Received yesterday from my Denver friend B (M is his wife):
On Thursday night M and I were on a 10 mile ride to a meeting with friends and back. Most of the ride we rode down S. Pearl from I25 south towards our destination at Hampden. When we got to Harvard Gulch we had to cut back over to S. Logan Street.
There were lots of cars parked on the southbound side of Logan and it is one lane in each direction. At the top of the hill we were passed by a very angry driver in a small white souped-up Subaru with fancy wheels and tires and a loud muffler.
As he accelerated around us he must have been doing 45 to 50 in a 30mph zone. There is a laser speed sign there because speeding is a problem with the rush hour commuters traveling through the neighborhood.
He honked and yelled at us. As luck would have it he was immediately caught in traffic at a red light and we traveled down the hill passing him.
As I passed I flipped him the bird and said “smooth move a--hole.”
He yelled, do you want to “talk about it,” as he accelerated through the now-green light at Hampden. He cut in front of me on E. Jefferson, immediately jumping out of his car and running to me. He continued to scream and yell for a few minutes. I let him vent and only engaged him minimally.
As I started to ride away I was repeating his license plate number over and over. He said “What are you doing?” I said, “ Memorizing your plate, a--hole, so I can report you for road rage.”
He jumped out of his car screaming, “NOBODY calls me an asshole!” He chased me down about 100 yards and tackled me while I was still clipped into my pedals. The chickensh-t had his car keys between his fingers. He got in a few good shots before I got on top of him.
Several witnesses came running up. I said, “Call the cops.” The cops got there in about 3 minutes. M was really freaked out and had ridden to a nearby bookstore (where friends of ours were) to get help. The cops took witness statements first, then handcuffed him and put him in the car. I pressed charges and he was charged with assault. Fire trucks and paramedics were called because of the blood from my scratches and cuts. I am sore, but ok.
I guess I will see him in court in September.I am not sure how I feel about the whole thing. I guess he could've had a gun, etc. etc. It could've been worse. I just don't like feeling vulnerable and just riding away. It doesn’t sit well with me.
I have never walked away from a fight. I have had my nose broken more than once. I have never been a “you should see how the other guy looked” kind of guy. I always won. I wasn’t too emotionally involved in this, so I didn’t have the urge to just stomp his a--. I just held on to him til the cops showed up. I guess I have too much to lose these days.
M is still upset and having bad dreams about this punk. Fortunately she is out of town for the weekend with her friend Pam.
I rode for 25 miles this morning early. I will see you on the ride in the morning.
Most of us, says the blogger, will condemn B for contributing to this violent incident. If he'd just kept his mouth shut and his finger down, it would have been over after the driver "honked and yelled."
B's life, as you may have perceived, was not always so civilized. He is wired to react, to get back into faces that are shoved into his. He "won't be laid a hand on," as someone used to say.
The driver is a bully. No telling how many cyclists and pedestrians he has terrorized. No telling how many he would have terrorized in the future, had not B stopped him. Certainly B could have turned him in via some Hotline; might work, might not.
No telling also if the driver would have hurt someone tomorrow or next week. He won't hurt anyone tomorrow unless he slugs his cellmate.
Had the driver been a schoolyard bully, terrorizing our children, our attitudes would be totally different. We'd condemn those who did not speak up, did not protect our children, did not try to stop the hostile behavior before it escalates.
I am not defending or recommending B's actions. I'm suggesting that we pretend that there are no bullies or bad people, though we know there are. We place the responsibility of policing them on folks who aren't there when the thing happens. We accept no responsibility at all. Not our job.
Is B-style behavior appropriate? Nope. Is our behavior effective?