Apparently I Have a “John Wayne” Attitude And It’s Dangerous

In learning about another cyclist getting attacked on the Ballona Creek (via Damien Newton on Streetsblog LA), I first “chewed with my mouth closed.” In other words I seethed in silence, digesting the angrifying news without posting a hyperbolic comment in response.

Then yesterday after reading the comment of a fellow bike commuter whose response to the incident was to stop riding the path in the afternoon rather than risk getting mugged, I chimed in that my resolve to ride the creek had not been weakened, and that I was disgusted that witnesses to the victim’s state reportedly ignored his need for assistance:

These parasites don’t frighten me. They enrage me. I will not stop riding the bikeway. I will ride it farther. I will ride it slower.

As to the pair of passing cyclists David reports ignoring his distress and failing to offer even the slightest assistance, that kind of despicable behavior is almost as unacceptable to me as the assault.

I wish David a speedy recovery.

In the comment immediately following mine a reader whose screename is “Paulobak” felt the need to butcher my bravado:

This is a very dangerous area that is the turf of the most dangerous west side street gang.

I know those guys are scum but

Your John Wayne attitude is dangerous.

Again I chewed on this for a bit, but it really rankled me as to why this person would so readily accept the evil these punks do and instead target me for a sideline snipe for being unwilling to so summarily cede the creek to them. So I responded thusly:

@Paulobak: I’m not sure I understand your knock. My attitude is “John Wayne” how and dangerous to whom?

Since the August attack I’ve made a dedicated effort to include the creek between Inglewood Boulevard and Duquesne Avenue in my morning and late afternoon/evening commutes. It’s not heroic. It’s simply a matter of accepting the risks and drawing the line — of not being willing or able to surrender the creek to the scum when so many others did. To date I have pedaled the path pretyy [sic] much every workday since with little in the way of negative encounter or incident.

And now in the wake of last week’s attack — and again when another rider such as commenter Victor demonstrates a faltering resolve — my comment above is simply a way of adamantly stating my stand is the same as it ever was, with the amendment that no distressed rider would go unaided by me.

Yet such a position prompted you to take a whack at me as cavalier or “dangerous,” which on the surface is laughable given the true danger is the thugs and the apparent free reign they have all up and down the Ballona. So again I ask who am I potentially endangering other than myself? And if the answer is no one — which it is — then the question is why do you possibly care? And the answer is you don’t. Not in the slightest.

So the only conclusion I can come to is a philosophical one: that you take issue with those such as myself who don’t fear anything other than fear itself.

In retrospect I shouldn’t have written “don’t fear anything…” in that last line. I should have written “try not to fear anything,” since I’m not always successful in keeping my courage. But I’m always trying to. And so to me, the far more dangerous — and frightening — attitude is that of Paulobak’s.