Thursday, January 28

It Starts With the Law

I've seen some posts about ChipSeal's experiences with the Law in Ellis County, Texas. It's not just Ellis County. In the "Daily Breeze," my favorite newspaper when I lived in Redondo Beach, I see cyclists asking for protection against the police, in this case, the LAPD instead of the Ellis County Sheriff. It is not a proper function of the government to protect the majority against the minority. It is rather to ensure that the majority does not use that status to crush a minority. The police should never forget that, and I know that many police respect that obligation with great respect. But some are confused, perhaps not realizing that the law is what makes us great. Otherwise, we cease to be a society of law. Luckily, for me, most police in my area know this. Cyclists (not the people on bikes that are scum, salmon, ninja and such) should see the police as friends and protectors, not as instruments of oppression.

For those of you that think ChipSeal deserves the arrests, I think I'll recall a quote from Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out.

Maybe we DO need better advocates. I'm beyond not caring about a 3 foot passing law that doesn't affect me one way or the other. Now I want to see people I know ride safely (if not always exactly the way I'd ride - Chip's signals are a bit sloppynot be prosecuted by the force of law. We might quibble about whether this is best practice, or polite, but we're talking about people being put in prison for not "getting out of the way." The standard is pretty far above what would be expected for a run-of-the mill motorist. And THAT is not "equal protection."

Where does this end? It's one thing to get harassed by rogue motorists. It's another thing entirely to be denied the right to travel by the government one is compelled to pay taxes to. I may or may not ride as Chip sees as the safest way for himself, but I've not ridden a mile in his pedals.

I like the moniker "LAW" a lot better than "LAW, DBA LAB." If I'm to be harassed, I'd rather have the law on my side than be the harasser.

This is serious. I paid my fair share towards these roads with the expectation that I could use them.


Rantwick said...

Hear hear! That was very well put. I feel extra-super powerless to help here in Canada, but hey man, well said.

Rantwick said...

Is there an online way to cantact powerful people in Texas? Let's make Chipseal an issue worth noting. Email me.

Keri said...

"This is serious. I paid my fair share towards these roads with the expectation that I could use them."

Damn right!

"For those of you that think ChipSeal deserves the arrests..."

I certainly hope the "courtesy" scolders would shut up short of suggesting ChipSeal deserves this. Personally, I think they should STFU, period. As you said, none of us are riding the mile in his pedals. Each rider makes his or her own determination of practicability for the conditions in which s/he rides.

The silence from LAWDBALAB is deafening on these cases of unwarranted traffic stops and unlawful arrests.

I'd sure love to see a large "civil obedience" ride take place in Ellis County... and be a part of it.

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