Really sorry

Cue the “Free Ali” shirts: Ali Boulala was sentenced today for the drunk-driving motorcycle accident that killed Shane Cross a little over a year ago. Ali’s looking at two to four years for something called “culpable driving,” which is probably Australian for driving while under the influence of more than 10 beers, or whatever the limit is down under. I hear they’re pretty laid-back down there, you know, when they’re not trying to lynch the Lebanese.

Does Boulala deserve to sit in some jail, despite its possibly tropical location, for two to four years? Who knows. From all accounts the Cross family wasn’t pressing charges, which is pretty admirable from a turn-the-other-cheek perspective. Skateboarding as a whole, meanwhile, seemed ready to absolve Boulala the moment it was clear that he came out of the coma. Should we?

It seems like whenever some high-profile, well-loved skater runs into trouble the skateboard world tends to rally around him.* Baker had those “Free TK” shirts printed up before Terry Kennedy ever saw the inside of a cell for having a gun in his car, if I remember right. Josh Swindell is still generally revered for being that pro locked up in Mexico, despite the fact that he may or may not have killed a guy. The murder/suicide mess that Ben Pappas was apparently involved in last year was more or less glossed over. Shit, people were about ready to canonize Christian Hosoi when he got out of jail in Hawaii, and he got busted with a load of meth. To paraphrase Aaron McGruder here, every famous skateboarder who gets arrested is not Nelson Mandela.

But it happens and I think it gets back to the dubious legal status act of skateboarding itself. We don’t like law. “No Skateboarding” signs get ignored. Cops chase you out of spots, they write you tickets, they beat your ass if you’re unlucky or can’t keep your mouth shut. But what are you going to do, not skate? Fuck the cops, skateboarding is not a crime, etc. So early on we learn a healthy skepticism/cynicism for the law.

So how far should that go? Should Ali Boulala really go free? You could make a good argument. He suffered plenty, three months in the hospital, brain damage, may not ever be able to skate like he used to. He’s gotta live with the fact that he killed a good friend of his, and someone who’s pretty well-loved throughout skateboarding. The Cross family didn’t hold it against him, by all accounts. But then there’s the law, which also says thou shalt not skate this curb, jump that gap. In for a penny, in for a pound, then? Is there even a point to drawing a line between the two?

I don’t know. It’s hard to argue against punishing drunk drivers, or meth dealers**, or, you know, murderers. But the disregard for law is part of what used to make you a skateboarder, versus a kid who rode a skateboard, and that same pack mentality that gets people hyped about Hosoi getting out of prison is the same thing behind benefit skate jams and eBay auctions for skaters, pro or not, that are facing crazy hospital bills or some other crisis. And it’s probably worth preserving.

Anyway, rambling. RIP Shane Cross. Hold your head, Ali. Don’t drink and drive and hug your loved ones this weekend.

*Note that getting arrested in Tampa does not really count, since it’s more a passage into manhood at this point.

**Unless they’re actually cool dudes

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7 Responses to “Really sorry”

  1. paulote Says:

    Awesome reading man!

    Rip Shane!
    Keep it up Ali!

    Peace.

  2. Watson Says:

    I believe “culpable driving” is in regards to the fact that his driving lead to someone else’s death.

    Anyway, I’m not all for the “Free Boulala” thing. I mean on one hand, Shane Cross chose to get on that motorbike, and so in a way was also responsible for his own death. It’s not like Boulala motored down an 8 year old girl. But still, just because he has been injured and has to live with himself for what happened, he still did kill someone in a drunk driving accident.

    I’m super stoked on Boulala, and am bummed that we will probably never see him skate again, but I mean he did it, he has to pay for the crime, right?

    Personally I think the whole thing is just sad and unfortunate.

  3. Dong1 Says:

    Boulala’s actions have nothing to do with skateboarding, or it’s disreguard for the law…..Sure he’s a skater, but he was driving at the time Shane died….If he’s convicted of a crime then he should have to do the time….Besides, what’s two years anyway….Maybe he’ll come out buff as fuck because all he can do is work out….Or maybe gay….

  4. julianjason Says:

    dude i like your blog, but what the fuck was the comment about us lynching lebanese??

    not too sure where you got your info, but i tell ya what, go to punchbowl in sydneys wild west for a day, and i think you will find that is the lebs that will be lynching you in a “fully sik-hektic” way…

    nah its all good…i think its funnY!!!

  5. Name Says:

    I’m going go with he deserves his punishment he knew the repercussions of his actions. Doing stupid antics is getting old, and now its cost someone’s life.

  6. Ntalie Says:

    what prison is he at? I’d like to write him.

  7. Natalie Says:

    .

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