23 January 2019

Rolling By The Racists

In previous posts, I've mentioned that for years Florida has had, by far, the highest death rate for cyclists of any US state.

I have mentioned some of the possible reasons for it, based on professional research as well as my own experiences of riding in the Sunshine State.  Those reasons include the "car culture" of the state as well as the frequent indifference or even hostility law enforcement officials envisage when cyclists are injured or killed by drivers.

Now, it seems, there may be other factors: guns, for one, and old-fashioned racism for another.

The incident I'm about to mention didn't end with the death, or even serious injury, of a cyclist.  But it could have become the Emmett Till case of cycling because something that might or might not have happened brought racial hostility to the surface, and a gun from its holster.

All right, I was using "holster" metaphorically. What I mean, of course, is that a man pulled out his gun.

That the ugly incident happened the other day, when Martin Luther King Jr's life and work were commemorated, should not surprise anyone.  A "Wheels Up, Guns Down" ride, which included ATVs as well as bicycles, spun through the Brickell area of Miami.

A white woman accused a black teenager of riding his bicycle over her foot.  (I wonder whether that woman will recant on her deathbed.) A white man--who may have believed he was defending the woman's honor or some such thing--pulled out his gun and yelled a racial slur at the cyclist.

A young black person on a bicycle:  What could be more of a challenge to that man's or woman's reality?  And, of course, he gets backlash for it.  That alone gives him more in common with MLK than someone whom Mike Pence likened to the slain civil rights icon.

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