Monday, July 14, 2014

Why Does the Washington Post Incite Violence Against Cyclists?

Dear Editor in Chief Ken Walz
The Albuquerque Journal

Good Evening.

The Albuquerque Journal, to which we happily subscribe, recently offered us a complimentary electronic subscription to the Washington Post. Due to a lot of intervening activity, including an accident my wife recently suffered which reminded me of the impact of serious injury on our lives, I have not checked into it. Until today, when a note from the League of American Bicyclists told me that one of the Post's editorialists, Courtland Milloy, wrote what has to be one of the most ill-tempered, illogical, and potentially violence-encouraging screeds against cyclists that I have recently read.

Its bad enough to read ill-tempered rants from anonymous commenters on Disqus or other message boards. Its quite another for an editorialist to write senselessly incendiary material under color of authority of the newspaper. Mr. Milloy as much as advocated vigilante justice against cyclists: "...It's a $500 fine for a motorist to hit a bicyclist in the District (of Columbia), but some behaviors are so egregious that some drivers might think it's worth paying the fine. ..."

I'm not sure what actions justify such violence and certainly, we don't accept such behavior against anyone as being within the law. Given that Mr.Milloy is obviously a person of color, I'm really surprised he would advocate what amounts to vigilante justice against people against whom he holds a prejudice. How soon we forget. Given he is a journalist, I'm surprised he doesn't know better than to think beyond his anger before he submits an article. In any event, as a law abiding cyclist with more than 35 years in the saddle, as a cycling instructor, a longtime member of my county's transportation advisory board, and a cycling advocate who has contributed heavily to bicycle related ordinances and planning over more than two decades and in two states and, as someone who routinely cycles for a variety of reasons, I cannot in good faith endure reading such objectionable content without protest.

Further, unlike the Journal's site, which clearly links to folks like yourself who have management and leadership authority over the newspaper, it was impossible for me to find a link to the editor or editorial board of the Post. Perhaps they don't want to hear from me. I hope, given the recent collaboration between the Journal and Post, you can easily forward this note to their editorial offices. Also, feel free to forward this to your own editorial board. A good newspaper, and I count the Journal as an excellent one, should be able to air controversial content without inciting violence. Maybe someone at the Post needs to remember that and tone it down.


Khalil J. Spencer

Khalil J Spencer, Ph.D.
League of American Bicyclists Cycling Instructor 1173 www.northmesamutts.blogspot.com1799 Camino Uva, Los Alamos, NM 87544


limom said...


Chandra said...

Flabbergasted :(

What is the big deal with cyclists moving slower? What's the big rush? Where are we all going 'so fast'?

As a world, we are in a big hurry to get somewhere. Not exactly sure where that is.

Peace :)

Steve A said...

In response to your post title - "it sells." Just as inciting violence against all sorts of other minorities used to sell. Nowadays, it just seems to be cyclists and people that snuck across the border. Sigh...

Steve A said...

I guess Muslims are acceptable targets as well.

Steve A said...

Heaven help a Muslim cyclist that rode across a border without proper documents!

Khal said...

That last one would win you a threefer, Steve.