Monday, April 8, 2013

Gun control

Last Thursday, Governor Malloy signed the sweeping gun control bill into law. Some people are angry about it and some people are happy about it. That's neither here nor there, because it seems to do little to address things with which people have shot at me. The evening after the bill I was signed, I was riding home from school on Hillside Ave around 9:45. I saw two youth walking west on Catherine Street, who proceeded to shoot at me with a bb gun. They didn't hit me, which was good. I wasn't happy about this, so I called the police. The police were helpful and responded quickly, but my description of two youth with black hoodies on Hillside Ave with a bb gun was not particularly descriptive and they didn't find anyone.

This wasn't the first time I had been shot at. Five years ago I was riding down Capitol Ave and some kids shot at me with a slingshot. Happily, they didn't hit me either. I didn't call the police that time, because back then I lacked the bike handling skills to call 911 while riding. I guess being shot at every five years isn't so bad. People try to run me over much more frequently that. Maybe I'm overreacting.

The only reason I bring this up is because I feel that this blog is usually too preachy about Hartford and bikes. Those things are all well and good, but they also can suck. I used to be high and mighty towards people who aren't as passionate about Hartford and bikes as me. Now, I can respect other opinions. There are downsides, like getting shot at. There's no cool urban grittiness to brag about in this situation. It just sucks.

Actually, I don't think riding a bike sucks. I still like that a lot.

Also, riding in a bike in West Hartford sucks, too. I was coming home from a ride on Saturday and some asshole tried to run me over after I was told while waiting for the light to change that I shouldn't use the road.

So, I'm not going to stop doing what I'm doing, but I understand both sides now. I considered not writing about this on this silly little blog, because I didn't want to write some knee-jerk reaction to what happened in the throes of pissed off-itude. I sat on it over the weekend and didn't tell anyone about last Thursday's incident. I thought some more about it and decided that when I give someone a hard time about not walking somewhere or riding their bike to it, maybe there's a legitimate reason why they didn't do those things. That thinking led me to decide that maybe weird bike people like me should be a little more understanding.

I am not advocating for a bb gun ban. I am a proud, law-abiding bb gun owner!


fabian said...

I can relate. Stuff like this happens once in a while. The scariest moment I had was back as a teenager somebody tried to slash and stab me as I rode by. Don't know if they would have carried through with it had they caught me but it scared the shit out of me.

Brendan said...

I suppose if I were on foot, they probably would have tried to mug me. I mean, why else were they carrying a bb gun?

It just sucks and makes me question what benefit I'm getting for putting up with that by living here.

Tony C said...

Um. Kids will sometimes shoot a bb gun at someone for shits and giggles. Stupid idea, but kids make bad decisions - especially when parents are absentee.

I've been egged and snowballed while riding.

Tony C said...

And someone chucked a big gulp at me, but that was in Windsor.

Brendan said...

I don't know if shooting at people is a "kids will be kids"-type of forgivable thing.

Tony C said...

The rednecks I grew up with played bb gun tag. I think there are different frames of reference.

Spokes Person said...

My commute runs from Vernon thru Manchester/South Windsor/Windsor to Hartford, North End. Over fifteen years the greatest danger I've encountered are the distracted drivers rushing to change lanes around Buckland Mall. I ride past a Keney Park area that is a thriving drive-thru drug market and have never been bothered. Once those involved see I'm not a bicycle cop there's no reason to be interested in me. I've been running my cyclocross tires until the glass and winter debris is swept off the Bissell bridge path, so I've been taking the trails thru Keney Park. Two weeks ago I discovered a suicide victim hanging from a tree near the trail. He'd been there for a couple of days. He chose a spot where he'd be found but not interrupted. I suppose that could happen anywhere, but it's a reminder you can't think of your ride as you passing thru a place; you are IN the place, whether good or bad. I've been trying to find out if the police ID'd him, what his circumstances where, but I don't know that they can share that info. Maybe I could have a Mass said for him or find some way to honor him.

Tony C said...

Man. That's heavy. Thanks for sharing.

It's amazing what humanity you find once you are outside the box.

Tony C said...

If you are interested. Would join you for a remembrance.

Brendan said...

Dario and I once chronicled the places we ride where bodies have been recovered.

It's disturbing.