About Toby Sells' cover story, "Bike Memphis!" ...
I enjoyed reading Toby Sells' "Bike Memphis!" article. It made me want to get out and ride. I didn't see anything in it about the Hightailers, though — the biggest cycling club in Memphis. They've contributed to the success of cycling in Memphis, simply by the sheer volume of their membership, their advocacy, and their cycling education efforts.
If you're not already a Memphis Hightailer, consider joining. There's a huge wealth of knowledge and social enjoyment in being a member!
I live in Desoto County in Southaven and commute 31 miles round trip twice a week to Hernando. I ride upwards of 4,000 miles a year, some in Memphis but mostly in Desoto County, where there is zero bike infrastructure. And yet, I have almost no problems whatsoever. I control my lane at all times and communicate to motorists whether or not it's safe to pass on two-lane roads. Almost all motorists are appreciative and courteous. The ones who throw tantrums still give me a full lane change when passing. A tantrum means I know they've seen me.
I will not ride in bike lanes next to parked cars or hidden behind parked cars like on Overton or Broad. Those are super dangerous. I sure hope Peabody doesn't get bike lanes next to parked cars. Peabody is perfectly easy to ride on as it is.
Don't ride in the gutter or on the sidewalk. Ride big. Be visible and predictable. Be aware of surroundings and communicate with other road users.
West Memphis has their Greenline into downtown completely finished now. I visited recently to check the progress and was happy to ride on paved Greenline all the way to Pancho's.
It's great that the Flyer is encouraging people to get out there and explore, and I hope that more people share your initiative. Also visit adanay.co and see some of the interesting rides around Memphis.
About Bruce VanWyngarden's Letter From the Editor, "Who to Hate" ...
America leads the world in mass shootings. Why? National news media attention is like a vector that reaches people who are vulnerable. These disaffected people can be infected by the attention other angry, disturbed people get by becoming mass killers.
Before he shot dead 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, Adam Lanza created a spreadsheet documenting the names, body counts, and weapons from previous mass murders.
Killing former colleagues, schoolmates, or groups of strangers in a suicidal spasm serves not only as an act of revenge but as a way of forcing the world to be aware of the killer's inner torment. These public attacks also give the killer the fame that eluded him in his failed life.
Revenge over real and imagined slights, the desire for attention and fame, and delusions all can play a role. Almost all mass shooters are male, with about 64 percent white. The American dream may contribute to the frequency of these killings. When success fails to materialize and men find themselves in the margins of society, they feel cheated and emasculated. They're in real pain, but they're eager to blame that pain on those around them.
The United States has five times the number of mass shootings as the next-highest country in the world. Why? The most obvious reason is our unique gun culture. The U.S. easily has the most guns per capita of any country in the world, with an estimated 310 million guns in circulation, and lax gun laws. In a civil society, what does anyone need with a military style weapon?
High-tech guns in the hands of low-tech minds continue to foster mass killings. Fifty young people killed in Orlando by a lone wolf, male gunman wielding a military-style weapon. It's the guns, stupid; semiautomatic guns allow mass murders to happen. Over and over again, alienated young males have taken out their anger and hate on innocent victims. This was a hate crime of domestic violence directed at the people in a gay and lesbian nightclub. All these young people would still be alive today if it hadn't been for the guns and bullets used in this killing spree.