04 September 2018

Why Was He Targeted?

A 65-year-old immigrant is riding a bicycle in a lane through a gritty working-class neighborhood on the border between Queens and Brooklyn.  

He is pedaling home from his job as a dishwasher.

A group of ATVs and motorcycles approaches from behind.

The lead ATV strikes the cyclist.

The lead ATV flees the scene.

Four days later, the 65-year-old immigrant who was pedaling home from work is taken off life support.

"If they did it to my dad," lamented Angelica Xelo, "they're going to do it to someone else."

Little did she know that the assault--which  at least one news outlet called an "apparent collision"--was captured on about a dozen surveillance videos.  Or that some of them caught that same group of motorized thugs doing the same thing to another cyclist a few minutes later.  

That victim, whose name hasn't been released, wasn't seriously hurt.  But police believe that cyclist, like Eucario Xelo--a 65-year-old immigrant father and grandfather, was targeted.

I would like to know:  on what basis?  In Xelo's case, being an immigrant might be an obvious rationale.  But I have to wonder whether it's also a case of drivers using two tons of metal to express their resentment at people on two wheels "taking" "their" traffic lanes away from them, just as immigrants are "taking" "their" country.

Either way, I can't help but to think that ATV driver and that group feel emboldened by the current political situation.  How much difference is there, really, between white male entitlement and motor vehicle entitlement?

Either way, the result is the same:  a 65-year-old immigrant father and grandfather pedaling home from his job as a dishwasher in a restaurant ended up dead. 


That, in a neighborhood a little less than 10 kilometers from my apartment--and which I came to know well in my days of writing for a local newspaper.  

Perhaps that's the reason why, even though I never (to my knowledge, anyway) met Eucario Xelo, I feel as if I've lost someone I know.  Of course, it's much worse for Angelica:  She lost her father.  She is sad and angry: She has a right to both, and much more.

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