Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Biker Gangs, Range Rovers and Class Wars

I haven't posted on here as often as I would like due to a huge surge of work from various clients. That's a good thing, so I can't complain really.

In any case, I've been following fairly closely the whole criminal case of the biker gang in NYC that attacked the family in the Range Rover. I knew about the story before the major news outlets picked it up, and I was shocked from the beginning.

Sadly, I wasn't shocked that the bikers behaved as they did. I've owned a variety of vehicles, but every time I drive a European vehicle it seems to be a magnet for douche bags on sport bikes. I've had several of them literally almost touching my back bumper as I'm traveling down the road, hot dogging around me, and in general acting overly aggressive. The part that really pissed me off was that these human pieces of trash could see that I had a baby seat in the backseat of the car, but that means nothing to them. I was just driving on the road, going somewhere and minding my own business when they decided to single me out, not the Corolla by me, or the Mazda6 or even the F-150. Why is that? More on that in a second.

With the case in NYC, there was a two year old in the backseat, but that didn't stop the whole attack. In fact, now that more details are coming out, it's become clear that murder was the end goal of the attack. A single man stepped in between the bikers and the victim, telling them to stop. Why didn't more people intervene? I know in psychology you learn about group anonymity in such situations, where people don't act because they can remain anonymous in a group of bystanders.I'm sure some people were scared they would be next if they tried to intervene. Thankfully someone thought of more than their own hide and stopped things, otherwise the whole case would probably be a homicide investigation.

Even more shocking is the new detail that one biker smashed the front passenger side window and began trying to pull the wife out of the Range Rover, stating that she was "next." If there was any doubt before that these bikers need to hang for what they did, that should completely remove it. Apparently at that point some bystanders did speak up, shouting "not the lady" or something like that. Why didn't anyone shout "stop beating that man" or something like that?

I know the whole situation is complex, but I have a theory. You see, going back to my experiences of driving a European vehicle and having dumbasses on sport bikes drive aggressively around me has given me additional insight. Most people buy sport bikes because they provide cheap performance versus a high-powered car. I know some people just love motorcycles, but the sport bikes seem to really attract overly aggressive types who want a cheap thrill. So you have individuals with constrained finances and a thirst for power. They see someone with a vehicle they perceive as expensive and fast and they get pissed. It's simple class conflict at this point. From what I understand, where the beating of the Range Rover driver took place was not in a nice part of New York. It's possible that at least some of the bystanders thought the Range Rover driver was getting what was coming to him simply because of class jealousy. The wife, on the other hand, is given a pass because people often view them as "victims" of their affluent husband. It's a messed up way of looking at things, but I think it was at least a factor in the situation. Had it been a guy in an older Ford Explorer, part of me wonders if more people would've intervened. There's no way to tell for sure, but it makes me wonder.

What do you think: did people stand and watch the beating because of class conflict, maybe even at the subconscious level? Or is there some other factor that was driving the inactivity of the crowd? Would things have played out differently if the victim had been in a less expensive vehicle?

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