It's official: Cyclists are subhuman
(updated: Sep 3, 2009)
A few weeks ago rghbsn posted in the forum a link to a news story about a man riding a bike with his wife and child being shot in the head by an angry motorist (link here). This motorist, who happened to be a firefighter, felt that he should impose his individual judgment of where cyclists should or should not be allowed to ride by SHOOTING THE GUY IN THE HEAD when he had his back turned, in front of his wife and child and other onlookers. Fortunately, the bullet hit his helmet and just barely missed his head.
The motorist, was charged with attempted murder. Pretty clear cut, right? Not so fast. Now we have the grand jury dropping the attempted murder charge and handing him a felony assault charge instead Murder charge dropped in cyclist shooting case.
Try pulling a Dick Cheney on someone else that isn't riding a bike, like a guy grocery shopping with his family for example. "He shouldn't be allowed to leave his cart in the middle of the isle – it blocks traffic, so I SHOT HIM IN THE FACE". Think you'll get an "Okay then, this is your first time, so don't do it again"? You can get a felony charge and ten years just for illegal possession of a firearm. Or maybe a kid is crying in a Wal-Mart, and you don't like it, so you slap someone else's 2-yr old a few times. Or maybe the cyclist shoots the motorist instead. See how that turns out in court. Yeah, that's what I thought.
To save him even this bit of trouble, perhaps he should have just run him over, and used the "I didn't see him" excuse, or the "he came out of nowhere" version, or maybe the more honest, "I was just not paying attention".
I don't know maybe this is endemic to NC. I am beginning to feel that NC is not the place to be for cyclists, and that maybe I should move to Colorado, Oregon, or California (if it weren't so screwed up otherwise). Heck, even Florida, or pretty much any other state except for South Carolina and Alabama.
Well, there is the $15 - $20 million TIGER grant that the WMPO is applying for, but as Ed pointed out to me if you read the fine print they can use the money for anything transportation related, not just bike and pedestrian improvements. Going by past performance, you have to be worried that the city will not pull a fast one and appropriate the funds for "road improvements" instead, or maybe for a trolley line for tourists. Or maybe just waste in general through embezzlement and bid rigging. Maybe we'll get another Share the Road sign for all of it.
I hate to sound negative, but giving druggies five months in prison for murder, treating the massive DUI problem here like a cookie jar instead of focusing on public safety, and telling kids to ride a bus 10 miles in order to cross a street, sounds like something else. And then there's the hundreds of millions they "need" to spend on new highways in NHC alone, making the $15 – 20 million a drop in the bucket in comparison. Why else would they want one of the largest cement plants in the country built right here in a sensitive ecosystem? Because it meets the regs? The EPA is a joke.
As is often said: Watch what we do, not what we say. Trust me, the powerful North Carolina DOT is firmly committed to a car-centric future. To hell with fossil fuel depletion, pollution, health care, and senseless loss of life. They are under a massive delusion that private cars will always be the preferred mode of transit. I'll still fight the good fight while I'm here, but not to worry, the electric car will save us all and allow us to continue business as usual.
Best hopes for $10.00 a gallon gasoline.
1. Bryan said...
Best hopes for $10.00 a gallon gasoline.
Couldn't agree more.
Sep 4, 2009 @ 8:46 AM
2. falldownboy said...
I can't believe this. When does shooting someone in the freaking head become a simple assault? If you pull a gun and aim at someone's head that's an attempt a ending a life. Justice isn't blind anymore, it's deaf and dumb and possibly dead.
Sep 4, 2009 @ 4:04 PM
3. Sir Glide Bikes said...
I think we need to take a page out of the civil rights movement and use Malcolm Smith tactics. And show we are committed to a bike friendly community and are not going away. Being nice does not work its a waste of time. As Howard Stern said we need an "angry black" as our mouth piece. We need to stage pickets and send a message we can't be placated with words and no action. I hate to say it but Critical Mass may be our best bet, block traffic during the commute take a lane and during school drop off or pickup. Find out when the city is trying to impress outsiders and show up en-mass. Get some negative media attention since that's the only thing the news people publicize. You have to fight for what you believe in its the only way to change status quo.
Sep 4, 2009 @ 4:09 PM
4. Randy said...
Sirbikes, it would have been very hard to prove the charge of premeditated murder in this case. They will probably present several other charges related to the firearm in commission of a felony, assault with a deadly weapon, and the civil suit the cyclists family will file will be staggering.
For those of you who have never done time, even a couple days is pretty rough. He will certainly do plenty of time. While I am no way taking up for the fireman, I think it is better to present charges with a 100% chance of conviction than a charge that could not be proved in court.
You never aim a gun at someone unless you intend to kill them. The fact that he fired also will allow for many charges to be stacked. The evidence they need would be finding if he had the gun in a holster. In some cases, removing a firearm from a holster implies the premeditation. If he had it out on the seat, or in his hand, for some reason, it may not be charged as first degree.
Sep 4, 2009 @ 5:40 PM
5. falldownboy said...
Randy, while you may have a few valid points regarding the possible reasons for the drop in charges against the fireman, I think what most of us are arguing is the inequity of the justice system in this state regarding the rights of cyclists. Why the grand jury chose to indict on a lesser charge of assault, to me, is irrelevant. That cyclists are being assaulted by motorists -- be it by the use of a firearm or the motorist's vehicle -- and are receiving less than fair judicial representation is and should be our main focus. We need to band together and demand better treatement. We need to organize and show a little civil disobedience if necessary. The time for asking why is over.
Sep 5, 2009 @ 7:52 AM
6. Randy said...
The problem is, this was an incident of road rage. You could not get a 1st degree murder conviction for road rage.
If you want to be angry, be angry with the DA in Asheville who filed a charge no grand jury would take to court.
Civil disobedience ? Bet you really scare them with that.
More people get away with rape, bank robbery, and tax evasion each year than running down cyclists.
Why would you want them to charge the fireman with a crime he didn't commit ?
Sep 7, 2009 @ 7:20 PM
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