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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Politics: Round One to the Victim

of the police state.

European Car-Free Day in Budapest Photo from Time magazine

Raw Story tells us that a NYPD officer who knocked a Critical Mass rider off his bike and onto the ground has been relegated to desk duty.

Now, we know quite well that the bicyclists who participate in Critical Mass can be unbelievable fucking jerks. We've been subjected to their jerkiness quite a few times. We include the idiot who acted like he owned the goddamned road, shot in front of us, almost killing himself, then pursued us for two miles, spitting on our windshield and window, swerving in front of us deliberately, and screaming abuse at the top of his lungs. We include all the idiots who don't obey stop signs or the rules of the road and lack basic ordinary manners. We include the lunatics who surrounded and attacked some idiot SUV driver.

Look, people, when people have their kids in their car, even if it is a gas-guzzling monster and the driver is an asshole, DO NOT for crying out loud attempt to teach them good manners by screaming foul abuse at them while putting dents in their vehicle, OK? That is so not cool. Yes, the parent is an unmitigated asshole and probably a lousy driver to boot, and yes, they probably were acting like they owned the fucking road. The right thing to do is take a video of their assholish behaviour with your cool little cellphone/video camera type gadget, note their license number, and call the cops.

Of course, when the cops happen to be the ones that beat your ass, you definitely want the event videotaped. In this particular case, although the cop in question did arrest the cyclist and hold him for a little over a day (26 hours), a fellow cyclist videotaped the whole thing and put it on YouTube:
"If it wasn't caught on video people would not have believed it," rider and documentary filmmaker Christopher Ryan added. "The video just shows what the cyclists have been saying all along, that the police are still harassing and intimidating them from doing group rides."
Well, cyclists in NY are made of different stuff from our intrepid natives, apparently. Or perhaps it's the fact that the Critical Massives have so much clout here, but our cyclists seem to have everyone intimidated and terrorised. Which is also not a good thing.

The lesson to be learned is, apparently, to videotape interactions with the police (and do it surreptitiously, for mercy's sake). Because if they whup your ass and you can prove it, they're going to learn from the consequences. Oh, yeah, it helps not to live in Bumfuck, name_of_state. Or, if you're so unfortunate as to live there, to do your best to ensure that your local politicos and your neighbours understand the meaning of "police state" and agree that it is not a desirable thing.

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