Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Bicycle as a Tool

... because any tool, held properly, can be used as a weapon. I wrote my last post on the empowerment of the bicycle, the limitless freedom and independence that the simple machine gives me.

I witnessed Thursday night, however, that the same tool that gives me such transportation independence also gave a very different kind of power to Officer Dillon of the Riverside Police Department. During a march with Occupy Riverside, a few occupiers briefly stepped off the crowded sidewalk. Two police officers came out of nowhere on their Trek mountain bikes (seriously guys? Knobby tires on pavement?), traveling at full tilt, and slammed into the occupiers in order to affect their arrest. They were charged with jaywalking.

The bicycle is a tool that gives its rider great power. Great power, as the saying goes, comes with great responsibility. The same power that I have to take my transportation into my own hands is the power of a police officer to harass, injure and arrest peaceful protesters exercising their First Amendment rights.

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