The Rise and Fall of Skater Punks

one more thought for tonight. another of Mike Langberg’s predictions was that soon anyone who wanted to get in touch with us would be able to at any time and in any place, thanks to GPS tracking and global wireless communications. without being too Orwellian about it, this may not be all we’re hoping it to be.

tonight i was doing some illegal skateboarding in parking garages on Stanford’s campus. myself and a friend cruised all over the streets and parking structures, doing things that were quite dangerous and very illegal. we were called out on it a couple times, but with no major repercussions, since the authorities had no idea who we were, but did know we could get away at any instant if we desired.

now, if my friend and i were “wired” into a system that could track us and communicate with us at all times, we almost certainly would have a few violations to pay and court dates to appear at right now. it’s the erosion of illegality, which sounds like a pretty good thing–until you’re the one who’s caught.

the problem with enforcing laws is that you have to make the right laws in the first place. obviously, with the governments we’ve had recently, that is more of a challenge than perhaps it should be. then, you have to hire people who can clearly distinguish right from wrong, serious from harmless, and who are entirely unaffected by pride, guilt, or egotism. another problem to be sure. until that point, you’d better be very careful indeed about what you are enforcing.

already i lament the loss of the days when you could just take off on a road trip, sleep in your car, swipe a little food or materials when you were hard up, without fear that everyone knew who you were and had nothing better to do than punish you for it. reading “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac, i wish that i had been around just 60 years earlier to experience those times.

alas, here we are–and a good time it is. but with more privilege comes more responsibility. we’ll have to be very careful and very smart about the things we do to ourselves in the next few years. let’s not give our machines control over us, but rather keep them as our assistants.


  1. MeikO
    Posted October 5, 2003 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    You know I am now 19 years old I have been agressive blading and skateboarding for atleast nine or ten years now. I am quite frankly getting tired of all this talk about how us “skater punks” are ruining things while we have these gang members killing people and they would rather try to bust us for tail sliding or soul grinding a public rail, but let me ask you a question is it because we dont run from law enforcement is it because we skate during the day or is it because of our hair styles and the music we listen to and the way we dress I think our goverment need to get a grasp on what they need to prevent harmless skaters or murders and robbers I’ll let you guy’s pick who would you rather have in your neighbor hood a couple of skaters or just one rapist or murder?

  2. Bob
    Posted December 6, 2003 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    That’s hilarious–this page is #1 in a Google search for “skater punks”

  3. Bob
    Posted December 21, 2003 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Interestingly, the most likely candidate to track us everywhere we go is…ourselves. Whether it’s parents tracking childrens’ cellphones for safety, or allowing themselves to be tracked for convenience’s sake, we are voluntarily submitting ourselves into a system that knows where we are at all times. The major problem with this is the way it threatens to turn us into a Culture of Fear, where we can’t see the forest for the trees. From the NYTimes:

    some users say the technology threatens an everyday autonomy that is largely taken for granted. The devices, they say, promote the scrutiny of small decisions – where to have lunch, when to take a break, how fast to drive – rather than general accountability.

    And of course, it is always good to remember where the “off” button is:

    Mr. Bingham’s parents use an AT&T service called Find Friend that lets them see his general location when his cellphone is on, based on the company’s nearest cellular tower. He said his mother had at times asked him where he was and then used the service to see if he was telling the truth. He admits to turning the phone off occasionally when he doesn’t want to be found.

  4. Bob
    Posted July 20, 2004 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    A Philadelphia park is threatening to close to skateboarders despite the fact that it has become a tourist attraction for the city. The park’s original commisioner (and 90-year-old father of Kevin Bacon), Edmund Bacon skateboarded in protest, saying the following:

    We have a highly hypocritical society. We decry drugs, theft and vandalism. Then we try to suppress the most innocent, nontoxic, nonpolluting, healthy, creative, wonderfully skillful activity invented by the young.

  5. jass
    Posted May 3, 2005 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    hi im jass im 13 , so , anyway i think its kwl , i sk8 2 but only been doing it 4 obut 3 yrs, around da villages n town k c ya

  6. Name
    Posted May 3, 2005 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Your Comments

  7. leslie
    Posted February 10, 2006 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    oh thats cool

  8. Riley
    Posted February 10, 2006 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    im a major skater punk and me and my group get awsome air -n- my sweet little town in utah c u latter