The twisted add a new twist to a derogatory term
One of the conveniences (and pitfalls) of some online publications is that you can have your news custom tailored to your whims and wishes. For instance, I subscribe to the New York Times online and have set up an “Alert” for whenever an article is published with the word “motorcycle” in the text.
When I check my email in the morning there will invariably be one from NYTimes.com with “My Alerts: NYT Motorcycle (1 article)” in the subject column. (If it was a particularly busy day I might be greeted with “2 articles,” or even “3 articles”).
Isn’t it nice to start your morning reading about motorcycles?
Some of the alerts have been benign, industry news or “human interest” articles. Others fall under the title of Unintended Consequences like these:
Dec. 8, 2011 — Honduras: Killings Prompt a Ban on Motorcycles Carrying Passengers
March 15, 2012 — Bombers Strike Twice in Southern Afghanistan
March 16, 2012 — Links Pursued in Killings of 3 French Army Parachutists
March 18, 2012 — In Yemen, U.S. Teacher Is Shot Dead by Two Men
March 19, 2012 — 4 Killed at Jewish School in Southwestern France
April 4, 2012 — 6 Afghans and 3 G.I.’s Are Killed by Bomber
This entry is not intended to diminish this senseless violence and loss of life, but all the incidents noted above involved the use of motorcycles in some form to commit acts of terrorism.
Sure, this has been going on for a while, but (and no puns intended) it seems to have accelerated as of late, and motorcycles are fast becoming the “weapon of choice” for gun-toting terrorists and now, so it seems, Kamikaze motorcyclists.
Ironically, the reasons for selecting two-wheeled motorized vehicles for these deadly acts are some of the same reasons you and I choose to ride on two wheels; the ability to navigate through congested traffic (or obstacles), quick acceleration (or “getaway”), and the relatively ease of storage (or ability to hide them).
My worry is that this form of terrorism will migrate to these shores because, well, nothing succeeds like success, and if they can pull it off there why not here? If that’s not enough to sour your stomach here’s something else to worry about; what will our government’s reaction be?
How about FBI searches of email, telephone and financial records of “suspected” motorcyclists? Or secret court warrants for searching the business records (or any record for that matter) of motorcycle dealers, and aftermarket and repair shops? Or even secret court warrants for the electronic monitoring of motorcyclists—for any reason?
Ridiculous you say? The only thing I added to the descriptions were the motorcycle references; the power to do all this is already in place through the extended provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act.
It’s been said that liberty is the first casualty of war. And we’ve swallowed at lot since this “War on Terror” began running full steam after 9/11.
Today, all airline travelers and fans attending sporting events are terrorist suspects and treated accordingly. Maybe it’s necessary, I don’t know. But sadly, it would probably take only one motorcycle-related terrorist incident in Midtown Manhattan to make pat downs and saddlebag checks of “suspected” motorcyclists in Times Square just as routine. Or even a ban on motorcycling in “sensitive” parts of New York City for that matter.
This just in: The strip-searching of all incoming inmates — even those dragged in for minor offenses — was recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Cavity check, anyone?
Enjoy your coffee.