Sunday, February 14

What Have We Come To?

View Towards the Road, Texas FM1722, From Which Chip Menaces Society
Nothing Between Here and Northern Canada Other Than Barbed Wire
I've seen a lot of discussion about ChipSeal and his legal troubles. Today, I got to see, firsthand, a taste of just what is really at stake for him. Above, you see the view looking down his driveway toward the road that runs past his abode. The other views (all are less scenic) offer no better options for someone that wants to leave home to, say, get groceries. Imagine that view, if you had no car, not to mention lacked internet and phone service - and THEN imagine you were suddenly prohibited from using that same road you had used without problems for years. It puts things into perspective when I hear urban people complain about things being tough for bikes. Richard, who went along, was careful not to inadvertently fall into the "cyclist pit of doom" on the porch. I think Richard was as affected as I was. Thinking about it, probably more. I avoided going within five feet of the pit.

Once Chip enters the road, his choice is below. Actually, he could also go in the other direction along this road, but it looks pretty similar. Run along this road a bit further, and you'll encounter Texas 287, which is the only reasonable way WE found to get into Ennis (Business 287 is the town's main drag). It's one of the roads he was told he could NOT ride along, and for which he is on trial come Tuesday and at least one added time thereafter. Perhaps, if convicted, he can simply wade through the snow in the ditch alongside to avoid making any motorists nervous, as long as the barbed wire fence isn't too close to the road. Perhaps, the jury would just have him simply "go away." Sarcasm aside, it seems pretty easy, to me, to pass a cyclist on such a road, and it would be even simpler if the road had four lanes, as does 287, but maybe my standards for what is simple are too high.

Road From Chip's Place Towards Ennis
No Annoying Cyclist Obstructing Traffic in This Shot
MAYBE, He Simply "Went Away"
We Took the PanzerSchlepper to Remain Inconspicuous

Once convicted, if Chip leaves his driveway, he'll get to visit the locale shown below again. It truly IS more important to Chip than to those that prosecute him. And more so than most of us will ever know. In another sense, the question of whether someone should face imprisonment merely for being different than most is something that any of us that believe in a nation of law should concern ourselves with.

The good news? Well, the Ennis Police said Chip wasn't there today, and the Sheriff said he wasn't there anymore, either. Upon further inquiries, they indicated his last visit was back in January, upon which we all breathed a sigh of relief. And THAT observation truly DOES speak volumes...

Outside Chip's Place is the Coldest I've Ever Been With My Ski Coat On
I Imagine It's a Lot Warmer Inside the Ennis Municipal Building
The Police Have Much Nicer Digs Than the Cyclist They Prosecute


Oldfool said...

I won't go into detail but I have experience with Texas justice and I see it hasn't changed much. Louisiana is pretty much the same. You will get all the justice you can pay for.
Mostly I see that if you have little money, are old or are on foot then you will receive their justice.

Steve A said...

I pray Oldfool is wrong. I think he'd like to be wrong. On the other hand, this should have been dismissed from the get go. Riding a bike in the road. In the words of the judge: "are they serious?"

Velouria said...

This is very unfortunate indeed. I need to revisit ChipSeal's blog to read up on the updates.

Oldfool said...

Oh I very much want to be wrong.

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