March 29, 2024

Source: Bigstock

I’m excited to announce a new acquisition for my New York Times museum! It’s an article from the March 24 edition titled, “What Would Make the Subway Feel Safer? Experts Have 5 Suggestions.”

Appropriating from mid-20th-century works, when the streets ran with blood, none of the “experts” suggested locking criminals up. (Studies show that DOESN’T WORK.) Encouragingly, only two experts suggested making subways safer by reducing their carbon footprint.

The motif of the work is the idea that District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s declared refusal to prosecute offenders for any but the most infamous crimes — such as murder or overstating the valuation of property in a bank loan application — has had no effect on criminals.

Only the public’s “perception” of crime has changed.

“We won’t be safe from psychopaths in the subway until we’re rid of the psychopaths in the D.A.s’ offices.”


— “[S]ome New Yorkers [are] on edge.”

— “Gov. Kathy Hochul deployed National Guard members … to make riders feel safe.”

— News about subway crime “undermined officials’ message, supported by data, that the subway is safe.” Plus, it ruined the surprise for subway riders who were later assaulted, raped or murdered.

Thus, the experts’ ideas were not aimed at actually reducing crime — which to be fair, is impossible if you’re not allowed to put criminals in prison — but to “ease riders’ fears about the subway.”

Isn’t that the worst of all possible worlds? The subway won’t be any safer, but will feel safer, so you’ll let your guard down.

One big idea for giving passengers a false sense of security is: Increase lighting! Or, as subway rapists sometimes call it, “mood lighting.” The Times optimistically reports that the MTA has already announced that it will “convert all 150,000 fluorescent light fixtures in the system to LED lighting.” Of course, considering how well the MTA maintains its platform cameras, the conversion should be completed around the year 2067. (April 2022 headline: “Questions raised on why NYC subway cameras didn’t work during mass shooting.”)

On the other hand, lighting has done absolutely nothing to impede violent crazies, as evidenced by the vast collection of well-lit videos showing monstrous crimes being committed on the subway. The last video I saw of an Asian man being punched and choked on a subway was so well-shot it could have been nominated for best cinematography.

Other nominees include:

— Video of a psychopath attempting to rape a woman on a Lexington Avenue subway platform at 11 a.m. one Saturday.

— Video of a psychopath smashing human feces into a woman’s face at a Bronx subway station.

— Video of a psychopath punching and kicking a woman in the face at a subway stop in Jamaica Queens (leaving her blind in one eye).

— Multiple videos of psychopaths shoving bystanders onto the train tracks — in the Bronx, at the Times Square station, at the Union Square station, at the Hunter College station, at the 53rd and Fifth Avenue station, etc.

Thanks to the well-lit videos, the suspects are usually apprehended within hours, as soon as facial recognition software connects them to their previous mugshots. (The phrase “previous mugshots” is a big, juicy clue if you’re tackling the “how to stop crime” video challenge.)

For example, the broad-daylight rapist had already been arrested at least 14 times. Each time, D.A. Bragg simply let him go. The feces assailant had a slew of arrests for assault, theft and hate crimes, but the Bronx D.A., Darcel Clark, also kept unleashing him on the public for more rollicking fun.

The Times Square subway shover has racked up a half-dozen prior arrests for things like beating and kicking a 57-year-old woman in the face, scratching a woman in the eye, stealing a woman’s cellphone, repeatedly punching an 18-year-old woman in the face and biting her. Released, released, released, sentenced to death and released again. (One of those is fake.)

Just this Monday, a 52-year-old man was stabbed in the neck on a J train; a 21-year-old woman was stabbed at the Franklin Avenue station; and, at 7 p.m., a 54-year-old man was killed at the 125th Street station after being pushed onto the tracks of an incoming subway train by career criminal Carlton McPherson. Odd that government officials are having trouble easing riders’ fears about the subway. Maybe if they gave out tote bags with slogans like, “Boy, are subways getting safer all the time now or what?”

Having soft-launched his one-man crime wave as a teenager, McPherson has numerous prior arrests for assault, fare evasion and burglary. (These are all legal in New York.) His latest arrest was a mere six months ago. He was due back in court in July, which I’m sure he had marked carefully in his Palm Pilot.

Unless it’s rape or murder, New York City is determined to get criminals back on the streets as quickly as possible. The only way to make this clearer to criminals would be to literally install actual revolving doors at the entrance to every police precinct and courthouse.

Another expert, Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, interim dean at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs, suggested that New York “strengthen gun checks” and suggested using “sensors” to detect guns.

It doesn’t take a gun to push someone in front of an oncoming train, but on the other hand, there have already been seven shootings on the subway so far this year — and we’re not even three months in.

Unfortunately, there are no magical “sensors” to detect guns, except the ones that exist in police officers’ heads.

As explained by Mayor Michael Bloomberg about a year after he’d left office, having driven the crime rate in New York City to unimaginable lows:

“People say, ‘Oh, my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana that are all minorities.’ Yes, that’s true. Why? Because we put all the cops in the minority neighborhoods. Yes, that’s true. Why do we do it? Because that’s where all the crime is.

“And the way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the wall and frisk them. And then they start, they say, ‘Oh, I don’t want to get caught.’ So they don’t bring the gun. They still have a gun, but they leave it at home.”

But we can’t do that anymore, because it would be “racist.”

[Trump’s response to Bloomberg’s statement of the obvious: “WOW, BLOOMBERG IS A TOTAL RACIST!” Trump’s black vote in the 2020 election: 8%.]

The Times, being the Times, formulated a trick question for the experts. How do you solve a problem after we’ve ruled every plausible solution “racist”?

Other ideas from “experts” consisted of doing exactly what we’re doing now, but harder. Specifically: Be even nicer to criminals and blame the victims. Passengers should be more alert! Also, it’s not enough to release suspects — give them a hug and a juice box, too.

The only expert interviewed by the Times who had any remotely relevant experience was Dorothy Schulz, a retired captain with the Metro-North Police. Not surprisingly, her solution was the same as Bloomberg’s, delivered without the vivid imagery. Position officers at subway turnstiles, she said, and frisk every fare-beater. “You’ll pick up a lot of weapons and a lot of people with warrants.”

That will get the guns and knives out of the subway, but not the rapists, the violent assailants, the shovers and the feces-throwers (except maybe for an hour, before the prosecutor cheerfully releases them). We won’t be safe from psychopaths in the subway until we’re rid of the psychopaths in the D.A.s’ offices.

But at least passengers in New York’s well-lit subways will feel safer. Right up until the moment they’re assaulted, raped, murdered or, God willing, just smeared with human feces. All aboard!


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