Your Pictures Reflect Your Values

ChainLink Values

Tom A.K. left me this message on the Chiditarod Viewing Party section of the forum:

Tom A.K. what you fail to understand is that it is not the fact that you drink but rather that you have decided to denigrate the motorists who follow suit. You either have to be a ‘role model‘ for them or STFU.

Selma March Values

But given the day and the life I have lived here in these United States, I am far more interested in these pictures:

Understanding Cannot Be Gained Easily

Values are very difficult to understand. You can live a life where you create for yourself a false sense of ‘victimhood‘ and hide behind that all the rest of your life. But I know charlatans when I see them. Real values take a lifetime to hone.

Playing ‘The Victim’ Once Again



The one thing to do if you feel you are ‘in the right‘ is to stand by your words. Refuse to change the captions on your images because you meant what you said, right? But trying to once again use the ‘woe is me‘ ploy to claim ‘victimhood‘ is precisely what makes the Urban Cycling Movement a farce.



You cannot lead except by example. That means marching across the bridge to Selma despite the personal dangers. That means standing by the words you use and more importantly choosing them carefully to begin with.  Your words are what they are. When you take a politician to task for offering a budget with which you disagree think about ‘fairness‘.

When you choose to harass a motorist and hold them to a higher standard than you would a fellow cyclist, think about ‘fairness‘. But never retreat into a ‘victimhood‘ posture when you get ‘called out‘.

There are always the folks who bring a stick to the zoo to use to poke the lion. And when the lion who was sleeping silently is provoked and reaches through the bars and scratches the poking child, his mother calls the zoo director and wants to have the beast ‘put down‘. I have seen this over and again.

The entirety of the Selma March was about just this scenario. Ferguson was again about this. Trayvon Martin’s killer was clueless, claiming all the while to be the potential victim. And I am certain that as he struggled on the ground with a person whom he was provoking (rather than waiting for the police) he probably kept telling himself that these blacks were a rather ‘uppity lot‘.

But you forget that we have seen what the ChainLink Crowd can be like when it takes a young woman to task for having the effrontery to challenge the crowd of males who gathered around her and poked her with a stick. She stood up to you and I am glad she did. Do not dare to try and don the cloak of a victim.

Being a hypocrite is precisely what one should not be. That means that when another person is doing exactly what you do (drinking too much for their own good or the safety of others) and manages to fail miserably at it, you do not poke sticks in their direction and declare them to be inhuman. Ryne San Hamel is not a monster. Neither is the young man who managed to turn himself into a paraplegic because he was too drunk to avoid a repair site.

And as for fairness, who does anyone justify having a Ride of Silence that only manages to visit the sites of deaths caused by collisions with automobiles? Why not have it honor those who died at the hands of cyclists themselves? Should not this years Ride of Silence visit the sites of the two pedestrians who died in Central Park at the hands of cyclists? Or is that somehow a hypocritical thing to ask?

Guys, get your heads on straight. You get the fairness and respect you earn. So long as the universe you live in one which has the ‘self-righteous victim‘ who is ‘hunted down by the automobiles who are supposed to hate you‘ the narrative can never change.

The problem is not that you feel afraid when riding the streets, but rather than in a effort to ‘fix the problem‘ you want everything else to change but yourselves. You want the world to stop drinking too much before sliding behind a steering wheel, but you do not have to conform when you slip behind the handlebars of your bicycle in the same condition. That simply makes no sense. But when this sort of thing is pointed out you suddenly go into you are being ‘unfair‘ mode.

Actually the world is a much bigger place than you might imagine. The consequences of living in a social bubble is that you may never be able to deal with ‘garden variety reality‘. When you hide behind a feigned victimhood be aware that someone will probably call you out.

As far as word twisting goes ask yourselves why that young lady who was so rudely treated on the ChainLink had to endure what she did? Get your heads on straight and then find ways talk about your fears and anxieties while riding your bike, but do it from the perspective of someone who truly wants to gather understanding about the problem without pointing fingers. Right now all that I can detect is that age old problem of teenagers who are mad at the world.

The Urban Cycling Movement is far too busy lashing out a perceived slights from politicians to ever get to the point that it can take the advice of the policy wonks who tried to talk you folks down from the ledge last year. They warned you about the ‘us versus them‘ rhetoric. Budget cuts are not an attack on your personhood or a social class as I have been reading.

Budget cuts come when the folks who have limited funds start asking where can the money we do have do the most good. When Bikes-n-Roses was found to have its funding yanked, instead of admitting that things needed to be examined from the viewpoint of making it and other shops, sustainable the UCM went into victim mode.

Well get prepared for lots more of that. The fares for every single method of transportation are going to ride. Count on it! Red light cameras are going to disappear for the most part. You are facing an overwhelming number of members of the general population who do not like being targeted any more than you do. They are known as motorists.

Own the ‘War on Cars‘. Do not shrink from it, if you feel it is just. But dammit, be prepared to have it examined. Be prepared to give a meaningful defense of the strategy that shows the benefits not just to cyclists but to motorists as well. Be prepared to have shopkeepers wonder if their already hardscrabble existence is going to be harmed if car traffic is eliminated from their streets. Be prepared to offer a solution for the lost revenue for on street parking. Be prepared to answer why it is OK to have no parking for cars, but plenty for bicycles and most of it free!

Be prepared to answer to the question why are cyclists outraged when a driver is found not only to have been motoring around as drunk as they are on their bikes, but why they take additional outrage at the fact the he did all this without a current license. They really reach deep and answer the questions about why cyclists think they too do not have to have licenses? And please do not presume that the good answer is that placing this restriction on cyclists will dampen the effectiveness of the movement. If that idea were anywhere close to true, most humans would avoid driving a car or riding a motorcycle altogether.

Instead kids look forward to getting their licenses. And you need to find a way to sell that idea to cyclists.

Or you could continue claiming that your words are being twisted and your existence as a victim is under threat. The least you could do when taking this tack is find a guy like George to help you sell that bullshit. He managed to kill a kid (Trayvon) and never serve a day in prison. Rather than sitting around trying to figure out which bicycle guru to listen to on a weekend, perhaps you should invite folks who have managed to inflict pain on others while armed and their victims had no guns.

Yep, that is where you attention should be directed. And good luck with that ‘fairness‘ crap. Call up the governor and the mayoral candidates and tell them your woes. Maybe they have a shoulder left on which to cry. I know I certainly do not. I am past feeling sorry for folks that cannot bring themselves to grow up and take on the really hard things in life, like obeying stop signs!

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