Paul Jensen, 32, died while he was working as a cc on Tuesday, October 18th 1994, and this in itself is very fucked up.
I arrived at 14th & N.Y. Ave.,just after they had taken Paul to hospital, while they were washing the street, inspecting the motorcycle that hit Paul, and Paul's mangled road bike. The details of exactly what went down were a little sketchy, but basically, a motorcycle that was speeding and trying to elude police hit Paul and launched him eighty feet into traffic. What did happen was that Paul was nearly decapitated, and when the cops got there, the guy on the motorcycle was taken away in hand cuffs.
The following day the Washington Post wrote an inaccurate, callous and downright rude article about the tragic event. It didn't mention the police chase (it is illegal to have high-speed pursuit in DC), that Paul had right of way, [...] & that the motorcyclist was arrested; in fact, the article went on to insinuate that all ccs are reckless and cause tons of accidents and their surprise that more ccs are not killed each year.
In a loosely organized act of civil disobedience, DC ccs memorialized Paul the next day at high noon by laying down their bikes in the middle of the intersection where Paul needlessly lost his life and held hands from corner to corner, blocking off traffic in all four directions. We then all knelt down and held a moment of silence, right there in the heart of downtown DC, and I know that I'm not just speaking for myself when I say that it was a heavy, heavy moment. It was a direct call for respect & recognition for Paul, and all ccs in general, and whether or not the Post acknowledged us or not, the people who were there, who saw what happened, who came out of their offices, maybe they will be a little more aware of ccs and the vital role they play in keeping this city of paper- pushes afloat. Never before had I witnessed such true unity among couriers. Just the fact that nearly ccs showed up right at noon, in the middle of a workday, all organized in less than 18 hours was simply amazing.
If nothing else, hopefully a little camaraderie has come out of this terrible mess. We are all out here on the same streets, doing the same job, dealing with the same shit, and the truth is we all have a lot more in common than just bikes.
Rest In Peace, Paul.
reprinted from Rush 'zine DC.