Monday, March 20, 2006
When journalists attack
Several months ago, Myrtle Beach mayor Mark McBride came under fire for saying he had contemplated running into a biker with his car because he considered the motorcyclist’s shirt to be offensive. It amazes me that, while McBride found a mere shirt to be vulgar, he apparently saw nothing profane in committing a potentially deadly act of violence against another person.
McBride was subsequently ousted at the poles during a bid for re-election, thanks in part to efforts by several South Carolina motorcycle rights organizations and the American Motorcyclist Association.
So with the McBride story so brightly illuminating the average person's ignorance toward motorcycling, I shouldn't be shocked when I see op-ed pieces by sad, angry little journalists like Douglas Simpson of the Lake Cities Sun. Check out these outrageous quotes by Simpson:
"Why are these things street legal?"
Ummm...err...well for starters, Doug, because they're economical, environmentally friendly, alleviate traffic congestion, and reduce road wear. And those are just a few ancillary reason off the top of my head.
Simpson's attitude is typical of the average SUV-land-barge-owning, cell-using-while-driving, irresponsible American driver. He apparently doesn't think he holds any responsibilities or obligations toward other road users unless they happen to stay within the remaining peripheral vision on each side of his onboard DVD player's video monitor. This guy would freak out if he ever took a trip to Italy or Germany, where motorcyclists outnumber cagers in some areas.
"Nothing irks me more than sitting in dense 5 p.m. or Friday traffic, only to see a motorcycle driving between the rows of cars, going about 40 mph. I want so badly to open my car door just before they reach me."
Thank you, Mayor McBride...er...I mean, Doug. The fact that you get the urge to kill a complete stranger just because he takes advantage of the benefits of motorcycling makes you evil in my book, Mr. Simpson. Intolerant, ignorant, and evil.
This willingness to commit violence exemplifies another typical flaw in the average American cager's attitude: Entitlement Mentality. Mr. Simpson apparently thinks that just because he and his 8,000-pound Ford Excursion are forced to sit in a traffic jam, the rest of us should be, too. Furthermore, he's seemingly not deep enough a thinker to realize the dangers a motorcyclist faces by getting sandwiched in-between two cages in heavy traffic. Lanesplitting is not optional. In heavy, urban traffic situations, it is 100 percent necessary. That's why Texas is currently considering legislation to legalize it.
"I remember a few years back, I think after Gary Busey had his bad motorcycle wreck, there was a public service announcement asking motorists to 'keep an eye open for motorcyclists,' like they are being abused by us car and truck drivers."
Because we are being abused. In almost 75 percent of all car/motorcycle accidents in the United States, the oblivious cager is found to be at fault. We're regularly tailgated, crowded, and flat-out ignored by others. And with attitudes like Simpson's seemingly the norm, it's no surprise.
"I remember telling the TV, 'I’ll look out for them as soon as they start obeying traffic laws.' I’m still waiting, so in my eyes, they are fair game."
Evil emeffer. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Cagers don't want to be bothered with any condition more than 5 feet in front of their hood ornaments while driving these days. Every driver should adopt as a personal issue that motorcyclists are to be given, not the same amount of attention and care as other motorists, but ten times as much. And until motorists are willing to adopt that mentality and attitude, bikers will continue to be creamed in silly ways.
Granted, there is a certain segment of motorcyclists out there who are determined to go 175 mph on congested expressways, weave in and out of traffic wildly, and stunt on the street. Those idiots will take Darwinian care of themselves eventually, and with likely no harm to anyone else. But a few hooligans on sportbikes is no excuse for Simpson's Auschwitzesque attitude toward bikers and how they deserve to die.
You can bet that Simpson would be appalled if the same mentality were taken toward, fat, lazy, out-of-shape lard asses like himself. Were I to advocate that such people should be harmed or killed because of the social and healthcare burdens they create, I'd be called a monster. Meanwhile, Jagoffs like Simpson can spew their uneducated, equally offensive white-trash opinions and get published.
Welcome to wackyland.
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