I wasn’t going to post today, but this arrived with the coffee (Thanks, Thor!) and I can’t resist.
A bareheaded motorcyclist participating in a ride to protest mandatory helmet laws was killed when he was thrown over the handlebars in Onondaga, New York…..Philip A. Contos, 55, of Parish, New York, was on a ride organized by the Onondaga chapter of American Bikers Aimed Towards Education (ABATE), state police said Sunday.
Contos hit his brakes, began fishtailing and lost control of his 1983 Harley Davidson. He shot over the handlebars, hit his head on the pavement and was taken to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, New York, where he was pronounced dead.
State police say evidence at the scene plus information from the attending medical expert indicated Contos would have survived had he been wearing a helmet as required by state law. – CNN
That sound you hear is freedom ringing loudly as his skull on the asphalt. Or at least that’s how his buddies see it:
Asked about the apparent irony of Contos’ death, the statewide president of ABATE, Thomas Alton, said, “We are riding at an increased risk and accept that. … This individual was a seasoned rider, not a newbie. He made an adult decision. A full decision to ride in the manner he rode in.”….. ABATE of NY Inc. is organizing a memorial “to honor an individual who rode for freedom and risked his all for freedom,” he said.
Biking never appealed to me, and while once in a while I’ll see a machine that catches my eye for its power, beauty, or grace, I’m not moved one way or the other. (I have noticed that bikers as a group are getting a lot older and no thinner.) So the helmet issue isn’t my business or battle, and for me, the tragedy of this event outweighs its irony and dark humor.
It’s well documented that the most commonly uttered last 4 words of a redneck are, “Hey fellas — watch this!” Freedom to do something self-destructive is an American tradition, but that doesn’t make it smart or noble. My guess is that ABATE as well as its detractors would have been a lot happier on July 5 if this guy hadn’t splattered his grey matter in the name of the red white and blue. But I’m also pretty sure the wrong moral to the story is being drawn.