Independence Rally story perpetuates bias
I am writing this letter to you because I am very upset with the article printed in your paper (April 2) about the first annual Roaring Fork Independence Rally. Your reporter, Greg Masse, asked me about rowdy behavior associated with other motorcycle rallies held nationally and how that would play out at this rally. I told him that should not be a problem because we were not going to market the rally extensively this year and in addition most of our customers were professionals over 40 years old. There was no conversation specifically mentioning any organization or group. However, the article states “For those who envision a rowdy bunch of Hells Angels rolling through town, flouting the law and stirring up trouble, Coggins said not to worry.” These words were not spoken by me; however, your reporter phased his mental picture and stamped my name to it. I resent this as I do the preconceived perception that the Hells Angels are nothing but trouble makers. I do not prejudge anyone. I feel that everyone has the right to express themselves as they see fit. As long as they respect everyone else, then it makes no difference to me what their allegiance may be.
It is very easy to perpetuate stereotypes by dredging up past performance of groups or individuals. Is this justice? Does this even make sense? No, this only further instigates bias behavior and misfortune for all. It is time that we move out of the past and into the future.
I would like this letter published in your paper and hope that your reporter in the future does not stamp my name to his perceptions. It is very difficult to support anyone that allows that to happen.
Patrick J. Coggins
Aspen Valley Harley-Davidson
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