As the Democratic National Convention of 2008 begins with a faith-based panderfest, the crackdown is beginning outside, with law enforcement confronting the danger of… bicyclists. No kidding. The Associated Press reports that “Denver police also asked area law enforcement to be on the lookout for caches of supplies that could be used by violent demonstrators, such as helmets, nails, heavy protest sign handles and even bicycles.”
Bicycles? Bicycles are now signs of impending violence?!? I can see how the executives of big oil corporations might think so, but for the local police to regard a bicycle as a legitimate reason to suspect someone of conspiring to commit acts of violence is a sign of how far into paranoia Homeland Security has gone.
A bicycle is not a weapon. A bicycle is a peaceful tool that builds healthy bodies and preserves clean air and water. A bicycle is a quiet thing. It does not roar. It does not burn. It does not bash.
I think the Denver Police ought to take a look at Bikes Not Bombs to have an idea about the kind of people who may be riding a bicycle outside the Democratic National Convention this week. Bikes Not Bombs explains its mission by saying,
“Lasting peace and social justice require equitable and sustainable use of resources. BNB provides community-based education and assists development projects with recycled bicycles, related technologies and technical assistance, as concrete alternatives to the militarism, over-consumption & inequality that breed war and environmental destruction. Our organization is part of a worldwide movement for peace and responsible stewardship of the earth.”
I wish that the leaders of the Democratic Party would take a look too. It doesn’t send a positive message that Democratic Party officials are getting special police protection from bicycles. If I were head of the Democratic National Committee, I’d make sure to issue an official statement condemning the paranoid police pursuit of bicycles – and I’d tell the Denver Police to back off.
Of course, I’ll never lead the Democratic National Committee, but the point isn’t about me. It’s about the best direction for America. We need more bicycles on our streets – not fewer. If every household in America had and used a bicycle on a daily basis, we would be a more prosperous and peaceful nation.