Alan Ray Simons is lucky to be alive. While riding his bike with his wife and 3-year-old son in Asheville, North Carolina on Sunday a local firefighter stopped the trio to tell them the busy road they were traveling on was unsafe for bikes, especially with a child in tow.
Apparently Simons disagreed and as he turned to walk away firefighter Charles Alexander Diez shot at Simons' head striking his helmet but narrowly missing anything vital. Diez was arrested and charged with attempted first-degree murder thanks to various eye witness accounts, reported the Asheville Citizen-Times. Diez has since been released from jail after a judge reduced his bond payment from $500,000 to $200,000.
The comments on the Citizen-Times.com article (145 and counting) are illuminating and disturbing. Like most debates involving guns (See Guns & National Parks) there are vehement supporters on both sides. "Retiredlawman" commented: "Is there a defense fund for the fireman being set up?" While "NorthAsheville" wrote: "Asheville City Employees are OUT OF CONTROL !!!! Road Rage City Employees !!!"
If you live in Colorado, particularly around the Boulder area where BACKPACKER is headquartered, the debate over bikes vs. cars is as explosive as the debate surrounding gun control, especially in the wake of new government regulations giving cyclists more rights on the roadways. Merging the issues, guns + bikes + cars, makes me particularly uncomfortable as an avid bike commuter–bikes and guns just shouldn't be used in the same sentence.
[[Edit: Several of the commenters on the original story agreed that the road Simons and his family were riding on was ridiculously unsafe and somehow warranted Diez's response.]]
Certainly it is agreed that some roads are plain unsafe for riding bikes on. Usually there are big signs posted to that effect. Some people just aren't very smart. Or they are desperate and without a car. No one wondered whether Simons and his family were just out for a Sunday pleasure cruise, or whether they were headed to the grocery store to use the last of the family food stamps.
What's next, shooting at someone because they stole your campsite?