Of the important tenets required for harmonious human existence, “don’t steal my stuff” is a solid one. Another is “don’t kill others.”
The two clashed in a confluence of horrific events in North Bellport Thursday morning. Two men, ages 19 and 20, who Suffolk police said were riding a suspected stolen dirt bike were reportedly chased and fatally run over by the driver of a minivan. The driver was Christopher Bouchard of Mastic Beach, the 27-year-old brother of the bike’s owner, police said.
On Friday, he was held on $200,000 cash bail or $400,000 bond after he pleaded not guilty to reckless endangerment charges.
Bouchard’s actions were a sickening criminal response to a lesser crime.
Steal my bike? Oh, boy.
Yes, you deserve to be animatedly confronted. But crashing a vehicle into two people, destroying their lives as well as yours over some bolted-together aluminum, rubber and plastic? Do we not spend vast sums on law enforcement professionals precisely so we can avoid thoughtless, bloodthirsty, do-it-yourself justice solutions?
The story hit close to home because I wrote a children’s book about such a scenario based on my own life’s run-ins with larcenous bike aficionados. “Ben Rides On” is about a boy whose prized bicycle is stolen by a large and unprincipled classmate. But when confronted with an opportunity to mete out frontier-style justice, Ben pauses, and chooses a different, more intelligent path.
It’s heartbreaking, and telling, to contemplate that the answer to Thursday’s Cro-Magnon-level carnage can be found in the pages of a book for 6-year-olds.
Matt Davies is Newsday's cartoonist.