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Posts Tagged ‘Freedom’

protest

Two-hundred Washington state patch holders protest — peacefully and with style and grace?

If there is anything melding Government policies together these days, it is the proclivity to wage all kinds of wars within.  Thin as it is, “declaration of war” has been entreated frequently, from war on drugs, war against politics/graft, war against pay-day loans, war against street gangs, war on predatory lending, war against illegal immigration, war against drunk driving and yes, war against motorcycle “clubs” to name just a few.  We’ve been beseeched with so much war, for so long, that it seems to be a buoyant feeling of complacency.

This “declaration of war” prompts a national-security-at-all-cost rigidity and prejudice of sorts against the good men and women who are sniffing out the romance of the open road and freedom from slavery of monotony.   The mainstream media doesn’t help when they propagate faux-characterization with press reports like:

“testosterone raging men riding with intimidating speed on heavy-weight motorcycles terrorizing the easily spooked folks of our small town”

It’s no wonder that motorcycle groups are frustrated with the Hollywood attention grabbing headlines and broad brush paint applied to all motorcycle owners as this marauding group of misfits who need the thrilling risk of entangling with the law.

The rumor is true! Take a picture of this — last Saturday (Sept 12th) the CoC Run — Washington State Defender Run — mobilized about 200 patch holders from all parts of Washington state to protest the unconstitutional practice of discrimination against patch holders.  The protest run centered around two establishments (Foxy’s in Everett and First Class Bar & Grill in SeaTac) practicing the policy of discriminatory stereotyping and denying access.  The protest resulted in NO incidents.  NONE in terms of accidents, or by any individual and no law enforcement harassment!  The common ground of brotherhood and the freedom to ride outweigh any club differences.

Clearly the U.S. Defender program works and has sparked mobilization of patch holders in Washington state.  Hey, Oregon — 1999 called and said they want their fence back — join the call to action because together we secure our rights base.

Photo taken at ABATE Toy Run 2008

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Oregon Medal of Honor Memorial

Oregon Medal of Honor Memorial

Many motorcycling events raise money for charity and support great causes.  

Although not a fund raiser (like many OVMA events), yesterday’s “Free The Colors” ride supported a most worthy and noble cause. In my view the ride felt more about what a riding experience can do for the motorcyclist soul….the experience being one thing, but the rewards are quite another.

Looking out over the large number (80+) of riders winding through the fall foilage of Oregon’s backroads — the wind and sun on our back was inspiring.   The weather being perfect for late October helped pull the ride together.   I made new friends, shared stories and swapped ideas — it was all part of the experience.  When your style meshes and you make connections with Veteran’s it’s easy to see what’s meant by the feeling of comradarie and the community of motorcycle riders.

A few shout outs.  To the NW Vets who showed up to wish the OVMA a good ride showed a lot of class.  Thanks in general to the OVMA and specifically to the West Valley Chapter for all the hard work and safe ride.  A big shout out to the High Desert Eagles chapter who I believe traveled the farthest distance to make the run.  Many thanks to my blog posse for supporting the event and everyone who made us non-members feel most welcome.  

I’m reminded of a quote:

“In prosperity our friends know us; in adversity we know our friends.” John Churton Collins

It was truly my pleasure to help support OVMA, the Veterans and their families.  Be safe and ride free.

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For those of you participating in the Free The Colors Ride, below is the finalized OVMA ride route. The map is only an approximation of the ride route:

  1. (A) Join the ride at the beginning in McMinnville. Leave Shari’s parking lot at 11:00AM SHARP! Be there early.
  2. (B) Join the ride at the first scheduled stop. Leaving the parking lot of K-Mart on Hwy 22 in South Salem at 12:10PM SHARP! Be there early.
  3. (C) Next scheduled stop. I-5 Northbound Rest Area (near Wilsonville). Time will be contingent upon the time it takes to ride from South Salem to the rest area. Riders need to be there by 12:20PM SHARP!
  4. Ride will depart rest area and proceed toward Wilsonville to I-205 North to the Oregon City exit for McLoughlin Blvd to (D) Ross Island Bridge.
  5. Ride will cross over to 99W and proceed to King City. Will then head out on Durham Road back to I-5 South.
  6. Ride will proceed I-5 South to (E) Salem Harley-Davidson

Some other important items being communicated through various channels by the OVMA deserve being repeated:

Law Enforcement will be providing traffic control assistance and the OVMA has expressed their appreciation and gratitude.  This ride is to celebrate the OVMA and its 16 years of service to Oregon State veterans and their families, and to demonstrate their continued intentions to be good neighbors in the Oregon MC community-at-large.

As stated in previous blog post/comments HERE, the OVMA will not tolerate bad actors.  Attitudes should stay at home.  The OVMA will cooperate with Law Enforcement fully and on all matters, as they have in the past.  There is no plan nor was there ever any intent to route this ride anywhere near other MC clubhouse’s or any other organization’s meeting areas.

The OVMA State Road Captain is currently working on placement of riders, and assigning assistant Road Captains, and road guards to assist during the ride.  Flyers will be available and passed out with the appropriate hand signals for those who are unfamiliar with group riding.  It’s predicted we will have large numbers of riders show up for this ride.  If you  are unfamiliar with group riding and/or have a question please ask someone for assistance.

First and foremost is SAFETY along with showing courtesy on the road to others we will be sharing. This ride is about Freedom, Fellowship, Comrades-in-Arms, and Brotherhood.

The theme says it all – “For Those Who Fought For It – FREEDOM has a Flavor the Protected Will Never Know”

Enjoy the ride and be safe out there!

UPDATE: September 27, 2008 – The ride results are HERE.

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Do you remember the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977?  Designed by the “beltway” no-goodnics which encouraged leaned on financial institutions to lend dollars to people with lower-incomes.  And then under the Clinton administration it was toughened-up with legislation to force Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to give out mortgages to people who would clearly have difficulty paying them – obviously not all federal legislation has the desired effect as witnessed by the current housing and financial crisis.

So being a bit of a skeptic along comes the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration proposal (NHTSA-2008-0157 (.pdf)) for a national helmet law.  Certainly the issue of motorcycle safety surrounds the Helmet Debate.  This debate (often heated and emotional!) revolves around whether federal law should require motorcyclists to wear helmets at all times when riding, or whether the decision to wear or not to wear a helmet should be left up to the individual rider.  We’ve all heard the paternalistic arguments and how the federal government is attempting to regulate an area that should be left to personal choice or left to the states to decide.  On the other hand, helmet law proponents argue that helmets save lives and reduce the risk of injury. 

63% Of Fatalities From 14 States

63% Of Fatalities From 14 States

It’s important to note that in 1975, 47 states required all motorcycle riders to wear helmets; now only 20 do.  Today it’s a real patch-work of helmet laws intermixed with a wide variety of licensing requirements, training courses and safety measures different in every state across the U.S.  It’s a bit of a mess and a motorcycle safety “state-of-the-state” is available HERE (.pdf).  The NHTSA has produced studies showing that death rates jump when helmet laws are repealed, but the laws are state statutes, and the agency is barred by Congress from lobbying states on safety issues.  Likely explains the attempt at a federal mandate.  In addition, there are groups like the Alliance of Bikers Aimed Towards Education (ABATE) who do great work advocating motorcycle education and training, but in some states they have persuaded legislatures to relax helmet laws.

I’m not on a mission to try and restrict the freedom of free-wheeling spirits who argue that it’s their heads at risk and their choice to make. This topic is a challenging area to navigate through and difficult to measure the greater value: a small sacrifice of choice, or the lives saved?  My intent is to make you aware of the proposal, provide links and information for you to make an informed decision on whether to support or oppose the national helmet law.  Supply any comments on the proposal HERE.

Chart courtesy of NHTSA.

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Most everyone has heard of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall.

We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
All in all it’s just another brick in the wall

The chorus got up the nose of England’s establishment as they viewed it a protest or anti-education song. It was a political knee-jerk reaction to a song that had little to do with the education system… it was about a much bigger topic of reminding people not to conform.

And speaking of non-conformance, if you’ve followed previous post/comments on this blog you’re already aware of the intimidation “rain clouds” creeping into the northwest.

But, did you know about the state-wide efforts this Saturday, October 25th as ‘Free the Colors’ Day? It’s a grassroots state-wide show of support for the Oregon Veteran’s Motorcycle Association’s (OVMA).  Riders from every corner of the state, regardless of affiliation are planning to support OVMA’s stand against intimidation.  You may recall that at the heart of Pink Floyd’s ‘Brick Wall’ story is how a group of school children from north London came to sing and express freedom on one of the music’s most iconic records… we’re not kids anymore so understand this freedom issue is bigger than just the OVMA.

Hopefully freedom to associate resonates with you and you’re planning to participate on October 25th.  For any non-OVMA biker friends, if you do ride on ‘Free the Colors Day’ on behalf of the OVMA, you can show your support by flying America flags and/or tying a twist of blue ribbon and gold ribbon on your bike or around your right arm (the colors of the OVMA) as a sign of support.  The support will help send a message.  For those riders who plan to join the OVMA West Valley Chapter sponsored ride:

  1. Join the ride at the beginning in McMinnville.  They will leave Sharis parking lot at 11:00AM SHARP!  Be there early.
  2. Or join the ride at the first scheduled stop.  They will be leaving the parking lot of K-Mart on Hwy 22 in South Salem at 12:10PM SHARP!  Be there early.
  3. Or join the ride at the only other scheduled stop.  I-5 Northbound Rest Area (near Wilsonville).  Time will be contingent upon the time it takes to ride from South Salem to the rest area.  Riders need to be there by 12:20PM SHARP!
  4. The ride route will be determined by the OVMA State Road Captain and approved by their State President.

OVMA member ‘Pappy’ has assigned the following statement to the run which represents what they would like to make known: ‘For Those Who Fought For It – Freedom Has a Flavor The Protected Will Never Know’

UPDATE: September 27, 2008 – The ride results are HERE.

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