Because every child has a right to grow up

This is so not what I want to write about.

I’ve been working on another post, taking on so-called futurist Syd Mead, who somehow can’t seem to envision a future with bikes in it.

And typically, complains about empty unused bike lanes. Yet in the next breath, worries about cars unable to turn right because of all the bikes blocking their path.

Sometimes they just make it too easy.

But frankly, my heart’s just not in it.

Not tonight.

Because tonight my heart is weighed down by Skittles and tea, bumpers and guns; badly broken by a world where too many children lose their lives before they can get back home.

Yes, I’m talking about Trayvon Martin.

But I’m also talking about Horacio Pineda.

And Alex Romero.

And Danny Marin.

And Shantrel Williams.

And Jonathon Fernandez.

And Jeremy Perez.

And Joseph Parra.

And Roger Lewis.

And David Granados.

And Jonathon Hernandez.

All were 18-years old or younger when the life was crushed out of them by the bumper of a car. Or under a bus or truck.

In some cases, the driver was at fault. In some, the rider.

And in some, we’ll never know.

And those are just the one from Los Angeles County in the last three years. And only those who died in collisions.

The numbers would jump considerably if we added those who died from falls or trains or solo collisions. Or other SoCal counties outside LA.

Or gun violence while riding their bikes.

Like Martin, they had no idea when they left home they’d never return again. Or that the next time their parents and loved ones would say goodbye, it would be forever.

In his case, he went out for some Skittles and an iced tea.

The others were out with friends or running errands. Or just, you know, riding their bikes.

Like many others, I’m troubled by the Zimmerman verdict. Just as I am all the drivers who get off after killing a bike rider, or get just a slap on the wrist while their victims get the death penalty.

Or never face charges at all. If they’re ever found, for that matter.

I can’t say if he deserved to be convicted. I wasn’t in the courtroom; the only evidence I saw was what was presented on TV.

If you really want my opinion — and God knows, I don’t know why you would  in this case — he’s responsible for everything that happened once he ignored police instructions to stay out of it.

But I wasn’t there.

And unless your name is Zimmerman, neither were you.

What I do know is that far too many children are dying on our streets, victims of guns and gangs and cars and predators. And if we are ever to succeed as a civil society, it has to stop.

Now.

The Netherlands were once as car centric a nation as we are.

But the Stop de Kindermoord (stop the child murder) movement led to dramatic changes in transportation and society that gave a higher priority to the lives and safety of children and other assorted human beings.

Because it’s not just children who are dying out there.

It just seems more heartbreaking when it’s a future full of possibilities that’s snuffed out.

We need something like that, right here and right now. Something that goes beyond just traffic to address all the reason parents have to rightfully fear for their children whenever they leave the relative safety of home.

And to keep those children safe from the countless boogeymen and women behind the wheel.

Or behind the trigger.

Because the most fundamental right of all should be the right of every child to grow up.

8 comments

  1. David Granados misspelling

  2. d2 says:

    I agree with you about Zimmerman. He began that tragedy the minute he got out of his car. You can kill a child so easily in our country, often with no ramifications.

  3. Biker395 says:

    That Syd Mead article is part of a “Summer of Cycling” series. So far, that series has offered nonsensical rants under the guise of informed opinions. So much of his rant is demonstrably false … and by obvious counterexamples even moderately well-informed children are aware of.

    I don’t blame him for being ignorant … ignorance is a way of life with a lot of people. I blame whoever is behind the “Summer of Cycling” series for giving a pulpit to the ignorant and selling it as informed opinion.

  4. Michael M says:

    …those who died from falls or or trains or solo collisions.

    Double “or”

  5. Well-worded post, I think it makes a concise and compelling case for any person with a soul to support safer streets.

  6. […] Every Child Has a Right to Grow Up, And We’re Not Just Talking About Trayvon (Biking in L.A.) […]

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