Sunday, September 23, 2007

Assault in Milwaukee

(Image from Gun Graphics)

Fritz wrote to me about this incident in Milwaukee in which a cyclist shot three times at a motorist, hitting him once.

I saw this story yesterday, and I thought about doing a post on it. But there are too many unanswered questions. The motorist comes across as an unsuspecting victim, just a guy driving along who may have innocently knocked a cyclist down. When he got out to check on the guy, the downed cyclist pulled a gun and started shooting.

In an alternate scenario - entirely imaginary on my part - the motorist blares his horn at the pesky cyclist slowing him down. They shout at each other. The cyclist is Hispanic, so there's a possibility of some racial overtones. The motorist decides to 'teach him a lesson' by passing very close, but miscalculates and knocks the cyclist down. The cyclist sees the guy get out of the car, presumably to continue the assault, pulls a pistol and defends himself. Having had previous dealings with the police and knowing of their perceived bias against both cyclists and Hispanics, he decides to avoid further legal entanglements, knowing that if they don't show up on his doorstep in a day or two, he's home free.

Any of us can imagine that scenario. It's depressingly common for cyclists to be harassed by motorists, and it's just as common to have our complaints dismissed by the police. After all, if an officer didn't actually witness the incident, it never really happened. It's equally common to encounter drunk or drugged people on our streets, some of them motorists, some pedestrians, and some cyclists.

When you carry a legal concealed handgun, as I did for some years back in Pennsylvania, it weighs much more than 30 ounces of steel. As my shooting instructor said, "All the Rambo bull shit goes away." It's a huge responsibility and it's not taken lightly. Someone who has never confronted that reality said that if he were carrying, "Wait in line? Hell no! I've got a gun!" The bluster and bravado evaporates when you have that weight in your pocket.

That doesn't explain or excuse the cyclist in Milwaukee, of course, because there are other possibilities. He could be an ordinary guy with a case of road rage. If you search the news, you find numerous instances every day. It's far too common. Another possibility involves drugs or alcohol and the lowered inhibitions that accompany them. Guns and booze are always a dangerous combination.

It will be interesting to see how this story resolves. Like I said, unless the police have a suspect within a few days, chances are the incident will be pushed aside by more pressing ones.

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Blogger bother yam said...

CD --

This didn't happen here, the Minneapolis paper talked about an incident that occurred in Milwaukee, WI.

6:48 PM  
Blogger Ed W said...

Thank you, bother yam! I corrected the post. Dunno how I managed to switch the two cities. A brain fart?

7:14 PM  
Blogger A Midnight Rider said...

I doubt if we will see any more about this. Matt Lauer is on the Brittany story, ya know.

7:17 AM  
Blogger Ed W said...

The Romans had bread and circuses. We have Paris and Brittany. "We'll always have Paris," Rick Blaine said. Except in our case it's more like a fungal infection.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Angel said...

I'm a cyclist in Oregon, and I carry because I work nights. I have had to draw on someone, but that ended it right there. A motorist swerved and darn near ran me off the road, then stopped in the middle of the traffic lane (at 2:00 am, so no traffic, but dark out) and got out of his truck, walking to where I'd stopped with a knife in his hand. I drew, he got back in the car and burned rubber running away.

You just never know about people some days, both cyclists and motorists. Both do really strange things...

2:09 AM  

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