Recently, NPR ran a story on cyclists cycling in groups in Los Angeles, and that story included a quote on how a motorist in LA bragged about buzzing and potentially hitting a cyclist. Apparently that got enough bad press that the NPR Ombudsman responded with another article. Well, no good deed goes unpunished, and among the worst comments that second post received were some by a person posting as a Jim Johnson, who had such gems as
"Bicyclists don't belong on streets or sidewalks. You are freeloaders and pests."
"I am okay with "vigilante justice" applied to bicyclists."
"Bicyclists need to know just how despised they are."
"Bicyclists are self-entitled freeloaders"
I wouldn't be so blatant as to drive into a cyclist. But how would you
like to be followed for the entire duration of your ride by someone
who's leaning on the horn? There are plenty of ways to spoil your fun
without actually touching you."
"But I am here. And behind the wheel. And you had better keep that in mind, because I'm not the only irritated driver."
"Better be careful when you're alone is all I can say."
"The difference between you and me is that I really do carry a gun in my
motor vehicle. Spandex boy, this is not a fight you want to start."
Mr. Jim did his best troll imitation, trying to hijack the entire discussion thread with threats and abuse. I tried to report some, but as most of us know, Disqus is relatively insensitive to reporting abuse. Likewise, I tried to find a way, any way, to contact NPR's Ombuds. I left a phone message which was not returned and one of those "fill in this little box and some day, in your next life, if you are really lucky, we will get back to you" comment pages.
I find it interesting that it is soooo easy to reach NPR when they want my donation, and almost impossible to reach an executive, board member, or ombudsman when you want to say something of substance. So NPR, do me a favor. Don't ask for my money any more, either. I'll try to be as hard to contact as you are.