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Shoot a Cyclist for Safety

Dip a Hippy bumper sticker under pickup rifle rack

I hadn’t planned to write about this story out of Asheville, NC.

An Asheville firefighter charged with attempted first-degree murder after witnesses said he shot at a bicyclist, made his first appearance today in Buncombe County District Court.

Charles Alexander Diez, 42, apparently fired at the Asheville man after arguing with him about riding his bike on the busy road with his 3-year-old child in a bike seat behind him, Asheville Police Capt. Tim Splain said.

The bullet blew a hole through the outer lining of Simons’ helmet and went straight through both sides of it, but he was not hit.

He had to be an isolated nutcase with a gun

At least, that’s what I thought until I read through nearly 200 comments on the local media web sites.

I think he did need to be shot in the head, more than once. My parents taught me not to play in street. Here is some jerk playing russian roulette with a 3 year old. Sounds like he has already been shot in the head. There are close to half a million bicycle-car accidents with injuries each year. 12 % are caused by vehicles, 78% by someone riding a bicycle. No tag, no insurance, no brainer. If you want to ride a bike fine. Let your babies stay with friends or family. How could you live with the fact that you caused the death of your child riding a stupid bicycle in the middle of the road? Buy the fireman another box of ammo and save the kids from ignorant moms and dads!

Share the Road buttheads

I am sick and tired of seeing these share the roads license plates knowing that half of these buttheads do not represent what they say. How many times have I had one of these two wheeled bandits blow through a stop sign while I am sitting at it in my car?? Bicycle vs car…Winner goes to the car when they hit. I try to look out for bicycles, motorcycles and pedestrians but if they (the bicycle riders) have no regard for the law….Why should I respect their space. I have many friends and family that ride motorcycles and bicycles. I love it when you have one bicycle rider riding in 5:30 traffic and taking up a whole lane on a busy road. Those are the one’s I want to ditch, but I do not. I will learn to share the road better when these bicycle riders learn to share better.

To be fair

To be fair, there were a lot of folks who were unhappy with the shooter. (But it was mostly because he’s been put on paid administrative leave. )



14 comments to Shoot a Cyclist for Safety

  • Mark S

    When dogs and cats marry that will be the day cars and bikes will get along too.

  • George P

    It really bugs me that the shooter was a firefighter, a profession of folks who work to SAVE lives.

    The comments blew me away. An unarmed man threatening nobody is shot from behind as he tries to walk away from an argument. NO excuse. Period. Anyone who thinks so needs to be checked for brain wave activity.

  • Mark Hoagy

    This really upsets me someone who helps to save lives does something like this. I want to see the firefighters side of the story that would lead to this
    sort of response but I just can’t. Anyone in support of Charles in a rational way?

  • George and Mark (that’s Mark 2, not Mark 1),

    Realistically, the guy’s job is immaterial. It’s just a tag to put on him and, as you point out, you don’t stereotype firefighters as being particularly violent characters. That’s what gives it a man-bites-dog twist.

    Bottom line is this: when you pull out a gun and attempt to shoot a guy who is walking away from you in the head, then you need to be taken off the road.

    The most interesting argument I’ve seen is that the fireman could have run the guy off the road and probably gotten away with it, even though his motor vehicle is every much a deadly weapon as his gun.

  • ToddBS

    This whole situation is bad enough, but what saddens me further is that it happened in Asheville. A town I was actually considering moving to because of its reputation for _not_ having this kind of mentality. Guess I’ll just keep suffering through the Florida summers.

  • ToddBS

    On the other hand… in all fairness to Asheville…

    Online article such as this are notorious for drawing out the most extreme opinions and whackos to comment on it. Most middle-of-the-road mentalities don’t usually “go there”.

  • Alan

    I can’t see how this has anything to do with motorists versus bicyclists, or the shooter’s profession either. Anyone who would pull out a gun and shoot someone in the head is insane and needs to be removed from society – period.

    Unfortunately, I agree with the comment that he probably could have gotten away with assaulting the bicyclist with his vehicle instead of using a firearm.

  • Annie O'Reilly

    “I want to see the firefighters side of the story that would lead to this sort of response but I just can’t”

    That’s because there IS no firefighter’s side of this story that could be attributable to anything other than mental illness or sociopathy (and I categorize plain ol’ road rage under sociopathy.)

    Ken’s right; his job has no bearing on this in any sense except in an “ironic” kind of way. (And I put ironic in quotes because I mean “Alanis Morrisette-ironic,” not *truly* ironic.)

    “I agree with the comment that he probably could have gotten away with assaulting the bicyclist with his vehicle instead of using a firearm.”

    And yes, check out Ken’s July 13th story about the Frank Stark ride, when a cyclist was hit by a car resulting in his jaw needing to be wired shut for several weeks. The driver got a few citations. That’s it.

  • TIII

    There is def more to this story. Not vindicating the “firefighter” or angel-fying the bicyclist.
    Its not cars vs bikes its morons vs…well, NOT morons!
    Morons carry guns, morons are hippies, morons ride bikes and blow stop signs, morons have kids and ride thier bikes with thier kids, …morons ride tall bikes (me!).
    Bike/ car incidents are always from at least one of the parties doing something moronic.
    I guess I just want this to make some fricken SENSE!!! [wringing hands into tight fists]
    Why did our firefighting Wyatt Erp only fire once? Got his point across? Shot some joggers with a baby stroller earlier? Was a zip gun? Maybe said “Hoky SH*T! What have I done?”
    … … …hes a moron.

  • Annie,

    I usually don’t defend drivers, but this wasn’t a case of road rage or aggressive driving. The motorist who hit the cyclist was an elderly woman who made a bad driving decision.

    Witnesses said she DID make a left turn in front of the cyclist who had the right of way and a green light. It was a straight stretch of road on a clear day and, since it was in the morning and she was turning west, windshield glare shouldn’t have been a factor.

    I have been trying to avoid the use of the word “accident” when talking about unfavorable interactions between cyclists and other objects because accident implies that nothing could have been done to prevent it.

    I doubt that any of us hasn’t had an “Oh, Bleep!” moment at some point behind either the wheel or the handlebars.

    A momentary lapse or a bad decision doesn’t exactly equate to pulling out a piece and aiming at someone’s head. OK, maybe that IS a bad decision. Strike that.

    Still, the shooter didn’t dismay me as much as the yahoos who used the incident as an opportunity to vent against cyclists.

  • banjogrrrl

    TIII, you make some good points about equal-opportunity moron-age. I think we’ve all been on both sides!

    Ken,

    I didn’t mean to imply that what happened to the rider on the Frank Stark ride was a case of road rage. It didn’t sound like it was. I was categorizing whatever happened in Diez’s brain to make him pull over and confront Simons and shoot at his head when Simons walked away from the confrontation as road rage. A very specifically focused and brutal kind of it, but well. Road. Rage.

    Also, the “accident” of mine I referenced was, I think, a similar lapse of (something? attention? protein intake? whatevs?) to that which caused the injury at the Sparks ride. And so, also not categorizable as road rage. I’m quite sure the driver didn’t even know I was there, and it happened so eerily calmly that none of the several people around even noticed what was going on until I was down, by which time the car was around the corner.

    I’ve acquired plenty of roadrash over the years whether I’m riding smart or I’m riding stupid. I also agree wholeheartedly with your thought process behind this:

    “I have been trying to avoid the use of the word “accident” when talking about unfavorable interactions between cyclists and other objects because accident implies that nothing could have been done to prevent it.”

    That’s fair. And I apologize for drawing an inappropriate comparison between the two events. But oh, man. There is no accident about Some Dude pulling out a gun and shooting Some Guy in the F*ing head in full view of his wife and child because Some Guy’s walking away from an argument Some Dude made the effort of pulling off the road to start in the first place.

  • Miz Bgrrrl, Mam,

    No harm. I think we’re all dancing around the same point here. Nuts is nuts.

    I would have been clearer if I had broken my comments into two pieces.

    No need to apologize for anything. Now, of course, if you pull a piece out of your pannier and start blazing away, perhaps an “I’m sorry” would be warranted.

    Of course, only you will know if you’re sorry for shooting at me or sorry for missing.

    (Ironic ad content: right under this post Google placed an ad that asks, “May we pray for you?”

    Considering the discussion we’ve been having, maybe its more in context that I would have thought at first.

  • Rich,

    Thanks for the update.

    I’ve gotten to the point that I almost don’t read bike crash stories any more.

    Not so much because I think it reinforces the idea that cycling is dangerous, but because it unleashes the nutcases who comment on cycling. (On both sides.)

    There sure is a lot of hair-trigger hate going around out there.

    I wish media outlets would require real names to comment, but they are more interested in hits than integrity and safety.