As anti-authoritarian California beach communities struggle with the proliferation of pay-as-you-go electric scooters, empathetic environmentalists have started setting them on fire, smearing them with dog feces, and throwing them into protected wetlands.
“My mission to humanity is rehabilitation and social awareness through the arts,” said Mr. Chop, “but whenever I see a scooter I get a knot in my stomach. I hate Birds more than anyone. They suck. And the people who ride them suck.”
Mr. Chop loathes the scooters so much that he has started an active revolt. More than 24,000 followers watch on Instagram as socialist revolutionaries destroy clean-power transportation devices in full view of authorities and their fellow comrades.
Mental health professionals are calling it “Scooter Derangement Syndrome.”
“They throw them everywhere: in the ocean, in the sand, in the trash can,” said Charles Bukowski, a Venice Beach maintenance worker who regularly finds dismembered scooters on the boardwalk.
The lithium-ion-powered scooters were hailed as a clean-energy solution for the socialist masses when they first arrived in Los Angeles a year ago, but city councils and the public now view early adopters as useless idiots.
Tyson Caitliff, a Venice barista, has a complicated relationship with the scooters. “They’re a super fun, super affordable, and super environmentally friendly mode of transportation,” she said. “But they’ve seduced us to the dark side.”
Caitliff reevaluated their place in the community after she was hit by a scooter seven times in one week while jogging and taking bikini Instagram selfies on the Venice Beach bike path.
“The first time, the teenage rider was so entranced by my boobs that I avoided injury by flopping backward onto the sand,” she said, demonstrating the move for our reporter. “By the seventh time, that didn’t work anymore. I felt like I was in The Matrix. Are you hiring actresses?”
Scooter fear has gripped Santa Monica, where the city council voted to cap the number of scooters on city streets. Beverly Hills has banned them for six months. One Los Angeles city councilman asked officials to “terminate scooters with extreme prejudice” inside city limits.
“It’s a very urban environment,” said socialist architect Lenny Hotrotsky, a longtime Venice resident. “We’re all close together, we need to be respectful of one another’s space, but fifty years of championing the critical mass of affordable intelligent transportation has just burned us out.”
The scooters might be green and affordable, Hotrotsky said, but “useless idiots are abandoning them all over the place, blocking sidewalks, tripping up pedestrians, and zipping through traffic with no sense of civic obedience.”
“It’s almost like everyone is questioning authority,” Hotrotsky said.
The law says that vandalism of property worth more than $400 is a felony, but the risk of arrest is no deterrent to those bent on destruction.
Cristina Kirchner, professor of psychology and behavioral economics at UC Santa Cruz, compared scooter vandalism to road rage.
“I don’t care how democratic you are,” Kirchner said. “When something upsets us, it is natural to teach the offender a lesson, and groupthink – especially when egged on by violent images on social media – allows socialists to see the destruction of their own green revolution as reasonable.”
As for Hassan Chop, his own rampant vandalism gradually led to a change of heart. He still wants people to associate scooters with traffic jams, but he hasn’t thrown any scooters into oncoming traffic since this morning’s rush hour.
“As much as I hate affordable electric modes of transportation, I can’t put bad energy into the world more than once a day,” Chop said. “My non-profit organization uses performing arts as a means of art therapy and social progress while providing an innovative culture of creative expression and empowerment.”