Conundrum. Something confusing, a riddle whose answer is or involves a pun or unexpected twist, a logical postulation that evades resolution, an intricate and difficult problem, a term of abuse for a crank or pedant, later coming to denote a whim or fancy. That’s what the three dictionaries I consulted said.
Here’s a conundrum. If you’re expecting – or, hopefully, looking forward to – an over-the-top hysterical response to an abusive misuse of authority, I’m going to disappoint you. Sorry about that, chief.
On September 29th last, several bikers who had been attending a rally attacked a Range Rover SUV driven by Alexian Lien on Manhattan’s West Side Highway and pulled Lien from his car after he ran over one of the gang while trying to escape the barrage. They proceeded to welcome Lien by beating him with their helmets. He was later taken to a hospital for stitches and repair.
The biker/terrorist, Edwin Mieses Jr. of Lawrence, Massachusetts, suffered a broken spine and two broken legs. It’s quite possible that he will never walk again. They’ve hired a lawyer; in fact, they hired celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred, whose previous activities involved people such as O.J. Simpson, Scott Peterson, and Robert Blake. I won’t comment on Ms. Allred’s value to society – as an attorney, we can’t fault her for being prone to initiating litigation.
I am not commenting on Mr. Mieses’ guilt or Mr. Lien’s innocence, nor am I going to use phrases such as “chickens came home to roost.” There’s another element to this story.
At least three of those attending the bikers’ rally were undercover New York City policemen, and at least one of them witnessed the event. He didn’t immediately report it, let alone do anything to come to the aid of Lien or Mieses. He didn’t want to blow his cover. He did admit he was “present” and he has been relieved of his gun and badge while the internal affairs department does its thing.
For the record, Brooklyn biker Robert Sims was arrested and arraigned on charges of first-degree gang assault, first-degree assault and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Bail was set at $100,000. It turns out one of the bikers had a camera mounted on his helmet and the video, posted to You Tube, shows Sims was among the half-dozen who stomped Lien in the head and body. As of this writing, three other bikers have been arrested as well.
The conundrum is: at what point does an officer working undercover blow that cover to protect people? From the information we have at this time it appears as though Mieses was a victim of his own actions: he was part of the horde that attacked Lien, and was injured while Lien was trying to escape further harm. Who was hurt worse has nothing to do with what’s right and what’s wrong.
This is troubling, and it certainly isn’t the first time we’ve heard of this type of situation. If the three (or more) undercover cops intervened, it’s possible Mieses wouldn’t be looking at life in a wheelchair.
There’s no easy answer to this one. Yes, I think the policemen should have intervened; their work as badged ghost bikers doesn’t seem as important as saving people from serious injury. Would they have gotten involved had the situation grown even worse? We don’t know. It was bad enough… but not quite bad enough to provoke my outrage.
It’s easier to define “conundrum” than it is to define “serve and protect.” We don’t know where the greater good lies, although it’s hard to imagine staying undercover would inure to the greater good. There’s lots of biker gangs out there, and they’re not all as moral and ethical as the murdering, drug running, gun running pimps on Sons of Anarchy.
Conundrum. It’s a good word for a lousy situation.
Mike Gold performs the weekly two-hour Weird Sounds Inside The Gold Mind ass-kicking rock, blues and blather radio show on The Point, www.getthepointradio.com, every Sunday at 7:00 PM Eastern, rebroadcast three times during the week – check the website above for times and on-demand streaming information. Gold also joins MDW’s Marc Alan Fishman, Martha Thomases and Michael Davis as a weekly columnist at www.comicmix.com where he pontificates on matters of four-color.