[*BCM*] NYC [Fwd: A(n important) triviality?]
marcidy at cs.bu.edu
Fri Mar 4 14:59:26 EST 2005
Since you (both) feel the need to argue on the list, I'm going to jump in
with some questions. You are saying that CM is not a parade by the
definition in the law, but it certainly is by the definition I looked up
in the dictionary. Could you please point me to where the law defines
parade differently? I fully admit my ignorance and could not find it.
Are you implying then that CM is a "demonstration", and therefore doesn't
require a permit? Or are you using demonstration as an allusion? If the
former, permits were, in fact, issued for demonstrations during the RNC. I
don't know if that implies there was a requirement for them, however,
there is precedent that the rule was not unfairly applied to CM at the
time of the RNC because of this fact.
I appreciate the history of CM in NYC and bow to their superior numbers,
however, I still do not see the point to breaking the law during rides.
I've said this to two other people, and I will state it again. If you
have no agenda for the ride, other than enjoyment of the ride, why is it
necessary to break the law? I shall flesh out this statement if you wish
to see it, but I've yet to hear a response that makes it clear that laws
must be broken. Being able to do something again and again does not mean
that you are right, only lucky.
I appreciate your facts about the actions of the police. The police in
NYC have one of the worst reputations and I would not dispute your
(first hand?) account of what they have done.
I fully admit my ignorance of the NYC ride, and of the laws in NYC. From
a social perspective, however, I find it difficult to believe that these
rules are oppressing anyone. By witness accounts already stated in
previous emails, these people knew they were breaking the law and were
expecting to get arrested. Why should these people be placed above the
law? That is the question that I would like answered. Is it a question
of being able to enjoy a long ride without stopping?
I was accused of imposing my beliefs onto what CM was all about when I
suggested it might be for bicycle advocacy when I spoke out against
someone else. Why does no one take that stance when someone is fighting
for this behavior to continue? What is the deal, someone should just
settle it, is CM a political body, or is it just a ride? If it's just a
ride, obey the law. If it's not, make sure innocents know they might get
arrested if they break the law, and that you are fighting for change.
It appears to me that underneath all this good natured flexing of logic,
that there are people in decision making positions that have agendas for
CM. Because of how CM is structured, it is easy to do. There is no power
structure to usurp, you just decide to usurp it and it is done.
Personally, I'd love to see bikes everywhere, but so far ignorance and
arrogance have put innocent rider's liberty in danger. That is what has
to stop. I'm not going to debate legal issues because that is not my
particular point at all. These rides have begun to endanger the liberty
of their innocent participants, which should be addressed.
On Fri, 4 Mar 2005, Jym Dyer wrote:
> > You're missing my point.
> =v= Just because I disagree with it doesn't mean I'm missing it.
> > What I'm talking about is whether or not you're going to get
> > the ACLU to donate their services, and I'm saying they won't.
> =v= In fact the current and previous heads of the NYC chapter
> (Chris Dunn and Norman Siegel) have both donated their services
> to this case. It is from Siegel's briefs in the Bray case that
> I derive my arguments.
> > I presume by the Bill of Rights, you mean the first amendments
> > freedoms of assembly and freedom of speech. These sorts of
> > speech get regulated all the time, and so long as it is
> > content neutral and satisfies a certain level of legitmate
> > state interest, then that is permitted.
> =v= Of course, and my message made it clear that I am aware of
> such regulation:
> >> =v= What's relevant here is New York City law. This law
> >> defines a parade as something requiring a permit. Another
> >> subsection of the same section of law defines a demonstration
> >> and makes no mention of permits.
> I could even cite chapter and verse, though I don't think
> sections of the Rules of the City of New York are particularly
> on-topic for a Boston Critical Mass email list.
> =v= You bring up content neutrality. Consider:
> o Critical Mass took place in NYC for 11 years without a
> permit. The RNC comes to town and suddenly it is argued
> that a permit is needed. How is that content-neutral?
> o Group bicycle rides take place several times a week in
> NYC without a permit, and have been since the 1890s. How
> is it content-neutral that only the two named "Critical
> Mass" need permits? And only since the RNC?
> > Here, the state has justified these regulations for permitting
> > etc on the grounds of public safety.
> =v= In the context of NYC law, use of the word "permitting" can
> be confusing. There is a difference between "permitted" and
> "permissible:" parades, processions, and bicycle races require
> permits; demonstrations (and bicycle traffic) do not. The NYPD
> has made a soundbite of the phrase "unpermitted demonstration"
> and has implied that "unpermitted" means the same thing as
> "unpermissible," but that's not what the law says.
> =v= Public safety came up in the Bray case, of course. It is
> noteworthy that the NYPD could not substantiate their public
> safety claims. Indeed the NYPD *lied* about this, making lurid
> accusations in court and the tabloid press, and claiming to have
> proof (which never materialized). Our side, on the other hand,
> brought in a traffic expert who showed that a hypothetical
> (worse-case scenario) Critical Mass would increase traffic by
> about seven hundredths of one percent of the daily impact.
> =v= Indeed it should be obvious upon reflection that 2000 people
> riding bikes are less of a safety concern than 2000 or even 200
> people driving cars. The police's safety concern should be as
> it is with any other sort of traffic: ticket people only if
> they actually do anything wrong. (Instead the NYPD *arrests*
> bicyclists on pretexts which are then dismissed in court.)
> > ... riding into groups to break up demonstrations that are
> > breaking the law ... Riding into the group to break up a
> > non-permitted parade is accepted practice.
> =v= "That are breaking the law?" I wrote no such thing; you put
> that in there. Pretty presumptuous. Do you know of a specific
> incident matching your scenario? I know of a few that don't.
> =v= Last August there was a squad of unmarked motorcycle cops.
> "Unmarked" is an understatement: they were trying to look like
> some sort of goonish biker gang (WWI German helmets, a sticker
> that read, "Loud Wives Lose Lives," etc.). They drove into
> peaceful, law-abiding crowds with no warning, identification,
> sirens, etc. I stand by my assertion that such behavior is
> not consistent with an alleged concern for public safety.
> > How do you know there's no emergency happening when a fire
> > truck and ambulence [sic] go through?
> =v= Well, let it be said at the outset that Critical Mass in NYC
> does and always has yielded for these, even phony ones. Better
> than cars do, in fact.
> =v= How do we know? We follow them to see where they're going.
> We check the records.
> > As for undercover turning them onto freeways and one way
> > streets, if CM is going to be law abiding, then they don't
> > have to follow these guys.
> =v= The good news is that CM has avoided this. The bad news
> is that you seem hellbent on providing excuses for all NYPD
> behavior, including entrapment and provocateurism. Why is that?
> > The state interest to justify the law has zero, zip, nada
> > to do with how long CM has been conducting rides. It is a
> > question of whether or not the underlying law is legitmate.
> =v= The fact that CM conducted rides for 11 years before the
> RNC is very relevant to the question of content-neutrality, as
> discussed above. You presume, with no evidence, that the NYPD's
> behavior is content-netural. Why is that?
> > They apply it against CM, they apply it against other people.
> =v= They in fact apply it differently, in violation of the equal
> protection clause of the 14th Amendment. You presume otherwise,
> again, with no evidence. Why is that?
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