Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Freedom to Roll Together


I'll redefine anywhere

I remember once hanging out on a warm spring day in Tempe waiting for a movie to start. The afternoon was a perfect temperature, sunny and clear, blue Arizona skies and a slight breeze, and several hundred other people were just doing the same as my friends and I, just sitting in the open air, enjoying the enjoyment. 

Then these aggressive security forces started wandering around the crowd, seeking out certain people. To be specific, they were looking for homeless kids to hassle. This was in the days before the anti-spanging, anti-panhandling (a.k.a. anti-free speech) ordinances were rolled out, so the security forces were relying on the anti-loitering ordinance to roust out the homeless kids. The white shirts patrolled through the crowd of people sitting in the sunshine looking for homeless kids sitting in the sunshine, and proceeded to extract them from the crowd of us loiterers in that public place because they...well, because why? It's bothered me ever since.

In part, it may be out of the notion that excluding certain types of people from public places will lessen illegal activities that are, rightly or wrongly, associated with those types of people. Take the signage above. This may be in place because...well, because why? Whatever the illegal activities might be that might be associated with certain groups or types who like certain pastimes, aren't the laws against those activities enough deterrence and enough of a tool to fight those activities? Arrest people who break the law. Don't make more laws to break.

Back when I saw the PLEASE DON'T JUMP WALL sign, part of me wondered why not, while another part of me wanted to jump that wall that I never otherwise would have thought of jumping. The other side of the wall was just a dead-end street, nothing in particular clearly prohibitive of jumping the wall once you got over there, so perhaps it was something about the wall itself not withstanding a constant barrage of wall-jumping. It did look pretty fragile, and maybe its maintainers were getting sick of fixing it. Still, after fixing it once or twice, if that's what the problem was, I think I would have used stouter block.

PLEASE BUILD STOUT ENOUGH WALLS

Right after taking the skateboarder photo, I was nearly run down by a city vehicle crossing an intersection of the bike path. At first, I felt guilt for not being exceedingly vigilant about all traffic all the time, about not WATCHING OUT FOR VEHICLES, but then I thought, hey, I had the right of way, the intersection is unmarked, and I was already in the middle of intersection when he almost hit me, who was actually in the wrong?

Here are some alternative imperatives for consideration of the aggressive sign-makers, law-passers, and people minding their own business hasslers:

  • LET PEOPLE ALONE WHO AREN'T HURTING ANYONE
  • SUPPORT PEOPLE ROLLING PLACES UNDER THEIR OWN POWER
  • MUSCLE POWER IS HEALTHY POWER
  • SKATEBOARDING IS A FORM OF SELF-EXPRESSION
  • DON'T RUN DOWN CYCLISTS ON THE PATH
  • EVERYONE LET PEDESTRIANS GO FIRST ALWAYS
 

3 comments:

  1. My son would view the "please do not jump the wall" sign as a personal challenge. I would probably do it too, though at my age it would not be a pretty sight.

    This is my favorite:
    SUPPORT PEOPLE ROLLING PLACES UNDER THEIR OWN POWER

    If more people adhered and lived by this rule, the world would be a better place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read the stories on World Bicycle Relief and that really seems true, that the world would be better if people more people rode bicycles, and if the people who need them could get access to them. But if we exclude kids from parks, and tired people from laying down on our park benches, and homeless kids from warm, sunshine places, we're going the other direction.

      Delete
  2. "Skateboarding is not a crime!" That's from a sticker, of course - you've no doubt seen it - one of my favorites…

    ReplyDelete

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