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Ask Our Lawyer - January 2003

September in Fort Wayne:
Open Hunting Season for Bikers!

I decided not to answer a question this week because there’s a topic of much greater importance I wanted to address - apparently, Bikers are now in open hunting season in Fort Wayne!

Indiana has a deer season, a rabbit season, a squirrel season, and now it appears to have a Bob Chapman/Biker season! I’m just a little pissed off about this, so bear with me while I give some background to the readers who aren’t as familiar with this, because it affects you, too.

On September 12, 2001, ABATE member Bob Chapman was stopped at a stoplight in Fort Wayne, Indiana. A motorist in a car had a discussion with him over his pipes. Bob drove off, and the motorist followed and allegedly hit Bob’s bike. During the ensuing conversation, the motorist pulled a gun, took aim, and shot Bob through the chest, the bullet narrowly missing his heart and going through his spleen. Envision this: Bob is standing next to the car; shot clean through the chest; blood is pumping out of the front of his chest. He is trying to stop that gush and at the same time is trying to stop the flow of blood from his back. This sucker-shot caused so much loss of blood that the fire department was called to hose down the street. Only by the grace of God, Bob survived, and the motorist was charged.

Now let’s get back to part that pissed me off. The defendant is considering a plea of criminal recklessness, if the prosecutor will dismiss any other charges. Now, where I’m from, what happened to Bob is called something else, not criminal recklessness. Criminal recklessness occurs when one is ridiculously negligent (and that still means you really didn’t mean it!) Does that include pointing a pistol at point-blank range and pulling the trigger? I don’t think so, and if it does, the law needs to be changed? Was the shooter waving a gun around and it accidently went off? What would you call it?

SHOOT A BIKER AND GET PROBATION? It’s not right, folks, it’s not right for Bob, and it’s not right for any of us. It’s not right for a shooter to get a slap on the wrist when they blow somebody away. Bob was lucky to survive. It’s not right for gun-toting idiots to give those of us who have guns, respect guns, use guns for sport and defense, and support gun rights -- a bad name. It’s not right, and our elected officials need to know that we know it, too.

It’s up to us to get involved. Those in charge of investigating this shooting represent us bikers, as well. We need to remind our government officials of this, and they need to know our concerns. We need to get involved, be involved, and stay involved. Remember, Bob Chapman was lucky. But for the grace of God, it could have been you or me. The next one of us may not be as lucky. Hunting season on bikers should be over, and it’s our vigilance that will insure it’s end.

RIGHT NOW, THE MORAL OF THE STORY MAY BE “SHOOT A BIKER AND YOU MIGHT ONLY GET PROBATION,” OR, “BIKERS, DON’T GO TO FORT WAYNE IN SEPTEMBER - YOU ARE IN SEASON!”


* * * FLASH - ABATE MEMBER DiPASQUALE GETS BIKE BACK! * * *

ABATE Legal Services forced the Illinois Secretary of State Police (or, as we like to say, the Illinois SS) to return a bike to our member that was wrongfully seized. Next month’s article will provide details on how you can keep this from happening to you.

If you have any questions you would like to ask the lawyer, please submit them to: ASK OUR LAWYER, P.O. Box 2850, Indianapolis, Indiana 46206-2850, or email to brianshadiow@abatelegal.com.

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