Don't get me wrong: I love Beirut. I've lived there for longer than I've lived anywhere else on earth.
But what happened in Beirut last week is profoundly not my story.
I didn't grow up there. I'm not from there. Unlike a lot of my friends from there—
(and btw I don't say "Lebanese friends," because Beirut is full of Syrians, Palestinians, refugees & residents & citizens & other statuses, up to & including stateless; migrant workers from many different countries; & all kinds of other folks, many of whom need help right now)
True story: One of my oldest friends joined the NYPD. I've known him since I was a baby. We went to daycare together. He taught me my first bad word, asshole, a formative moment. He was like a big brother.
His anti-bike hysteria is a big part of why we're not friends any more.
The last time I called him, maybe two years ago, he launched into an unhinged, Giuliani-style rant against bicycles. Not for the first time. It was like one of those uncomfortable scenes in Taxi Driver where Travis Bickle is losing it & everyone else is kind of edging away.
This is someone who started out as a decent guy—kinda f**ked up, like all of us, but not a hater. He entered the Police Academy the same year I entered grad school in journalism. We used to joke about this. Over the years, as the job slowly destroyed him, it stopped being funny.