Just ride

“Man to man is so unjust.” — Bob Marley, Who the Cap Fit

My sister, who lives in Denver, called us Thursday evening.

As the call was wrapping up, she mentioned that she had to pick my 15-year old nephew up at the movies at 3 am.

Because he was on his way to a midnight showing of the new Batman movie.

The next morning, I awoke to the news that a madman had opened fire in an Aurora theater, not far from their home, during a midnight showing of the movie.

My stomach started doing flips.

It was bad enough that something like this had happened once again. Or that it happened in my home state, in a town I lived in briefly about three decades ago.

I knew there was little chance Adam had been at that particular theater at that exact time. But when an email to my sister went unanswered for longer than I could live with, I had to call to ensure he hadn’t been there.

And I can’t begin to tell you how relieved I felt when he answered the phone, and said he’d gone to a theater closer to his home. One that was, thankfully, madman and assault rifle free.

All weekend, we all were bombarded with a constant drumbeat of news bits, each adding to the still incomplete portrait of just what happened in that theater that night.

Yet none of the jabbering talking heads paused long enough to put this madness in perspective.

Twelve dead is a horrible, tragic needless waste.

But it doesn’t begin to compare with the 90 Americans who lose their lives on our streets every day. And it’s just one less than the death count of cyclists on SoCal streets this month alone.

Ninety killed every day.

Six-hundred-thirty every week.

Two-thousand-forty every month.

Yet there’s no breaking news reports for that story. No attractive anchormen or women breathlessly whipping to reporters in the field, no tidbit of meaningless information that’s not trivial to relate. No outrage or prayer vigils or 24-hour news cycles dedicated to the lives and deaths of victims of the rapidly compounding body count.

And seldom an arrest, let alone prosecution, even when the killer is known.

Instead, we just call them accidents.

Never mind that virtually every collision that occurs anywhere can be traced back to one or more people breaking the law, or operating their vehicles in a careless, distracted or intoxicated manner.

Accidents are virtually never just accidents.

Even on the rare occasions when killers are arrested, those who know them will argue that it wasn’t really their fault. If you only knew the whole story, they insist, you’d understand that he or she was really a good person who just made one little mistake, or did something so out of character it should be forgiven.

Even in cases where the driver left the victim to die on the side of the road, then ran off like a coward and hid the evidence of the collision in an attempt to avoid the consequences of his or her actions.

No outrage.

Seldom any consequences.

And even then, it usually amounts to nothing more than a limp slap on the wrist.

In the meantime, the body count continues to rise. And nothing is done to address the insanity on our streets; no politicians step forward to demand an end to our daily motor maniacal madness.

I don’t have an answer.

I believe, strongly, in a Vision Zero plan. And in placing greater responsibility on those with the greatest potential to cause injury and death.

As well as changing our laws to force drivers to stop and stay at the scene of a collision.

Yet we all wait in vain for a political leader with sufficient courage to take a stand on the issue. Let alone actually do something about it.

Then again, none of our elected leaders seems to have the courage to do something about all the Columbine/Virginia Tech/Aurora massacres that actually do make the news, either.

I wish I had a solution.

I really do.

Other than demanding that our candidates for every office go on the record for what, if elected, they would do to address these parallel, if vastly uneven, bloodbaths. Then vote accordingly in the fall.

But at least I know a way to release that knot that’s been gnawing at me since Friday morning. And salve, in some part, the overwhelming sadness.

And that’s get out on my bike.

For a moment, for a hour, for an afternoon.

Let the wind blow away whatever tears may fall.

And just ride.

My prayers for all those injured or killed in the Aurora shooting. And all the countless named and nameless victims of the madness on our street.

6 comments

  1. Allan says:

    “in a town I lived in briefly about three decades ago.”

    Interesting, I lived in Aurora when I was a little school boy starting out the mandatory 1-12 years of school about 45 years ago. (Man I’m getting old!) I’m betting the town has really changed since those memorial years. Sad to see it in the news like this.

    You’re absolutely right about how drivers are pretty much given a pat on the back and told it was just an “accident”. The victim has lost their lives, while the driver is looking at maybe having their lives cramped for a year or two, if even that.

    • Karl says:

      Your comment Alan ignores the tale of two “Thompkins”‘s ours who might just be getting out of prison for not being Christian essentially and the east coast fate that a man wise enough to follow the teachings of Spike Lee more then analagously drugs to cars is addicted just like the rest of us and should not be burned at the stake in the modern day Salem that is this witch hunt only doubt I hope to in part have contributed to instill in it’s preacher(s).

      I’ve pointed out that if we really enjoy SUV’S and all that so much then payfor the 17 years olds we crush and kill and if miniorities have to run like we are not innocent for fear of the deranged mob doing to us what they lack the courage to do for themselves- get help, crush not sell there fucking car if not just be accountable and not sell it like Uncle Sam did with those rifles recently to Mexico.

      Build ahouse out of tires? sure.

      But dthen don’t vote for polticitsans gullible enough to think that saving transit money on break pads by lining pockets of rich jews or just yuppies by any name with ‘research’ grants like those thathad us learn how to better sew human skin lampshades furhter exhonserates you- it only implicates.

      The reality is we all know exactly what to do. We havebegun todo itfor transfats and cigarettes even.

      In some countries they ahve never allowed even cops to carry death pipes around. Now we have motorcycle machine gun racks so anyone with a sling shot can get on in short order- there happy to tell everyone where they can be found- unlike the decrepit pretense of the chief in Aurora who thinks that recogniseing hwo isn’ta cop is the threat-… completey backwards hehas itof couree.

      course

      My town, my couinty, my years, have seen enough of these to not the names of the accused tobe the same but for skin color and age or pedigree. But that the names arecoming up thesame for any areligous person should be a clarion.

      Imagine being the 17yo whose flesh is probably still refrigerated and not yet so stinky he and ithas to be burned from our sphere of not just space but awareness.

      This doctor we pillor was a veteran of treating gun shut wounds maybe not daily as in colorado but too many- if we said we won’t require er docs to treat more then a hundred the NRA could not stop progress- it would simply b e too expensive.

      In chicago youcan buy homes htat sell not for les then half amillion here for under ten grand- every day, more then all the privately held gold can be banked for, and only demolition is left, and believe me it’s used, and theimpact of all the new construction exceeds the bgenefit of alll of us biking who presently do.
      Locally cars kill more people by poisoning the air then by actual physical bumper to shin or worse ‘embrace’.

      Electric cars especially pollute the globe even more- far more.

      It is about work. IN a year if not a day some of our commutes have us do more ‘work’ then if we strapped ourselves to full body workout machiens 20 hours a day for a century.
      It is the devils work.

      The rest is just hot air.

  2. Jim Lucas says:

    How many of the 12 died needlessly, because they were in an environment where people who obeyed the law could not carry their own firearms.

    • bikinginla says:

      Probably none, since Colorado is an open-carry state. And while the theater had the option to prohibit weapons at its discretion, my understanding is that there were no metal detectors that would have stopped anyone from violating such a ban, if it existed.

  3. Shoshana says:

    First off I want to say great blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing. I’ve had difficulty clearing my mind in getting my ideas out. I do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints? Thank you!

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