I think we can all agree that, at this point, everyone commenting on the Friday incident involving Critical Mass bicycles and a couple of police agencies in Ogden has lost their mind.
Have you read those (click!) comments? My God, these people are nuts.
One has to factor in, of course, that people writing comments on news stories posted on web sites are making stuff up. The posts are anonymous, after all, and we don’t edit them except to take out posts that are patently offensive, outright misrepresentations of who is posting them, and so on.
Still, even allowing for that, what must one make of a post I saw on the Salt Lake Tribune’s site in which a person claimed a cyclist reached into his window to hit him, he rolled up the window trapping the cyclist’s arm, “and then let him see how fast my car could accelerate to 60 m.p.h.”
Is it me, or did that person just admit to attempted criminal homicide?
In a later post he said he let the guy’s arm free, but still.
There’s post after post of hostility. Even allowing for a drama factor, coupled with a “making it up” factor, one senses a level of smoke that makes you think there might really be some fire out there in the form of knuckeldraggers crusing the streets, looking for an excuse to run over a cyclist in some allegedly legally allowable manner.
What’s fearsome is, if you get enough of this kind of talk, eventually some inbred takes it to heart.
King Henry II of England was only yelling in frustration when he wondered why nobody would rid him of “this turbulent priest,” but several of his knights took it to be an order and went off and murdered St. Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury. We have more timely examples, of course — the continual ranting and raving by certain commentators on TV against doctors who provide abortions that incite disjointed minds to go off and shoot people is only a recent example.
One might say “Oh, they don’t mean it,” but several cyclists I know who are not the sort of people who make stuff up say they already have insults, and more solid objects, hurled at them by people in cars on a regular basis. How often that actually happens I don’t know — it rarely happens to me — but they are honest people so I have to assume it happens on their rides.
Whatever, the noise level seems to be higher, and that can only end in something bad.
I like to tell people that the safest way to ride, or drive, is to assume everyone else is out to kill you. Are we getting to a point where they really are?