Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Property Rights.

My wife is involved with a loose social group of mostly IT professionals who get together on a monthly basis to have dinner at a nice restaurant. I've joined them a few times and last night's "meeting" was at Green Forest.

Green Forest on Rodi Road is a Brazillian style restaurant that is all-you-can-eat meat, served on a sword.Turkey wrapped in bacon. Skirt steak. Strip steak. Flank steak. Garlic steak. Sirloin steak. Some other sort of steak wrapped in bacon. Fillet mignon. Lamb. Sausage. The waiter will come around with skewer after skewer of different kinds of meat until you tell him to stop.

But even though I was in a meatatarian's heaven, things did not go so well. The conversion turned to bicycling and at one point I spoke about some of the problems caused by land owners opposed to rail-to-trail going past their property. They will lay down carpet tacks, string wire across the trail and in one instance hung a bicycle from a tree by a noose.

This sort of behavior was endorsed by one of the attendants, a lawyer and self-proclaimed conservative Republican. He tried to not advocate violence but the more he spoke, the more he showed his true colors. He categorized the trail users as "jerkoffs" and "tree-hugging liberal hippies" and said that he would engage in "recreational lawsuits" to harass and bankrupt individuals and trail councils who dared to run this trail across his property.

Except that it's not you're property. It belongs to the railroad. It
probably belonged to the railroad since before your grandparents were born and if they choose to sell it to the trail council for conversion into trail then it's their right to do so. Lawsuit after lawsuit has been ruled against neighboring landowners. Sure, you've been using that "abandoned" throughway for years but it was never yours and you knew that when you bought the property. There it is clearly marked out in the survey. Yours. Theirs.

As he was challenged on this, he became more and more angry, completely flouting the rule of law. It bounced back and forth with him supporting nonexistent rights and myself saying "but it's not YOUR property." I don't remember what he said then but it was insulting and I just said "I'm done here" and got up to leave.

"If you're riding after November, be sure to wear an orange vest."

"Thanks for the threat." I could not believe that a lawyer had just made such a statement advocating violence against me because I was exercising my right to ride on trail designed and built for my use. It's why we have the trail in the first place; to get us on to a safe throughway and away from jerks like you who think the own the road and run us bicyclists off of it.

"I'm just saying that riding a bike, you look just like a deer."

A bicyclist looks like a deer only to drunken, inbred rednecks who have no business being out in the woods with a rifle. And you've just advocated negligent homicide, you ignorant, arrogant bastard.

No comments: