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FYI - another killing(25 posts)

FYI - another killingDog
Mar 16, 2001 6:28 AM
Renowned cyclist killed
Filed: 03/15/2001

By HERB BENHAM and SILVIO PANTA, Californian staff writers e-mail: e-mail:

Norm Hoffman, cyclist extraordinaire and Bakersfield College professor, was killed Wednesday when a 17-year-old motorist struck his bicycle from behind while he was pedaling south on a stretch of Fairfax Road. Hoffman was 60 years old.

The youthful driver of the black 1992 Mercedes Benz 300E lost control of the car after striking Hoffman, and the sedan rolled over on a grassy shoulder of the road south of Alfred Harrell Highway. The driver, who Bakersfield police did not identify, wasn't hurt.

Hoffman, a health professor who recently began writing fitness columns for The Bakersfield Californian, was killed instantly in the 3:37 p.m. accident.

A bicycle helmet, a pair of bicycle shoes and Hoffman's mangled road bike laid near his sheet-shrouded body at the scene of the accident as officers investigated the scene.

The accident occurred less than a half-mile from Paladino Drive.

The teen-age driver's parents drove him from the scene, Sgt. Roger Ott said. He was not cited pending further investigation of the accident, Ott said.

Ott said there was no evidence that showed the driver was speeding.

A bystander, John McLaughlin, said he heard a loud screech coming from the location and saw the motorist standing over Hoffman from about a block away.

"He locked his brakes. He locked them for sure," McLaughlin said of the driver. "I guess that's why he (rolled) over."

Hoffman had a storied athletic career, and just last year won the 60-64 division of the California/Nevada State Cycling Championships in Lancaster. Hoffman finished in the top 10 out of 135 riders, most young enough to be his grandsons.

"There isn't a Norm Hoffman in every town, maybe only one in the country," said Ron Jones, a friend and training partner.

"The only reason I could keep up was that I was 20 years younger, not because I was of that caliber. He was above and beyond the level of anybody here."

Hoffman took a holistic approach to sports that included taking upwards of 50 vitamins a day. He made a study of performance and nutrition and used it not only in his own training, but in textbooks he wrote for his classes at Bakersfield College.

"He became an expert in everything he did," said Bob Covey, the track coach for Bakersfield College.

Hoffman was the NCAA champion in the half-mile at Oregon State in 1963. A hamstring injury kept him from having an opportunity of running in the 1964 Olympics.

"He was probably the most determined, mentally tough athlete that I've ever been around," said Covey, who was the assistant track coach at Oregon State at the time.

"He pulled a hamstring training for the Olympics because he was doing these phenomenal workouts that his body couldn't take."

In the '70s, Hoffman turned to body building. Hoffman won the Mr. Kern County abdominal muscle group award, at one point bulking up to 260 pounds. One of his favorite pictures had him standing with and dwarfing Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Hoffman found his greatest athletic success in cycling, a sport he did not take up until he was over 40. Not only was he responsible for a whole generation of local cyclists taking up the sport, Hoffman was a four-time national champion in the 40-kilometer time trials. He also set three national and world records.

It was not uncommon for Hoffman to have times that were better than men 20 years his junior. At 46, he was considered for a place on the 1988 Olympic time trials team.

"When he was time trialing in his late 40s, he was posting time trials that were as fast as Olympic time trialists," said Sam Ames, a friend and fellow cyclist.

"When you were riding with Norm, the workout was trying to stay in his draft."

Hoffman also was known as a motivator and an encourager, even
rest of story...Dog
Mar 16, 2001 6:31 AM
Hoffman also was known as a motivator and an encourager, even to cyclists who weren't at his competitive level. And he was a consummate teacher, friends said.

In the past two weeks, he spent hours helping friend Joe Petersen's 12-year-old daughter, Lauren, put together a science project on how to improve aerodynamics while riding.

"Norm sat there and answered 9 million of her questions," Petersen said.

Ironically, Hoffman was struck by a car in 1995 while training for the Race Across America (RAAM). Hoffman broke his nose, leg and nearly his neck. He was temporarily paralyzed, suffered a loss of balance in the crash and, although he was wearing a helmet, had short-term memory loss.

"Everybody should get hit on a bike when they're 50 years old by a woman in a red convertible," Hoffman said after the accident.

"It would make them appreciate life more."

In 1993, Hoffman was diagnosed with a deadly liver disease called primary sclerosing cholangitis or PSC. This was the same disease that killed football great Walter Payton.

Hoffman dealt with PSC, a disease in which the bile ducts in the liver clog up, with the same kind of determination that he brought to training.

"Nobody is more concerned about your health than you are," Hoffman said at the time. "If you can read, inquire and think, you'll quickly know more about your disorder than most doctors."

Hoffman analyzed his blood tests, researched his symptoms in medical libraries around the world and devised a plan of management, said Ed Fischer, a surgeon and friend. Hoffman was in the seventh year of a disease that normally kills people in five.

"When you think of Norm Hoffman, you think of determination," Ames said.

"He brought that to his teaching and his cycling. He wanted to figure out the how and the why of things. I never saw him quit. He was a rock."

Hoffman leaves a son, Grant, and a daughter, Kirsten. Services are pending.
sounds like an accident, NOT MURDERnm
Mar 16, 2001 8:31 AM
Mar 16, 2001 8:38 AM
Who said it was murder?

Try Webster......nm
Mar 16, 2001 9:59 AM
Killing...'murder,homicide'.Don't know if killing was your word or from the news. To me killing implies an agenda other than what was probably a tragic accident,unless additional facts indicate otherwise.Just MHO.
so, I guess it should be "another dying"?bill
Mar 16, 2001 10:21 AM
You didn't read the whole Webster's. "Killing" implies a death by any agency, as does "homicide" (the killing of a person). Murder, on the other hand, connotes criminal intent. Not the same at all.
Still dead, though. Crying shame.
no, "another death"ET
Mar 16, 2001 11:06 AM
Yeah, we're getting distracted, but he is sort of right (i.e., right).

If you read Webster's or any other dictionary carefully, in the context of death, "killing" as a noun is reserved for murder or a quarry kill, i.e. something premeditated.
good griefDog
Mar 16, 2001 11:21 AM
killing: "1 a : to deprive of life"

Go here and input "killing"

This was not just a "death." The guy didn't just keal over, run off a cliff - the kid killed him. It may well have been accidental, or even the cyclist's fault, for all we know, but the motorist killed him. I don't accept that this was a death in the passive sense. I used the word on purpose. It means more than simply "expiring", it means there was an person who acted and caused the death.

you'd think an attorney would be able to tell the difference...hmmmmmm
Mar 16, 2001 11:31 AM
or maybe not.
so what, the motorist assisted in his untimely demise?Hank
Mar 16, 2001 11:36 AM
or maybe the motorist died him - red
I'm not sure what's worse........Lazy
Mar 16, 2001 11:56 AM
The fact that another fellow cyclist has paid the ultimate price doing what he loves, you children arguing over semantics and missing the message, or the fact that those doing the arguing are too afraid to show who they really are to a bunch of people they don't know in the first place! For heaven's sake guys! Why don't you go hang out on the MLA (modern language association) web page if you want to argue about this crap!

Basically, WHO CARES if something is spelled wrong? Why does it matter if someone uses a different word than what you would have chosen? The point of this board is to COMMUNICATE about cycling with others who share the joy of it. If you can get the message, that's all that's important. Maybe the forum pact ought to include some legalese about not harassing people for poor spelling.
who's missing the message?Hank
Mar 16, 2001 12:32 PM
The guy was killed. Don't you think that's a fair assessment? Don't you think using a word other than killed belittles this terrible accident? Language IS important. I didn't see anything about spelling, nor do I care about spelling. Read my original post "Terrible." Whatever.
who's missing the message?Lazy
Mar 16, 2001 1:27 PM
Apologies Hank, I wasn't referring to you. Maybe would have been more clear if I hadn't put it directly beneath your message. My rant was aimed more at Mr/Ms anonymous and their kind.

I think it's obvious that the guy was killed (he died due to an outside force). I also think it's silly to argue about semantics. I also think it's very uncool that we've allowed ourselves (all of us)to be reduced, by an anonymous chicken $h!t, to arguing about crap like this when we should be mourning the passing of a fellow.

As for spelling, that was a tangent that has been annoying me for some time now and just sort of came out.

Again, sorry if it looked like a personal attack. It certainly wasn't intended to be.
Mar 16, 2001 1:46 PM
I'm going for a ride. Have a good weekend.
Quite the courage in anonymityDog
Mar 16, 2001 11:43 AM
Do I need to read you a dictionary? I thought I covered that.

You want the legal definitions?

Black's Law Dictionary: Kill, v. To deprive of life; to destroy the life of an animal or person.

Contrast: "Murder. The unlawful killing of a human being by another with malice aforethought, either express or implied."

I meant what I wrote.

Your anonymous, petty posting really isn't worthy of further discussion, particularly when it is little more than a cowardly personal attack.

hey DougET
Mar 16, 2001 12:02 PM
It's not worth, uh, killing over this.

I'm not being anonymous and not vindictive, and I also hate those being either. But you can't just look at the definition for "kill" (the verb). You have to look at the definition for "killing" (the noun). With enough clicks, you can get something uninformative online, but better is to check a reputable hard dictionary; you'll see.
Didn't mean you, ET, just the anonymous misguided personDog
Mar 16, 2001 12:10 PM
You guys are killing me. One idiot gets on here, totally missing the point of the story, and drags us down this ridiculous path of debating whether "killing" is the right term. The dictionary (hard copy) I have states that killing is a murder or homicide. Homicide is simply one person causing the death of another. Sorry again, but I meant what I said. That is what happened.

I apologize to everyone for allowing myself to be dragged down this idiotic path. No more. If someone wants to post an unintelligent, misleading message in response to something I've written, I'm not responding from now on. I'm done.

I was going to just let this go, butDog
Mar 16, 2001 10:52 AM
The motorist KILLED the cyclist. Is there any doubt about that?

There can be intentional, accidental, negligent, etc., types of killings. My bet is that this one is of the negligent sort.

'Nuff said.

I agree. And, I think jbrown is right.12x23
Mar 16, 2001 5:39 PM
The motorist ought to have to attend the funeral. He should see how his moment of inattention has affected a family and a large contingent of friends. I hope he feels worse than hell for this. And, I hope his parents aren't the sort that feel their little darling is somehow the victim. That would really smoke my chamois.
Mar 16, 2001 9:19 PM
Merriam-Webster Collegiate..." the act of one who kills". No mention of Murder, killing can take place without murder, murder cannot take place without killing.
You ignorant bastard...Scy
Mar 16, 2001 10:49 PM
...what "killing implies to [you]" is irrelevant. Everyone's got their own opinion -- however, an opinion is only insightful if it's informed. You said it yourself with your definition of killing = homocide -- homocide is the "killing of one human being by another." Murder is not necessarily part of the equation. I know that this definition begs the question, so lets go back to a less concise definition of killing.

Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language (1989 ed.) defines KILLING as "the act of one who ... kills." If Mr. Hoffman died of a stroke, there would not have been a killing. However, because the driver ran into/over Mr. Hoffman, there was a killing.

If I sat on your hamster, I will have KILLED it. This does not necessarily mean that I murdered it. When the executioner pushes the button, there is a killing, but not a murder. When a person commits suicide, there is a killing, but no murder. There was no mention of fault or murder in the title or text of Doug's post. Why the hell does killing mean only murder to you?

Sorry for the rant, I know that it is not in the spirit of the original post. I don't have a problem with the unintelligent or the ignorant (this includes most of my relatives), but I have a serious problem with those who are agressively and vocally ignorant. If you don't know what you're talking about, please be either keep your mouth shut or at the very least make an attempt at being informed before you make a nonconstructive comment. I admit to being ignorant in many subjects, which is why I either ask questions or sit back and listen.
Mar 16, 2001 9:16 AM
You know when it's finally my time I hope I can leave a legacy like that man-not so much wins or trophies, but getting other people to love the sport as much as I (we all) do. Damn.

on the vengence side: even though it looks like an acident I hope someone forces that kid to go to the funeral-maybe it will make at least one bad driver clean up their act! (been hit twice myself)
Mar 16, 2001 10:44 AM
was the kid talking on a cell phone? no excuse for that kind of screw up. If you can't control a Mercedes, you shouldn't be driving. I think they need to outlaw cell phones in cars (I know it wasn't mentioned ut I'd be willing to bet money...) and get better drivers ed. These are the kind of articles I try to hide from my girlfriend.
re: FYI - another killingBC
Mar 16, 2001 4:45 PM
I think they should outlaw cars all together and use the existing roads for cyclists and to help reduce the huge overweight problem in America today. Hey, it would be better.
A tragic loss to those around him...OutWest
Mar 16, 2001 10:41 PM
...and to cycling in general! Its a shame that the news got tangled up in an argument over semantics, maybe my MTB buddies are right and we roadies are a bunch of picky losers who miss the big picture sometimes. Mr.Hoffman sounds like he was the kind of person that would of read this thread and said "Whatever, people, get over it".
As far as the driver goes, before we condemn him maybe we should know all the facts. Just because he is 17 and driving a Mercedes and his parents drove him home doesn't mean he is some little moron that had no control over the car and mowed down everything in his path. I hope Mr.Hoffman forgives me for following this train of thought but perhaps the disease he was suffering from for the last 7 years caused him to swerve into the car's path. We don't know the facts, until we do speculate all you want, please don't condemn. The kid is definitely not a victim, but he could very well end up paying emotionally.