Bikers versus the SUV: Either/Or or Both/And?

Bikers versus the SUV: Either/Or or Both/And?

For the past few days mainstream news outlets have covered the story of an SUV driver that hit and ran over a member of a motorcycle group. Or is it the story of the motorcycle gang who sought vengeance through a violent retaliation? Different news outlets have covered it from different angles but the overarching question is, “Who is wrong in this situation, the SUV driver or the bikers?”

The video shows one of the bikers slowing down in front of the Range Rover for reasons unbeknownst to us. Maybe the driver was following the group or one particular biker too closely? Maybe the biker was practicing his defensive biking skills? We don’t really know why the biker and SUV driver came so close to one another, but what we do see is that the driver, Alexian Lien, bumped the back wheel of one of the bikers, which lead to the bikers crowding around his truck and Lien running over several bikes and/or people. (Allegedly, right before Lien took off, the bikers dented his truck and slashed his tires.) Yet, following this Lien sped off and the bikers followed him through New York’s Henry Hudson Parkway to a city block in Harlem where they swarmed the SUV and three of them smashed the driver’s side window and yanked Lien out of the car in order to beat him up. Lien was taken to the hospital where he has since been released and one of the bikers, Edwin Mieses, is now in critical condition and possibly paralyzed from the neck down. One of the bikers who retaliated against Lien turned himself in, while another, Christopher Cruz, was arrested on a number of charges including reckless endangerment.

According to police, Lien says he was trying to protect his wife and 2-year old daughter. Seemingly this is the logic for running over a couple of bikers and starting a high speed chase. But one must wonder what kind of protection a 2-year-old sees after her father runs over a few people and doesn’t seem to pull over to check and see if they are okay? Was Lien speeding down the parkway to get police? To rush to the hospital? Shouldn’t Lien be wrong for not only his first collision with the bikers but for running over more bikers as well? His actions resulted in a man being in critical condition and a community being deeply discouraged. The fact cannot be erased that he hit and injured a few people. But the fact also cannot be erased that the bikers violently retaliated against Lien causing him personal and property damage.

So the bikers and their community are hanging in the balance of mourning Edwin Mieses who seems lost to them, and fighting for charges to be pressed against Lien for causing this damage. Should Lien be let off scot-free when he has caused another man injury? Lien caused damage to a group of people who are hurting just as much as he is hurting for what they did to him. This may sound retributive justice to some, but what I am aiming for is equal justice–and maybe there is a more accurate term for what I am suggesting. It just seems that there should be some consequence for Lien’s actions just as there were consequences for the biker’s action. This doesn’t strike me as an either/or situation but a both/and situation. Both parties have some level of blame to take and it would be an injustice to only punish one side for their part when it took two for this entire drama to unfold. But I want to hear from our readers. Having watched the video and followed the news, do you believe this is an either/or or a both/and situation?