What Do We Care About?

Background Reading

Posted by Jeff Schneider on July 7, 2014 at 8:43pm

Source: The ChainLink

From the Trib 6 July:

“About an hour earlier, a 25-year-old man was killed while riding a bicycle in the 10400 block of South Normal Avenue in the Fernwood neighborhood on the Far South Side.
Someone opened fire from a passing silver sedan as the man, Anthony Hobson, was about a block north from where he lived. Hobson was pronounced dead at Roseland Community Hospital about 12:10 a.m.”

One of the commenters asked:

“Why aren’t bicyclists outraged at the death of one of their own??? Because it didn’t happen in Wicker Park?”

Perhaps they are.  Perhaps they just don’t see the relevance of this killing to cycling, and therefore have no reason to comment on it on cycling fora or blogs.

I have cycled in rural areas and cities of all sizes in several countries.  I have cycled for several decades.  I have many times been endangered by reckless drivers and by lack of decent infrastructure.  So, as a cyclist, I can identify with those who faced similar challenges, but did not survive.  I can empathize with the victims, and sometimes share experience and advice to help others ride more safely.  I can support better cycling infra.

But I have not encountered being fired at by a gunman as an experience specifically relevant to cycling.  Nor do I have a clue what I *as a cycling enthusiast* could do to make killings like this one less common.  What I might do as a human being, a citizen, or a voter is a different question, but not one that is necessarily appropriate to write about in this forum.

Am I missing something?

Reply by envane (69 furlongs) 29 minutes ago
What you are missing is that you got trolled.

Reply by Matt M. 18.5KM 9 minutes ago

“The art of deliberately, cleverly, and secretly pissing people off, usually via the internet, using dialogue.”
-Urban Dictionary


Photo credit: Brian Bochenek

Photo credit: Brian Bochenek

I am almost sorry for this painfully clumsy attempt at being disinterested and sympathetic simultaneously. But that is the life of a ChainLinker. Had this young man only had the forethought to fake a ‘Door Zone Collision‘ so that we could all bake cupcakes and spend countless hours asking what make and model was the vehicle that allegedly left him lying on the ground, this would be a heck of a lot easier.

But the painful truth is that aside from a few token ‘people of color‘ whose participation we can thankfully cherish, there is precious little involvement between the ‘haves and have-nots‘ within this city. If not for the occasional Portage Park shooting it is likely that no one would ever care.

The ChainLink (ably assisted by one particular participant) is efficiently informed of which areas to avoid frequenting on a bicycle. Her response is always to avoid the places with black and brown inhabitants. But aside from this pithy informational style little is really shared between those who live on the North Side and those living either on the South and West Sides of the city.

I specifically remember the day when one of the fellows decided to label these areas ‘shitholes‘.

So in answer to your question Jeff, it is clear that folks like those who haunt this forum are quite unlikely to care very much about this young man’s death. He sin was BWB (biking while black). And as for trolling, could we stop creating accounts with names designed to sound as if they were created by people of color?