By on October 5, 2013

wez mm2

By now everyone with an interest in any kind of motorsports has had a chance to view the terrifying video of an innocent New York City family surrounded and then attacked by a gang of motorcycle riding thugs. Every one of us has placed ourselves behind the wheel of that Range Rover, our wife beside us, our infant daughter in the back seat and thought about what we would have done had we been the head of that family under siege. What happened there is an unconscionable act of mob violence. It was precipitated by the stupid actions of a single motorcyclist and made worse by the general attitude among riders that it is “them or us” out there.

I have always thought that motorcycling is an individual endeavor. I grew up in the country and I didn’t know anyone who rode when I purchased my first street bike. I learned about the sport through the magazines and by actually going out and riding. It never occurred for me to seek out other riders and so I had almost a decade of real, on-the-road riding experience when I first logged onto AOL back in the mid 90s and found their motorcycle chat room. It was, to say the least, an eye-opening experience and it was the first time I ever spoke to other riders about things like gear, safety and how to avoid accidents. Thanks to my hard-won experience, I had a lot to share but I learned a lot too. As time passed and the internet expanded, I found Usenet and Yahoo groups and eventually forums like Sportbikes.net.

By 2006, I was a regular contributor to and moderator of the New Riders’ Forum on the website Sportbikes.net (SBN). In the interest of full disclosure allow me to say that although my actual participation in discussions on the site has waned over the past few years, I still have close friends among the moderators there and that SBN, like TTAC, is a Verticalscope owned website. Unlike TTAC, which is an article based news and discussion website with a staff of editors, writers and automotive reviewers, the primary focus of SBN has always been its message boards. It is a lively place and SBN’s members come from all walks of life. Despite our differing socio economic status, levels of education, professions and politics, one thing united us: a love of motorcycles. It was then, and still is, a great place to talk about bikes.

Although the forum I was charged with managing was not one of the most active on SBN, it was the first stop for many people serious about getting into the hobby. We always encouraged new guys and gals to start small, use all the gear all the time and gradually build up their level of experience before jumping to higher powered bikes. Sometimes people were unhappy with our staid, conservative approach and we were taken to task by those who had started big and been just fine because they “respected their bike.” In the end I would like to think that those people who followed our advice had a better sense of the fundamentals than those who ignored us and that perhaps we saved a few lives.

The other thing we always told the new folks was “Ride like you are invisible and remember that everyone in a cage is trying to kill you.” We repeated the phrase so often it became a sort of mantra. It’s a useful metaphor because it helps grab a new rider’s attention and lets them know what is really at stake when they are out in traffic. But sometimes, I wonder if our efforts weren’t too successful because it seems to me that many riders have the attitude that they are constantly under attack. Because of that, they tend to respond violently to any perceived threat.

The internet is an odd place. Protected by the anonymity of their username and from the comfort of their own homes, where they sit in warmth and light with full bellies, tablet computer in-hand, in front of the TV with their wife beside them and their pets or children frolicking at their feet, people say the damnedest things. It’s even worse when they are among their internet friends, in their own familiar forums where they imagine that they are sitting in the smoking room of some old-fashioned men’s club, cigar in one hand whiskey in the other, surrounded by wood paneling and with the trophies of some long ago African safari mounted upon the walls they let their words flow too freely. People forget that a forum is actually a “public space” and that their most obtuse comments can be intercepted, stripped of their context, copied and rebroadcast to people outside of the club. When those words land, sans their humor, tone and context there can be hell to pay. So it was when a man named John Parks posting as a user named “technoweenie” on his own familiar forum, crownvic.net, announced to the whole world that he purposely caused motorcyclists to wreck.

The message, which was part of a conversation about a you-tube video of a motorcyclist known as the Ghost Rider who stunted around Europe, read: “…Changing lanes is not illegal. I do the same thing to cars all the time when they are being dumb and try to pass me at 20 over. If they hit me, guess what, their fault. And yes, some people on bikes deserve to die. I’ve witnessed several bike accidents ’cause the driver is just plain dumb.”

Later he followed that up with: “I have done many stupid things. Speeding at 90 mph kills, end of story. Last I heard, your license is gone if you’re going 90mph, so it’s not just speeding. That is reckless, and I can’t remember the last time I did something reckless and put people’s lives (or my own) in danger. ”

The first few messages were quickly picked up by other members of Crownvic.net who also happened to be motorcyclists and those people ended up linking to them on several biker forums. The message hit SBN on Feb 23, 2006 at 9:26 PM. By 11:02 SBN members had identified and posted the man’s email address. By 11:24 they had the VIN number to the car in question and the man’s Ham radio license number. By 11:41, they had identified the name and address of the company the man owned, an operation called “Pursuit Technologies” that sold light bars and other technology for police cars and then figured out that the car in question was actually a demo unit for the company and that it was outfitted with lights and other police gear which made it appear, despite the lack of official markings, to be an official police car.

At the behest of SBN members who lived in the region, the local news got involved and reporters showed up at Mr. Parks’ home with cameras in tow. They produced a story about the man with the “fake police car” and when they challenged him about the comments, he actually admitted he had written them. The police became involved and launched an investigation. One of SBN’s members created a special website, Johnparkssucks.com to track the progress of the investigation and on and on it went. In the end, the police investigation came up empty-handed and no one was ever able to attribute a single hit and run accident to Mr. Parks or his police lookalike Crown Victoria. A year later, johnparkssucks.com was taken quietly down and the whole incident faded away with a wimper.

So, what is the moral of this story? That people in groups, acting in the heat of the moment can do stupid things. Although no one in the SBN episode was physically injured or attacked, John Parks suffered for his thoughtlessness. He had his name – which I used here because it remains part of the public record of the incident – blasted all over the internet, his face splashed on the TV and the specifics of his job, hobbies and life made public. I am sure that, to this day, wherever he lives, John Parks lives in fear of the retribution of a sportbike community he did not actually harm. His mistake was being insensitive and he made his situation worse by shooting off his mouth in an internet forum where he felt too comfortable for his own good.

The world has moved on and the videos of John Parks’ interviews have fallen off the far side of the internet after going un-clicked upon for years. The original thread on Crownvic.net that started all the trouble has now vanished and only SBN’s thread, complete with its snippets of the offending original posts still exists. It sits today, 82 pages long, as a testament to one man’s thoughtless braggadocio and as an example of how a group of people with righteous intent was able to stir up a real-life hornets’ nest over something that, in the end, amounted to nothing. John Parks was stupid but we were over-reactive. It ended up as a witch hunt and, looking back on it now, I can see that no one comes out of it looking any better than anyone else. There is a lesson there, I think, for all of us.

Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

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104 Comments on “Editorial: The Mob Mentality, The Unwise Brag, The Witch Hunt...”


  • avatar
    raph

    The unwise brag – that always reminds me of my internet chums who like to set up street races on facebook or post videos of such exploits.

  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    I’m not sure I really follow that story about who did what back then…

    but the good thing about motorbikes is, that if they do stupid things (and it seems they do), they usually get hurt as opposed to the family in the car driving normally at legal speed.

    I’m more concerned about idiots in trucks because if they do stupid things (i.e. drunk driving, high speed passing) there is a good chance they walk away from the accident while the innocent driver they hit dies.

    I realize theire are good bikers, but it seems the majority lose their brain once they sit on a bike…. i see high-speed passing in between cars, speeding etc. by bikes every day it is not raining. If an idiot riding at 70 mph in a 35mph zone gets in an accident because of such manuevers, I really find it hard to be sad. some people have it coming….

    • 0 avatar
      chris724

      I agree with this. A high speed bike has a lot less potential energy than a high speed car. They are more of a danger to themselves, and I stay out of their way when they are coming through fast. But this gang was holding up traffic and being pretty asshole-ish. They should have been more worried about an ignorant “cager” running them over. Instead they tried to cause trouble. They are lucky no one was killed.

    • 0 avatar
      Elena

      I disagree: bikers don’t seem to be intimidated by rain. One night a hurricane was about to hit us and 6 riders approached my truck from behind (being the only vehicle in miles) to split at both sides at the very last moment while going over 80 MPH (in a 50 MPH zone). I try not to be the idiot in the big cage: I installed additional convex mirrors to see them when it rains (rest of the time I keep the windows down and hear them from afar). To me every rider is suicidal until proven otherwise. Nothing personal: I don’t ride because I can’t keep the rubber side down but find enjoyable being a passenger. But I do consider them a danger because I might wreck or roll over attempting to avoid a collision or end up having to hire a lawyer. Both outcomes equally undesirable, needless to say.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    If you’re suggesting that there is an online witch hunt against the bikers in New York, then I would say that you’re mostly wrong about that.

    These guys were dumb enough to video themselves, and they don’t come out of it smelling like roses. They drive recklessly, try to take over public roadways that are supposed to be shared by everyone, and are a menace to other drivers. Combine them into a large group, and they degenerate into a mob that allows them to rationalize all of these things.

    As I pointed out on that other thread, the Range Rover driver was perfectly justified in feeling threatened, even if it turns out that he was completely at fault for the original collision. The involvement of the mob completely transformed the situation into one in which it’s clear that there is only side that is culpable here.

    I’m not one to normally call for new laws to fix everything, but it’s time that we legislated these packs out of existence. They behave like a gang, and it’s time that they be treated as such by the law, including injunctions that punish them for the mere act of gathering together. Take away their wheels, tie up their assets, and otherwise make their lives so miserable that they aren’t inclined to ride a bicycle, let alone a sport bike.

    • 0 avatar

      As much as I don’t like these bikers (& people like this are why I usually ride alone), I think taking away freedom of assembly is starting down a slippery slope. Be careful what you wish for.

      • 0 avatar
        RangerM

        Whenever a personal freedom is abused by one (or several), the near-immediate proposal seems to be to remove that freedom from those who didn’t.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        These particular people have forfeited their rights to freedom of assembly. Freedoms are not absolute, and they obviously cross the line. The First Amendment does not allow mobs to violate traffic laws or to assault people.

        • 0 avatar
          jrhmobile

          Then take it to them. Prosecute them for the laws they violate.

          Don’t make up new ones to take away my rights, as RangerM put succinctly.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “Don’t make up new ones to take away my rights”

            If you aren’t a member of that gang, then you’d have nothing to worry about.

            If you are a member, then yes, I would happily take away your rights because criminals forfeit their rights when they choose to be on the wrong side of the law.

        • 0 avatar
          tedward

          pch

          I don’t understand why you, or in fact anyone, views the motorcyclists actions as deserving the near fatal hit and run which the SUV driver metted out in that video confrontation. Lets recap…the driver hit a biker, the driver was then boxed in and confronted by the guys buddies (I see no one brandishing a firearm or weapon there), then the driver proceeds to assault the riders with a deadly weapon PARALYZING a man. Then, and only then, do the bikers chase him down and beat him up.

          Turns out the riders were mostly professionals, including several off duty cops (indeed, the guy who broke the window was a cop). I’m sitting here in disbelief awaiting a retraction from Baruth on the previous post and then this, even more inflammatory piece is posted and all the B&B pile on yet again. Go watch the whole video, ignore how everyone is dressed and “looks” (you know exactly what I mean) and tell me that this sad sack of a man didn’t just attempt homicide with a motor vehicle before anyone laid a hand on him and that’s where the fault lies. The driver should be charged immediately, along with the bikers who beat him. The SUV driver’s charges should be extreme, the bikers not so much.

          I’m officially calling this out as the low water mark for current-management TTAC editorial content. I also have to say I’m pretty dissappointed in the reader comments as well. I’m wondering what the crowd would do if a man violently ran over and paralyzed someone at Lime Rock, after hitting someone else to boot. You think he goes into custody scratch free?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “I don’t understand why you, or in fact anyone, views the motorcyclists actions as deserving the near fatal hit and run which the SUV driver metted out in that video confrontation.”

            The Range Rover driver was trying to escape from a mob.

            One of the perpetrators was hit as the victim tried to escape his mob.

            Moral of the story: Don’t get into the path of a victim trying to escape, and then be surprised if you get hurt. Better yet, don’t assault people on public highways just because you believe that they are interfering with the use of your own personal racetrack.

            “Turns out the riders were mostly professionals, including several off duty cops”

            I don’t really care what the individual members of the mob do for a living. A mob is a mob.

          • 0 avatar
            carrya1911

            Tedward, your grasp of the “facts” of this case are pretty bad. There was a police officer present in the group of riders, but he was off duty and was conducting what amounted to unofficial surveillance.

            You’re also ignoring the videos that show what took place prior to the video most have seen. The Range Rover was attacked before he ran anyone over. Attempting to run was a perfectly legitimate act on his part.

            As for the idea that he attempted homicide, I’d wager you’ve never actually seen someone attempt to use a 5,000 pound SUV as a weapon before. Having training to do precisely that, I didn’t see any attempt to use the vehicle as a weapon. I saw a man trying to escape. Had he intended to do damage, there would have been a number of dead bikers.

          • 0 avatar

            tedward: “Lets recap…the driver hit a biker, the driver was then boxed in”

            You’re missing what happened before that. The biker, Christopher Cruz, very deliberately got in front of the SUV, at close distance, and then hit his brake, so that the driver would hit him. Go look at the video taken by the biker.

            You’re also missing the fact that the bikers had begun attacking the SUV when the driver took off. The driver’s wife has said that they were afraid for their lives.

            It is very unfortunate that one of the m’cyclists paid for this with his ability to walk. But the m’cyclists (especially Cruz) set up the situation where this happened. Had they left the SUV alone, no-one would have gotten hurt.

          • 0 avatar
            tedward

            Hey I didn’t miss it at all. That first biker was clearly at fault. Maybe there’s another video that shows them attacking the family after that, but it’s not what I saw in the video. I understand his panic being surrounded by a bunch of angry men in leathers but that doesn’t make his use of the car as a weapon the right move. If they were brandishing weapons then it’s another story.

            Of course the wife was terrified, that hold no water with me. What would is video showing more than a few guys banging on the hood.
            He panicked and paralyzed someone. The bikers set the stage for it for sure, but he escalated the hell out of the confrontation. I even understand the panic, but that doesn’t mean he’s solely a victim here. He should be charged.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “He should be charged.”

            Is self-defense a felony or a misdemeanor?

            And when did fleeing from one’s attackers become a crime? I must have missed that one.

          • 0 avatar
            tedward

            Yes “should be charged”

            I absolutely am willing to change my mind if I see a video angle of the bikers brandishing weapons or saying “we’re going to kill you” etc… When they stopped his car. In that case blast away buddy… Run them all over.

            Side note. There’s nothing the police can really do to stop this kind of bike behavior in NYC. Too many one way streets too much traffic. The current police practice of ignore it makes me feel safer driving and as a pedestrian. Really it’s not so bad to get caught behind these exhibitionists, happens often in some neighborhoods. I kind of like watching them pull wheelies even if it’s annoying to be forced to drive the actual speed limit by the bikers.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Again, charged with what? Fleeing from one’s attackers is not a crime.

            The problem with your position is that you don’t understand who the victim is. You believe that the person who gets hurt the most is the victim, even in those instances when the person who is hurt the most is the perpetrator.

            You’re blaming the victim because those who tried to hurt him got the brunt of the damage. I would suggest that you offer your sympathies to those who deserve them most, i.e. the guy who didn’t start it. I guess that the guy in the Range Rover would have needed to die in order to get your support.

          • 0 avatar
            tedward

            No he would just need to be threatened overtly with violence. I saw guys surrounding his car, but not threats or weapons. Maybe they were there but I didn’t see it and I offered to change my mind if someone could show it to me, so please do so. He felt threatened that’s for sure but for all I know he was being placed under citizens arrest during that stop. It’s not right to go full hog assuming the worst about a bunch of guys when there isn’t video I’ve seen that supports the assumption.

            Again, what’s bothers me is the assumption that they were attacking him. If that happened he was in the right. If not his panic paralyzed a man.

            Who gets hurt the most had nothing to do with it. That is a deliberate oversimplification of my statements.

          • 0 avatar
            RangerM

            Threaten a man and he may stand his ground.

            Threaten what the same man loves (like his wife an/or child) and he will surely use anything at his disposal to roll over yours.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            >> (I see no one brandishing a firearm or weapon there)

            How do you think the tires got slashed – did they gnaw them off with their teeth?

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        @ Robstar; In order to legally protest something you are required to get a permit (perhaps only in VA but I’d wager a great many other places as well). Ostensibly to ensure your protection and the object of your protests, however this requirement allows whatever level of government involved to deny your freedom of assembly for whatever whim unless you don’t mind civil disobedience.

        The Secret Service has been given broad authority to do the same even if you’ve legally obtained said permit and can levy pretty stiff penalties if you refuse to comply.

        Unfortunately that slippery slope has been mirror polished to an almost frictionless surface and greased thusly —> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rMcRJVY1-0

        I’ve said elsewhere maybe the city needs to enact some sort of ordinance that requires say a gathering greater than 25 vehicles of any sort are required to have and display a permit with plan detailing what the group is doing and the route they are taking (are parades required to do this – I’m guessing so) so they can be monitored. If the permit isn’t displayed there is a hefty fine and if no permit was obtained even more severe financial penalties.

        I don’t think this would be a cure all but it might weed out the troublemakers and allow people who are out to legitimately have good time without endangering the public to do so without undue police interference.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        That’s such an obtuse argument to make. No supreme court has ever declared a public road much less a highway a viable assembly area. You could argue the congregation of bikes at public areas is an infringement and I would largely agree. But there is a strong argument about if not disallowing their assembly atleast creating a mass stop since it was reported most lacked licenses and registration.

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      I believe the point of the article was showing dramatic overreaction when nobody was harmed or even physically present…and how that same sort of pack attitude can bleed into actual physical interactions like the one seen in New York.

      • 0 avatar

        You win the prize.

        • 0 avatar
          tedward

          Also my apologies for blaming the author of the post for the comments. Really I was reacting to those and the previous article on the matter.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          In your example, the message board was trolled, and the members responded in earnest to something that was fake.

          In this particular case, there is plenty of video footage of something that was real. That footage vindicates one side and establishes the blame of the other, and charges are being made accordingly.

        • 0 avatar
          Piston Slap Yo Mama

          Despite your tempered, reasoned plea to remain level-headed and dispassionate on this topic the clock is ticking for a certain commentator to weigh in with his desire to shoot threatening motorcyclists “bang bang bang” because he’s a predatory social Darwinist wise beyond his years. Baruth’s recent posting elicited some observations that I think emanated from people’s brain stems rather than their frontal lobes – the part of the brain responsible for sympathy, the ability to feel sorrow for someone else’s suffering and empathy.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            If this isn’t a legitimately mesencephalic event then nothing is.

            A hostile mob attacking a completely innocent nuclear family cut off from any chance of escape seems a pretty justifiable reason for going as caveman as your assets permit.

            I think Lien showed superhuman restraint in not deliberately aiming for any of the bikers after they trapped his family the first time.

          • 0 avatar

            You know what though? I felt it too. I can’t even imagine being in that situation without my heart beginning to pound. I don’t fault the guy for doing what he did given the circumstances and my lizard brain tells me that if I hadn’t been scared shitless, I’d have acted with real malice had I been in the situation. (So, I’m no different than many others in that regard.)

            Because I felt that way, I spent a lot of time thinking about it. I mean, I spent more than 20 years as a highly active motorcyclist and I think I understand their mindset. What I was trying to get at was the underlying reason about why the guys in the video reacted the way they did. I think there is more at work there than just a simple mob mentality.

            Those guys did what they did thinking that they were totally in the right. When people are convinced that others are out to get them, they go off half-cocked. They make stupid mistakes and hurt people that didn’t really need to be hurt. That’s the whole point of the article.

            To the couple of guys who apologized to me for their comments, that’s OK. It’s a hot-button issue right now and people have staked out sides. You just naturally assumed I was staking out a position that was different from your own, when what I was actually doing was commenting upon it.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “I think there is more at work there than just a simple mob mentality. Those guys did what they did thinking that they were totally in the right.”

            So it was a sanctimonious, righteous mob. That would make them even more dangerous.

          • 0 avatar

            That’s kind of my point.

    • 0 avatar
      Sutures

      “Is self-defense a felony or a misdemeanor?”

      I would like this on a t-shirt, please.

  • avatar
    08Suzuki

    It doesn’t even take that much. I was at a, shall we say, certain automotive-based image board hosted by a certain community of other image boards (you should know exactly what I’m talking about, but certain infamy has made it a courtesy to not mention specifics beyond the board itself). A thread starter claiming to work at a repair shop complained about a customer demanding that her coupon be honored even though the coupon stipulated that it must be presented upon estimate (it was way beyond that point). More reasonable heads argued to stop being a dick and honor the damn coupon, but several posters urged the thread starter to dox the customer on one of the other image boards (the one that’s especially infamous, specifically).

    So now it’s possible to be entangled into stupidity over a stupid coupon and someone else’s poor work ethic, though I’m pretty sure it never came to anything more than anonymous grumbling.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    As long as you guys don’t start showing up in assless chaps around here we’ll be OK.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    @Pch101 – re-read the article. There is ABSOLUTELY NO commentary stating that there is a witch hunt against “bikers”. The author is merely pointing out how a pack mentality or group identity can easily degrade into mob of morons.

    Men get more aggressive in a group. It is partially a primitive tribal survival mechanism where “my tribe” must be defended against other “tribes”. It is also the anonymity of a group setting. Just like a blog, one tends to be bolder when one cannot be singled out. Another factor is the “my dick is bigger than your dick” attempt at establishing a pack pecking order.

    I’ve never liked riding in a group or even driving with a group of vehicles. Poor riders feel pressured to keep up, or an aggressive rider makes everyone else what to ride aggressively. I saw 3 bikes get wadded up in 2 weekends due to pack mentality. There were a few I told to stay very far from me because their skills scared me. I usually would prefer to ride at a pace that was safer for the less skilled riders but there were times when on deserted back country roads where I’d run as hard as the rhythm of the road would let me. In town, if the group I rode with got stupid ie. stunting, I’d just turn off and go lone wolf into the country.

    As the author has pointed out, “bikers” see themselves differently than “cage” drivers. The differentiation I’ve always used when someone mistakenly referred to me as a bike “driver” was this, You RIDE a bike and you Ride a horse, you DRIVE cars and you DRIVE cattle.

    I looked at some video’s of the incident and could not locate anything that may of showed what triggered the incident. Regardless of what triggered the incident. A mob mentality prevailed and the end result is one rider with an SCI and a driver with superficial wounds and a traumatized family.

    I am not supporting these bikers in any shape or form. What they did for what ever perceived slight was also wrong.

    There is an ultimate truth to any situation – there is what one side says happened, there is what the other side says happened, and then there is the truth. A court room tends to prove who has a better lawyer.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “re-read the article”

      I would suggest that you do the same.

      Mr. Kreutzer is concerned about a rush to judgment. I generally share that sentiment and I’m normally one to avoid trial by media. But in this particular case, there is enough video footage of the incident (including from the bikers themselves) that makes it obvious that the problem here lies strictly with one side.

      There are times in life when there aren’t two sides. This is one of them. These bikers don’t own these streets, and it’s time that our tax dollars are used to remind them of this fact, as frequently and as harshly as possible.

      • 0 avatar

        @Lou_BC

        I’m with Pch101. I would only add that you should watch the bikers’ video. It clearly shows Christopher Cruz, one of the bikers, obviously very deliberately pulling in front of the range rover, and braking hard. That is what started the whole incident. But the bikers were behaving badly before that, commandeering the West Side Highway (and undoubtedly other roads on Manhattan), and the cops say they can’t do anything about this because they’re afraid bikers getting away by riding on the sidewalk and other stuff will kill people.

        Well, they did permanently maim someone–one of their own–if indirectly, by scaring the crap out of the SUV driver so that he ran the guy over in his effort to get away.
        And they beat someone else.

  • avatar

    Conversation with one of my Troopers recently.

    “What percentage of bikes run when you hit the lights ?”

    “About half….I always make sure I’ve reached out on the radio and have a few units lined up ahead of me before I turn them on.”

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    You guys missed the part where I said “I am not supporting these bikers in any shape or form. What they did for what ever perceived slight was also wrong.”

    The most “complete” video I saw was where the “bikers” initially boxed in the SUV and then where the SUV drove over the bikes in front of it. There wasn’t any posed video prior to that.

    This gang most likely caused the problem to begin with.

    We shouldn’t rush to judgement regardless of the side of the fence we stand upon.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Dumptrucks full of roofing nails, circling affected cities like SAC bombers of yore. Radio dispatched and coordinated.

    Vacuum recovery of whatever hasn’t been hosed off the road along with the smears.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I like your style Kenmore!

      I think Pch101 is overreacting. I have no problem with a group of bikers rolling along together, obeying traffic laws, and just having a good time on a nice day. See it all the time here in Maine in the summer, usually a bunch of “Hell’s Accountants” on Harleys. This bunch of idiots was doing all sorts of things that broke traffic laws, and would give plenty of reasons for the cops to pull them over. No need for additional “anti-bike-assembly” laws.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “I have no problem with a group of bikers rolling along together, obeying traffic laws, and just having a good time on a nice day”

        Nor do I.

        But I do have a problem with this particular group of people, who see fit to ride on the wrong side of the road, ride on sidewalks, run lights and to attack those who have the audacity to drive near them. I pay taxes in order to get rid of these types of problems.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          And every one of those things will ALREADY get you at least a ticket, if not a ride in the back of a cop car. At least in areas with police departments that are on the ball.

    • 0 avatar

      I wonder if semi-truckers talk the same way about passenger car drivers who annoy them.

      I doubt it….

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        They sure do. Get a CB receiver and listen – I’ve heard things that make my ears bleed, and I’m not exactly the wilting flower type.

        The thing about truckers on the CB, though, is that the d-bags talk when all is well and the professionals stay silent for the most part and drive the truck. The pros get on the radio and share road information when the going gets tough, and make a positive, helpful, and worthwhile contribution to road safety that helps everyone.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Funny to see psh101 say that there is only one side to this story. There NEVER is.
    23 years as a paramedic has taught me that one.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      This is one of those times when the effort to be “fair” becomes grossly unfair. Blaming the victim is not a fair thing to do.

      • 0 avatar
        carrya1911

        We have a very simple method of figuring out who was in the wrong, here:

        1. What began the confrontation?
        A: A group of bikers breaking a massive list of traffic laws caused an accident.

        2. When did the confrontation escalate?
        A: After the accident caused by the bikers, they surrounded the driver and were obviously hostile

        3. What happened next?
        A: When the driver of the RR, who has been hit and now threatened, took off, they chased him for MILES, and made multiple attempts to assault him including the final assault that injured him.

        These are not the actions of reasonable people minding their own business. None of them have any claim to self defense or defense of another as their action. The driver of the Range Rover, on the other hand, has PLENTY of grounds to make a very reasonable self defense case especially given the criminal behaviors of the riders that led to the conflict, their criminal records prior to this incident, and the behaviors they exhibited during the chase and the assault.

        The actions of the bikers were in no way, shape, or form the actions of innocent men. The actions of the Range Rover driver, however, look a great deal like the actions of a scared man trying to flee a conflict.

        Had he been intent on using his 5,000 pound SUV as a weapon, there wouldn’t be one injured biker. There’d be at least half a dozen dead ones smeared all over the road. I’ve watched vehicles used as a weapon before, and have some training to use one as a weapon myself in extreme circumstances. Mr. Lien was not attempting to use his SUV as a weapon. Had he been so inclined I doubt the bikers would have chased him.

        Chasing someone who is scared so you can beat him up is a very different thing than running head-long into a lethal conflict with someone who is out for blood. If you’ve never willingly gone into a gunfight because you were responding to a call for help then you might not be able to appreciate the difference..but it’s there. Trust me.

        • 0 avatar
          Beerboy12

          #1A Bikers got aggressive for no reason, right?

          • 0 avatar
            carrya1911

            There is nothing that the driver of the range rover could have done short of a violent felony that would have given the bikers any legal ability to stop and detain him…much less get off their bikes and come at the guy as was visible in the video.

            So, yes…they got aggressive for no legally valid reason. Which means they were breaking the law.

  • avatar
    skor

    “What happened there is an unconscionable act of mob violence. It was precipitated by the stupid actions of a single motorcyclist and made worse by the general attitude among riders that it is “them or us” out there.”

    You are assuming the very wealthy Range Rover driver did nothing to contribute to that mess. In the coming weeks more video evidence will be examined, and more eyewitnesses will be interviewed. I’m willing to bet that the evidence will show that the SUV driver added a bit of gasoline to that fire.

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      Nothing in any video footage I have seen in any way, shape, or form shows any justification for blocking the road, causing an accident with the SUV, or chasing the driver down.

      I don’t care if the driver of the Range Rover gave the bikers the finger and said their mama sold it on the street for 2 dollars…that doesn’t give them any ability to do anything they did.

      This is what people don’t seem to be grasping about the situation: Every action of the bikers…every single one of them…was in violation of the law. They had no legal right or ability to do anything shown in the video footage.

      The driver of the Range Rover, on the other hand, could have been well within the limits of the law by trying to drive away from the confrontation.

      Even if the driver of the Range Rover had made a threat of violence against the bikers in his immediate vicinity, New York law requires at least attempting to retreat from the confrontation if it is at all safe to do so before the bikers could be justified in using any level of force. The bikers had mobility, and had opportunity to get away from the scene. If we assume that the driver of the Range Rover was a homicidal maniac threatening to kill them all, they were STILL in violation of New York’s laws on the use of force.

      There’s no scenario under which the bikers are justified in ANYTHING they did on video, regardless of what transpired before the video (which was edited and put up by the bikers, mind you…) started. Every bit of it was illegal. Mr. Lien, on the other hand, has a pretty good case for self defense based on the video and the subsequent actions of the bikers.

      In determining who was in the right, the law is going to consider whether or not the parties were creating the hostile situation. The bikers fail right off the bat on that, not just creating a dangerous situation but breaking a myriad of laws in the process. Legally they have no leg to stand on.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      ^This. Skor gets it. There are an overwhelming number of posters who are absolutely, positively convinced that the videos conclusively show that ‘all’ of Lien’s actions in the RR are entirely justifiable, defensive in nature, and done to protect himself and his family, and are absolutely, positively devoid of any sort of abhorrent action(s) which contributed to the aggressive actions of the biker pack. At some time in the future, it may, indeed, come out to be the case where Lien is completely absolved of any wrongdoing.

      But, like skor (and a very small minority of substantially more thoughtful individuals), I’d be willing to bet against it.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        This whole thing is a tragedy of escalation.

        Nobody had the balls to back down and manage the situation like grownups. They just kept escalating until people ended up fighting for their lives.

        The times I’ve seen this happen in real life, it’s taken a guy with a brain bigger than his rather substantial balls (which ends up being me a surprising amount of the time) to diffuse the situation. Alas, no such person was driving the look-at-me SUV or the donorcycles during the confrontation that we’re discussing.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          “Nobody had the balls to back down and manage the situation like grownups.”

          The guy in the Range Rover **was** backing down. He didn’t stand his ground; he was trying to escape.

    • 0 avatar

      Why does the fact that the driver of the Ranger Rover is presumably “very wealthy” have anything to do with his liability?

      And driving a Rover doesn’t necessarily mean you are very wealthy. He may just be very deep in debt.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Expensive look-at-me cars tend to attract drivers with a certain entitled attitude. It’s not always the case, but the correlation is strong enough that it’s a factor I consider when I’m on the road.

        That doesn’t excuse anything in this case, since we’re all supposed to be equal in moral and legal terms, but it is a common assumption that likely colored the perceptions of the people involved. The fact that the driver was rolling in a Range Rover rather than a more modest SUV like an Explorer or a Highlander may have mattered in how they made split-second decisions. And the same thing can be said about the perception of sportbikes (AKA “donorcycles” when ridden aggressively in traffic), as well.

        Back when I rode a motorcycle, and even now that I roll in a minivan, stereotyping cars was/is a useful factor in determining how aggressive/erratic a driver can be. Also, with the hyper alertness that comes with riding a motorcycle, I can spot the telltale wobble of a cellphone driver a half mile off. Both of these useful skills.

        Still, useful heuristics like these aren’t reliable enough that reasonable people can bet lives on it. It’s useful for determining which vehicles need to most attention and planning to deal with in traffic, but that’s about it. These heuristics don’t matter once you get within a few carlengths/carwidths of any vehicle, because all drivers are capable of doing dangerous/stupid/aggressive things.

        The big picture here is thst nobody involved happened to have the combination of balls and brains required to de-escalate a conflict, and the results were tragic.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          “The big picture here is thst nobody involved happened to have the combination of balls and brains required to de-escalate a conflict”

          The guy in the Range Rover was trying to escape.

          You do understand what that means, I hope — he was fleeing. Running away. Not standing his ground. The very thing done by those who are desperately trying to avoid conflict.

          Should he have run faster? Was he running too fast? Should he have run backward? Should he have stopped and offered them coffee? What was he supposed to do differently?

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            He was also escalating the conflict by hurting people. I hope you understand what this means.

            Again, it’s a tragedy. Taking sides and continuing the fight only extends the tragedy.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            They were blocking his path. How was he supposed to flee in this situation without hitting anyone when he’s surrounded?

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      >> You are assuming the very wealthy Range Rover driver did nothing to contribute to that mess

      1. wealthy — irrelevant
      2. range rover — irrelevant

      And you are very certain — willing to bet — that the RR added gasoline to the fire. Since you are speculating, I can speculate too. What if RR’s daughter had an allergic reaction to peanuts and RR needed to get to a hospital? Or maybe grandma is at the hospital but visiting hours will end?

      What isn’t speculation is that the motorcyclists created the situation and *all* the risks that followed.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    @psh101 -
    Am I blaming the victim?
    And who is the victim?

    Some say it is the guy with the SCI and others say it is the SUV driver?

    Perhaps they are both victims.

    There were bad decisions made on both sides of the windshield.

    The very fact that you are labeling the driver as the victim means that you yourself has chosen a side.

    Same for your statement that there is only one side.

    There is never one side. There are always more than one side.

    What we want to know is the TRUTH.

    There is only one truth.

    We won’t get there by choosing sides and each side obviously sees things from their own “er” “um” side.

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      The law allows the use of force up to and including LETHAL force to escape death or serious injury. Based on the video Mr. Lien in the Range Rover could easily articulate all the necessary components of a self defense claim IF he intended to hit someone.

      The one “truth” here is going to be worked out by the judicial system, and based on the video evidence the bikers don’t really have a leg to stand on legally.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Where did you get that ancient photo of Roger Ebert with a mustache? Didn’t think he’d be a smoker.

  • avatar
    Charliej

    Carrya1911, if that is the case, one of the bikers could have pulled out a gun and shot the driver of the Range Rover after he ran over the biker. Maybe they should have shot him. I see too many cases where a biker is stopped at a red light and run over by an auto driver who gets a slap on the wrist for his crime. I rode for fifty two years and 90 per cent of the time in a bike auto confrontation, the auto driver is at fault. The only collision that I was ever involved in, either in a car or on a bike, was when a woman ran a stop sign in front of me. I have no sympathy for this Range Rover driving bozo. He paralyzed a person because he was a fool.

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      No, that’s not how it works. You can’t put someone in fear of assault and then shoot them and claim it was self defense.

      Think about this logically: Say a criminal breaks into your home. You confront him with a baseball bat and he shoots you. He can’t claim self defense because he was committing a crime, whereas you were in a place where you had every right to be, abiding by the law.

      The driver of the Range Rover wasn’t breaking any laws that I saw in the video footage. He didn’t initiate the conflict in the video footage. The bikers did…and when they started to get off their bikes and come at him, he has a reasonable argument that he was in fear for his safety and the safety of his family. That makes use of the gas pedal to escape justified, even if one of the people attempting to block him in gets run over in the process.

      Your assessment of bike vs. car collision probably isn’t backed up by actual accident statistics.

      As for penalties, people who kill others by accident often end up with light penalties. Bikers have no claim to victimhood on that front. In my area a young man was killed, his wife almost crippled, and his son seriously injured when a texting teenager ran a red light in her Excursion and plowed into the driver’s door of his Ford Escort. The girl, who didn’t even have a license yet, received no real sanction for killing a man.

      The justice system doesn’t always achieve justice. That’s life. Refusing to see reason in a particular situation because you’re ticked off about other stuff involving other people isn’t the answer.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “90 per cent of the time in a bike auto confrontation, the auto driver is at fault.”

      Data shows that the motorcyclist is at fault in the majority of fatal motorcycle crashes.

      And oddly enough, the demographic of the riders who are at greatest risk of dying in a crash match those of this group, namely younger men on sport bikes. They get hurt because they behave like the people in this video — they’re aggressive and ride recklessly for kicks. They are often unlicensed. Too much bravado, not enough sense — crash rates among this group could be reduced if they understood their role in causing accidents, instead of constantly blaming other people.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      “Carrya1911, if that is the case, one of the bikers could have pulled out a gun and shot the driver of the Range Rover after he ran over the biker.”

      Could have, but not legally. The Range Rover was fleeing, not attacking.

  • avatar
    JaySeis

    As longtime bicyclist and motorcyclist I’m amused by the perceived motion that “us v. them” as reinforced by the term “cages” and aggressive riding behavior somehow is ok as it defends two wheelers as a threatened class. The behavior in bicycling manifests as “take the lane” (I.e., the law says you are a vehicle so take the lane to establish your presence). Or in motorcycling, ride aggressively to establish your presence. Add the “safety in numbers” context, then… that behavior..when mixed with sub 40 year old men is a recipe for their demise. Two wheelers riding with attitude are going to get injured or killed. Historically the place for them was the race track, velodrome, grueling off road or long road courses. But no, today they feel is it their “right” to do “battle” in the public right of way. The nature of the two wheelers might be different (super light carbon fiber driven by leg power v. single digit hp/lb motorcycles) but the attitude is the same. A self perceived class responding with a defensive attitude as opposed to defensive riding skill. The latter takes extraordinary situational awareness, something most two wheelers lack.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s my point. It’s a sort of seige mentality that we have reinforced over the years and it shows trough the rhetoric we use. Generally, the costs of an accident are so high for a motorcyclist so certain amount of caution is very healthy, but its a small step to fear and then anger. Combine that with self rightiousness, the idea that we are “vicims” of other people’s carelessness, and the results can be bad.

      In both examples I gave, people got worked-up over what was essentially nothing. In one case it was a minor accident caused by one of the bikers and in the other careless words of some troll three forums over. In both cases, no one took the time to stop and think about what was going on, they just bought into the hype and reacted.

      What happened at SBN looms especially large in my mind because I knew many of the personalities involved. Some of the most involved in this case were/are people I really respected – people who were otherwise quite rational, decent people. In the end, they didn’t look any better than the idiot who made the comments in the first place.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    I would like to know what happened before the first recorded incident. I have a hard time accepting that a guy on a bike would mess with an SUV because “he felt like it…”. Just a question. (?)

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      It wasn’t just “one guy on a bike.” It was a group of bikers. People who are part of a group, and believe that they will have the support of said group, will do things that they would never consider doing on their own.

      • 0 avatar
        Beerboy12

        One Bike performed a break test, a VERY stupid thing to do… There is definitely “pack mentality” happening at this point though but that’s not the intent of my question.
        I suspect some kind of earlier action or interactions with the SUV. Some people have pretty short fuses but they still need lighting.

  • avatar
    Elena

    Footage before the “brake test” could be quite enlightening… or totally irrelevant. From my personal experience driving a heavier, taller and cheaper vehicle than a Range Rover I can attest they can pull a wheelie in front of my truck with no previous interaction whatsoever. Over a bridge, to make matters worse. I was riding with my mother right after she had eye surgery and hence was going slightly under the speed limit but there were two lanes. He passed on my left and abruptly got in front of me to pull his stunt. I was barely able to stop before hitting the guy. My rotors, calipers and pads are upgraded, which he could not anticipate. That’s why I said earlier I consider all bikers suicidal until proven otherwise. I have footage of several instances, but just like in this case preserved only the stupid maneuver, not the boring part while I was driving my own lane and minding my own business. Can’t tell in this particular instance, but I assure you it can and does happen.

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      You are right but keep in mind that what also happens is that people with large, heavy vehicles with poor brakes flatten motorcyclists who are minding their own business through negligence, inattention and even outright aggression. TTAC ran a story about a cop that hit a couple on a bike not so long ago… There are always two sides to a story.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    This isn’t just about who was right or if what they did was legal. On the other thread I got accused of supporting the bikers, and that is not true. I am in complete agreement that they were at fault, they were wrong, and at least one of them paid a terrible price for that. Where we differ in opinion is that I do not agree that the actions taken by the RR driver were right, correct, responsible or safe. Legal?? Maybe, probably even. But no, not the right thing to do. As drivers, we are taught from day one of drivers education to be RESPONSIBLE, and that means even when some other idiot, or a gang of idiots, is not being responsible, then you take the higher ground. Did he have the right to drive down that highway and not be stopped or slowed down by the bikers? Hell yes, no doubt. But they decided to do something stupid, and it escalated when he contacted the first rider, then escalated again when he ran over the bike and the other rider trying to escape from this mob. What he should have done was slow down or stop BEFORE he got brake checked and then call the cops to report them. Did he HAVE to? No, you are right, he didn’t have to. He had a right to keep going. But being responsible, keeping your wife and baby safe, not getting your butt kicked or not putting a guy in a wheelchair for life should trump being “right”. The rider who brake checked him did the wrong thing, he was a total a$$. But his bad choice ended in some scratches and hurt pride, the RR driver was not hurt by that decision. But the RR drivers equally bad decision ended with another guy being paralyzed. You should be able to look at this situation and see this wasn’t the best choice, even if it was legal.

    My wife and I have both watched the video several times, and there is no way to tell what exactly is occurring at the scene after the first contact. For all we know the RR driver could have been screaming at the bikers to get the hell out of his way. Or perhaps the bikers were banging on the windows telling him they were going to kill him and his family. Who knows?? You can’t trust the wife’s statement or the drivers. Maybe they slashed his tires because he was trying to leave the scene, or maybe they slashed them because they were thugs. Same thing with prior to the start of the video, for all we know the RR was cutting off bikers left and right. Or maybe the bikers were terrorizing the RR… once again, no proof. This was a road rage incident, how can you blindly assume that BOTH parties do not share at least part of the blame?

    I see drivers and riders every single day do completely stupid things on the road. Just tonight I got stuck behind a guy in a pickup truck going 20mph in a 55mph zone. He was holding me up against my will. Should I have run him off the road?? Or hit him to get him to move? 15-20 yrs ago I would have laid on my horn until he moved aside, or cut him off at the first passing zone. I grew up since then. Now all I do is curse about him until I can safely pass, no cutting off… or he turns… whatever. I lost 10 mins of time, big deal. I’d do the same thing if it was a motorcycle gang, and I won’t have to live with knowing I paralyzed someone, even if I was in the right.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “What he should have done was slow down or stop BEFORE he got brake checked and then call the cops to report them.”

      So in summary, he was supposed to predict the crash that he didn’t cause, pacify the mob that he didn’t create, and then make more than the four 911 calls that he made.
      ________

      Ng called 911 four times amid the dramatic standoff, first at 1:52 p.m., police sources told NBC News.

      She told the operator: “We’re surrounded by a group of bikers.”

      The riders then began attacking Lien’s vehicle and chased him for 50 blocks before cornering him, smashing his windows, yanking him out and beating him in front of his wife and child, police said.

      http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/10/03/20800978-family-involved-in-suv-biker-clash-was-in-fear-for-our-lives

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        @pch, in short… yes. When he saw them acting like idiots and racing around illegally, the most responsible and safe thing to do, to keep you wife and baby safe, is to slow down or pull off the road safely and get away from the idiots. I’ve spent enough time in drivers ed and in ticket school to know that.

        And the news report is not really reliable either, because it is reporting from the wife’s point of view, and they chased him for 50 blocks only after he ran over one of the riders. As I have said, we still have no proof of what was actually occurring immediately after the first collision, right after the brake check incident. It is just as likely that they were surrounding the RR to check on their buddy and make sure the RR didn’t flee the scene as it is that they were planning to attack the driver at that point. Only after he ran over the bike and rider did things get insanely out of hand. They even could have slashed his tires during the chase, there was one point they had him stopped and were approaching the RR, and he ran over another bike and fled again.

        I will repeat it again: I am not claiming that the riders acted appropriately or legally in any way, they were completely wrong in their actions. I am just saying that I see several possible scenarios where the RR driver could shoulder part of the blame for initiating the conflict, and also could have made several different choices that would have not escalated this to the level it did. I am not going to condone his decisions as “exactly what I would have done” in the situation, or agree that he had no other choice and acted appropriately. He didn’t; he panicked, make a knee jerk reaction to a situation we cannot tell for sure was justifiably frightening enough to warrant said reaction, and in the process maimed a person. To say that was the exact correct response to the situation is irresponsible, and frankly, sickening to me.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          “When he saw them acting like idiots and racing around illegally, the most responsible and safe thing to do, to keep you wife and baby safe, is to slow down or pull off the road safely and get away from the idiots.”

          He was surrounded. You are suggesting that somebody can escape those who are surrounding him by going more slowly.

          Honestly, your position is verging on madness. You are recommending that he should have done things that would have gotten him killed.

          The fight-or-flight instinct kicked in, and he choose to flee. They should have gotten the hell out of his way if they wanted to avoid the blowback that comes from frightening people.

          And you did notice, I hope, that they did call the police, just as you suggested. Four times. How many times were they supposed to call 911 before meeting your approval?

  • avatar
    WheelMcCoy

    @mnm4ever

    I hear what you are saying. The actions of the RR contributed to a bad outcome. But realize RR’s decision wasn’t really a conscious or deliberate one. It was a reflex, one made in justifiable fear and panic. It was a terrible accident, one of “get me out of here!”, not an “oh yeah, take that!”

    It’s easy to say RR should have slowed or stopped before the accident could happen, but maybe the RR got extra attention for being an RR. Regardless, the accident was entirely precipitated by the machinations of the motorcyclists.

    In your example of getting stuck behind a slow truck, you still had your presence of mind. You weren’t being attacked Had you run the slow driver off the road, then that would be a deliberate act of aggression and escalation on your part.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      @wheelMcCoy — agreed, it was a reflex reaction, very emotional too. But you are assuming his fear and panic were justifiable.

      It’s not easy to say anything about this incident. There are a ton of unknowns, including the actual state of mind of the driver. Or what happened 10 miles previously to the start of the video. I agree with you that regardless of where or when the actual first problem occurred, it was probably the riders fault because of how they were riding. They probably cut the RR off badly, drove erratically and illegally. But it is the responsibility of every driver on the road to keep your cool and slow it down in a dangerous situation. Not just dangerous situations that you pick, but all of them. And that includes other stupid drivers acting illegally. If he had made responsible choices in the first place then he wouldn’t have ever been under attack and never forced to make the panicked decisions he made.

      • 0 avatar
        carrya1911

        mmm4ever, it’s actually *quite* easy to say some things about this incident, especially as new information comes to light. To wit:

        http://nypost.com/2013/10/06/cops-bust-silver-helmet-biker-who-assaulted-family/

        The guy who was smashing in the window of the Range Rover is a dude with a significant criminal track record, including armed robbery.

        It keeps coming up that the people who can be identified in that mob have significant criminal histories in addition to the criminal activity caught on video. And yet people keep wanting to insist that somehow the dude in the Range Rover, who has no criminal record, no history of committing violent acts, and prior to the incident was driving his family down a public highway, is somehow partly to blame for a bunch of dudes with criminal records chasing him down, dragging him from his vehicle, and beating him.

        “You are assuming his fear and panic were justifiable”

        I’m not *assuming* his fear and panic were justifiable. I’m telling you flat out that the circumstances he faced easily meet the legal requirement for the use of lethal force.

        People can keep trying to argue that the dudes riding with no plates, performing dangerous acts on a public roadway, and who happen to have significant criminal histories were somehow not solely to blame for causing the end result here if they want…but to those who have actually dealt with criminals as a career, those people look damn foolish for doing so.

        The extent to which bias is poisoning people’s minds on this is astonishing.

        “Well, Carry, you’re biased too!”

        My “bias” is actual experience dealing with criminals and criminal violence. You guys talking like it was somehow the RR driver’s fault that he pissed off a bunch of violent criminals are making some damnably stupid arguments. You really do not want to live in a world where if you’re violently set upon by a bunch of criminally inclined actors that the world assumes somehow you brought the situation on yourself.

        • 0 avatar
          mnm4ever

          I have no idea what your bias or background is, and frankly, I don’t care. You are biased, for whatever reason, against the motorcyclists and have blatantly supported the driver and his actions as “correct” and “the only thing he could do”, which is total BS. It wasn’t the ONLY thing he could do. It was one of several different choices he could have made, and even if legal, is not the choice we should all strive for in this situation. Celebrating his actions, which was essentially fear-invoked panic using his car as a weapon, is ridiculous.

          I have given several optional choices that he could have made at several points in the process which would have either kept him and his family safer (which should be the most important thing) or not caused him to crush a rider. I have also offered several optional scenarios that the RR driver may have perhaps been partly to blame by being aggressive towards the bikers as they swarmed around him, or not wanting to slow down or stop when they tried to block the highway. Yes, blocking the highway is illegal, but it isn’t the same as a violent threat, its an annoyance at most.

          You still do not know the facts of what happened before the first contact incident, or what was happening immediately after the first bike went down and the other riders surrounded the RR. You are making an assumption based on information coming up later. You seem to assume that no matter what the RR driver did during and before the brake check incident doesn’t matter, he is completely justified in running down the rider and fleeing the scene.

          By your argument, the RR driver was driving along sedately with his wife and child, minding their own business, and a gang of thugs surrounded him, terrorized him, attempted to run him off the road then get him to stop, causing an accident with a bike, then angrily surrounded him threatening him until he was so scared he had no other choice at all than to floor his vehicle, launching himself over the motorcycle in front of him and crushing one of the riders under his truck. You base this scenario on the very lousy media reports of the wife’s soundbite and the fact that later on we found out that one of the guys had previously been convicted of armed robbery, and they were breaking lots of traffic laws so therefore they deserve anything that happens. You do not know at what point they called 911, it could have been before the brake check, or could have been after they already ran the guy over. We simply do not know. But you still make all these assumptions and tell me that I am the one making foolish arguments??

          As simply one alternate scenario — bikers are being typical hoodlums, racing around cars like idiots, stopping up traffic so they can stunt and then moving on for more hoodlum fum down the road. RR driver is getting more and more pissed off by these guys, and figures he better get around the pack or he will miss his dinner reservations and tick off his wife and not get any nookie that night. Those damn bikers think they own the road! Screw them, I am in a big SUV, they can’t stop me, If I hit one of them it won’t be my fault, etc, etc. More driving antics ensue, pack of bikers are out to get that jerk in the RR, the RR driver tells his wife how he is just trying to get around them so they don’t cause an accident, she is screaming about the crazy bikers and telling hubby to stop but he is in full on road rage at that point, no way he’s letting them win. Then they box him in, dumba$$ biker plays brake check chicken with the RR, completely deserving to get hit, and does. Part of the biker pack sees this, heads back to check on their idiot buddy. RR driver gets scared now, crap, he didn’t think he’d actually hit the guy. Hmmm… should I lock my doors and call 911? Get out and make sure the guy is OK? Those bikers look mean, and he deserved it anyways. Bikers see the guy isn’t getting out, hey buddy, what the f— did you do, you hit our friend, get out here… RR driver tries to back up… hey guys he is trying to get away, stop him, he hit our buddy, get him, slash the tires… Wife is screaming, baby is crying, guys are yelling… screw it I am out of here… put the RR in drive, floor it and go. Oops, where did that guy come from, did I run him over??

          And the chase is on. Bikers think they are completely justifiable chasing down this guy, he left the scene of an accident and ran over a guy on the way, he has a legal obligation to not leave the scene of an accident. Gang mentality ensues, and it escalates until the break his window, drag him out and beat him up. Driver thinks he did nothing wrong, they caused the accident and he is just keeping his family safe, so he had no choice but to run. IMO both parties are sort of right. You seem to think nothing that happened before matters, that the bikers approaching the RR is enough of a threat to his family that he was justified in running people down and endangering everyone else on the highway to keep his family safe. I am saying that if safely was his utmost concern, he would have avoided the conflict in the first place. But even though he didn’t, if my scenario is correct then yes, the RR driver does share in the blame for starting/continuing a road rage incident. Did he deserve to get beaten up by a motorcycle gang? No more than a rider deserved getting paralyzed for trying to stop it.

          Now, let the Best and Brightest chime in… whose scenario is more likely?

          • 0 avatar
            carrya1911

            “It was one of several different choices he could have made”

            I’m sorry, did you somehow get access to video footage the rest of us haven’t seen? Perhaps video of the RR’s entire drive? And you can apparently read his mind, now, too!

            I was not “biased” against the motorcyclists. I watched the video and formed the judgement that they confronted and threatened the guy…which they did, as clearly evidenced in the video. Then they chased him down, made multiple attempts to assault him, and finally succeeded after they managed to slash his tires.

            These actions were entirely illegal. Your silly diatribe that doesn’t give a damn about what’s legal is irrelevant: The law says the bikers were in the wrong in a number of things, including their inappropriate use of force. And yet you persist in making up scenarios under which a group of violent criminals (not just because of their actions on the day, which were criminal, but also what we’ve discovered about them after the fact) were somehow provoked to commit a bunch of felonies by a dude who up to that point was just driving from A to B. They, of course, set out from the getgo to commit criminal acts…but somehow HE made the situation happen?

            Of course you don’t care what my background is…because you’re interested solely in your opinion, not any sort of objective sanity check. My background involves dealing with the sort of people who chase somebody down and assault them in front of their wife and child. I’ve seen what they do to other people, and I’ve experienced what it’s like to be a victim myself. The reason I ended up laying on the ground bleeding from a gunshot wound and wrestling over a gun was trivial and not even work related.

            There was no rational reason for the guy to try and kill me, and yet he did it anyway.

            What you don’t understand, and what I understand all too well, is that it doesn’t take anything to set the sort of jackasses who commit these kinds of violent acts off. Looking at these guys in what they consider the wrong way can set them off. In their mind it’s completely justified because if you’re eyeballin’ them then it’s on…but thankfully the law doesn’t see it that way, and the courts don’t tell somebody who just got his face beaten in over something ridiculous that the victim had lots of options like maybe not looking at that bad guy the wrong way. Of course, I’m sure that if you looked over all the details of the incident that I bled in you’d be full of ideas on how I provoked the guy who tried to screw a bullet into my face and how I should have avoided the conflict in the first place. You weren’t there, of course, and know nothing about the situation other than what I’ve presented…but I’ll just bet you’re overcome with ideas on how, exactly, it was really all my fault that a guy with a felony wrap sheet tried to shoot me in the face.

            You seem to have the idea that “gang mentality” took over at some point after the RR driver made a run for it…but seem immune to the idea that a pack of riders trying to shut down a highway and causing an accident were exhibiting “gang mentality” from the very getgo.

            What I have said very clearly from the beginning is that:

            1. The bikers had no legal right to do anything they were video taped doing. Every act they committed on camera was criminal. Every. One.

            2. Because of their behavior on video tape, it’s entirely possible for the driver of the Range Rover to articulate a self defense case. He had the reasonable belief that when the bikers hit him, stopped him, surrounded him, and got off their bikes to approach his vehicle that he and his family were in significant danger. That allows him to use force, but instead of using lethal force to stop the attack he instead used his vehicle to try and escape. People bent on violence don’t do this. (And yes, I can say that based on the background you don’t care about) Scared people do. His actions were a *NORMAL* and *UNDERSTANDABLE* reaction to the situation he faced…which is why he’s not facing any criminal charges and yet the charges keep mounting on the people who chased and assaulted him.

            To reasonable people these are clues.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            Hey now, Brake-check-guy came out and told his sob story to the media yesterday. He said he never intended to make the RR stop, that he generally tries to avoid trouble, and that the RR driver didn’t make eye contact (so much for the “are you eyeballing me?” rage theory*). Brake-check-guy said he doesn’t feel responsible for any of this. Plus he seemed really sincere and he wore a tie for his little press conference, so all in all I think he’s legit…

            YGTBFSM. I’d say brake-check-guy has a possible future in politics.

            *no, not really, just kidding (obviously)

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            @carry, I agree with you on almost every point here. I know the bikers were doing tons of illegal things, I know they were in the wrong and I agree that those actions caused the initial accident. I also agree that the actions taken by the RR driver are legally defensible, and even understandable, IF the situation was playing out the way you think it was… that the bikers were threatening him after he contacted the brake check rider.

            Where we disagree is in that particular assumption: you assume they were threatening him AT THAT POINT. You say there is clear evidence but unless you have video footage the rest of us don’t have, you don’t even have a clear shot of the RR until it goes over the motorcycle. We don’t have any proof that was what was occurring. There is just as likely a chance that the RR driver was not scared but angry (road rage) and did what he did in anger. And from what I know about New York drivers I would say that is a much more likely scenario. I am sure with your vast experience dealing with criminals you can understand how an angry driver can act in the same manner as a frightened driver.

            But even that is besides the point of my original comment. What bothers me is the comments about how the rider got what he deserved, that they wished he had run over more of them, and most importantly, that some of you would do exactly the same thing that the RR driver did if you were in this situation. THATS my problem here. Depending on how the facts play out, I can understand why he did what he did. But what happened in the end was a tragedy and promoting it as a prime example of how to handle a stressful situation is not reasonable. If I am ever in that situation then I hope I make better choices than he did. And I don’t have to read his mind to know there are always choices to be made.

            Oh, and I have also been in a life or death situation too, one of those crazy things from a movie, but it happened to us for real. Your background I assume is some sort of law enforcement, and if so that most likely skews your judgement because you deal with criminals and scum all the time. You are not even close to objective. I dealt with one scumbag nutjob who deserves to die and if he ever comes around me or my family again he will. But I don’t go through life assuming the worst of everyone around me because of one random incident in 40+ yrs. So maybe you are right and those bikers really did terrorize that family for no real reason. Or maybe I am right and the RR driver got into a road rage incident with them and it eventually escalated to the point we saw on the video. I see road rage incidents literally every single day, multiple times a day, and they happen all over the country like that. Your scenario happens more often in movies than it does in real life, and I say that after having it actually happen to us. And on top of that, the bikers posted the video. If they were out there terrorizing innocent people intending to harm them, then why would they post that video??

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        mnm4ever: If he had made responsible choices in the first place then he wouldn’t have ever been under attack and never forced to make the panicked decisions he made.

        Yes, every responsible driver should always carry lemonade and cookies to pacify a group of bikers who have already disregarded virtually every traffic law on the books and then brake-checked your vehicle.

        And he or she should carry a stash of cash, too, – preferably $20s and $50s – in case the person who smashes one of the vehicle’s windows has a conviction for armed robbery, and needs to be “pacified” with cash.

        Those are the responsible things to do. One should definitely not flee when surrounded by a group of menacing adult males who caused an accident in the first place. That is irresponsible.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        @mnm4ever

        I’m not sure you saw post in the other thread, but I was in the right lane and boxed in on 3 sides last year by a dozen similar bikers. I was merging onto the Deegan Expressway and they came over a rise behind me. I didn’t see them or hear them coming.

        You know how close lane splitters get to you? Well, that’s how close they were to me, some of them doing the one-wheel thing behind my trunk. I slowed down. One used his turn signal to indicate they wanted to take the next exit. I slowed down further.

        At first I felt annoyed, then stressed, then threatened. Fortunately, no one brake-checked me, but had I bumped a biker, I would feel fear. Had they stopped and surrounded me, I’d feel desperation.

        I was carrying my family in a Mazda3. I wonder if they would have messed with me more had I been driving a BMW, or a Range Rover?

  • avatar
    IHateCars

    Thomas, if you think the SBN forum chat can get spiritied, you should read the WERA forums “Dungeon” section! Lol!

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Wow ;

    I’ve been riding for 45 years now and am not sure I can articulate my thoughts clearly on all this .

    I’ve been shot at , run off the road and in 2008 run over from behind whilst waiting at a red light ~ my spine was shattered and I’ll use a cane the rest of my life . all these and more happened when I was just riding and minding my own business , I don’t stunt anywhere and I stopped carrying some years back because as mentioned here you can’t use it for show , if you pull it , you’ve got to follow through and I don’t want anymore blood on my old hands .

    I still ride and yes , I ride scared because that’s what keeps me alive .

    I feel badly about the paralyzed rider but he chose to associate with hooligans and when I was growing up there was a thing called ” guilty by association ” and it rings true here .

    He played , now he gets to pay . as a long time Motocyclist , _not_ a ‘biker’ I agree with this , it was bad but he should have considered before acting such a fool .

    As much as I hate death , I’da prolly reacted the same way if I was boxed in like that and forced to stop because I’ve been there when things went sideways after stopping , I’m never going to do that again .
    Me , I’da kept moving on four flats .

    I wonder if the braggarts who claim to be ready to begin blasting ever saw any innocents get blasted by stray shots , this happens all the time where I live and no one ever seems to be able to correlate the wild ‘ gangsta ‘ style shooting they see on the stupid rap videos , with the dead children and babies when they inevitably miss .

    This whole thing is so sad .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    carrya1911

    mnm4ever: “What bothers me is the comments about how the rider got what he deserved, that they wished he had run over more of them, and most importantly, that some of you would do exactly the same thing that the RR driver did if you were in this situation. THATS my problem here.”

    I have encountered multiple situations in my life where someone or a group of someones was trying to cause me severe injury or death. If I believed that a gang of people was going to, say, drag me out of my car and assault me or do the same to my family, I would ABSOLUTELY resort to lethal force. Be that a firearm or the gas pedal. I say that with certainty because *I’ve used lethal force before in defense of myself and others* and wouldn’t hesitate to do so again if I felt it was necessary. If someone puts my life or the life of my family in jeopardy, they absolutely “deserve” what they get because…and this is the key bit…*I’m not the one breaking the law.*

    What you do not seem to be processing here is that the Range Rover driver wasn’t in the wrong. No one seems to be able to come up with any evidence that the driver of the RR did anything illegal prior to being surrounded by bikers, or prior to the accident they caused. It doesn’t matter if he gave them the finger or tried to go around them. There’s no law against flipping someone the bird and there’s no legal obligation on the RR driver’s part to stick behind what the NYPD has now classified as a *ROLLING RIOT*.

    “And I don’t have to read his mind to know there are always choices to be made.”

    Having more experience being in life or death decisions than you, and having more experience analyzing the life or death decisions faced by others than you, I’ll simply say you are making statements behind the safety of a keyboard.

    Life looks considerably different when you aren’t the one in the middle of the danger. I have experience inside and outside the danger. I know the difference in perspective that comes with that change. You, I’ll wager, do not.

    “Your background I assume is some sort of law enforcement, and if so that most likely skews your judgement because you deal with criminals and scum all the time. You are not even close to objective.”

    Neither, then, is a cardiac surgeon. He deals with cardiac problems all the time, so he can’t possibly be objective when he’s presented with an issue involving a patient with a cardiac problem, right? All his learning and experience on the topic biases him.

    You’ll note that the NYPD has been charging the bikers with crimes…not the man in the Range Rover. Even, now, charging an NYPD officer who actually participated in the assault. Why? ***Because that’s what the evidence shows*** The driver of the Range Rover? Still no charges for him. And none will be filed because as I’ve said time and time again: He has a perfectly reasonable, easily explained case for self defense. Every action he took was to AVOID the rolling riot filled with criminal actors. He was in fear, a perfectly legitimate fear, and acted REASONABLY in response to that fear.

    “But I don’t go through life assuming the worst of everyone around me because of one random incident in 40+ yrs”

    I didn’t *assume* anything. I watched a video of a group of law-breaking bikers chasing down someone, repeatedly trying to assault him, and then cutting off the video right before they committed a bunch of violent felonies. Drawing conclusions based on evidence and experience dealing with criminals is not assuming the worst of everyone around me. I have some experience dealing with use of force and violent criminal acts both in court and on the street and that experience gives me a perspective on the video *you* lack.

    There are probably topics where you have a better command of what’s going on than I do…but this isn’t one of them. The difference is when those topics come up I’ll hold my peace rather than try and argue something that doesn’t exist into reality.

    “And on top of that, the bikers posted the video. If they were out there terrorizing innocent people intending to harm them, then why would they post that video??”

    The bikers posted an EDITED video, one that cut out the part where his buddies dragged the guy out of the car and beat him.

    And your question of why shows your lack of experience dealing with the criminal. A friend of mine was working a riot at a university. He personally arrested a student who posted a video on youtube of himself hitting a police officer in the head with a half-full bottle of beer.

    Kylie Freeman’s father videotaped himself repeatedly raping his ten year old daughter. One of the members of the Wonderland Club videotaped himself raping an infant in a hospital. You’ve probably never seen those videos…but I have. Rational people don’t download those to a public library’s computer and then masturbate to them in full view of the public and security cameras…and yet I’ve got footage of the whole thing happening.

    Youtube, Liveleak, and World Star Hip-Hop are packed to the brim with people videotaping themselves breaking the law. Again this goes back to your lack of experience with criminals: You assume they are rational actors. You assume this because you’ve never sat across the table from someone who tortured someone to death trying to skin them alive just because he broke into their house and found them lying on the couch asleep. Not to get money, not to settle a score…but just because they could.

    You literally don’t understand the bikers who assaulted this guy. They are a different creature than you are used to dealing with. You don’t deal with these creatures much because there are guys like me who work hard to keep them in a cage.

    Maybe instead of arguing with the zookeeper you would be better off listening to what he has to say about the creatures you see on occasion, but that he lives with and watches day to day.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      I am not arguing with you, or your experience, or trying to make the bikers out to be wonderful human beings who were just misunderstood. You continue to focus solely on what was legal and illegal, which, given your background, makes complete sense. But you keep missing my point entirely.

      The bikers are being charged for the assault because what they did was illegal. Even if my scenario played out exactly as I said, the chase and assault was still illegal and they need to be charged. That was illegal no matter what happened earlier, and I AM IN TOTAL AGREEMENT here.

      The part I do not agree with is your assumption that during the part in the video where us regular people cannot even see what is happening, the bikers are terrorizing the RR driver to the point where he had no choice but to run people down to get out of there. There is no evidence that this is the case. Even with the followup charges so far, the only “evidence” we have is what the wife says, and even that is not clear as to the timeline of what occurred when. Everything is focused on the chase and beating, which happened after he ran the guy over. Even everything you bring up is from AFTER he ran over that guy. You are most definitely making an assumption that he was justified in taking that action in the first place.

      I have no doubt the RR driver was scared, but I believe he was scared because he knows he pissed off these guys and then accidentally hit one of them and knew he was going to get his ass kicked, so he took off. I am certain he never intended to run that guy over, not for a minute do I think he did it on purpose, and shouldn’t be charged for it either. Its legal, but that doesn’t make it right. And yes, I KNOW it isn’t illegal for the RR driver to piss off a bunch of glorified street racers, but if you do and they kick your ass for it, then IMO you deserve it. And that guy didn’t deserve to get maimed over it. And that is why this is NOT an example of the best possible outcome to the situation.

      So you are relating these bikers to psychotic killers and rapists that you apparently deal with every day, and therefore are making the ASSUMPTION that the RR driver was completely justified in using lethal force to leave the scene of an accident. I am saying that in real life its significantly more likely that this was a road rage incident gone bad, with terrible consequences to one guy who, if his story is true, is probably really sorry he stopped to go help. You can relate shocking stories of crazy people all day long, but to any reasonable, objective person, my scenario is a hell of a lot more likely than your scenario.

      I am done with this thread, we are clearly never going to agree on this one point. I may not face death every day like you do, but I hope that if I am ever swarmed by psycho killer rapist stunt bikers on a highway, I will somehow keep myself and my family safe without having to run any of them over first. And if you are finding yourself in life-or-death situations regularly that are not job related, you really need to find some new places to hang out.

  • avatar
    carrya1911

    And to further make the point:

    http://www.counton2.com/story/23629522/coroner-confirms-body-found-in-mt-pleasant-is-missing-man-from-beaufort

    The perpetrators were caught because they posted pictures of themselves driving the dead man’s truck on their social media pages.


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