It’s the noise, not the people
Well, I had certainly had hoped that my earlier letter would initiate some public discussion of the misguided plan to invite 800 noisy Harley-Davidson motorcycles to Glenwood Springs, but I had also hoped that it would be an informed and thoughtful discussion. Too much to hope for, apparently, on that second point.
Harley defenders who have written in response have chosen to insult my sensibilities, my intentions, even my name, rather than discuss the real issue at hand.
Four letters recently published in your newspaper, one from a reader in New Castle, two others from Rifle, and one from Glenwood Springs, clearly missed the point of my original objections to this proposed event.
The point is the noise.
I don’t care if the the riders of these rackety machines are “grandpas,” as one letter writer calls them. I don’t care how big or small they are, how rude or polite they are as people, or what costumes they wear. I am not afraid of being hurt by them, and I do not question whatever esoteric nirvana they say they experience when riding. I do care that their riding here would add a relentless and intrusive din to our community.
If these motorcycles had mufflers and baffles that actually worked, I would not hesitate to welcome them to visit our town and to enjoy the beautiful country that surrounds it.
The notion asserted by one letter writer from New Castle that we should welcome any activity that brings money to town views our community as nothing more than a cash register and its citizens as nothing more than money changers.
We are not those things. We are a place and a people who understand the values of pleasant neighborhoods, of conversational interactions, and of serene parks and gathering places. We are people who speak up when proposed activities threaten our enjoyment of our own homes, neighborhoods and public places.
The really absurd responses, however, came in the letter from a Rifle reader. “Loud pipes save lives”? Oh, give me an ever-loving break. Perhaps we should all rig our car horns so that they blare continuously while we are driving around town, thus saving even more lives.
Celebrate patriotism through a noisy convention of unmuffled motors because it gives a few individuals a sense of personal freedom? I don’t think so.
The true history and enduring theme of our American Independence Day is not that of individuals doing whatever they want, the effect on others be damned. Rather, it is the commemoration of the collective independence from the tyranny of the few. It is a celebration of the American principles of mutual respect, of cooperation, and of banding together to defend the values and treasures that make up the common good.
Noisy motorcycles, even those ridden by the most polite of people, diminish my community. Noisy motorcycles ridden by individuals, like the rider from Rifle, whose express intent is to deliberately punish those of us who object to the noise is anything but patriotic.
Harley riders, install mufflers that work, or go somewhere else.
P.S. – I certainly hope that I am not the only reader who finds the prospect of this event offensive, and I hope that those people will join me in speaking up against it.
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