Common Tread

Do we need a squid rehab program?

Oct 29, 2014

Please, please wear your gear when you're breaking the law like a lunatic. Or, you know — maybe not break the law like such a lunatic. Just a thought.

Take a look at this fine example of motorcycling, which has now been viewed more than 1.5 million times on YouTube and gathered the predictably rabid comments. A group of stunters tears down a California highway doing what they do best, annoying everyone in their general vicinity. A CHiPs rider approaches and attempts to pull one of them over. The guy behind the camera then pulls up and shoos the officer way. After some coaxing, the officer leaves in a manner that looks more like an officer calmly leaving the scene than a cop being scared away by outlaw bikers.

There's no reason to rehash the obligatory "those guys give us a bad name" or "save it for the track, man" — mainly because you'd get thrown off the track for riding like such a moron. I think a more interesting question is whether the cop did the right thing. As a human being even slightly concerned with his personal safety? Hell yeah. But as an officer of the law / peace / freedom / justice, should he have done more? Clearly the bikers had no intention of stopping. By the time he could have called for serious backup, these guys may have been long gone — or a Mad Max-style brawl could have erupted. Who knows? In the end though, assuming is for ... uhh, you know.

Personally, I think he made the best of an objectively terrible situation. In most cases, these riders only hurt themselves. They’re like that angry drunk guy at a college party that you have no choice but to ignore. All they want is attention, and if you give it to them, things can quickly escalate. Whether you’re a cop or an SUV driver in New York, I think the only sane course of action is to ignore them. Here in Philly, cops won't chase the dirt bike and ATV riders who rip around the city. Granting those guys their death wish just seems ... ill-advised.

If the police can't figure out a way to fix this, what makes you think anyone else could? Maybe it's time to start a "Squid Awareness" campaign and get the word out. Whaddaya say?

And before anyone refers to this as the next “Ride of the Century,” I’d like to point out that you cannot celebrate your centuries annually.

Updated Oct. 31: Arrest made

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that police used the video and other social media posts to identify the rider shooing away the police officer and have arrested him.