Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Details emerge in Friday’s alleged assault (Updated)

Posted by on September 1st, 2009 at 2:06 pm

“All agreed that the car was going very fast in reverse and one person said he had heard loud words exchanged.”

We reported this weekend on an incident in which Wayne Conrad Thompson was arrested after he collided, in his car, with a man on a bike.

Thompson was charged with first-degree assault, a felony, a charge that is used when someone is suspected of having intentionally harmed another person with a deadly or dangerous weapon.

The Oregonian has obtained a court document and is now reporting more details on the incident. It occurred in a parking lot, they report, near NE 122nd and Glisan. Witnesses apparently heard shouting and then saw Thompson back his car “as fast as it possibly could go” into 52 year old Portland resident Michael Luther, who was riding a bicycle at the time.

The Oregonian’s sources say that intoxicants are not suspected to have played a part in the incident, but that avenue is being explored; they also say that Thompson looked “agitated” and was looking over his shoulder while backing up.

A commenter on our story who was at the scene but did not witness the crash reports that Thompson’s SUV had

“…gone over one island clear across to the next island and stopped. At least one back tire was flat so that would have made it difficult to flee. Also, there were several people that witnessed the situation including the waitress who got the license number just in case. All agreed that the car was going very fast in reverse and one person said he had heard loud words exchanged. The cyclist had been knocked out of his shoes and his helmet was a few feet from his head.”

Story continues below


According to the Oregonian story, Luther has been upgraded from fair condition at Legacy Emanuel. His sister has contacted us asking to be put in touch with any witnesses.

The case is currently being investigated by the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office. We’ll have more once they are able to release details of their investigation.

Update: KGW reports that Thompson’s case is headed to a grand jury, and that the case is being handled by homicide detectives rather than the traffic division.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Dave September 1, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Hope Michael gets better soon. I read about this earlier on Oregonlive and the comments were pretty terrifying, on top of already scary situation.

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  • gregg woodlawn September 1, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    I also hope that Micheal gets better quickly. My heart goes out to him and his family.

    I wouldn’t read the Oregonlive comments if you have a weak stomach. I better understand who their (The Oregonian)
    clientele is. It is so refreshing to have KBOO, DemocracyNow.org, and of coarse bikeportland.org to go to for news and to not have to rely on our local paper.

    Jonathan and Elly, you have like 8 new articles today. Busy Busy.

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  • Vance Longwell September 1, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Oh no, no. This happened on private property? Oh yikes… Man, man oh man. That sounds like Jody’s, but I digress. Duder’s gonna get blood-work for Meth too it looks like. Yay! Pretty new thing being able to mandate that.

    This happening on private property just made the victim’s life that much worse here. This is going to be a financial disaster for them.

    Do we need to get Helping Hands up again, or are these folks kool?

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  • fredlf September 1, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    I’m not sure the people who post on Oregonlive are necessarily representative of Oregonian readers as a whole. I sure hope not.

    I try hard to remember that people are frustrated and disempowered, working hard but going broke. Add in a poor education (especially in the interpretation of text and social artifacts) and a huge, ubiquitous propaganda machine and you get these enraged commenters who desperately need someone, anyone to lash out against.

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  • Caroline September 1, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Begin rant. I feel like NE 122nd between Sandy and Powell (I know that’s a stretch) is a really tense route when cycling. Even when driving that street I feel very uneasy. But on the bike in that neighborhood I feel like a second-rate citizen. People think it’s normal to drive very close, skim, cut off, make faces and gestures at, honk, laugh, and just plain intimidate me. Maybe it’s because I’m, oh, I dunno, in the bicycle lane obeying traffic laws and going unobtrusively fast. I’d like to say it’s because I’m intimidatingly hott. Anyway, seems like I’d be the last person to put up with this aggression. But I do. Every. time. I. go. out. there.

    I don’t have a big steel shield around me, so I often have considered packing heat (or at least mace). Then, if someone decided to use their vehicle as a weapon against me (oh, as opposed to an object of intimidation as they most often “just” do), I could fight back in defence in my final moments before waking intubated at Emanuel. This sounds like hatred- and violence-mongering, but really, when you are aggressed time and time again these are the types of things you think. (I said “think,” not “do.”) A friend on a long bike tour happens to be packing a .32 pistol, and says he would brandish it in the worst case scenario, but wishes it was acceptable and safe to brandish it more often so that cyclists wouldn’t have the public image of “styrofoam neon knee-sock dorks.”

    We are not dorks. We are tax-paying children, parents, brothers, sisters, heroes and villains. It should be growing more and more obvious that people who cling to their soon-to-be clunkers as status symbols and false idols are the new dorks. (Maybe THAT’s why some drivers are so aggressive — get on a bike already!!) Bicycles are sexy, they are swell, they are healthy, efficient and affordable, they can be fast, they can be fancy, and their operators are likely every right as fierce as car operators. In most cases, they are the same people.

    Again, yeah I may not be wrapped in the luxury of a $200/month, gas-guzzling, noxious-fume-emitting steel-reinforced death-trap with ABS, SIR, SAB, DVD, and JBL – BUT- that doesn’t mean I’m not rad and that if you mess with me my mom won’t be hunting you down and hanging your little balls from her RVM. Pass it on.

    My best wishes to the cyclist in this situation through his complete recovery.

    (“) (“)

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  • BURR September 1, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Caroline, you might think about Open Carry, not sure what the laws are regarding this in Oregon, but you shouldn’t need a concealed weapons permit for Open Carry and it gives the motorists an opportunity to see that you are armed beforehand.

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  • Dave September 1, 2009 at 3:55 pm


    Sadly, Loaded Open Carry (LOC) is illegal in Portland without a Concealed Handgun License (CHL) (Portland Code 14A.60.010). The irony is, a concealed handgun license allows open carry in Oregon for cities that have otherwise banned LOC.

    A CHL is relatively easy to acquire, however. It costs $65 and takes about a month or so for the process to complete, depending on which county you live in, and is good for 4 years. There are some qualifications – find out more at the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. CHL’s are generally issued by the sheriff of the county you reside in.

    Riding around with a gun on your hip will definitely get you some looks, and maybe even some hassles by some police who don’t know the law in regards to Open Carry. So far, however, my experiences have been all positive.

    Despite what many may think it’s generally seen as a deterrent to the kind of violent escalations that happened last week. Just having it there, on your hip in plain view, means that whatever discussions take place should remain somewhat civil. When things start going bad, just walk away.

    A common catchphrase used by the Open Carry Movement is “An armed society is a polite society”.

    Ride safe,


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  • eastPDX September 1, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    The interesting part is that the accident you refer to occurred in the middle of a large parking lot — not on NE 122nd as the initial reports implied. The confrontation between the two MAY have started on the street, but there’s no question that the car ran the bicyclists down in the parking lot.

    I drove by there just minutes after it happened and wondered why all the emergency vehicles and crime tape were in the middle of the parking lot.

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  • Jay R. September 1, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Open Carry is legal in the state, but… nebulous at best. In most urban areas it’s banned by local ordinances.


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  • Vance Longwell September 1, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    BURR – Open carry is strictly verboten here. Can’t even have a firearm and ammo for it in the same place. The only way to carry firearm and ammo in public here is to obtain a CCP.

    Hey Caroline, in the interest of male/female relations, I wanted to share. Now you’re a bad example ’cause you seem nonplussed, but your experience is a common one.

    I’m a very tall, very nasty looking fellow. I’m very poor, very pissed, and about as anti-social as they come.

    I endure the same things on the road everybody else does. I get the laughs, the mocking, the swipes, and the like. Me. Big scary guy.

    Just wanted to chime in ’cause it’s my perception that a lot of women feel singled out, and that harassment of that sort only happens to them ’cause their girls. It happens to us all, trust me. Again, directed at nobody, just sayin’.

    Isn’t it easier though to suck it up, rather than live under a bunch of oppressive laws?

    Off topic. Dang it BURR – I blame you. Or not. 🙂

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  • joe adamski September 1, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    It’s pretty sad that we even consider needing to pack heat to ride our bikes on city streets. I can’t help but wonder of an unseen part of this incident is the ‘bike v car’ rage promulgated by certain talk radio hosts and their acolytes. All the ‘share the road’ and ‘start seeing everyone’ community effort is frequently rendered nil by one radio show rant. Yet nobody ever calls Lars et all after such horrible incidents and reminds Lars & Co. that there is blood on their hands.
    On a related note,there is ample evidence of the need for safer routes in outer SE, both North/South and East/West. Getting cyclists off such overused and nasty streets such as 122,Division,any street wider than three lanes,should be a priority. If you can’t feel safe,can you be expected to even try to use a bicycle out there?
    The battle for the right to use public streets is being held out in the outer fringes of Portland,because the folks who live out there are dependent on cars,as it is so sprawled and distant, with fewer options to live without relying on a car. A bicyclist is (IMHO) seen as a threat to the suburban way of life by many.Suburban man fears you on your bicycle because he sees you as a threat to his lifestyle. Change is painful.

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  • Dave September 1, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Jay R.:

    The only places that currently ban LOC is Portland, Beaverton, Tigard, Oregon City, Salem, Dallas, Bend, and (ironically) Independence.

    That sounds like a lot, and it covers the Portland area pretty well, but there are plenty of metro areas this doesn’t cover. Here’s a map of the Portland Metro area no-gun zone.

    All of this goes away, however, once you have a CHL – the state law allowing local municipalities the ability to regulate possession of handguns (ORS 166.173) also specifically exempts CHL holders.

    $65 for 4 years is worth it for me to avoid the hassle of locking up my gun every time I head into Portland.

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  • Caroline September 1, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Vance – I think I like you. Honestly, the sexist angle hadn’t occurred to me, as naive as that sounds. I just thought “the natives” would be allured/pissed off by my long thin legs and the magic between them. A man could swing the look, too, if he wanted.

    But, really, I think most outer Portland and Gresham (I can only speak for the East side) might still view bicycle lanes with ignorance and even a little disdain, as evidenced by the frequent sight of “the natives” still riding their bikes on the sidewalk when there are bike lanes. Do they know something I don’t? Maybe they do! Sometimes I think I should take their example, but when I see the wistful, longing, puzzled looks they give me as I zip by unhampered by curbs and crosswalks, I remember I must set the example: bicyclists belong on the road, too!

    Dave – Would I need a permit for an IRBPL (intergalactic ray-of-brotherly-peace-and-love) gun?

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  • Jay R. September 1, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    I’ve had my CHL for many years, now, so OC isn’t something I’ve much concerned myself with, really.

    Most of the metro is covered, however, so OC (without a license) is not really a good idea for someone who primarily rides here.

    Even with a license, I’ve never really been fond of open carry. It attracts attention, generally of the negative sort, from police, passers by (mostly fear), and would-be thugs.

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  • RWL1776 September 1, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Riding with a loaded weapon?: If I remember correctly, a State Senator (or Rep) was SHOT in the leg last year. How? He was working on a friends bike, and when he took the tool pouch off the seat, he dropped it: BANG-the loaded gun went off and he almost lost his leg. Problem was he did not know his friend had stored a loaded weapon in there!

    Think lawsuits in bike shops. “Sorry your mechanic got shot, I forgot my gun was in there!”

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  • q`Tzal September 1, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    Way OT: we consider “packing heat” because these drivers see no consequence for their actions.
    Countries with fewer traffic accidents are quite often populated by drivers and cyclists that have learned manners and how to share.
    Here in the “Gud Ol” USA we reinforce “Me First” so it’s little wonder that we manufacture lots of bullies.
    Put a bully in a metal box that provides protection and anonymity and you can guarantee that some will lash out anyone. When there is little chance of consequences (what, will my bike scratch their paint) there is literally nothing to stop them.
    Now, if just a few attacked cyclists returned fire on these drivers then they, the drivers, might all have to wonder if next time they might get shot at for their fun running the cyclist off the road.

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  • Jay R. September 1, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    Tens of thousands of people have CHLs in Oregon, and I’m sure many of those people ride bikes (I do)… some idiot shooting himself has more to do with him being an idiot than it does with the gun.

    “Open Carry” requires that it be on your person and visible at all times. If it’s not visible, it’s concealed carry, which requires licenses.

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  • AC. September 1, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Guns are the solution? No thanks.

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  • Dave Thomson September 1, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    As usual I am amazed by how dangerous cycling in Portland is, at least if you believe the BikePortland forums. I commute 15 miles to work regularly out here in the western ‘burbs (Tigard, Beaverton, Hillsboro), and quite honestly there just isn’t that much excitement to be had. It never occurred to me that I needed a CHL to ride my bike.

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  • Jay R. September 1, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Carrying a gun was only brought up tongue-in-cheek (as far as I can tell) – as a visual deterrent. My commute is 10 miles through the heart of SE, and I avoid most confrontations and issues.

    Besides, even for those who do have a license, where can you really conceal anything in bike shorts. They’re the epitome of “displaying everything.” 😉

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  • worried September 1, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Is it possible this is the same guy responsible for the hit and run the night before in the same area?
    Also, I don’t think carrying a gun is going to make you any safer? Escalating the potential level of retaliation is only going to make the problem worse for all of us. Have a nice day!

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  • Shot Gun September 1, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    With “Open Carry” can you attach a shot gun to your top tube for deterrence?

    Outside Portland?

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  • John September 1, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    So, guy on a bike gets hit by a motorist and now the discussion has devolved into ‘how do I get a permit to carry a gun?’

    Most of you can’t remember where you put your tire lever to fix a flat–do you really think you have what it takes in a tense situation with an angry motorist to reach for a weapon and use it? You daydream about shooting through the winshield, just like the movies, right? The car flips over and explodes and you ride away on your bike, a total passive agressive dreamer, ‘Revenge’ tattooed on your neck. Come on people, get real.

    Elly, some moderation please!

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  • Caroline September 1, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    John – when haven’t the comments on this site gone OT or devolved? Relax, enjoy the ride. It’s a public forum!

    Yeah, I was just saying (if you read carefully) that those type of action movie scenarios do run through my head occasionally when I encounter aggression on the road. But I made it clear it was a notion, not a reality.

    I’m a person with a will to survive, not a doormat. If I had been in the parking lot that day with some means of stopping that driver, I’m not sure I wouldn’t have. If the only recourse a cyclist has are weak traffic law and civil court, or to stay silent and docile, then of course other, more primal thoughts are going to bounce around the skull…

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  • Jason September 1, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    “…shooting through the winshield, just like the movies, right? The car flips over and explodes and you ride away on your bike…”

    Yes. This. 😉

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  • KWW September 1, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    I think there should be a public information campaign that really tells the story of the consequences of an intentional hit and run.

    Wayne Conrad Thompson can be the poster boy for this example, since his timing is so impeccable.

    First, you will be caught.
    Then, your bail will be so high, that you probably won’t be able to get out of prison.
    As a consequence of being in jail, you will probably lose your job.
    You lose your job, you will probably lose your house if you have one.
    You lose your job and house, you will probably lose your spouse, if you have one.
    The criminal trial will cost you a lot. A good lawyer will probably cost +$20k or more. That is less than bail bond for Wayne.

    So even before the trial, Wayne has incurred about $45,000 in debt, will probably lose his job and more.

    If you lose the trial, then you go to jail for a while. There is free food and friends, who will most likely rape you. They may give you a snack in return for said rape-age.

    And then there is the civil trial. If you are found guilty in the criminal trial, then Wayne, you are truly f***ed.

    Good luck Wayne, I bet you are having second thoughts about that rage and throwing your Kia SUV in reverse and intentionally running down a fellow human being.

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  • Elly Blue September 1, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    My editorial take on this thread:

    Caroline’s comment is awesome.

    The conversation about the pros and cons of carrying guns while riding a bike seems reasonable to me.

    The first time my “edit” light went on was when John (23) calls a hypothetical other commenter a passive-aggressive dreamer — not really called for, a bit of a personal attack. But subsequent responses diffused that better than I could have.

    The second time is when KWW(26) speculates about a sexually violent acts that could befall someone.

    Personally, I really can’t stand it when someone brings up this issue in a light or callous tone. Two short comments containing “joking” references to the same possibility were deleted from the last story. But the comment as a whole is relevant, interesting, and at least not openly mean-spirited or attacking. And would I get to voice my discomfort if KWW didn’t get to speculate about this most uncomfortable issue? Probably not. But does that make it a good idea to leave it up? Some people’s hearts are just going to sink reading this conversation. And for what purpose? Such are the internal debates.

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  • middle of the road guy September 1, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Because of one or two (maybe 3)incidents, people are talking about carrying guns while biking. The irony is that most of the pro bike people are likely pro gun control,also.

    Seriously folks, this is perhaps the best place in the country to bike. Taking a few instances and holding it up as the norm is a disservice to both cyclists and drivers.

    Carrying a weapon will do wonders for the cycling community. If anything, a driver with an attitude will use the “I thought he was armed” excuse to actually run you over. And who can shoot and ride at the same time?

    Personally, I think there is a lot of underlying rage that is unrelated to cycling (as I watch a bike sail through the stopsign on Miss and Shaver).

    These incidents serve as touchpoints for anger people are already carrying around (both bikers and drivers). Think about how angry you get at a minor incident and evaluate whether your anger is justifiable proportioned to what happened.

    I think the perp in this case was an angry guy and this (whatever it was) pushed him over the edge of self control.

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  • wsbob September 1, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    “The conversation about the pros and cons of carrying guns while riding a bike seems reasonable to me.” Elly Blue

    But here on this thread, related to this incident? How? Why?

    How could carrying a gun possibly have helped “…Michael F. Luther, 52…” (that’s the unfortunate victim…I wish him a speedy, full recovery.)as Thompson backed his car at a high speed over Michael on his bike? Are you all seriously thinking he could have pulled it out and shot Thompson through the window glass as the car rushed towards him? That gun stuff in the movies is 98 percent fantasy B.S.

    It might be more constructive to think about why Thompson was thought by observers to have seemed “agitated”. And since the incident occurred in a parking lot…if it was a strip club parking lot and the two parties involved had been customers of that strip club…whether the wonderful entertainment opportunities available in the strip club might have contributed to Mr. Thompson’s “agitation” and his decision to knock Michael Luther down.

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  • Donna September 1, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Getting a CHL and practicing open carry whilst riding is an especially visible statement if one is left-handed.

    I knew a guy (in another state) who commuted on a road that was notorious for motorists expressing hostility and threatening behavior towards cyclists. He was perplexed by all the stories because he’d never had a single negative experience in all the years he’d been commuting on that road. One day, his wife passed him in her car on his route home from work and what she told him made it all quite clear. He is left-handed with a CHL and has carried his handgun on his work commute for years. Because of the thinness of his cycling jacket, she could see quite clearly that he was carrying and that it must always be apparent to any motorist passing him. To his mind, that was the only difference between him and every other cyclist he’d ever met who rode that route – and every single one of them complained of regular harassment from motorists.

    It’s certainly not a practice that’s palatable (or even recommended) for everyone, but some folks who ride in certain locales may well wish to give the idea some serious thought.

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  • John Peterson September 1, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    I’ve considered carrying a realistic lightweight fake shotgun strapped to my back……haven’t got around to it yet….

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  • a-dub September 1, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    If I was new to this blog, I would think all bike riders in Portland were nuts. Is this really that productive? Fun, maybe. Productive….?

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  • fuchsia September 1, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    EastPDX #8


    Watch your language. Also, cars don’t run people down, people do.

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  • Stig3 September 1, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    Pack guns in Portland? Clinging onto cars in Toronto?

    This is not a James Bond movie. Learn to de-escalate and avoid confrontations. Chances are that the motorist has a lot less to lose and I’d bet on him every time. Live to ride another day and get home safely to your family.

    I’m glad to hear that the victim in this case has been upgraded. I wish him a full and speedy recovery.

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  • bean September 1, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    I love this site….where else would anyone bring up the image of a gun “hidden” in bike shorts…HA! So OT and outrageous…
    Not to have too much humor at the expense of the hospitalized victim. Get well soon! Holy smokes.

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  • […] Portland, Oregon: “A driver who argued with a bicyclist Friday afternoon in Northeast Portland put his car into reverse and backed into the bicyclist at an estimated 40 mph. After impact, the victim appeared to be stuck to the back of the SUV.” More –> Bike Portland. […]

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  • KWW September 1, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    Is that a pistol in your lycra, or are you glad to see me?!?

    Elly, if you wish to edit my post, be my guest, I was just interjecting some black humor at the expense of the soon to be ‘defendant’.

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  • Q`ztal September 1, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    The gun craziness can basically be summed up like this: the sort of people that intentionally run down cyclists would never do it to you if they though there would be any punishment.
    There is no reason to believe that they’ll get caught or that any witnesses will side with the cyclist. The behavior of auto drivers resembles forum trolls.
    The anonymity and unaccountability encourages people who are normally too polite or timid in front of others to lash out in random acts of violence.

    My choices on how to resolve the overall issue go in this order: politeness, education, enforcement and last “armed anarchy”.
    1)Politeness: can’t we all just get along? Share the road? Slow down and consider all others as valid road users? If we all stop acting like impatient self-absorbed children cycling and walking in urban area might be safer.
    2)Education: With proper training all road users could learn the safe and proper way to use the road and the consequences not doing so.
    3)Enforcement: are there really enough cops? Can we put red light cameras and automated speed trap vans everywhere so police can respond to crimes? Do I actually want to live in that police state?
    4)“Armed Anarchy”: when all else fails remember that this about more than your right to ride a bike on public streets. It’s about your right to life vs the drivers privilege to drive like a sociopath.

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  • ME 2 September 1, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    This is a great excerpt from the globe and mail on the incident in Toronto. I think it applies equally to this story.

    Rage too is familiar to many of us who drive in the city. I once got into a ridiculous up-yours shouting match with another motorist, behaved like an idiot by out-manoeuvring him up a one-way road – and then slowing down deliberately to make him crazy.

    It worked: At the next light, he got out of his car and put a boot through my door. I was so shaken, and simultaneously mortified by my own conduct, that I reported him neither to police nor insurance company, and just paid for the damage myself – and that was in a clash with a peer, a fellow motorist driving a vehicle as big and powerful as my own. We were for the most part in our moving bubbles, seat-belted and air-bagged and roll-barred unto safety.

    But a cyclist is never in a bubble like that.

    Thus, it is the motorist who has the greater responsibility.


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  • Martin September 1, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    I also wish commenters in this forum would tone it down with the bike versus car rhetoric. I’ve commuted by bike in Portland over 600 miles this year so far and only once felt driver “road rage” toward me. Even then I never felt in danger, she just yelled at me and sped off. I’ve had many times more positive experiences where cars go out of their way to treat me courteously and give ample space.

    Is there any evidence that this particular incident had anything to do with the fact that Michael was riding a bike at the time he was hit? Isn’t it possible that an argument in a parking lot at 2am turned violent without it being part of a larger war on bikes?

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  • rixtir September 1, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    Drivers only have a privilege to drive if they do not drive like sociopaths. Once the sociopathy commences, they’re supposed to lose their privilege to drive.


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  • Scott September 1, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    Tens of thousands of people ride every day in this city and do so reasonably safely. Some rides involve a close encounter with another vehicle and a few rare incidents result in tragedy. Unfortunately we as a species just aren’t wired to instinctively understand the math. With a million trips on bicycles(very rough guess) every year, those mistakes and confrontations are somewhat inevitable. Don’t fall into paranoia. Don’t pay too much attention to the headlines.

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  • wsbob September 1, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    “Rage too is familiar to many of us who drive in the city. I once got into a ridiculous up-yours shouting match with another motorist, behaved like an idiot by out-manoeuvring him up a one-way road – and then slowing down deliberately to make him crazy.” ME 2

    Obviously, you’re not the only one that feels rage on the road and has to learn how to deal with it. Just as with a lot of things, some people have the ability to learn, more easily than others, how to deal with road rage. The drivers test doesn’t seem like it offers a very good way to determine whether an applicant has or is inclined to have a road rage problem.

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  • Scott September 1, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    “Is there any evidence that this particular incident had anything to do with the fact that Michael was riding a bike at the time he was hit? Isn’t it possible that an argument in a parking lot at 2am turned violent without it being part of a larger war on bikes?”


    There’s an urge to see everyone on a bicycle as a brother or sister. Fact is in most cases a shared form of transport is as meaningful as a common affinity for a kind of toaster.

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  • are September 2, 2009 at 1:17 am

    story I read said 2 p.m.

    obviously we don’t know who said what to whom, but if a motorist runs down a guy on a bike, it is per se “part of a larger war on bikes.”

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  • Scott September 2, 2009 at 1:21 am

    Only if he was targeted because he was on a bike.

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  • John September 2, 2009 at 1:27 am

    Elly, seriously, you’re edit light starts blinking becuase I poked fun at Caroline’s comments?

    She started a thread that led to an exchange about open carry laws, concealed weapons, and gunplay in general…against motorists…no editorial blinking lights there?

    It’s plain to me that her comments and comments like it are bad for bicycle advocacy. It scares away the uninitiated to cycling. It scares motorists, too. It also just sounds plain crazy, like cuckoo clock crazy. You said her comment was “awesome”. I’m so offended…journalism has a lexicon,and bong water “awesome” doesn’t really tell me anything. It’s like you’re saying that whole thread about guns was awesome.

    Weren’t you the one who moderated this story every five minutes when it first broke to make sure it didn’t get too off topic?

    I’ve noticed in general that the problems in the comment start to escalate when folks take umbrage at others’ comments. I’d ask you, if you see a comment that you think is problematic, to respond calmly or not at all — feel free to contact me by email if you feel really upset about something. Responding in-kind or derisively generally ends up being worse than the original comment — no matter who “started it.” Thanks.

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  • Mike September 2, 2009 at 1:35 am

    And it was at a grocery store… not a strip club. Seriously.

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  • Pliny September 2, 2009 at 3:06 am

    Speaking as someone who recently got hit by hurled fruit biking up NW 18th, the first thing I thought about was arming up.

    However, I have a hard enough time getting to my phone when I get a text message, let alone trying to get a weapon clear in time for it to be useful.

    I’ve instead been pricing helmet cams. It may take some practice to reliably and clearly record license plate numbers, but I’m going to throughly enjoy personally jacking up the insurance rates of the next rager who crosses my path.

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  • KWW September 2, 2009 at 4:40 am

    The only way you could use a weapon in an event like getting hit by a car, is if the car comes back for seconds, or the driver gets out and attacks you physically. I really doubt that either of those two will happen.

    Almost every deliberate hit by a car on a cycle, results in a ‘hit and run’.

    I suggest you put away your gun fantasies for this scenario.

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  • peejay September 2, 2009 at 5:50 am

    All this talk about guns makes me sad. I can’t think of two more opposite things than guns and bikes. People, please have your macho revenge fantasy experiences somewhere else. And, Donna, you got lied to; your story is apocryphal. I bet you’ll find it on snopes.

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  • Vance Longwell September 2, 2009 at 7:47 am

    peejay 52 –

    “All this talk about guns makes me sad. I can’t think of two more opposite things than guns and bikes. People, please have your macho revenge fantasy experiences somewhere else.”

    You know, you sling more personal insults in here than any one, and yet I never see anybody say a word about it. Why? What gives? Are you, “connected”? Compromising photos? I’m refering to the, “…macho revenge fantasy…”, quip.

    You are clearly ignorant on this subject. No judgments, I’m simply going to point out some evidence that you may not have all the facts. Anybody that uses the word, “guns”, likely doesn’t know the first thing about ’em.

    Plus, I have an extra piece of evidence. Clearly you do not like firearms. People who do not like certain things rarely possess, or otherwise use them. If this is the case, and my first hypothesis is true too: then you do not, in fact, know the first thing about firearms.

    So, you’ve never owned one, wouldn’t use one, probably aren’t interested in learning about them, yet you maintain an opinion about them nonetheless? How does that make you anything less than ignorant?

    Why would people talking, TALKING, about weapons make you sad? In my opinion this update is about an intensely violent incident. Witnessing violence can cause a fear reaction. Fear begets anger, arguably part of a set of latent instincts, and anger begets this thread.

    How do you know you don’t like violence if you don’t know anything about it? At some point, to learn, one has to communicate with somebody about it. Whether it’s a book or first hand experience, we have to talk about weapons, and violence, and death. To learn.

    Emotionally, I see a group of Great Apes sorting themselves out after watching one of the youngins’ get gobbled up by a big cat. Only we’re way more articulate about it, and the sharp edges have been worn off by domestication. Whether it’s a good thing, or not, and whether you accept it or not, there’s 52 comments here that all say the same thing.

    “This frightens me. This angers me. I feel afraid I might have to deal with this one day myself. I am worried for the victim, and his loved ones. I must know everything about this, so that I may prevent it from happening to me.”

    Only, they all just used a different sequence of code to do it.

    Nah, you’re entitled, refer to above, but your process is just as annoying as anybody else. I can understand your reluctance to participate, but I can’t find the same understanding when it pertains to every one else, especially in an, “opt-in”, situation.

    You may be correct that this thread isn’t the place to air the topic, but I don’t think it’s as simple as people fantasizing. Weapons ultimately are about control, much the same as the hyperbole boiling out of your own mind. In this life there are two deaths. One is corporeal, one is emotional. In my opinion, we can’t live without either one. A pistol addresses the corporeal set of circumstances, while the lashing tongue addresses the latter.

    What’s the difference?

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  • Carrie September 2, 2009 at 8:21 am

    I like Caroline! Keep posting – you are very refreshing to this site. Thank you for giving me a reason to read the comment section again.

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  • lee colleton September 2, 2009 at 8:27 am

    I last rode the Seattle To Portland ride while openly carrying a pistol to demonstrate that it could be done safely and legally. It was not my intent to intimidate anyone (the STP isn’t a race) and I aim to never be in a hostile situation where guns are drawn. However, in the course of preparing for my trip I found a study of shootings by bicycle police. It concluded that even with training, shooting from a bicycle is extremely difficult.

    I would strongly encourage anyone who is thinking of taking on the grave responsibility of being armed in public to seek training from professionals, practice with your weapon and understand that fantasies of shootouts with car drivers are exactly that. Although I agree that agressive driving should be considered assault with a deadly weapon, your best defense against that is avoidance and de-escalation.

    Please be safe and respectful out there.

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  • are September 2, 2009 at 8:38 am

    hey vance why don’t you take a deep breath already. a person does not need to know much about “guns” to be made “sad” by people fantasizing about using one to up the ante in a confrontation. macho fantasy is macho fantasy whether it includes guns or not. and peejay, while the story may be apocryphal, you might hesitate to say someone has been “lied to” until you actually find it on snopes. it is not difficult to believe that displaying a weapon causes potential assailants to lay off. this in fact was one of the reasons for the concealed weapons laws: if the gun is on display, the stakes are less likely to be raised. chekov had a different idea.

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  • buglas September 2, 2009 at 8:50 am

    @Vance – while you often manage to push my buttons, I’m pretty much with you on this one.

    Now for my own thoughts on this:
    In cases where I find myself reacting strongly to something, sometimes talking through a fantasy scenario settles me back down – helps me see how ridiculous or dangerous my first impulse might be. It can be good to vent so long as those around me know I’m venting.

    I’m not going to pack heat on my bicycle – I’ll leave it at home with the trigger lock securely in place. Still, it would be nice if the jerks of the world who roar around in anonymous steel boxes had a little less sense of invulnerability. KWW in #26 spelled it out nicely – sadly, consequences like that are not the first thing that comes to mind in the heat of the moment.

    And finally, Michael Luther, get well and back up on two wheels soon.

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  • Matt Picio September 2, 2009 at 9:12 am

    Personally, I wish more people *would* get concealed carry permits. To get a CCP, you have to take a class that familiarizes you with the operation of firearms and the legal ramifications of carrying one. The benefit of this, even if one never carries a firearm, is that one learns how to safely handle and unload a firearm. This generally makes the person a lot safer should they choose to own or use one, and CCP holders by and large rarely use their weapons – the incidence rate of drawing or firing a gun is much lower among CCP holders than the general population.

    Even if you hate guns, learn how to safe and unload a firearm, so that if you ever come across one, you know how to render it incapable of causing harm.

    And if you own a firearm, PLEASE – lock it up and secure it from theft or misuse.

    Thanks, all!

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  • peejay September 2, 2009 at 9:33 am

    Go talk about guns on gunportland.org. Leave the bike talk to this site. Elly, seriously, I don’t mind if you don’t moderate this more heavily, but to encourage this? Now I’m sadder.

    Thanks for the feedback, peejay. When I say this conversation is reasonable, I’m not stating my opinion about gun issues or what *I* think people should be talking about. What I mean is that nothing that would compel us to step in exists here — people aren’t insulting each other, flaming, making inflammatory generalizations, getting personal, partisan ranting about unrelated issues, etc. If you disagree with what’s being said you’re free to make your case, on here or via email. But it’s hard to see see self-defense as being all that far off topic, and a number of opinions are being represented and accommodated. The discussion’s mostly been level-headed, and people are taking care to tie it back in with the issue at hand.

    This is an example of how we don’t want to moderate or silence anyone based on our personal opinions of a topic. We just want the discussion to be civil, relevant, and if possible interesting and productive. So far this conversation has been all these things, with only a few warts. Thanks — Elly

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  • Kt September 2, 2009 at 10:08 am

    Dave, #19: Yeah, apparently the Dreaded And Evil Suburbs are safer to ride in than Portland.

    I think that the original incident, that we’ll probably never know the details of, escalated into this tragedy.

    And make no mistake: it’s a tragedy on all sides. It’s a tragedy that someone let their rage impulse overpower their basic humanity, and it’s a tragedy that someone got seriously hurt because of it.

    We all need to learn how to keep our wits intact and not react primitively– harder than it seems, when someone threatens you in any manner (whether by actually threatening you or by calling you out on a misdeed like running a red light), the first instinct is to lash out. Fight has superseded flight these days.

    And I’m not talking about actual fight here, but by retorting with a smart-alec comeback (poor alec) or getting in a shouting match or whatever. Is it really worth it? Are you really going to change someone’s actions or thoughts here?

    Sometimes, though, I am talking about actual fight, wherein someone takes a u-lock to a car’s side mirror, or someone else uses their car to menace a cyclist.

    Sounds like EVERYONE needs to learn how to deal. How to de-escalate, how to take 10 deep breaths and THINK.

    Drivers, that cyclist you’re mad at could be the lady who processes your payroll… and cyclists, that driver you’re mad at could be your accountant.

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  • vanessa September 2, 2009 at 10:11 am

    I saw this google map for dearly departed Toronto cyclists. I thought it was pretty effective. Is there one for Portland?

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  • Todd Boulanger September 2, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Here is a ‘free-bee’ product concept…how about an accessory lense (or full digital camera) that has a Google Map like multiple lenses (or bug eye) that would record front and rear [and sides]? Perhaps even integrated into a commute skate style helmet.

    This device would beat having to install and battery up several cameras.

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  • John September 2, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Pliny and Todd Boulanger, yes!

    I do think the helmet cam would be a deterent, evidence that’s hard to argue with. Getting cheaper all the time too.

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  • La otra September 2, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    OK, since this topic apparently is relevant, I have my last word on this subject. The belief of some of the people on this site that motorists will respect the rights and safety of cyclists more if they are to assume that some of them might be packing heat is analogous to the idea that by driving oversized vehicles, small people will get the respect they deserve on the road.

    Whether either of these ideas are true is debatable, but neither bode well for society.

    And back to whether it’s true: really? Anybody who’s prepared to break some very serious laws to hurt a cyclist is going to perform a risk analysis to determine if they might get shot if they do so? In this particular incident, the guy damaged his car enough that he couldn’t even drive away. Do you really think he was behaving in a rational manner? Somebody who discounts the repercussions of getting caught is also going to discount any other risk, as well. So, no: it’s not really a deterrent, not to the people who would harm cyclists.

    Now, to those who might wish to carry a weapon: does it make you, yourself safer? Not unless you have the weapon in you hand and cocked, ready to fire. Most of these intimidation attacks happen with very little warning. So, you’d better get a shot off pretty quickly, and you’d better not miss. Which means, you’d better be prepared to accept a lot of collateral damage. Perhaps you could do us all a favor, and move elsewhere first, since I don’t wish to share the road with you.

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  • rixtir September 2, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    For revenge fantasy scenarios, there’s always Oregon live, where nebbishes have been typing out all of their revenge fantasies against cyclists for days now.

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  • Russell September 2, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    I can’t think of two more opposite things than guns and bikes. -peejay

    Actually, plenty of early bicycle frame manufacturers started as or were simultaneously gun (or gun barrel) makers. The steel tubing for your awesome retro fixie isn’t too far removed from my the barrel of my .30-06

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  • peejay September 2, 2009 at 1:39 pm


    Thanks. I was losing my faith in this community, and appreciate your comments. Perhaps we should formulate a collorary to Godwin’s law to describe the time it takes for a discussion about a car-bike incident on this site to devolve into rants about guns. That, and brakeless fixies!

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  • rixtir September 2, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Speaking of fixies, we need to have a conversation about fixies one of these days, peejay. 🙂

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  • Dave September 2, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Anonymous, you’re right–if you’ve ever owned a Miyata, for example, you were riding on tubing drawn by a factory that began as a maker of shotgun barrels; that’s why Miyata was the only bike builder in Japan for decades with their very own tubing mill.

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  • Dan September 2, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    I actually do tend to think that some well-publicized irresponsible/illegal firearms use by cyclists would, on average, make motorists treat cyclists with more respect. Kind of like bikes treat cars gingerly because you know there’s some small percentage of drivers who not only won’t shrink from running you down, they’ll actively try to do it.

    The only problem is I don’t imagine there will be many volunteers to open carry large handguns on their bike, occasionally firing in the air, brandishing at motorists, and generally behaving arrestably.

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  • peejay September 2, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Dan, the sad thing is that I think there would be a long list of volunteers, based on this comment thread.

    But, how soon after that do we get treated like gangs and harassed off the roads by the PPB?

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  • are September 2, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    yeah but how about a paintball gun. helps identify the perp as well.

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  • Russell September 2, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    People who don’t own firearms or are anti-gun tend toward hyperbole one way or the other when it comes to the subject – and this thread has plenty of one way and the other in that regard.

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  • Martin September 2, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    Dan, respect and fear are not the same thing. I fear dangerous criminals and irresponsible gun users but I certainly don’t respect them.

    Cyclists appearing like irresponsible gun toting maniacs will not help normal taxpayers want to fund bike related transportation projects. Better bike infrastructure is ultimately the only thing that will reduce the divide between bikers and drivers in my opinion.

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  • peejay September 2, 2009 at 5:18 pm


    And the hyperbole generated by gun-owners is OK?

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  • Russell September 2, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    The only person who professes to actually own a gun and have a CCP besides me on this thread is Jay R. (as best my memory serves) and his posts were informative in nature only.

    There was some discussion about whether or not open carry would dissuade someone from attacking you in the first place. Personally, I think it’d cause as many problems as it theoretically would solve, but that the discussion isn’t out of line.

    Burr had an info type post as well about CCP if I remember correctly, although I have no clue if he’s a gun owner or was just chiming in about the law.

    All the other posts I saw were “revenge fantasy scenarios” by people who don’t own guns, and equally dramatic responses in return. So, no, I haven’t seen any hyperbole generated by gun-owners (all two of them) in the thread so far, and I hope anyone who thinks they’d really have a chance to save themselves from a car racing at them by brandishing a gun would indeed not carry one.

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  • Russell September 2, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Sorry, I left Dave out. I don’t think he said anything that sounded to me like he was for vigilante justice either though.

    All of this is way OT, although I understand how this kind of story hits a nerve for anyone who reads it. I wish the forums were more utilized, but unfortunately, the comments section gets the most traffic.

    I hope that Mr. Luther recovers fully and that some measure of sensible justice is delivered to Mr. Thompson.

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  • middle of the road guy September 3, 2009 at 8:32 am

    So will all the folks with a helmet cam turn themselves in for traffic violations after they film themselves running stops signs and red lights?

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  • Vance Longwell September 3, 2009 at 8:59 am

    pee-jay #67- I think you are over-reacting, plus when you say things like, “I was losing faith in this community…”, what do you think J & Es’ reaction to such a statement might be? So then, is this a form of passive/aggressive control? You hit the hottest button, as hard as you can, likely knowing full-well this is a sensitive issue right now?

    For what? To shut down a discussion about firearms? ‘Cause there’s a lot more to this thread that looks to me like a community working through a pretty huge event quite relevant to us all; and none of that has anything to do with firearms.

    Plus, I have only occasionally seen the issue of firearms come up here. It’s over the top to characterize this thread as just another so-called gun-rant, as if that’s all that is going on.

    I actually do feel bad, well, that you feel bad. I’m actually trying to placate you, and point out that I see a process here, and feel the nuts&bolts of it are fairly irrelevant.

    Is there some compromise? I mean, can you tell those of us that you are upset with what it is we may think, or feel, or say, just so we know? I mean, for my own part, I’ve worked really hard to be less dumb, and it is kinda starting to feel like there’s no pleasing you.

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  • peejay September 3, 2009 at 9:46 am


    I don’t know how sarcastic your intent was, but you do bring up a huge point about privacy. I read somewhere that all the CCTV cameras in London right now (and there are about a million) have caught a grand total of a thousand criminals — that’s one per a thousand cameras. Now, it’s a different animal entirely when the citizens have control of the cameras…that is, until the courts use subpena power to get your cameras.

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  • middle of the road guy September 3, 2009 at 11:18 am


    it was indeed sarcastic. I mean, laws are best when they are only applied to others, right? I just think that filming everything can have unintended consequences. I also think that it only offers a “snapshot” of the whole situation….not sure they would be as useful as people think.

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  • FYI September 5, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    From a statement by Michael Luther’s family:

    a Special Needs contribution account has been opened in Mike’s behalf at US Bank. Donations can be made to the Mike Luther fund at any US Bank branch. The family thanks contributors in advance and those who have already contributed for assisting with medical costs.”

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  • mimi luther March 9, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    The case against the alleged perp went to trial on 3/8 in Multnomah County district court, after the alleged defendant declined a plea bargain. The DA appealed an early ruling by the judge regarding a particular piece of the case and whether it can be entered as evidence. The appeal about the judge’s ruling now goes to appellate court…could take 10-18 months to resolve. Then the criminal trial will begin again.

    Alas, Mike is still struggling to manage every day.

    Thanks, still, to the bike community and Mike’s lawyer for helping support us through this time…

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