forbid 10 to 20 years! Therefore I feel the threat of not being able to drive is a more frightening and comprehensible deterrent to an average American’s liberty and thus a more immediate substitution when possibly thinking, “If I go through with this I might not be able to drive again!”

                                    I think it is terribly sad that this may be the case, but in some ways I think it is true in most cases in most parts of America. Does anyone think I was totally wrong in my reasoning for my thought up punishment?

                         

                                    What follows is a very relevant personal experience I had, which no one needs to read because I know I have written quite a lot already, but it certainly conveys why I feel the way I do about this.

                                    When I was still working as a messenger in New York City I was riding down Broadway literally around Union Square Park. Along the South Eastern edge of the park during this incident’s time there was a stretch of road construction with orange plastic mesh/nets nailed to wooden barricades. Before the construction I was directly ahead of a charter bus (like a Greyhound bus), but there was a curve in the roadway before the park ends at 14th Street, which was a big two way intersection. As a messenger I knew there was a good chance traffic would have to stop at the light, so I was not forcing myself to pedal all that fast. Unfortunately the bus driver behind me probably thought I was just being a slow cyclist, so he pulled up along side of me.

                                    We were still on this curve in the road with the bus on my left side and the construction barricades on my right side. I was no stranger to tight traffic conditions, and I had even slid my elbows, forearms, and/or curved handlebars along the sides of buses in especially tight situations… but this was unusual because of the curved roadway and construction barricades with the thick plastic orange netting. As the bus proceeded to rush ahead the space narrowed more and more and even though I was trying to slow down it became dangerously tight. At that point I was trying to notice if the driver in the bus was paying any attention to me because I could actually see him in his side view mirror. Surely he had seen me when I was ahead of him moments before. I was shocked to see him look back at me because I was clearly in a precarious situation and this bastard was still moving his big-assed bus, which was about to bump me into the construction barricades.

                                    When I saw him see me and not make any attempt to stop I immediately did all I could do to stop, but it was too late. My right handlebar got caught in the orange plastic construction mesh and some part of the rear of my bike bumped into the bus’s rear double-wheeled wheel-well. I went down and my bike twisted like crazy. I felt like a surfer in some giant Hawaiian wave, except my wave was made of air, metal, rubber, pavement, and construction grit.

                                    I ended up being all right… relatively. My bike was pretty much fine too, except for the expected scratches and my handlebars being rotated out of aligned with my front wheel. I was certainly in no shape to go after the bus though because I had actually being incorrect in my calculations about possibly having to stop at the traffic light. The bus had been able to make it, but just barely even though the driver slowed down a bit while I was actually crashing into the barricade. Fortunately, there was another messenger right behind the bus, who had seen everything. He almost stopped while saying, “You okay brother?!” I was pumped up on adrenaline and I immediately kept him from even putting a foot down with, “Get that F%#$er!” The bus was already in the intersection, but the messenger was able to cross it in time and yell out, “Stop that bus!” There was yet another cyclist (a non-messenger roadie type guy I had actually seen around town before) ahead of the bus, who heard the messenger. When that cyclist heard the messenger he looked back and could see I was down on the ground by the construction site and he immediately slowed down in front of the bus and forced the driver to stop at a city bus stop on Broadway just South of the 14th Street intersection. The cyclist kept his stand in front of the bus while the messenger talked to the driver through the little driver window until the driver walked back to me with the messenger escorting him.

                                    There I was on the ground pumped up and shaking. I was alive and checking myself for broken bones and other injuries. I was definitely bruised quite a bit and the blood from major scrapes was beginning to make itself known, especially one from a big nail from a construction barricade, which had gouged me somewhere. My back also felt strangely off. I took off my messenger bag slowly to see if I could start to feel some major pain because whatever pain I had from the injuries had not become pronounced due to the endorphins rushing through me. Surprisingly enough there was no serious pain in my back, but when I checked inside my bag I noticed something else. In my messenger bag I always kept a quarter-inch thick particle board (like the kind you might find on a big sketch/drawing clipboard). The board kept my bag from sliding around from my back to the front while riding and it also helped keep all my packages flat, organized, and protected. Well, the collision actually caused that board to be cracked right in half and bent some of my packages quite a bit.

                                    I slowly gathered myself up. There was no way I was about to rush myself. There were cars behind me, but I could see from a glance in my vision that the driver behind me was in shock by what had happened. That driver probably did not think I would be getting up, but I did. I checked my bike (as any self respecting somewhat-able-bodied messenger would), and thoughtlessly straightened my handlebars back with the front wheel. After that I pretty much turned around and walked toward the 14th Street intersection leaving my bike on the pavement along with my bag. I did this because despite the craziness of the situation, I was very much hyper-aware of my surroundings. It was like slow motion now possibly because the adrenaline was pumping so fast through me because my heart was pounding so hard. I noticed the messenger had stopped the bus and they were coming back to me. Along with the adrenaline and endorphins rage was starting to pump through me too.

                                    Call it road rage if you want. All it was to me at that moment was the knowledge that some driver knew I was in life and death danger because of his actions and kept at it! Even though I perceived my surroundings in slow motion my thoughts clearly were blindly racing. Back then I did not have my Xtracycle or Big Dummy, so I carried the common 3’ long “New York” Kryptonite brand chain and lock around my waist. As the driver and I approached each other, I flipped the lock latch with my hand and the chain unwrapped around my waist. Now, instead of the bus my chain and lock was a deadly weapon in my grasp.

                                    The driver no longer had the protection of the bus, and if anything he knew he was out numbered because if he tried anything I am positive the other messenger would have backed me up even though we probably did not even know each other’s names. I could see the expression on the drivers face. It was not one of concern for my well being, but one more or fear. Obviously he could see me grip the doubled-up loop of chain in my grip and he also knew he had almost knowingly killed a person and could loose his job or go to jail. Fortunately for him I had taken several years of martial arts and I think that definitely assisted me in centering myself for the confrontation. I had always been trained not to enter a physical engagement with emotion as the driving factor, but rather have a clear mind and reason… and boy was I ever trying to clear my mind so I could get on with bashing this guys face with my chain.

                                    I did not bash the driver’s face. I pictured it in my mind along with so many possible outcomes action for re-action. Although at the time the immediate visual of my chain ramming into that driver’s face was quite satisfying to me, I knew that alone might not bring the driver down and I was not in the best shape for an extended fight even with back up from the other messenger. Beyond that though, I was quickly running scenarios of the aftermath. My hyper awareness was also signaling to me the presence of a growing body of witnesses. Those people most likely did not see the “accident”, and certainly not the clear intent by the driver I saw, but all those witnesses would definitely have seen me swing a chain at the driver. That would result in me just being seen as just another of those anti-social anti-establishment rogue bike messengers, who always start trouble with law-abiding drivers and pedestrians. I did not want that, and I absolutely did not want to be put in jail myself if I lashed out at this bus driver and could not get away with it. How would my mom feel about me being sent to jail? I actually thought about that resulting outcome too in my racing thoughts… so I did not flail the chain at the driver.

                                    Instead I stood face to face to him and with as many witnesses in ear shot I yelled into this guys face something like, “You F-ing almost killed me with your F-ing bus and you F-in knew it, Mother F-er!” All I needed was for him to start swinging and my chain was itching at my side.” He did not swing at me either though. Instead he started cursing at me back with something like, “You crazy F-ing bikers are always getting in the way. F-- you!” With that he turned around cursing out loud at me and walked back to the bus.

                                    After I screamed at him I was a bit surprised by his reaction. I had not thought he would yell back at me like that because of the look of fear in his eyes. I had calculated he would either start fighting with me because of the chain I was clearly holding in preparation for a confrontation, or he would be extremely apologetic to save his job and avoid imprisonment. Instead he reacted with just more anger and hatred. I had seen this so many times before and did not want to encourage the hatred. I admit initially I wanted to bash this guy’s face in, but in reality by the time we were face to face I wanted him to feel sorry and appreciate the fact that he could have knowingly killed another human being and I had his job and freedom in my hands. Instead he dismissed me because of my negative confrontation and now this driver would continue to dislike or even hate cyclists.

                                    When that driver cursed back at me I realized by yelling at him I did not improve the situation or future situations that driver and the witnesses might have. In my anger I did not think everything through clearly. Before he even turned to walk away I realized while my training had kept me from becoming physical, I did not have enough training to understand the anger should not have been present during the entire confrontation. Instead I should have spoken softly and carried a big chain. It was clear I was ready and willing to fight, but if I had quieted myself and said the same thing without curses, yelling, or anger, then that driver might not have been able to help but feel sorry. Witnesses would have seen I had kept in total control and the driver would have to face up to what he had done.

                                    However, the driver had walked away and I left him because I lacked self-control. I knew he was walking away almost as angry as I had been. I simply had directed that anger toward him so he would have to deal with it, but that negativity probably would just fester inside him and possibly cause him to behave a similar way when dealing with other cyclists, which was not what I wanted at all. I was alive and relatively ok and I was definitely happy with that at that point in time. I sincerely did not want to force that driver to go to jail no matter how deliberate only he and I know his actions were. What if he had a wife and children? I did not want his family, friends, and co-workers thinking he went to jail because of one of those crazy New York messengers. That would not have helped anyone. I just hope that driver walked away from it and has had plenty of time with self-thought in the seat of his bus to try to see and maybe appreciate what it is like for cyclists. Another calmer reaction from me during that confrontation might have put him on the path more directly. I keep that in mind whenever I ride… and that is how I roll.

                        J

                        Ride safe everyone!

                                   

                                   

                      • Mighk Wilson
                        I agree with you Tone. Punishment doesn t solve anything unless it changes the person for the better. We waste billions warehousing people because they used or
                        Message 11 of 29 , Jul 30, 2009
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                          I agree with you Tone.  Punishment doesn't solve anything unless it changes the person for the better.  We waste billions warehousing people because they used or sold a few drugs, when we could be using that money to rehabilitate the truly crime-prone.  Most people come out of those warehouses worse than they went in.

                          Mighk


                          -----Original Message-----
                          From: Tone
                          Sent: Jul 30, 2009 2:28 PM
                          To: rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: RE: [rootsradicals] Motorist shoots bicyclist

                           

                                      After reading the article about the cyclist shooting I brought it up with my wife. Unfortunately it resulted in a bit of an argument. Of course she thought it was appalling. That was not the issue in debate. Instead what we raised voices over was the appropriate punishment.

                                      I told her I somewhat felt that the motorist should not be imprisoned as usual, but punished in a different way...

                                      1)  I felt he should not be allowed to work as a fireman anymore. Shooting someone over any traffic situation (except deliberate attempts to harm or kill someone with a vehicle) should not be how a public servant would ever react, and especially not in the situation in question no matter how harsh words were exchanged.

                                      2) The fireman’s gun/rifle licenses should be revoked for life, which I think might occur anyway due to criminal laws in most states.

                                      3) He should be mandated to attend either counseling and/or traffic education classes for a long time.

                                      4) Instead of prison I felt the fireman should be punished in a way, which was relative to the reason he ended up shooting the cyclist and which would also generate more public awareness to avoid future situations like it. By this I mean the fireman should also have his driver’s license revoked for life or for a time period at least matching whatever imprisonment sentence a normal attempted murder sentence would exist for. The sentence for the fireman could also include a requirement for the fireman to be forced to use a bicycle for his personal transportation for a year or some other appropriate amount of time. Any of his family members could use a motor vehicle with him in it, but if he had to travel somewhere alone he would simply have to do it by bicycle unless weather condition were extreme enough to prevent safe cycling (snow, ice, hurricane winds, etc.)

                                      5) He should be forced to pay for a replacement helmet for the cyclist and maybe even pay for replacement helmets for the cyclist’s whole family for life.

                           

                                      My wife became agitated by my opinion on this type of sentence because she strongly felt the fireman should be punished and imprisoned like anyone else, who attempted to shoot another person in the head. Her reasons were because she felt the fireman did not shoot the cyclist specifically because of the cyclist was endangering the child, but rather because the fireman clearly had pre-existing issues/anger unrelated to the encounter with the cyclist and that encounter just sparked him off. Her argument was that anyone, who reaches the point where they shoot at someone else for any other reason than protecting themselves or someone else’s well-being, is not mentally stable and should be imprisoned like anyone else.

                                      My wife was probably more annoyed by my opinion because she is the driver in the family and I am the cyclist. I do not even have a driver’s license, and I always use my Big Dummy for personal transportation unless my wife and I are going somewhere together. She has a bike and rides to work and other places occasionally, but her primary mode of transportation is our car. In any case, I think she feels I am biased because of my cycling-predominant perspective, and felt my opinionated punishment was not fair when considering justice should be blind and equal for everyone.

                           

                                      Now this is where my argument for my punishment comes into play. I completely agree the fireman most likely had pre-existing issues before the encounter with the cyclist. However, I am not sure imprisoning the fireman for 10-20 years or whatever would really solve anything. I would imagine the fireman might even build up more aggression towards cyclist while in jail, especially if he is surrounded by convicted criminals rather than public servants/fireman.

                                      Imprisoning the fireman might also result in unnecessary punishment and hardship for any family he might have and be supporting. I am sure the cyclist can appreciate this considering he has a wife and child of his own. If the fireman had killed the cyclist, then he would have had to live with that guilt of killing the father of a child. If the fireman was sent to prison for several years or more then the cyclist might contend with knowing another person’s wife and children had to support themselves and grow without a father present. The fireman’s family might even possibly develop a biased against cyclists.

                                      We all know that regular cycling has a strong tendency of easing people’s tensions, as clearly demonstrated by the cyclist in this situation because he was able to simply walk away from the confrontation. Along with counseling, if the fireman was forced to ride a bike to most places he had to go, it is a good possibility his stresses would decrease to some degree. Being forced to bike around would also give the fireman first hand knowledge of what it is like to be a regular cyclist and just how safe it is.

                                      Once again, if the fireman has any family and children they would probably not develop as much (if any) biased toward cyclists if he was not sent to jail. If anything, they might also actually grow to appreciate what it is like for cyclists. Even if the fireman did not bike everywhere he would most likely need to be driven places by his family and/or friends. Apart from reducing emissions due to the inherent car-pool effect, this could also potentially result in more family or communal time and therefore increase positive reinforcing bonds with his family and friends.

                                      I always thought that the punishment for crimes was supposed to rehabilitate offenders rather than simply disconnect them from society. Not only would imprisoning the fireman exactly the same as anyone else convicted of a first degree murder not rehabilitate the fireman much in my opinion, but it would also most certainly be completely ignored and/or forgotten by the public. At the moment we all have heard of this shooting only because it is relevant to our cycling lifestyles/enjoymen t. The average person/driver might only hear a mention of a shooting and a 10-20 year imprisonment on the local radio/TV or small article in a local paper. After that, it would most likely be forgotten… except to the fireman and his family.

                                      On the other hand if the fireman was given the punishment I suggested, then it might come up more prominently in the public awareness. Every day everyone may or may not hear about shootings and their resulting prison sentences, and almost no one except the victims and the defendants hears or remembers the judgment. However, if the average Joe hears about someone loosing their constitutional right to bear arms, their job as a fireman, and (god forbid) their privilege to drive (and it is a privilege not a right!) I think the average Joe would actually perceive that to be a more real threat to a person’s freedom than the always-heard prison sentence.

                                      I really think that most people do not think or at least comprehend in terms of “if I go through with this I might be put in jail” because for the average good law abiding American… prison is an almost foreign concept. Jail is simply somewhere they send bad people, and “I am not a bad person”. At least they do not think they are bad until AFTER they might have a bad day and a cyclist annoys them enough on their way home from work while driving their two-ton motor vehicle. However, I think the average American can definitely comprehend the unlikely concept of no longer being able to hop in their car and drive anywhere they want. Many of us probably experience it when our cars break down and are in the shop, but we know we will get it back ASAP. When a car breaks down it truly sucks and is a big inconvenience, but you could probably imagine what it would be like to not have your car or be able to drive yourself places for a year and god forbid 10 to 20 years! Therefore I feel the threat of not being able to drive is a more frightening and comprehensible deterrent to an average American’s liberty and thus a more immediate substitution when possibly thinking, “If I go through with this I might not be able to drive again!”

                                      I think it is terribly sad that this may be the case, but in some ways I think it is true in most cases in most parts of America. Does anyone think I was totally wrong in my reasoning for my thought up punishment?

                           

                                      What follows is a very relevant personal experience I had, which no one needs to read because I know I have written quite a lot already, but it certainly conveys why I feel the way I do about this.

                                      When I was still working as a messenger in New York City I was riding down Broadway literally around Union Square Park. Along the South Eastern edge of the park during this incident’s time there was a stretch of road construction with orange plastic mesh/nets nailed to wooden barricades. Before the construction I was directly ahead of a charter bus (like a Greyhound bus), but there was a curve in the roadway before the park ends at 14th Street, which was a big two way intersection. As a messenger I knew there was a good chance traffic would have to stop at the light, so I was not forcing myself to pedal all that fast. Unfortunately the bus driver behind me probably thought I was just being a slow cyclist, so he pulled up along side of me.

                                      We were still on this curve in the road with the bus on my left side and the construction barricades on my right side. I was no stranger to tight traffic conditions, and I had even slid my elbows, forearms, and/or curved handlebars along the sides of buses in especially tight situations… but this was unusual because of the curved roadway and construction barricades with the thick plastic orange netting. As the bus proceeded to rush ahead the space narrowed more and more and even though I was trying to slow down it became dangerously tight. At that point I was trying to notice if the driver in the bus was paying any attention to me because I could actually see him in his side view mirror. Surely he had seen me when I was ahead of him moments before. I was shocked to see him look back at me because I was clearly in a precarious situation and this bastard was still moving his big-assed bus, which was about to bump me into the construction barricades.

                                      When I saw him see me and not make any attempt to stop I immediately did all I could do to stop, but it was too late. My right handlebar got caught in the orange plastic construction mesh and some part of the rear of my bike bumped into the bus’s rear double-wheeled wheel-well. I went down and my bike twisted like crazy. I felt like a surfer in some giant Hawaiian wave, except my wave was made of air, metal, rubber, pavement, and construction grit.

                                      I ended up being all right… relatively. My bike was pretty much fine too, except for the expected scratches and my handlebars being rotated out of aligned with my front wheel. I was certainly in no shape to go after the bus though because I had actually being incorrect in my calculations about possibly having to stop at the traffic light. The bus had been able to make it, but just barely even though the driver slowed down a bit while I was actually crashing into the barricade. Fortunately, there was another messenger right behind the bus, who had seen everything. He almost stopped while saying, “You okay brother?!” I was pumped up on adrenaline and I immediately kept him from even putting a foot down with, “Get that F%#$er!” The bus was already in the intersection, but the messenger was able to cross it in time and yell out, “Stop that bus!” There was yet another cyclist (a non-messenger roadie type guy I had actually seen around town before) ahead of the bus, who heard the messenger. When that cyclist heard the messenger he looked back and could see I was down on the ground by the construction site and he immediately slowed down in front of the bus and forced the driver to stop at a city bus stop on Broadway just South of the 14th Street intersection. The cyclist kept his stand in front of the bus while the messenger talked to the driver through the little driver window until the driver walked back to me with the messenger escorting him.

                                      There I was on the ground pumped up and shaking. I was alive and checking myself for broken bones and other injuries. I was definitely bruised quite a bit and the blood from major scrapes was beginning to make itself known, especially one from a big nail from a construction barricade, which had gouged me somewhere. My back also felt strangely off. I took off my messenger bag slowly to see if I could start to feel some major pain because whatever pain I had from the injuries had not become pronounced due to the endorphins rushing through me. Surprisingly enough there was no serious pain in my back, but when I checked inside my bag I noticed something else. In my messenger bag I always kept a quarter-inch thick particle board (like the kind you might find on a big sketch/drawing clipboard). The board kept my bag from sliding around from my back to the front while riding and it also helped keep all my packages flat, organized, and protected. Well, the collision actually caused that board to be cracked right in half and bent some of my packages quite a bit.

                                      I slowly gathered myself up. There was no way I was about to rush myself. There were cars behind me, but I could see from a glance in my vision that the driver behind me was in shock by what had happened. That driver probably did not think I would be getting up, but I did. I checked my bike (as any self respecting somewhat-able- bodied messenger would), and thoughtlessly straightened my handlebars back with the front wheel. After that I pretty much turned around and walked toward the 14th Street intersection leaving my bike on the pavement along with my bag. I did this because despite the craziness of the situation, I was very much hyper-aware of my surroundings. It was like slow motion now possibly because the adrenaline was pumping so fast through me because my heart was pounding so hard. I noticed the messenger had stopped the bus and they were coming back to me. Along with the adrenaline and endorphins rage was starting to pump through me too.

                                      Call it road rage if you want. All it was to me at that moment was the knowledge that some driver knew I was in life and death danger because of his actions and kept at it! Even though I perceived my surroundings in slow motion my thoughts clearly were blindly racing. Back then I did not have my Xtracycle or Big Dummy, so I carried the common 3’ long “New York” Kryptonite brand chain and lock around my waist. As the driver and I approached each other, I flipped the lock latch with my hand and the chain unwrapped around my waist. Now, instead of the bus my chain and lock was a deadly weapon in my grasp.

                                      The driver no longer had the protection of the bus, and if anything he knew he was out numbered because if he tried anything I am positive the other messenger would have backed me up even though we probably did not even know each other’s names. I could see the expression on the drivers face. It was not one of concern for my well being, but one more or fear. Obviously he could see me grip the doubled-up loop of chain in my grip and he also knew he had almost knowingly killed a person and could loose his job or go to jail. Fortunately for him I had taken several years of martial arts and I think that definitely assisted me in centering myself for the confrontation. I had always been trained not to enter a physical engagement with emotion as the driving factor, but rather have a clear mind and reason… and boy was I ever trying to clear my mind so I could get on with bashing this guys face with my chain.

                                      I did not bash the driver’s face. I pictured it in my mind along with so many possible outcomes action for re-action. Although at the time the immediate visual of my chain ramming into that driver’s face was quite satisfying to me, I knew that alone might not bring the driver down and I was not in the best shape for an extended fight even with back up from the other messenger. Beyond that though, I was quickly running scenarios of the aftermath. My hyper awareness was also signaling to me the presence of a growing body of witnesses. Those people most likely did not see the “accident”, and certainly not the clear intent by the driver I saw, but all those witnesses would definitely have seen me swing a chain at the driver. That would result in me just being seen as just another of those anti-social anti-establishment rogue bike messengers, who always start trouble with law-abiding drivers and pedestrians. I did not want that, and I absolutely did not want to be put in jail myself if I lashed out at this bus driver and could not get away with it. How would my mom feel about me being sent to jail? I actually thought about that resulting outcome too in my racing thoughts… so I did not flail the chain at the driver.

                                      Instead I stood face to face to him and with as many witnesses in ear shot I yelled into this guys face something like, “You F-ing almost killed me with your F-ing bus and you F-in knew it, Mother F-er!” All I needed was for him to start swinging and my chain was itching at my side.” He did not swing at me either though. Instead he started cursing at me back with something like, “You crazy F-ing bikers are always getting in the way. F-- you!” With that he turned around cursing out loud at me and walked back to the bus.

                                      After I screamed at him I was a bit surprised by his reaction. I had not thought he would yell back at me like that because of the look of fear in his eyes. I had calculated he would either start fighting with me because of the chain I was clearly holding in preparation for a confrontation, or he would be extremely apologetic to save his job and avoid imprisonment. Instead he reacted with just more anger and hatred. I had seen this so many times before and did not want to encourage the hatred. I admit initially I wanted to bash this guy’s face in, but in reality by the time we were face to face I wanted him to feel sorry and appreciate the fact that he could have knowingly killed another human being and I had his job and freedom in my hands. Instead he dismissed me because of my negative confrontation and now this driver would continue to dislike or even hate cyclists.

                                      When that driver cursed back at me I realized by yelling at him I did not improve the situation or future situations that driver and the witnesses might have. In my anger I did not think everything through clearly. Before he even turned to walk away I realized while my training had kept me from becoming physical, I did not have enough training to understand the anger should not have been present during the entire confrontation. Instead I should have spoken softly and carried a big chain. It was clear I was ready and willing to fight, but if I had quieted myself and said the same thing without curses, yelling, or anger, then that driver might not have been able to help but feel sorry. Witnesses would have seen I had kept in total control and the driver would have to face up to what he had done.

                                      However, the driver had walked away and I left him because I lacked self-control. I knew he was walking away almost as angry as I had been. I simply had directed that anger toward him so he would have to deal with it, but that negativity probably would just fester inside him and possibly cause him to behave a similar way when dealing with other cyclists, which was not what I wanted at all. I was alive and relatively ok and I was definitely happy with that at that point in time. I sincerely did not want to force that driver to go to jail no matter how deliberate only he and I know his actions were. What if he had a wife and children? I did not want his family, friends, and co-workers thinking he went to jail because of one of those crazy New York messengers. That would not have helped anyone. I just hope that driver walked away from it and has had plenty of time with self-thought in the seat of his bus to try to see and maybe appreciate what it is like for cyclists. Another calmer reaction from me during that confrontation might have put him on the path more directly. I keep that in mind whenever I ride… and that is how I roll.

                          J

                          Ride safe everyone!

                                     

                                     

                        • Jeff Snavely
                          Prison isn t supposed to fix someone. It s a deterrent. Using cycling as a punishment? That s a stupid message for a cyclist to want to send to the public. I
                          Message 12 of 29 , Jul 30, 2009
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                            Prison isn't supposed to fix someone. It's a deterrent. Using cycling as a punishment? That's a stupid message for a cyclist to want to send to the public.


                            I see a lot of people lately assuming that guilt is a murder's primary punishment. That's just naive. These people aren't losing a minute's sleep.







                            On Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 2:35 PM, Mighk Wilson <mighkw@...> wrote:
                             

                            I agree with you Tone.  Punishment doesn't solve anything unless it changes the person for the better.  We waste billions warehousing people because they used or sold a few drugs, when we could be using that money to rehabilitate the truly crime-prone.  Most people come out of those warehouses worse than they went in.

                            Mighk




                            -----Original Message-----
                            From: Tone
                            Sent: Jul 30, 2009 2:28 PM
                            To: rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com
                            Subject: RE: [rootsradicals] Motorist shoots bicyclist

                             

                                        After reading the article about the cyclist shooting I brought it up with my wife. Unfortunately it resulted in a bit of an argument. Of course she thought it was appalling. That was not the issue in debate. Instead what we raised voices over was the appropriate punishment.

                                        I told her I somewhat felt that the motorist should not be imprisoned as usual, but punished in a different way...

                                        1)  I felt he should not be allowed to work as a fireman anymore. Shooting someone over any traffic situation (except deliberate attempts to harm or kill someone with a vehicle) should not be how a public servant would ever react, and especially not in the situation in question no matter how harsh words were exchanged.

                                        2) The fireman’s gun/rifle licenses should be revoked for life, which I think might occur anyway due to criminal laws in most states.

                                        3) He should be mandated to attend either counseling and/or traffic education classes for a long time.

                                        4) Instead of prison I felt the fireman should be punished in a way, which was relative to the reason he ended up shooting the cyclist and which would also generate more public awareness to avoid future situations like it. By this I mean the fireman should also have his driver’s license revoked for life or for a time period at least matching whatever imprisonment sentence a normal attempted murder sentence would exist for. The sentence for the fireman could also include a requirement for the fireman to be forced to use a bicycle for his personal transportation for a year or some other appropriate amount of time. Any of his family members could use a motor vehicle with him in it, but if he had to travel somewhere alone he would simply have to do it by bicycle unless weather condition were extreme enough to prevent safe cycling (snow, ice, hurricane winds, etc.)

                                        5) He should be forced to pay for a replacement helmet for the cyclist and maybe even pay for replacement helmets for the cyclist’s whole family for life.

                             

                                        My wife became agitated by my opinion on this type of sentence because she strongly felt the fireman should be punished and imprisoned like anyone else, who attempted to shoot another person in the head. Her reasons were because she felt the fireman did not shoot the cyclist specifically because of the cyclist was endangering the child, but rather because the fireman clearly had pre-existing issues/anger unrelated to the encounter with the cyclist and that encounter just sparked him off. Her argument was that anyone, who reaches the point where they shoot at someone else for any other reason than protecting themselves or someone else’s well-being, is not mentally stable and should be imprisoned like anyone else.

                                        My wife was probably more annoyed by my opinion because she is the driver in the family and I am the cyclist. I do not even have a driver’s license, and I always use my Big Dummy for personal transportation unless my wife and I are going somewhere together. She has a bike and rides to work and other places occasionally, but her primary mode of transportation is our car. In any case, I think she feels I am biased because of my cycling-predominant perspective, and felt my opinionated punishment was not fair when considering justice should be blind and equal for everyone.

                             

                                        Now this is where my argument for my punishment comes into play. I completely agree the fireman most likely had pre-existing issues before the encounter with the cyclist. However, I am not sure imprisoning the fireman for 10-20 years or whatever would really solve anything. I would imagine the fireman might even build up more aggression towards cyclist while in jail, especially if he is surrounded by convicted criminals rather than public servants/fireman.

                                        Imprisoning the fireman might also result in unnecessary punishment and hardship for any family he might have and be supporting. I am sure the cyclist can appreciate this considering he has a wife and child of his own. If the fireman had killed the cyclist, then he would have had to live with that guilt of killing the father of a child. If the fireman was sent to prison for several years or more then the cyclist might contend with knowing another person’s wife and children had to support themselves and grow without a father present. The fireman’s family might even possibly develop a biased against cyclists.

                                        We all know that regular cycling has a strong tendency of easing people’s tensions, as clearly demonstrated by the cyclist in this situation because he was able to simply walk away from the confrontation. Along with counseling, if the fireman was forced to ride a bike to most places he had to go, it is a good possibility his stresses would decrease to some degree. Being forced to bike around would also give the fireman first hand knowledge of what it is like to be a regular cyclist and just how safe it is.

                                        Once again, if the fireman has any family and children they would probably not develop as much (if any) biased toward cyclists if he was not sent to jail. If anything, they might also actually grow to appreciate what it is like for cyclists. Even if the fireman did not bike everywhere he would most likely need to be driven places by his family and/or friends. Apart from reducing emissions due to the inherent car-pool effect, this could also potentially result in more family or communal time and therefore increase positive reinforcing bonds with his family and friends.

                                        I always thought that the punishment for crimes was supposed to rehabilitate offenders rather than simply disconnect them from society. Not only would imprisoning the fireman exactly the same as anyone else convicted of a first degree murder not rehabilitate the fireman much in my opinion, but it would also most certainly be completely ignored and/or forgotten by the public. At the moment we all have heard of this shooting only because it is relevant to our cycling lifestyles/enjoyment. The average person/driver might only hear a mention of a shooting and a 10-20 year imprisonment on the local radio/TV or small article in a local paper. After that, it would most likely be forgotten… except to the fireman and his family.

                                        On the other hand if the fireman was given the punishment I suggested, then it might come up more prominently in the public awareness. Every day everyone may or may not hear about shootings and their resulting prison sentences, and almost no one except the victims and the defendants hears or remembers the judgment. However, if the average Joe hears about someone loosing their constitutional right to bear arms, their job as a fireman, and (god forbid) their privilege to drive (and it is a privilege not a right!) I think the average Joe would actually perceive that to be a more real threat to a person’s freedom than the always-heard prison sentence.

                                        I really think that most people do not think or at least comprehend in terms of “if I go through with this I might be put in jail” because for the average good law abiding American… prison is an almost foreign concept. Jail is simply somewhere they send bad people, and “I am not a bad person”. At least they do not think they are bad until AFTER they might have a bad day and a cyclist annoys them enough on their way home from work while driving their two-ton motor vehicle. However, I think the average American can definitely comprehend the unlikely concept of no longer being able to hop in their car and drive anywhere they want. Many of us probably experience it when our cars break down and are in the shop, but we know we will get it back ASAP. When a car breaks down it truly sucks and is a big inconvenience, but you could probably imagine what it would be like to not have your car or be able to drive yourself places for a year and god forbid 10 to 20 years! Therefore I feel the threat of not being able to drive is a more frightening and comprehensible deterrent to an average American’s liberty and thus a more immediate substitution when possibly thinking, “If I go through with this I might not be able to drive again!”

                                        I think it is terribly sad that this may be the case, but in some ways I think it is true in most cases in most parts of America. Does anyone think I was totally wrong in my reasoning for my thought up punishment?

                             

                                        What follows is a very relevant personal experience I had, which no one needs to read because I know I have written quite a lot already, but it certainly conveys why I feel the way I do about this.

                                        When I was still working as a messenger in New York City I was riding down Broadway literally around Union Square Park. Along the South Eastern edge of the park during this incident’s time there was a stretch of road construction with orange plastic mesh/nets nailed to wooden barricades. Before the construction I was directly ahead of a charter bus (like a Greyhound bus), but there was a curve in the roadway before the park ends at 14th Street, which was a big two way intersection. As a messenger I knew there was a good chance traffic would have to stop at the light, so I was not forcing myself to pedal all that fast. Unfortunately the bus driver behind me probably thought I was just being a slow cyclist, so he pulled up along side of me.

                                        We were still on this curve in the road with the bus on my left side and the construction barricades on my right side. I was no stranger to tight traffic conditions, and I had even slid my elbows, forearms, and/or curved handlebars along the sides of buses in especially tight situations… but this was unusual because of the curved roadway and construction barricades with the thick plastic orange netting. As the bus proceeded to rush ahead the space narrowed more and more and even though I was trying to slow down it became dangerously tight. At that point I was trying to notice if the driver in the bus was paying any attention to me because I could actually see him in his side view mirror. Surely he had seen me when I was ahead of him moments before. I was shocked to see him look back at me because I was clearly in a precarious situation and this bastard was still moving his big-assed bus, which was about to bump me into the construction barricades.

                                        When I saw him see me and not make any attempt to stop I immediately did all I could do to stop, but it was too late. My right handlebar got caught in the orange plastic construction mesh and some part of the rear of my bike bumped into the bus’s rear double-wheeled wheel-well. I went down and my bike twisted like crazy. I felt like a surfer in some giant Hawaiian wave, except my wave was made of air, metal, rubber, pavement, and construction grit.

                                        I ended up being all right… relatively. My bike was pretty much fine too, except for the expected scratches and my handlebars being rotated out of aligned with my front wheel. I was certainly in no shape to go after the bus though because I had actually being incorrect in my calculations about possibly having to stop at the traffic light. The bus had been able to make it, but just barely even though the driver slowed down a bit while I was actually crashing into the barricade. Fortunately, there was another messenger right behind the bus, who had seen everything. He almost stopped while saying, “You okay brother?!” I was pumped up on adrenaline and I immediately kept him from even putting a foot down with, “Get that F%#$er!” The bus was already in the intersection, but the messenger was able to cross it in time and yell out, “Stop that bus!” There was yet another cyclist (a non-messenger roadie type guy I had actually seen around town before) ahead of the bus, who heard the messenger. When that cyclist heard the messenger he looked back and could see I was down on the ground by the construction site and he immediately slowed down in front of the bus and forced the driver to stop at a city bus stop on Broadway just South of the 14th Street intersection. The cyclist kept his stand in front of the bus while the messenger talked to the driver through the little driver window until the driver walked back to me with the messenger escorting him.

                                        There I was on the ground pumped up and shaking. I was alive and checking myself for broken bones and other injuries. I was definitely bruised quite a bit and the blood from major scrapes was beginning to make itself known, especially one from a big nail from a construction barricade, which had gouged me somewhere. My back also felt strangely off. I took off my messenger bag slowly to see if I could start to feel some major pain because whatever pain I had from the injuries had not become pronounced due to the endorphins rushing through me. Surprisingly enough there was no serious pain in my back, but when I checked inside my bag I noticed something else. In my messenger bag I always kept a quarter-inch thick particle board (like the kind you might find on a big sketch/drawing clipboard). The board kept my bag from sliding around from my back to the front while riding and it also helped keep all my packages flat, organized, and protected. Well, the collision actually caused that board to be cracked right in half and bent some of my packages quite a bit.

                                        I slowly gathered myself up. There was no way I was about to rush myself. There were cars behind me, but I could see from a glance in my vision that the driver behind me was in shock by what had happened. That driver probably did not think I would be getting up, but I did. I checked my bike (as any self respecting somewhat-able-bodied messenger would), and thoughtlessly straightened my handlebars back with the front wheel. After that I pretty much turned around and walked toward the 14th Street intersection leaving my bike on the pavement along with my bag. I did this because despite the craziness of the situation, I was very much hyper-aware of my surroundings. It was like slow motion now possibly because the adrenaline was pumping so fast through me because my heart was pounding so hard. I noticed the messenger had stopped the bus and they were coming back to me. Along with the adrenaline and endorphins rage was starting to pump through me too.

                                        Call it road rage if you want. All it was to me at that moment was the knowledge that some driver knew I was in life and death danger because of his actions and kept at it! Even though I perceived my surroundings in slow motion my thoughts clearly were blindly racing. Back then I did not have my Xtracycle or Big Dummy, so I carried the common 3’ long “New York” Kryptonite brand chain and lock around my waist. As the driver and I approached each other, I flipped the lock latch with my hand and the chain unwrapped around my waist. Now, instead of the bus my chain and lock was a deadly weapon in my grasp.

                                        The driver no longer had the protection of the bus, and if anything he knew he was out numbered because if he tried anything I am positive the other messenger would have backed me up even though we probably did not even know each other’s names. I could see the expression on the drivers face. It was not one of concern for my well being, but one more or fear. Obviously he could see me grip the doubled-up loop of chain in my grip and he also knew he had almost knowingly killed a person and could loose his job or go to jail. Fortunately for him I had taken several years of martial arts and I think that definitely assisted me in centering myself for the confrontation. I had always been trained not to enter a physical engagement with emotion as the driving factor, but rather have a clear mind and reason… and boy was I ever trying to clear my mind so I could get on with bashing this guys face with my chain.

                                        I did not bash the driver’s face. I pictured it in my mind along with so many possible outcomes action for re-action. Although at the time the immediate visual of my chain ramming into that driver’s face was quite satisfying to me, I knew that alone might not bring the driver down and I was not in the best shape for an extended fight even with back up from the other messenger. Beyond that though, I was quickly running scenarios of the aftermath. My hyper awareness was also signaling to me the presence of a growing body of witnesses. Those people most likely did not see the “accident”, and certainly not the clear intent by the driver I saw, but all those witnesses would definitely have seen me swing a chain at the driver. That would result in me just being seen as just another of those anti-social anti-establishment rogue bike messengers, who always start trouble with law-abiding drivers and pedestrians. I did not want that, and I absolutely did not want to be put in jail myself if I lashed out at this bus driver and could not get away with it. How would my mom feel about me being sent to jail? I actually thought about that resulting outcome too in my racing thoughts… so I did not flail the chain at the driver.

                                        Instead I stood face to face to him and with as many witnesses in ear shot I yelled into this guys face something like, “You F-ing almost killed me with your F-ing bus and you F-in knew it, Mother F-er!” All I needed was for him to start swinging and my chain was itching at my side.” He did not swing at me either though. Instead he started cursing at me back with something like, “You crazy F-ing bikers are always getting in the way. F-- you!” With that he turned around cursing out loud at me and walked back to the bus.

                                        After I screamed at him I was a bit surprised by his reaction. I had not thought he would yell back at me like that because of the look of fear in his eyes. I had calculated he would either start fighting with me because of the chain I was clearly holding in preparation for a confrontation, or he would be extremely apologetic to save his job and avoid imprisonment. Instead he reacted with just more anger and hatred. I had seen this so many times before and did not want to encourage the hatred. I admit initially I wanted to bash this guy’s face in, but in reality by the time we were face to face I wanted him to feel sorry and appreciate the fact that he could have knowingly killed another human being and I had his job and freedom in my hands. Instead he dismissed me because of my negative confrontation and now this driver would continue to dislike or even hate cyclists.

                                        When that driver cursed back at me I realized by yelling at him I did not improve the situation or future situations that driver and the witnesses might have. In my anger I did not think everything through clearly. Before he even turned to walk away I realized while my training had kept me from becoming physical, I did not have enough training to understand the anger should not have been present during the entire confrontation. Instead I should have spoken softly and carried a big chain. It was clear I was ready and willing to fight, but if I had quieted myself and said the same thing without curses, yelling, or anger, then that driver might not have been able to help but feel sorry. Witnesses would have seen I had kept in total control and the driver would have to face up to what he had done.

                                        However, the driver had walked away and I left him because I lacked self-control. I knew he was walking away almost as angry as I had been. I simply had directed that anger toward him so he would have to deal with it, but that negativity probably would just fester inside him and possibly cause him to behave a similar way when dealing with other cyclists, which was not what I wanted at all. I was alive and relatively ok and I was definitely happy with that at that point in time. I sincerely did not want to force that driver to go to jail no matter how deliberate only he and I know his actions were. What if he had a wife and children? I did not want his family, friends, and co-workers thinking he went to jail because of one of those crazy New York messengers. That would not have helped anyone. I just hope that driver walked away from it and has had plenty of time with self-thought in the seat of his bus to try to see and maybe appreciate what it is like for cyclists. Another calmer reaction from me during that confrontation might have put him on the path more directly. I keep that in mind whenever I ride… and that is how I roll.

                            J

                            Ride safe everyone!

                                       

                                       


                          • Rick | Xtracycle, Inc
                            I like the idea of revoking his gun permit and license and being put on a watch list just like child predators are on. But, then again, I ve never had someone
                            Message 13 of 29 , Jul 30, 2009
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                              I like the idea of revoking his gun permit and license and being put on a watch list just like child predators are on.

                              But, then again, I've never had someone close to me be murdered, so, can understand the sentiments of others regarding prison as punishment/justice.

                              On Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 11:49 AM, Jeff Snavely <jsnavely@...> wrote:
                               

                              Prison isn't supposed to fix someone. It's a deterrent. Using cycling as a punishment? That's a stupid message for a cyclist to want to send to the public.


                              I see a lot of people lately assuming that guilt is a murder's primary punishment. That's just naive. These people aren't losing a minute's sleep.









                              On Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 2:35 PM, Mighk Wilson <mighkw@...> wrote:
                               

                              I agree with you Tone.  Punishment doesn't solve anything unless it changes the person for the better.  We waste billions warehousing people because they used or sold a few drugs, when we could be using that money to rehabilitate the truly crime-prone.  Most people come out of those warehouses worse than they went in.

                              Mighk




                              -----Original Message-----
                              From: Tone
                              Sent: Jul 30, 2009 2:28 PM
                              To: rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com
                              Subject: RE: [rootsradicals] Motorist shoots bicyclist

                               

                                          After reading the article about the cyclist shooting I brought it up with my wife. Unfortunately it resulted in a bit of an argument. Of course she thought it was appalling. That was not the issue in debate. Instead what we raised voices over was the appropriate punishment.

                                          I told her I somewhat felt that the motorist should not be imprisoned as usual, but punished in a different way...

                                          1)  I felt he should not be allowed to work as a fireman anymore. Shooting someone over any traffic situation (except deliberate attempts to harm or kill someone with a vehicle) should not be how a public servant would ever react, and especially not in the situation in question no matter how harsh words were exchanged.

                                          2) The fireman’s gun/rifle licenses should be revoked for life, which I think might occur anyway due to criminal laws in most states.

                                          3) He should be mandated to attend either counseling and/or traffic education classes for a long time.

                                          4) Instead of prison I felt the fireman should be punished in a way, which was relative to the reason he ended up shooting the cyclist and which would also generate more public awareness to avoid future situations like it. By this I mean the fireman should also have his driver’s license revoked for life or for a time period at least matching whatever imprisonment sentence a normal attempted murder sentence would exist for. The sentence for the fireman could also include a requirement for the fireman to be forced to use a bicycle for his personal transportation for a year or some other appropriate amount of time. Any of his family members could use a motor vehicle with him in it, but if he had to travel somewhere alone he would simply have to do it by bicycle unless weather condition were extreme enough to prevent safe cycling (snow, ice, hurricane winds, etc.)

                                          5) He should be forced to pay for a replacement helmet for the cyclist and maybe even pay for replacement helmets for the cyclist’s whole family for life.

                               

                                          My wife became agitated by my opinion on this type of sentence because she strongly felt the fireman should be punished and imprisoned like anyone else, who attempted to shoot another person in the head. Her reasons were because she felt the fireman did not shoot the cyclist specifically because of the cyclist was endangering the child, but rather because the fireman clearly had pre-existing issues/anger unrelated to the encounter with the cyclist and that encounter just sparked him off. Her argument was that anyone, who reaches the point where they shoot at someone else for any other reason than protecting themselves or someone else’s well-being, is not mentally stable and should be imprisoned like anyone else.

                                          My wife was probably more annoyed by my opinion because she is the driver in the family and I am the cyclist. I do not even have a driver’s license, and I always use my Big Dummy for personal transportation unless my wife and I are going somewhere together. She has a bike and rides to work and other places occasionally, but her primary mode of transportation is our car. In any case, I think she feels I am biased because of my cycling-predominant perspective, and felt my opinionated punishment was not fair when considering justice should be blind and equal for everyone.

                               

                                          Now this is where my argument for my punishment comes into play. I completely agree the fireman most likely had pre-existing issues before the encounter with the cyclist. However, I am not sure imprisoning the fireman for 10-20 years or whatever would really solve anything. I would imagine the fireman might even build up more aggression towards cyclist while in jail, especially if he is surrounded by convicted criminals rather than public servants/fireman.

                                          Imprisoning the fireman might also result in unnecessary punishment and hardship for any family he might have and be supporting. I am sure the cyclist can appreciate this considering he has a wife and child of his own. If the fireman had killed the cyclist, then he would have had to live with that guilt of killing the father of a child. If the fireman was sent to prison for several years or more then the cyclist might contend with knowing another person’s wife and children had to support themselves and grow without a father present. The fireman’s family might even possibly develop a biased against cyclists.

                                          We all know that regular cycling has a strong tendency of easing people’s tensions, as clearly demonstrated by the cyclist in this situation because he was able to simply walk away from the confrontation. Along with counseling, if the fireman was forced to ride a bike to most places he had to go, it is a good possibility his stresses would decrease to some degree. Being forced to bike around would also give the fireman first hand knowledge of what it is like to be a regular cyclist and just how safe it is.

                                          Once again, if the fireman has any family and children they would probably not develop as much (if any) biased toward cyclists if he was not sent to jail. If anything, they might also actually grow to appreciate what it is like for cyclists. Even if the fireman did not bike everywhere he would most likely need to be driven places by his family and/or friends. Apart from reducing emissions due to the inherent car-pool effect, this could also potentially result in more family or communal time and therefore increase positive reinforcing bonds with his family and friends.

                                          I always thought that the punishment for crimes was supposed to rehabilitate offenders rather than simply disconnect them from society. Not only would imprisoning the fireman exactly the same as anyone else convicted of a first degree murder not rehabilitate the fireman much in my opinion, but it would also most certainly be completely ignored and/or forgotten by the public. At the moment we all have heard of this shooting only because it is relevant to our cycling lifestyles/enjoyment. The average person/driver might only hear a mention of a shooting and a 10-20 year imprisonment on the local radio/TV or small article in a local paper. After that, it would most likely be forgotten… except to the fireman and his family.

                                          On the other hand if the fireman was given the punishment I suggested, then it might come up more prominently in the public awareness. Every day everyone may or may not hear about shootings and their resulting prison sentences, and almost no one except the victims and the defendants hears or remembers the judgment. However, if the average Joe hears about someone loosing their constitutional right to bear arms, their job as a fireman, and (god forbid) their privilege to drive (and it is a privilege not a right!) I think the average Joe would actually perceive that to be a more real threat to a person’s freedom than the always-heard prison sentence.

                                          I really think that most people do not think or at least comprehend in terms of “if I go through with this I might be put in jail” because for the average good law abiding American… prison is an almost foreign concept. Jail is simply somewhere they send bad people, and “I am not a bad person”. At least they do not think they are bad until AFTER they might have a bad day and a cyclist annoys them enough on their way home from work while driving their two-ton motor vehicle. However, I think the average American can definitely comprehend the unlikely concept of no longer being able to hop in their car and drive anywhere they want. Many of us probably experience it when our cars break down and are in the shop, but we know we will get it back ASAP. When a car breaks down it truly sucks and is a big inconvenience, but you could probably imagine what it would be like to not have your car or be able to drive yourself places for a year and god forbid 10 to 20 years! Therefore I feel the threat of not being able to drive is a more frightening and comprehensible deterrent to an average American’s liberty and thus a more immediate substitution when possibly thinking, “If I go through with this I might not be able to drive again!”

                                          I think it is terribly sad that this may be the case, but in some ways I think it is true in most cases in most parts of America. Does anyone think I was totally wrong in my reasoning for my thought up punishment?

                               

                                          What follows is a very relevant personal experience I had, which no one needs to read because I know I have written quite a lot already, but it certainly conveys why I feel the way I do about this.

                                          When I was still working as a messenger in New York City I was riding down Broadway literally around Union Square Park. Along the South Eastern edge of the park during this incident’s time there was a stretch of road construction with orange plastic mesh/nets nailed to wooden barricades. Before the construction I was directly ahead of a charter bus (like a Greyhound bus), but there was a curve in the roadway before the park ends at 14th Street, which was a big two way intersection. As a messenger I knew there was a good chance traffic would have to stop at the light, so I was not forcing myself to pedal all that fast. Unfortunately the bus driver behind me probably thought I was just being a slow cyclist, so he pulled up along side of me.

                                          We were still on this curve in the road with the bus on my left side and the construction barricades on my right side. I was no stranger to tight traffic conditions, and I had even slid my elbows, forearms, and/or curved handlebars along the sides of buses in especially tight situations… but this was unusual because of the curved roadway and construction barricades with the thick plastic orange netting. As the bus proceeded to rush ahead the space narrowed more and more and even though I was trying to slow down it became dangerously tight. At that point I was trying to notice if the driver in the bus was paying any attention to me because I could actually see him in his side view mirror. Surely he had seen me when I was ahead of him moments before. I was shocked to see him look back at me because I was clearly in a precarious situation and this bastard was still moving his big-assed bus, which was about to bump me into the construction barricades.

                                          When I saw him see me and not make any attempt to stop I immediately did all I could do to stop, but it was too late. My right handlebar got caught in the orange plastic construction mesh and some part of the rear of my bike bumped into the bus’s rear double-wheeled wheel-well. I went down and my bike twisted like crazy. I felt like a surfer in some giant Hawaiian wave, except my wave was made of air, metal, rubber, pavement, and construction grit.

                                          I ended up being all right… relatively. My bike was pretty much fine too, except for the expected scratches and my handlebars being rotated out of aligned with my front wheel. I was certainly in no shape to go after the bus though because I had actually being incorrect in my calculations about possibly having to stop at the traffic light. The bus had been able to make it, but just barely even though the driver slowed down a bit while I was actually crashing into the barricade. Fortunately, there was another messenger right behind the bus, who had seen everything. He almost stopped while saying, “You okay brother?!” I was pumped up on adrenaline and I immediately kept him from even putting a foot down with, “Get that F%#$er!” The bus was already in the intersection, but the messenger was able to cross it in time and yell out, “Stop that bus!” There was yet another cyclist (a non-messenger roadie type guy I had actually seen around town before) ahead of the bus, who heard the messenger. When that cyclist heard the messenger he looked back and could see I was down on the ground by the construction site and he immediately slowed down in front of the bus and forced the driver to stop at a city bus stop on Broadway just South of the 14th Street intersection. The cyclist kept his stand in front of the bus while the messenger talked to the driver through the little driver window until the driver walked back to me with the messenger escorting him.

                                          There I was on the ground pumped up and shaking. I was alive and checking myself for broken bones and other injuries. I was definitely bruised quite a bit and the blood from major scrapes was beginning to make itself known, especially one from a big nail from a construction barricade, which had gouged me somewhere. My back also felt strangely off. I took off my messenger bag slowly to see if I could start to feel some major pain because whatever pain I had from the injuries had not become pronounced due to the endorphins rushing through me. Surprisingly enough there was no serious pain in my back, but when I checked inside my bag I noticed something else. In my messenger bag I always kept a quarter-inch thick particle board (like the kind you might find on a big sketch/drawing clipboard). The board kept my bag from sliding around from my back to the front while riding and it also helped keep all my packages flat, organized, and protected. Well, the collision actually caused that board to be cracked right in half and bent some of my packages quite a bit.

                                          I slowly gathered myself up. There was no way I was about to rush myself. There were cars behind me, but I could see from a glance in my vision that the driver behind me was in shock by what had happened. That driver probably did not think I would be getting up, but I did. I checked my bike (as any self respecting somewhat-able-bodied messenger would), and thoughtlessly straightened my handlebars back with the front wheel. After that I pretty much turned around and walked toward the 14th Street intersection leaving my bike on the pavement along with my bag. I did this because despite the craziness of the situation, I was very much hyper-aware of my surroundings. It was like slow motion now possibly because the adrenaline was pumping so fast through me because my heart was pounding so hard. I noticed the messenger had stopped the bus and they were coming back to me. Along with the adrenaline and endorphins rage was starting to pump through me too.

                                          Call it road rage if you want. All it was to me at that moment was the knowledge that some driver knew I was in life and death danger because of his actions and kept at it! Even though I perceived my surroundings in slow motion my thoughts clearly were blindly racing. Back then I did not have my Xtracycle or Big Dummy, so I carried the common 3’ long “New York” Kryptonite brand chain and lock around my waist. As the driver and I approached each other, I flipped the lock latch with my hand and the chain unwrapped around my waist. Now, instead of the bus my chain and lock was a deadly weapon in my grasp.

                                          The driver no longer had the protection of the bus, and if anything he knew he was out numbered because if he tried anything I am positive the other messenger would have backed me up even though we probably did not even know each other’s names. I could see the expression on the drivers face. It was not one of concern for my well being, but one more or fear. Obviously he could see me grip the doubled-up loop of chain in my grip and he also knew he had almost knowingly killed a person and could loose his job or go to jail. Fortunately for him I had taken several years of martial arts and I think that definitely assisted me in centering myself for the confrontation. I had always been trained not to enter a physical engagement with emotion as the driving factor, but rather have a clear mind and reason… and boy was I ever trying to clear my mind so I could get on with bashing this guys face with my chain.

                                          I did not bash the driver’s face. I pictured it in my mind along with so many possible outcomes action for re-action. Although at the time the immediate visual of my chain ramming into that driver’s face was quite satisfying to me, I knew that alone might not bring the driver down and I was not in the best shape for an extended fight even with back up from the other messenger. Beyond that though, I was quickly running scenarios of the aftermath. My hyper awareness was also signaling to me the presence of a growing body of witnesses. Those people most likely did not see the “accident”, and certainly not the clear intent by the driver I saw, but all those witnesses would definitely have seen me swing a chain at the driver. That would result in me just being seen as just another of those anti-social anti-establishment rogue bike messengers, who always start trouble with law-abiding drivers and pedestrians. I did not want that, and I absolutely did not want to be put in jail myself if I lashed out at this bus driver and could not get away with it. How would my mom feel about me being sent to jail? I actually thought about that resulting outcome too in my racing thoughts… so I did not flail the chain at the driver.

                                          Instead I stood face to face to him and with as many witnesses in ear shot I yelled into this guys face something like, “You F-ing almost killed me with your F-ing bus and you F-in knew it, Mother F-er!” All I needed was for him to start swinging and my chain was itching at my side.” He did not swing at me either though. Instead he started cursing at me back with something like, “You crazy F-ing bikers are always getting in the way. F-- you!” With that he turned around cursing out loud at me and walked back to the bus.

                                          After I screamed at him I was a bit surprised by his reaction. I had not thought he would yell back at me like that because of the look of fear in his eyes. I had calculated he would either start fighting with me because of the chain I was clearly holding in preparation for a confrontation, or he would be extremely apologetic to save his job and avoid imprisonment. Instead he reacted with just more anger and hatred. I had seen this so many times before and did not want to encourage the hatred. I admit initially I wanted to bash this guy’s face in, but in reality by the time we were face to face I wanted him to feel sorry and appreciate the fact that he could have knowingly killed another human being and I had his job and freedom in my hands. Instead he dismissed me because of my negative confrontation and now this driver would continue to dislike or even hate cyclists.

                                          When that driver cursed back at me I realized by yelling at him I did not improve the situation or future situations that driver and the witnesses might have. In my anger I did not think everything through clearly. Before he even turned to walk away I realized while my training had kept me from becoming physical, I did not have enough training to understand the anger should not have been present during the entire confrontation. Instead I should have spoken softly and carried a big chain. It was clear I was ready and willing to fight, but if I had quieted myself and said the same thing without curses, yelling, or anger, then that driver might not have been able to help but feel sorry. Witnesses would have seen I had kept in total control and the driver would have to face up to what he had done.

                                          However, the driver had walked away and I left him because I lacked self-control. I knew he was walking away almost as angry as I had been. I simply had directed that anger toward him so he would have to deal with it, but that negativity probably would just fester inside him and possibly cause him to behave a similar way when dealing with other cyclists, which was not what I wanted at all. I was alive and relatively ok and I was definitely happy with that at that point in time. I sincerely did not want to force that driver to go to jail no matter how deliberate only he and I know his actions were. What if he had a wife and children? I did not want his family, friends, and co-workers thinking he went to jail because of one of those crazy New York messengers. That would not have helped anyone. I just hope that driver walked away from it and has had plenty of time with self-thought in the seat of his bus to try to see and maybe appreciate what it is like for cyclists. Another calmer reaction from me during that confrontation might have put him on the path more directly. I keep that in mind whenever I ride… and that is how I roll.

                              J

                              Ride safe everyone!

                                         

                                         





                              --
                              graphic structuralist | rick@...
                              888 537 1401 x709 | the original longtail company
                            • ama3655@aol.com
                              He committed a felony, the pistol permit goes away. The reasoning behind a prison term is only partially to punish a criminal, and a small part. The primary
                              Message 14 of 29 , Jul 30, 2009
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                                He committed a felony, the pistol permit goes away. The reasoning behind a prison term is only partially to punish a criminal, and a small part. The primary reason is to protect society from further criminal activity. A secondary purpose would be rehabilitation and education in cases where that is helpful. In this case I expect that some therapy would also be helpful.
                                 
                                On the other hand, if the cyclist had just had a gun himself and shot this nutcase between the ears we wouldn't have had to pay for his upkeep.
                              • Rick | Xtracycle, Inc
                                But then we d be a vigilante society, aren t we supposedly better than that? On top, he d have to get jail time = money expenditure. ... -- graphic
                                Message 15 of 29 , Jul 30, 2009
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                                  But then we'd be a vigilante society, aren't we supposedly better than that? On top, he'd have to get jail time = money expenditure.



                                  On Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 12:48 PM, <ama3655@...> wrote:
                                   


                                  He committed a felony, the pistol permit goes away. The reasoning behind a prison term is only partially to punish a criminal, and a small part. The primary reason is to protect society from further criminal activity. A secondary purpose would be rehabilitation and education in cases where that is helpful. In this case I expect that some therapy would also be helpful.
                                   
                                  On the other hand, if the cyclist had just had a gun himself and shot this nutcase between the ears we wouldn't have had to pay for his upkeep.



                                  --
                                  graphic structuralist | rick@...
                                  888 537 1401 x709 | the original longtail company
                                • allen wade
                                  Unfortunately for myself and the many who serve in the Fire Service isolated incidents as this one leaves quite a black eye on the profession I serve.  I am a
                                  Message 16 of 29 , Jul 30, 2009
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                                    Unfortunately for myself and the many who serve in the Fire Service isolated incidents as this one leaves quite a black eye on the profession I serve.  I am a full time Firefighter/paramedic and I am a dedicated commuter as well (32 miles each way).  As a cyclist I am outraged. As a Firefighter I am outraged as well.  To clarify some of the comments, almost certainly, convicted or not, the Firefighter will loose his job.  This is one difference in the civil service industry that, in most cases, you will not find in the private sector.  We are held to a certain standard on and off duty.  

                                    I ask one thing from all of you....Please do not hold the entire fire service in the same light as this moron.  Yes, there are nuts in my career field just as there are in any field.  I ask you, if this person was a truck driver, accountant, sales man, etc.  would his occupation have been listed in the article and would anyone have mentioned it on this forum?

                                    Big Al

                                    --- On Thu, 7/30/09, Tone <tone@...> wrote:

                                    From: Tone <tone@...>
                                    Subject: RE: [rootsradicals] Motorist shoots bicyclist
                                    To: rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com
                                    Date: Thursday, July 30, 2009, 1:28 PM

                                     

                                                After reading the article about the cyclist shooting I brought it up with my wife. Unfortunately it resulted in a bit of an argument. Of course she thought it was appalling. That was not the issue in debate. Instead what we raised voices over was the appropriate punishment.

                                                I told her I somewhat felt that the motorist should not be imprisoned as usual, but punished in a different way...

                                                1)  I felt he should not be allowed to work as a fireman anymore. Shooting someone over any traffic situation (except deliberate attempts to harm or kill someone with a vehicle) should not be how a public servant would ever react, and especially not in the situation in question no matter how harsh words were exchanged.

                                                2) The fireman’s gun/rifle licenses should be revoked for life, which I think might occur anyway due to criminal laws in most states.

                                                3) He should be mandated to attend either counseling and/or traffic education classes for a long time.

                                                4) Instead of prison I felt the fireman should be punished in a way, which was relative to the reason he ended up shooting the cyclist and which would also generate more public awareness to avoid future situations like it. By this I mean the fireman should also have his driver’s license revoked for life or for a time period at least matching whatever imprisonment sentence a normal attempted murder sentence would exist for. The sentence for the fireman could also include a requirement for the fireman to be forced to use a bicycle for his personal transportation for a year or some other appropriate amount of time. Any of his family members could use a motor vehicle with him in it, but if he had to travel somewhere alone he would simply have to do it by bicycle unless weather condition were extreme enough to prevent safe cycling (snow, ice, hurricane winds, etc.)

                                                5) He should be forced to pay for a replacement helmet for the cyclist and maybe even pay for replacement helmets for the cyclist’s whole family for life.

                                     

                                                My wife became agitated by my opinion on this type of sentence because she strongly felt the fireman should be punished and imprisoned like anyone else, who attempted to shoot another person in the head. Her reasons were because she felt the fireman did not shoot the cyclist specifically because of the cyclist was endangering the child, but rather because the fireman clearly had pre-existing issues/anger unrelated to the encounter with the cyclist and that encounter just sparked him off. Her argument was that anyone, who reaches the point where they shoot at someone else for any other reason than protecting themselves or someone else’s well-being, is not mentally stable and should be imprisoned like anyone else.

                                                My wife was probably more annoyed by my opinion because she is the driver in the family and I am the cyclist. I do not even have a driver’s license, and I always use my Big Dummy for personal transportation unless my wife and I are going somewhere together. She has a bike and rides to work and other places occasionally, but her primary mode of transportation is our car. In any case, I think she feels I am biased because of my cycling-predominant perspective, and felt my opinionated punishment was not fair when considering justice should be blind and equal for everyone.

                                     

                                                Now this is where my argument for my punishment comes into play. I completely agree the fireman most likely had pre-existing issues before the encounter with the cyclist. However, I am not sure imprisoning the fireman for 10-20 years or whatever would really solve anything. I would imagine the fireman might even build up more aggression towards cyclist while in jail, especially if he is surrounded by convicted criminals rather than public servants/fireman.

                                                Imprisoning the fireman might also result in unnecessary punishment and hardship for any family he might have and be supporting. I am sure the cyclist can appreciate this considering he has a wife and child of his own. If the fireman had killed the cyclist, then he would have had to live with that guilt of killing the father of a child. If the fireman was sent to prison for several years or more then the cyclist might contend with knowing another person’s wife and children had to support themselves and grow without a father present. The fireman’s family might even possibly develop a biased against cyclists.

                                                We all know that regular cycling has a strong tendency of easing people’s tensions, as clearly demonstrated by the cyclist in this situation because he was able to simply walk away from the confrontation. Along with counseling, if the fireman was forced to ride a bike to most places he had to go, it is a good possibility his stresses would decrease to some degree. Being forced to bike around would also give the fireman first hand knowledge of what it is like to be a regular cyclist and just how safe it is.

                                                Once again, if the fireman has any family and children they would probably not develop as much (if any) biased toward cyclists if he was not sent to jail. If anything, they might also actually grow to appreciate what it is like for cyclists. Even if the fireman did not bike everywhere he would most likely need to be driven places by his family and/or friends. Apart from reducing emissions due to the inherent car-pool effect, this could also potentially result in more family or communal time and therefore increase positive reinforcing bonds with his family and friends.

                                                I always thought that the punishment for crimes was supposed to rehabilitate offenders rather than simply disconnect them from society. Not only would imprisoning the fireman exactly the same as anyone else convicted of a first degree murder not rehabilitate the fireman much in my opinion, but it would also most certainly be completely ignored and/or forgotten by the public. At the moment we all have heard of this shooting only because it is relevant to our cycling lifestyles/enjoymen t. The average person/driver might only hear a mention of a shooting and a 10-20 year imprisonment on the local radio/TV or small article in a local paper. After that, it would most likely be forgotten… except to the fireman and his family.

                                                On the other hand if the fireman was given the punishment I suggested, then it might come up more prominently in the public awareness. Every day everyone may or may not hear about shootings and their resulting prison sentences, and almost no one except the victims and the defendants hears or remembers the judgment. However, if the average Joe hears about someone loosing their constitutional right to bear arms, their job as a fireman, and (god forbid) their privilege to drive (and it is a privilege not a right!) I think the average Joe would actually perceive that to be a more real threat to a person’s freedom than the always-heard prison sentence.

                                                I really think that most people do not think or at least comprehend in terms of “if I go through with this I might be put in jail” because for the average good law abiding American… prison is an almost foreign concept. Jail is simply somewhere they send bad people, and “I am not a bad person”. At least they do not think they are bad until AFTER they might have a bad day and a cyclist annoys them enough on their way home from work while driving their two-ton motor vehicle. However, I think the average American can definitely comprehend the unlikely concept of no longer being able to hop in their car and drive anywhere they want. Many of us probably experience it when our cars break down and are in the shop, but we know we will get it back ASAP. When a car breaks down it truly sucks and is a big inconvenience, but you could probably imagine what it would be like to not have your car or be able to drive yourself places for a year and god forbid 10 to 20 years! Therefore I feel the threat of not being able to drive is a more frightening and comprehensible deterrent to an average American’s liberty and thus a more immediate substitution when possibly thinking, “If I go through with this I might not be able to drive again!”

                                                I think it is terribly sad that this may be the case, but in some ways I think it is true in most cases in most parts of America. Does anyone think I was totally wrong in my reasoning for my thought up punishment?

                                     

                                                What follows is a very relevant personal experience I had, which no one needs to read because I know I have written quite a lot already, but it certainly conveys why I feel the way I do about this.

                                                When I was still working as a messenger in New York City I was riding down Broadway literally around Union Square Park. Along the South Eastern edge of the park during this incident’s time there was a stretch of road construction with orange plastic mesh/nets nailed to wooden barricades. Before the construction I was directly ahead of a charter bus (like a Greyhound bus), but there was a curve in the roadway before the park ends at 14th Street, which was a big two way intersection. As a messenger I knew there was a good chance traffic would have to stop at the light, so I was not forcing myself to pedal all that fast. Unfortunately the bus driver behind me probably thought I was just being a slow cyclist, so he pulled up along side of me.

                                                We were still on this curve in the road with the bus on my left side and the construction barricades on my right side. I was no stranger to tight traffic conditions, and I had even slid my elbows, forearms, and/or curved handlebars along the sides of buses in especially tight situations… but this was unusual because of the curved roadway and construction barricades with the thick plastic orange netting. As the bus proceeded to rush ahead the space narrowed more and more and even though I was trying to slow down it became dangerously tight. At that point I was trying to notice if the driver in the bus was paying any attention to me because I could actually see him in his side view mirror. Surely he had seen me when I was ahead of him moments before. I was shocked to see him look back at me because I was clearly in a precarious situation and this bastard was still moving his big-assed bus, which was about to bump me into the construction barricades.

                                                When I saw him see me and not make any attempt to stop I immediately did all I could do to stop, but it was too late. My right handlebar got caught in the orange plastic construction mesh and some part of the rear of my bike bumped into the bus’s rear double-wheeled wheel-well. I went down and my bike twisted like crazy. I felt like a surfer in some giant Hawaiian wave, except my wave was made of air, metal, rubber, pavement, and construction grit.

                                                I ended up being all right… relatively. My bike was pretty much fine too, except for the expected scratches and my handlebars being rotated out of aligned with my front wheel. I was certainly in no shape to go after the bus though because I had actually being incorrect in my calculations about possibly having to stop at the traffic light. The bus had been able to make it, but just barely even though the driver slowed down a bit while I was actually crashing into the barricade. Fortunately, there was another messenger right behind the bus, who had seen everything. He almost stopped while saying, “You okay brother?!” I was pumped up on adrenaline and I immediately kept him from even putting a foot down with, “Get that F%#$er!” The bus was already in the intersection, but the messenger was able to cross it in time and yell out, “Stop that bus!” There was yet another cyclist (a non-messenger roadie type guy I had actually seen around town before) ahead of the bus, who heard the messenger. When that cyclist heard the messenger he looked back and could see I was down on the ground by the construction site and he immediately slowed down in front of the bus and forced the driver to stop at a city bus stop on Broadway just South of the 14th Street intersection. The cyclist kept his stand in front of the bus while the messenger talked to the driver through the little driver window until the driver walked back to me with the messenger escorting him.

                                                There I was on the ground pumped up and shaking. I was alive and checking myself for broken bones and other injuries. I was definitely bruised quite a bit and the blood from major scrapes was beginning to make itself known, especially one from a big nail from a construction barricade, which had gouged me somewhere. My back also felt strangely off. I took off my messenger bag slowly to see if I could start to feel some major pain because whatever pain I had from the injuries had not become pronounced due to the endorphins rushing through me. Surprisingly enough there was no serious pain in my back, but when I checked inside my bag I noticed something else. In my messenger bag I always kept a quarter-inch thick particle board (like the kind you might find on a big sketch/drawing clipboard). The board kept my bag from sliding around from my back to the front while riding and it also helped keep all my packages flat, organized, and protected. Well, the collision actually caused that board to be cracked right in half and bent some of my packages quite a bit.

                                                I slowly gathered myself up. There was no way I was about to rush myself. There were cars behind me, but I could see from a glance in my vision that the driver behind me was in shock by what had happened. That driver probably did not think I would be getting up, but I did. I checked my bike (as any self respecting somewhat-able- bodied messenger would), and thoughtlessly straightened my handlebars back with the front wheel. After that I pretty much turned around and walked toward the 14th Street intersection leaving my bike on the pavement along with my bag. I did this because despite the craziness of the situation, I was very much hyper-aware of my surroundings. It was like slow motion now possibly because the adrenaline was pumping so fast through me because my heart was pounding so hard. I noticed the messenger had stopped the bus and they were coming back to me. Along with the adrenaline and endorphins rage was starting to pump through me too.

                                                Call it road rage if you want. All it was to me at that moment was the knowledge that some driver knew I was in life and death danger because of his actions and kept at it! Even though I perceived my surroundings in slow motion my thoughts clearly were blindly racing. Back then I did not have my Xtracycle or Big Dummy, so I carried the common 3’ long “New York” Kryptonite brand chain and lock around my waist. As the driver and I approached each other, I flipped the lock latch with my hand and the chain unwrapped around my waist. Now, instead of the bus my chain and lock was a deadly weapon in my grasp.

                                                The driver no longer had the protection of the bus, and if anything he knew he was out numbered because if he tried anything I am positive the other messenger would have backed me up even though we probably did not even know each other’s names. I could see the expression on the drivers face. It was not one of concern for my well being, but one more or fear. Obviously he could see me grip the doubled-up loop of chain in my grip and he also knew he had almost knowingly killed a person and could loose his job or go to jail. Fortunately for him I had taken several years of martial arts and I think that definitely assisted me in centering myself for the confrontation. I had always been trained not to enter a physical engagement with emotion as the driving factor, but rather have a clear mind and reason… and boy was I ever trying to clear my mind so I could get on with bashing this guys face with my chain.

                                                I did not bash the driver’s face. I pictured it in my mind along with so many possible outcomes action for re-action. Although at the time the immediate visual of my chain ramming into that driver’s face was quite satisfying to me, I knew that alone might not bring the driver down and I was not in the best shape for an extended fight even with back up from the other messenger. Beyond that though, I was quickly running scenarios of the aftermath. My hyper awareness was also signaling to me the presence of a growing body of witnesses. Those people most likely did not see the “accident”, and certainly not the clear intent by the driver I saw, but all those witnesses would definitely have seen me swing a chain at the driver. That would result in me just being seen as just another of those anti-social anti-establishment rogue bike messengers, who always start trouble with law-abiding drivers and pedestrians. I did not want that, and I absolutely did not want to be put in jail myself if I lashed out at this bus driver and could not get away with it. How would my mom feel about me being sent to jail? I actually thought about that resulting outcome too in my racing thoughts… so I did not flail the chain at the driver.

                                                Instead I stood face to face to him and with as many witnesses in ear shot I yelled into this guys face something like, “You F-ing almost killed me with your F-ing bus and you F-in knew it, Mother F-er!” All I needed was for him to start swinging and my chain was itching at my side.” He did not swing at me either though. Instead he started cursing at me back with something like, “You crazy F-ing bikers are always getting in the way. F-- you!” With that he turned around cursing out loud at me and walked back to the bus.

                                                After I screamed at him I was a bit surprised by his reaction. I had not thought he would yell back at me like that because of the look of fear in his eyes. I had calculated he would either start fighting with me because of the chain I was clearly holding in preparation for a confrontation, or he would be extremely apologetic to save his job and avoid imprisonment. Instead he reacted with just more anger and hatred. I had seen this so many times before and did not want to encourage the hatred. I admit initially I wanted to bash this guy’s face in, but in reality by the time we were face to face I wanted him to feel sorry and appreciate the fact that he could have knowingly killed another human being and I had his job and freedom in my hands. Instead he dismissed me because of my negative confrontation and now this driver would continue to dislike or even hate cyclists.

                                                When that driver cursed back at me I realized by yelling at him I did not improve the situation or future situations that driver and the witnesses might have. In my anger I did not think everything through clearly. Before he even turned to walk away I realized while my training had kept me from becoming physical, I did not have enough training to understand the anger should not have been present during the entire confrontation. Instead I should have spoken softly and carried a big chain. It was clear I was ready and willing to fight, but if I had quieted myself and said the same thing without curses, yelling, or anger, then that driver might not have been able to help but feel sorry. Witnesses would have seen I had kept in total control and the driver would have to face up to what he had done.

                                                However, the driver had walked away and I left him because I lacked self-control. I knew he was walking away almost as angry as I had been. I simply had directed that anger toward him so he would have to deal with it, but that negativity probably would just fester inside him and possibly cause him to behave a similar way when dealing with other cyclists, which was not what I wanted at all. I was alive and relatively ok and I was definitely happy with that at that point in time. I sincerely did not want to force that driver to go to jail no matter how deliberate only he and I know his actions were. What if he had a wife and children? I did not want his family, friends, and co-workers thinking he went to jail because of one of those crazy New York messengers. That would not have helped anyone. I just hope that driver walked away from it and has had plenty of time with self-thought in the seat of his bus to try to see and maybe appreciate what it is like for cyclists. Another calmer reaction from me during that confrontation might have put him on the path more directly. I keep that in mind whenever I ride… and that is how I roll.

                                    J

                                    Ride safe everyone!

                                               

                                               


                                  • David Chase
                                    ... If it s any consolation, it is because it is a bit of a man-bites- dog. We assume/expect/hope that firemen, policemen, and EMTs will keep a level head in
                                    Message 17 of 29 , Jul 30, 2009
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                                      On 2009-07-30, at 4:30 PM, allen wade wrote:
                                      > I ask one thing from all of you....Please do not hold the entire
                                      > fire service in the same light as this moron. Yes, there are nuts
                                      > in my career field just as there are in any field. I ask you, if
                                      > this person was a truck driver, accountant, sales man, etc. would
                                      > his occupation have been listed in the article and would anyone have
                                      > mentioned it on this forum?

                                      If it's any consolation, it is because it is a bit of a man-bites-
                                      dog. We assume/expect/hope that firemen, policemen, and EMTs will
                                      keep a level head in stressful situations, so it is much more of a
                                      surprise when they do not.

                                      And sadly (for him), this is probably why he loses his job, no matter
                                      what else happens. I'm really torn on the bike-as-punishment question
                                      -- obviously, equating bike-riding with punishment is stupid, but just
                                      as someone with anger issues has no business carrying a gun, they
                                      surely have no business operating heavy machinery in public. So what
                                      does he do to get around? Bikes, is an obvious answer.

                                      David
                                    • jollywahlstrom
                                      ... Obviously, the car drivers are what makes biking dangerous. If he wanted to help, he should shoot a few cars. This moron should lose his driving privileges
                                      Message 18 of 29 , Jul 30, 2009
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                                        --- In rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com, "Jenni Ertl" <ertlnet@...> wrote:
                                        >
                                        > A motorist argued with, then shot a bicyclist after confronting him about
                                        > riding with his 3 year old on a busy street. The bullet went through his
                                        > helmet, but did not strike him.
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > http://www.citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090727/NEWS01/9072
                                        > 70323
                                        >
                                        Obviously, the car drivers are what makes biking dangerous. If he wanted to help, he should shoot a few cars. This moron should lose his driving privileges also. He has HUGE anger issues.
                                      • Tone
                                        Big Al, I would never think less of the other men and women serving in our fire departments. That would just be more prejudice. In my last job my direct
                                        Message 19 of 29 , Jul 30, 2009
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                                          Big Al,

                                                      I would never think less of the other men and women serving in our fire departments. That would just be more prejudice. In my last job my direct supervisor and a supervisor in another department were both volunteer firemen and held positions of at least assistant chief. Though they would NEVER ride a bike to work they were both good men in my opinion, and I would imagine they would be appalled by the behavior of the fireman in question.

                                                      I could never imagine many people ever thinking less of the rest of the fire service for this incident. However, I am pretty sure most people would think less of cyclists in general if something else had occurred… like a driver deliberately swerving to hit a cyclist and the cyclist shooting at the driver when he sees the driver making a u-turn for another attempt. Even though that might be considered defending one’s own well being, I think most people in America might have mixed feelings because most American’s drive and might take the perspective of an annoyed driver rather than the vulnerable cyclist.

                                          _TONE_

                                           

                                        • Rick | Xtracycle, Inc
                                          The shocker is that this man is in a position of esteem in our society, so to see one behave in a reckless, endangering manner is the pain point. Much like the
                                          Message 20 of 29 , Jul 30, 2009
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                                            The shocker is that this man is in a position of esteem in our society, so to see one behave in a reckless, endangering manner is the pain point. Much like the BART police officer who killed Oscar Grant on New Year's.

                                            Thanks for risking your life, and those in your profession, for our safety, Big Al.

                                            Rick


                                            I ask one thing from all of you....Please do not hold the entire fire service in the same light as this moron.  Yes, there are nuts in my career field just as there are in any field.  I ask you, if this person was a truck driver, accountant, sales man, etc.  would his occupation have been listed in the article and would anyone have mentioned it on this forum?

                                            Big Al

                                            --- On Thu, 7/30/09, Tone <tone@...> wrote:

                                            From: Tone <tone@...>

                                            Subject: RE: [rootsradicals] Motorist shoots bicyclist
                                            To: rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com
                                            Date: Thursday, July 30, 2009, 1:28 PM

                                             

                                                        After reading the article about the cyclist shooting I brought it up with my wife. Unfortunately it resulted in a bit of an argument. Of course she thought it was appalling. That was not the issue in debate. Instead what we raised voices over was the appropriate punishment.

                                                        I told her I somewhat felt that the motorist should not be imprisoned as usual, but punished in a different way...

                                                        1)  I felt he should not be allowed to work as a fireman anymore. Shooting someone over any traffic situation (except deliberate attempts to harm or kill someone with a vehicle) should not be how a public servant would ever react, and especially not in the situation in question no matter how harsh words were exchanged.

                                                        2) The fireman’s gun/rifle licenses should be revoked for life, which I think might occur anyway due to criminal laws in most states.

                                                        3) He should be mandated to attend either counseling and/or traffic education classes for a long time.

                                                        4) Instead of prison I felt the fireman should be punished in a way, which was relative to the reason he ended up shooting the cyclist and which would also generate more public awareness to avoid future situations like it. By this I mean the fireman should also have his driver’s license revoked for life or for a time period at least matching whatever imprisonment sentence a normal attempted murder sentence would exist for. The sentence for the fireman could also include a requirement for the fireman to be forced to use a bicycle for his personal transportation for a year or some other appropriate amount of time. Any of his family members could use a motor vehicle with him in it, but if he had to travel somewhere alone he would simply have to do it by bicycle unless weather condition were extreme enough to prevent safe cycling (snow, ice, hurricane winds, etc.)

                                                        5) He should be forced to pay for a replacement helmet for the cyclist and maybe even pay for replacement helmets for the cyclist’s whole family for life.

                                             

                                                        My wife became agitated by my opinion on this type of sentence because she strongly felt the fireman should be punished and imprisoned like anyone else, who attempted to shoot another person in the head. Her reasons were because she felt the fireman did not shoot the cyclist specifically because of the cyclist was endangering the child, but rather because the fireman clearly had pre-existing issues/anger unrelated to the encounter with the cyclist and that encounter just sparked him off. Her argument was that anyone, who reaches the point where they shoot at someone else for any other reason than protecting themselves or someone else’s well-being, is not mentally stable and should be imprisoned like anyone else.

                                                        My wife was probably more annoyed by my opinion because she is the driver in the family and I am the cyclist. I do not even have a driver’s license, and I always use my Big Dummy for personal transportation unless my wife and I are going somewhere together. She has a bike and rides to work and other places occasionally, but her primary mode of transportation is our car. In any case, I think she feels I am biased because of my cycling-predominant perspective, and felt my opinionated punishment was not fair when considering justice should be blind and equal for everyone.

                                             

                                                        Now this is where my argument for my punishment comes into play. I completely agree the fireman most likely had pre-existing issues before the encounter with the cyclist. However, I am not sure imprisoning the fireman for 10-20 years or whatever would really solve anything. I would imagine the fireman might even build up more aggression towards cyclist while in jail, especially if he is surrounded by convicted criminals rather than public servants/fireman.

                                                        Imprisoning the fireman might also result in unnecessary punishment and hardship for any family he might have and be supporting. I am sure the cyclist can appreciate this considering he has a wife and child of his own. If the fireman had killed the cyclist, then he would have had to live with that guilt of killing the father of a child. If the fireman was sent to prison for several years or more then the cyclist might contend with knowing another person’s wife and children had to support themselves and grow without a father present. The fireman’s family might even possibly develop a biased against cyclists.

                                                        We all know that regular cycling has a strong tendency of easing people’s tensions, as clearly demonstrated by the cyclist in this situation because he was able to simply walk away from the confrontation. Along with counseling, if the fireman was forced to ride a bike to most places he had to go, it is a good possibility his stresses would decrease to some degree. Being forced to bike around would also give the fireman first hand knowledge of what it is like to be a regular cyclist and just how safe it is.

                                                        Once again, if the fireman has any family and children they would probably not develop as much (if any) biased toward cyclists if he was not sent to jail. If anything, they might also actually grow to appreciate what it is like for cyclists. Even if the fireman did not bike everywhere he would most likely need to be driven places by his family and/or friends. Apart from reducing emissions due to the inherent car-pool effect, this could also potentially result in more family or communal time and therefore increase positive reinforcing bonds with his family and friends.

                                                        I always thought that the punishment for crimes was supposed to rehabilitate offenders rather than simply disconnect them from society. Not only would imprisoning the fireman exactly the same as anyone else convicted of a first degree murder not rehabilitate the fireman much in my opinion, but it would also most certainly be completely ignored and/or forgotten by the public. At the moment we all have heard of this shooting only because it is relevant to our cycling lifestyles/enjoymen t. The average person/driver might only hear a mention of a shooting and a 10-20 year imprisonment on the local radio/TV or small article in a local paper. After that, it would most likely be forgotten… except to the fireman and his family.

                                                        On the other hand if the fireman was given the punishment I suggested, then it might come up more prominently in the public awareness. Every day everyone may or may not hear about shootings and their resulting prison sentences, and almost no one except the victims and the defendants hears or remembers the judgment. However, if the average Joe hears about someone loosing their constitutional right to bear arms, their job as a fireman, and (god forbid) their privilege to drive (and it is a privilege not a right!) I think the average Joe would actually perceive that to be a more real threat to a person’s freedom than the always-heard prison sentence.

                                                        I really think that most people do not think or at least comprehend in terms of “if I go through with this I might be put in jail” because for the average good law abiding American… prison is an almost foreign concept. Jail is simply somewhere they send bad people, and “I am not a bad person”. At least they do not think they are bad until AFTER they might have a bad day and a cyclist annoys them enough on their way home from work while driving their two-ton motor vehicle. However, I think the average American can definitely comprehend the unlikely concept of no longer being able to hop in their car and drive anywhere they want. Many of us probably experience it when our cars break down and are in the shop, but we know we will get it back ASAP. When a car breaks down it truly sucks and is a big inconvenience, but you could probably imagine what it would be like to not have your car or be able to drive yourself places for a year and god forbid 10 to 20 years! Therefore I feel the threat of not being able to drive is a more frightening and comprehensible deterrent to an average American’s liberty and thus a more immediate substitution when possibly thinking, “If I go through with this I might not be able to drive again!”

                                                        I think it is terribly sad that this may be the case, but in some ways I think it is true in most cases in most parts of America. Does anyone think I was totally wrong in my reasoning for my thought up punishment?

                                             

                                                        What follows is a very relevant personal experience I had, which no one needs to read because I know I have written quite a lot already, but it certainly conveys why I feel the way I do about this.

                                                        When I was still working as a messenger in New York City I was riding down Broadway literally around Union Square Park. Along the South Eastern edge of the park during this incident’s time there was a stretch of road construction with orange plastic mesh/nets nailed to wooden barricades. Before the construction I was directly ahead of a charter bus (like a Greyhound bus), but there was a curve in the roadway before the park ends at 14th Street, which was a big two way intersection. As a messenger I knew there was a good chance traffic would have to stop at the light, so I was not forcing myself to pedal all that fast. Unfortunately the bus driver behind me probably thought I was just being a slow cyclist, so he pulled up along side of me.

                                                        We were still on this curve in the road with the bus on my left side and the construction barricades on my right side. I was no stranger to tight traffic conditions, and I had even slid my elbows, forearms, and/or curved handlebars along the sides of buses in especially tight situations… but this was unusual because of the curved roadway and construction barricades with the thick plastic orange netting. As the bus proceeded to rush ahead the space narrowed more and more and even though I was trying to slow down it became dangerously tight. At that point I was trying to notice if the driver in the bus was paying any attention to me because I could actually see him in his side view mirror. Surely he had seen me when I was ahead of him moments before. I was shocked to see him look back at me because I was clearly in a precarious situation and this bastard was still moving his big-assed bus, which was about to bump me into the construction barricades.

                                                        When I saw him see me and not make any attempt to stop I immediately did all I could do to stop, but it was too late. My right handlebar got caught in the orange plastic construction mesh and some part of the rear of my bike bumped into the bus’s rear double-wheeled wheel-well. I went down and my bike twisted like crazy. I felt like a surfer in some giant Hawaiian wave, except my wave was made of air, metal, rubber, pavement, and construction grit.

                                                        I ended up being all right… relatively. My bike was pretty much fine too, except for the expected scratches and my handlebars being rotated out of aligned with my front wheel. I was certainly in no shape to go after the bus though because I had actually being incorrect in my calculations about possibly having to stop at the traffic light. The bus had been able to make it, but just barely even though the driver slowed down a bit while I was actually crashing into the barricade. Fortunately, there was another messenger right behind the bus, who had seen everything. He almost stopped while saying, “You okay brother?!” I was pumped up on adrenaline and I immediately kept him from even putting a foot down with, “Get that F%#$er!” The bus was already in the intersection, but the messenger was able to cross it in time and yell out, “Stop that bus!” There was yet another cyclist (a non-messenger roadie type guy I had actually seen around town before) ahead of the bus, who heard the messenger. When that cyclist heard the messenger he looked back and could see I was down on the ground by the construction site and he immediately slowed down in front of the bus and forced the driver to stop at a city bus stop on Broadway just South of the 14th Street intersection. The cyclist kept his stand in front of the bus while the messenger talked to the driver through the little driver window until the driver walked back to me with the messenger escorting him.

                                                        There I was on the ground pumped up and shaking. I was alive and checking myself for broken bones and other injuries. I was definitely bruised quite a bit and the blood from major scrapes was beginning to make itself known, especially one from a big nail from a construction barricade, which had gouged me somewhere. My back also felt strangely off. I took off my messenger bag slowly to see if I could start to feel some major pain because whatever pain I had from the injuries had not become pronounced due to the endorphins rushing through me. Surprisingly enough there was no serious pain in my back, but when I checked inside my bag I noticed something else. In my messenger bag I always kept a quarter-inch thick particle board (like the kind you might find on a big sketch/drawing clipboard). The board kept my bag from sliding around from my back to the front while riding and it also helped keep all my packages flat, organized, and protected. Well, the collision actually caused that board to be cracked right in half and bent some of my packages quite a bit.

                                                        I slowly gathered myself up. There was no way I was about to rush myself. There were cars behind me, but I could see from a glance in my vision that the driver behind me was in shock by what had happened. That driver probably did not think I would be getting up, but I did. I checked my bike (as any self respecting somewhat-able- bodied messenger would), and thoughtlessly straightened my handlebars back with the front wheel. After that I pretty much turned around and walked toward the 14th Street intersection leaving my bike on the pavement along with my bag. I did this because despite the craziness of the situation, I was very much hyper-aware of my surroundings. It was like slow motion now possibly because the adrenaline was pumping so fast through me because my heart was pounding so hard. I noticed the messenger had stopped the bus and they were coming back to me. Along with the adrenaline and endorphins rage was starting to pump through me too.

                                                        Call it road rage if you want. All it was to me at that moment was the knowledge that some driver knew I was in life and death danger because of his actions and kept at it! Even though I perceived my surroundings in slow motion my thoughts clearly were blindly racing. Back then I did not have my Xtracycle or Big Dummy, so I carried the common 3’ long “New York” Kryptonite brand chain and lock around my waist. As the driver and I approached each other, I flipped the lock latch with my hand and the chain unwrapped around my waist. Now, instead of the bus my chain and lock was a deadly weapon in my grasp.

                                                        The driver no longer had the protection of the bus, and if anything he knew he was out numbered because if he tried anything I am positive the other messenger would have backed me up even though we probably did not even know each other’s names. I could see the expression on the drivers face. It was not one of concern for my well being, but one more or fear. Obviously he could see me grip the doubled-up loop of chain in my grip and he also knew he had almost knowingly killed a person and could loose his job or go to jail. Fortunately for him I had taken several years of martial arts and I think that definitely assisted me in centering myself for the confrontation. I had always been trained not to enter a physical engagement with emotion as the driving factor, but rather have a clear mind and reason… and boy was I ever trying to clear my mind so I could get on with bashing this guys face with my chain.

                                                        I did not bash the driver’s face. I pictured it in my mind along with so many possible outcomes action for re-action. Although at the time the immediate visual of my chain ramming into that driver’s face was quite satisfying to me, I knew that alone might not bring the driver down and I was not in the best shape for an extended fight even with back up from the other messenger. Beyond that though, I was quickly running scenarios of the aftermath. My hyper awareness was also signaling to me the presence of a growing body of witnesses. Those people most likely did not see the “accident”, and certainly not the clear intent by the driver I saw, but all those witnesses would definitely have seen me swing a chain at the driver. That would result in me just being seen as just another of those anti-social anti-establishment rogue bike messengers, who always start trouble with law-abiding drivers and pedestrians. I did not want that, and I absolutely did not want to be put in jail myself if I lashed out at this bus driver and could not get away with it. How would my mom feel about me being sent to jail? I actually thought about that resulting outcome too in my racing thoughts… so I did not flail the chain at the driver.

                                                        Instead I stood face to face to him and with as many witnesses in ear shot I yelled into this guys face something like, “You F-ing almost killed me with your F-ing bus and you F-in knew it, Mother F-er!” All I needed was for him to start swinging and my chain was itching at my side.” He did not swing at me either though. Instead he started cursing at me back with something like, “You crazy F-ing bikers are always getting in the way. F-- you!” With that he turned around cursing out loud at me and walked back to the bus.

                                                        After I screamed at him I was a bit surprised by his reaction. I had not thought he would yell back at me like that because of the look of fear in his eyes. I had calculated he would either start fighting with me because of the chain I was clearly holding in preparation for a confrontation, or he would be extremely apologetic to save his job and avoid imprisonment. Instead he reacted with just more anger and hatred. I had seen this so many times before and did not want to encourage the hatred. I admit initially I wanted to bash this guy’s face in, but in reality by the time we were face to face I wanted him to feel sorry and appreciate the fact that he could have knowingly killed another human being and I had his job and freedom in my hands. Instead he dismissed me because of my negative confrontation and now this driver would continue to dislike or even hate cyclists.

                                                        When that driver cursed back at me I realized by yelling at him I did not improve the situation or future situations that driver and the witnesses might have. In my anger I did not think everything through clearly. Before he even turned to walk away I realized while my training had kept me from becoming physical, I did not have enough training to understand the anger should not have been present during the entire confrontation. Instead I should have spoken softly and carried a big chain. It was clear I was ready and willing to fight, but if I had quieted myself and said the same thing without curses, yelling, or anger, then that driver might not have been able to help but feel sorry. Witnesses would have seen I had kept in total control and the driver would have to face up to what he had done.

                                                        However, the driver had walked away and I left him because I lacked self-control. I knew he was walking away almost as angry as I had been. I simply had directed that anger toward him so he would have to deal with it, but that negativity probably would just fester inside him and possibly cause him to behave a similar way when dealing with other cyclists, which was not what I wanted at all. I was alive and relatively ok and I was definitely happy with that at that point in time. I sincerely did not want to force that driver to go to jail no matter how deliberate only he and I know his actions were. What if he had a wife and children? I did not want his family, friends, and co-workers thinking he went to jail because of one of those crazy New York messengers. That would not have helped anyone. I just hope that driver walked away from it and has had plenty of time with self-thought in the seat of his bus to try to see and maybe appreciate what it is like for cyclists. Another calmer reaction from me during that confrontation might have put him on the path more directly. I keep that in mind whenever I ride… and that is how I roll.

                                            J

                                            Ride safe everyone!

                                                       

                                                       





                                            --
                                            graphic structuralist | rick@...
                                            888 537 1401 x709 | the original longtail company
                                          • jj
                                            Not necessarily vigilante A vigilante is someone who takes the law into their own hands. Responding to violence with violence, while not ethical by many
                                            Message 21 of 29 , Jul 30, 2009
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                                              Not necessarily "vigilante"

                                              A vigilante is someone who takes the law into their own hands.

                                              Responding to violence with violence, while not ethical by many people's belief systems, is a responsive act, not a vigilante act.

                                              In Oregon, where I live, there is a specific threshold, legally, that has to be met in order to respond to violence with violence of your own:
                                              1. you have to believe your life, or the life of someone you are caring for, is in mortal peril
                                              2. the assailant has the means to cause you mortal peril
                                              3. The assailant has the motive to cause you mortal peril

                                              I am not going to pretend to know what happened in this case, but if someone were to shoot at me, hit me, and I couldn't get away, I would feel justified in replying in kind. With one of children on the back of a bike, you can bet your sweet bippy I would be responding in kind.

                                              FWIW: I am *often* armed. I have never drawn my weapon and have only been prepared to draw my firearm twice in 10 years. In both cases, walking away was the more expedient and more sane approach.

                                              Now...legally: if you are convicted of a felony, you forfeit your rights of firearms ownership, pending restoral of those rights by the government.

                                              All firearms purchases are run through the NICS system: if he is flagged as having a felony, or being involuntarily committed, or having a restraining order against him, he will be denied the right to purchase further firearms. In most jurisdictions, upon felony conviction or one a restraining order is filed, county law enforcement will arrive with a warrant to seize any firearms he may own. Further, he is not allowed to TOUCH another firearm.

                                              I think this idiot should stand trial, like everyone else who shoots people, unjustifiably.

                                              Just a few thoughts.

                                              jj



                                              Rick | Xtracycle, Inc wrote:
                                               

                                              But then we'd be a vigilante society, aren't we supposedly better than that? On top, he'd have to get jail time = money expenditure.



                                              On Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 12:48 PM, <ama3655@aol. com> wrote:
                                               


                                              He committed a felony, the pistol permit goes away. The reasoning behind a prison term is only partially to punish a criminal, and a small part. The primary reason is to protect society from further criminal activity. A secondary purpose would be rehabilitation and education in cases where that is helpful. In this case I expect that some therapy would also be helpful.
                                               
                                              On the other hand, if the cyclist had just had a gun himself and shot this nutcase between the ears we wouldn't have had to pay for his upkeep.



                                              --
                                              graphic structuralist | rick@xtracycle. com
                                              888 537 1401 x709 | the original longtail company

                                            • Fred K. Aron
                                              On Tuesday morning I was staying home to watch my 5 year old daughter RJ, as her Grandma had to leave town this week. We were siting having breakfast, and I
                                              Message 22 of 29 , Jul 30, 2009
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                                                On Tuesday morning I was staying home to watch my 5 year old daughter RJ, as her Grandma had to leave town this week.
                                                We were siting having breakfast, and I was telling her that we needed to go sign her up at her school.  She looked to her left, where our three bikes are stored in the kitchen, and said..."Daddy, can we take our bike instead of the car to school?" I smiled ear to ear and said of course, so we finished getting ready and enjoyed a light 15 minute cruise to her school, signed up, played on the playground, then rode over to Trader Joe's that was across the street in the Springfield plaza.  After getting a few bags of stuff we rode home, balloons in tow...
                                                So this am I had to stay home again for the morning till her other grandma was ready for her, and as we were almost leaving, she stopped me..."Wait wait, daddy, lets take OUR bike instead of YOUR car to Grandma's!"  I smiled and so wished I could, but I was dressed for work, had 10 min to get her across town...a very proud daddy replied. "Next time we will."
                                                 
                                                Here to keep the wolves at bay.
                                                Sheepdog

                                              • Steve Lange
                                                ... +1,000 Great story, thanks. Steve
                                                Message 23 of 29 , Jul 30, 2009
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                                                  On Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 6:13 PM, Fred K. Aron <inluvwithsara@...> wrote:

                                                  I smiled and so wished I could, but I was dressed for work, had 10 min to get her across town...a very proud daddy replied. "Next time we will."

                                                  +1,000

                                                  Great story, thanks.

                                                  Steve
                                                • jj
                                                  Sorry if my email came off sounding weird. Too hot weather + not enough sleep + busy day at work = poorly worded emails. JJ
                                                  Message 24 of 29 , Jul 31, 2009
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                                                    Sorry if my email came off sounding weird.

                                                    Too hot weather + not enough sleep + busy day at work = poorly worded
                                                    emails.

                                                    JJ
                                                  • Jake Wilson
                                                    ... ~~~Time for Jake to weigh in on this one. first of all, let s not forget that a crime was committed. That crime was..one man shot at another man using a
                                                    Message 25 of 29 , Aug 1, 2009
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                                                      --- In rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com, "jollywahlstrom" <jolly@...> wrote:
                                                      >
                                                      > --- In rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com, "Jenni Ertl" <ertlnet@> wrote:
                                                      > >
                                                      > > A motorist argued with, then shot a bicyclist after confronting him about
                                                      > > riding with his 3 year old on a busy street. The bullet went through his
                                                      > > helmet, but did not strike him.
                                                      > >
                                                      > >
                                                      > >
                                                      > > http://www.citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090727/NEWS01/9072
                                                      > > 70323
                                                      > >
                                                      > Obviously, the car drivers are what makes biking dangerous. If he wanted to help, he should shoot a few cars. This moron should lose his driving privileges also. He has HUGE anger issues.
                                                      >




                                                      ~~~Time for Jake to weigh in on this one. first of all, let's not forget that a crime was committed. That crime was..one man shot at another man using a gun, and the bullet missed the victim's head by merely an inch. Folks, if that's not attempted murder, I don't know what is, never mind the perpetrator is a first reponder nor the victim's mode of transporting his child was a bicycle. Attempted murder is attempted murder and I assume that charge will stick w/no need for the prosecutor to try and plea it down in exchange for a no contest plea. They have this guy who committed the crime, dead to nuts


                                                      It's going to be prosecuted as an attempted murder case. The defense will argue their client should go to the puzzle house but he will be going to prison, like it or not. I can't imagine extenuating circumstances keeping him out of prison


                                                      A lot of you have argued intelligently for keeping the perp out of prison. Society pays a high financial price to keep criminals in prison. That is the cost we bear as a democratic society, and most of us are not involved in the court system. I'm not, unless I have been chosen for jury duty, or do something illegal and find myself charged with a crime. The court system will handle this. Some will be satisfied with the outcome, others wont




                                                      Jake
                                                      Reddick Fla.
                                                    • Phil Good-Elliott
                                                      A few thoughts about behavior related consequences given the offender s position: 1) Lose gun permit - banned for life from ever owning a firearm. 2) Lose
                                                      Message 26 of 29 , Aug 2, 2009
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                                                        A few thoughts about behavior related consequences given the offender's position:

                                                        1) Lose gun permit - banned for life from ever owning a firearm.

                                                        2) Lose first responder's license - the role is to save lives and property, not kill others, especially as a fire fighter. Allow him to work in equipment maintenance, but not directly in service - at least for several years.

                                                        3) Pay huge fines towards counseling for victims of violent crimes in addition to paying for damages done to the victim and his family as a result of this trauma.

                                                        4) Lose his driver's license for minimum of five years.

                                                        5) Do voluntary service in a community bicycle shop for minimum of five years where he has to face bicyclists and learn all about bicycling.

                                                        Don't know about prison time, though he should definitely be convicted of a felony.

                                                        I don't know the rules of first responder licensing, so some of this may be moot. As someone who has worked with first responders, I do know that thy face huge stressors, but this is NEVER an excuse for violent behavior.

                                                        -Phil
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