I was at a bus stop yesterday sitting on a bench with a glass enclosure. A guy came up to me and asked me what time the bus was coming. I responded and went back to scrolling on my phone. 20 minutes later he suddenly started acting erratic and threw his phone towards me. The glass enclosure was not fully open on one side, but had a door shaped opening where he was standing. I was trapped.

Thankfully, that’s where it ended. But I was terrified for those 10 minutes. Every time he reached inside his heavy jacket pocket, I half expected him to pull out a knife (there have been some knife attacks on the subway). He wasn’t making me “uncomfortable”, he made me fear for my life. People don’t choose to feel fear, it’s a natural response.

Progressives acting like feeling fearful when a person is being aggressive is a moral failure are deliberately looking at it through some convoluted intersectional lens. Obviously most people in the Neely situation weren’t aware of his history , they only knew that this person was being aggressive this instant. A person wearing a suit and Rolex would have elicited the same response.

All the “hurr durr, I’ve been in uncomfortable situations on the subway but you know what I didn’t do? Murder people” is exhausting and performative empathy at its finest. You can understand the complexity of the situation while recognizing what happened was a tragedy

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Something about the "Yeah, I get screamed at, spit on and masturbated at by unstable mentally ill derelicts twice a day, so what, it's just the rich tapestry of big city life, stop being a wimp" attitude from so many is just genuinely infuriating. Have some God damn self-respect, asshole! Your physical safety matters! You're a human being, you deserve to live your life without being terrorized!

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The Jordan Neely story makes me so angry all around. Anyone with half a brain knows that these types of tragedies will happen when we live in a time where those of us in large cities are told to just accept that there is a contingent of mentally ill and drug addicted people wandering the streets often displaying violent and erratic behavior, while at the same time there’s a push for a decrease in police presence. What a perfect recipe for vigilantism.

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When violence happens no one is in control. That’s really deeply hard for people to wrap their heads around. The best most highly trained fighter you’ve ever seen isn’t Batman and could kill someone completely by mistake or be killed by some random person who got lucky. At best you can make it less chaotic. That’s why we have such strong violence taboos.

When the city allows sick people who are too sick to get treatment to just wander around until they die in public things like this happen because people will have to make very hard choices about their own safety. And the whole purpose of why we have institutions is to prevent choices like this from needing to be made.

I’m so sad for a fourteen year old kid whose mother was murdered and thrown in a suitcase. He should have had some place to go where he would have been kept safe and fed and warm, where he couldn’t harm anyone including himself. And I understand the twenty four year old marine later in life crossing his path having to do what he throughly was necessary for his safety and the safety of others.

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I’ve heard about the micro dosing T in perimenopausal women that Katie mentioned. See now, aging as a woman is a disease that needs remedy, hormonal remedy. No doubt that the hormone replacement therapy probably makes a lot of 40 year old women feel better, and honestly, I’m tempted, just so I can keep my mid drift tight and get some energy, but I’m also so fucking tired of every stage of life as a female being treated as a condition that we need saving from with hormones.

Scared of puberty and becoming an adult human female? We have hormones for that. Are the burdens of existing as an adult human female with your natural fertility intact too overwhelming? We have hormones for that too. Are you an adult human female who has to unfortunately continue to exist after your natural “fuckable” age? We have hormones for that.

Seems like life as a woman in her natural hormonal state is a medical condition that warrants therapy. I’m over it. All of it.

Having kids and getting old do not make women failures as humans, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by how we treat both fertility and aging as disease in WOMEN.

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May 7·edited May 7

Jesse: “This started because a man was loudly threatening people on the subway, and I think some of the riders interpreted it as he was going to kill somebody..

“..and a guy did what he probably shouldn’t have done and directly intervened.”

If a number of riders on that subway carriage reasonably believed Neely was going to kill someone how can anybody say nobody should have intervened?

Is the appropriate (ie liberal handwringing) response really to awkwardly witness a schized-out bum assault an innocent person and then just feel bad about it afterwards?

There have been many people saying Daniel Penny’s actions set some kind of dangerous “precedent.” Of course this is nonsense; most people just aren’t built to intervene the way he did.

Jesse again: “Once in a while on the New York subway you find somebody who is a little too crazy and you move to the next subway car.”

Ok great.. What does this achieve exactly?

I would bet the majority of people are glad to know there is the possibility of people like Daniel Penny on their subway car or in their neighbourhood who might just put themselves in harm’s way to protect them from the tragic Jordan Neely’s of this world.

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“already this


i have killed

a fox

with a baseball


—William Carlos Williams

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May 6·edited May 6

Great episode and nuanced explanation of what led to Neely’s death.

I’d recommend people watch this news segment from 7 years ago about the choking of an aggressive passenger on an LA subway: https://youtu.be/M1LqoUPjqRQ

One guy is combative, hasn't hit anyone, a passenger chokes him from behind, the combative guy loses consciousness, and the passenger gets invited for a glowing TV interview with the title: "Subway hero describes showdown with combative passenger”.

The choking in that case didn’t lead to death, but that was pretty much luck. The passenger even says in the interview he had no training, didn’t know what he was doing, but just acted.

The only variable that’s wildly different between the two cases is the race of the people involved, and perhaps the fact (although unclear from the video) that the Marine may have held on to the choke a bit longer after Neely went limp.

Obviously, we don't want people taking the law into their own hands, but I thought it was interesting to see the difference in attitude between the TV host and comments then, and what's going on today with so many people calling the Neely case close to an intentional lynching…

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Jo Maugham is literally like if you imagined the worst, most pompous barrister with the thinnest possible skin, but instead of being a book character, he's a real person.

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I think it's easy to judge in hindsight what we all would have done in that instance, like we're supposed to be thinking rationally. He did not think he would kill the guy but he was trying to protect the other passengers in a city that has abandoned them. That guy should have been in the hospital long ago. He should never have had to struggle like that on the street. And yes, the ONLY REASON PEOPLE CARE is that a white man killed a black man. Just look at Gunviolence.org and look at how many murders in the past 72 hours - children, mothers, etc.

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I'm just here to bust on Jesse for saying "petite" larceny as opposed to "petty" larceny. Yeah it is spelled petit but it is really petty. Some ancient vestige of the common law I suppose.

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Another argument antipattern that I'm seeing a lot:

A: "Neely was completely innocent, a beloved Michael Jackson impersonator who was just asking for food. His death is a raging injustice."

B: "Actually, Neely was a violent felon with 42 past arrests who had, among other things, tried to kidnap a seven year old girl and punched an old lady in the head and almost killed her."

A: "How does that justify killing him?????"

Look, bro, thirty seconds ago you were insisting that his nature and past behavior was vitally important to the outcome of this case. Now suddenly it's not? How about you make up your mind?

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I’m so sick of the scale of urban decay and the associated liberal defense of anti-social behavior. I’m ready to vote for DeSantis. I am 52 and never voted Republican. I am more and more sympathetic to conservative ideology. Leftist culture and policy is corrosive and does not produce a normal, functioning society. Maybe class-based leftist politics would generate reasonable policy, but the individualistic identity politics of the American left is totally bankrupt. I still support universal healthcare, a strong social safety net for the ill and old. I think income inequality to the degree we have it in the US is bad for democracy and morally grotesque. But I can’t watch people shooting up on the sidewalk, girls cutting off their tits, people afraid to take trains or park in the city, schools lying to parents, adults afraid to say what they think, and say: Yes, this is working great. I’m so over it all. I hope DeSantis wins. I hope all these left wing nuts get voted out.

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May 7·edited May 7

Germany has involuntary (stationary) treatment *after* the first serious crime ( https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ma%C3%9Fregelvollzug , mostly for schizophrenics and pedophiles). IMHO this is a good middle ground. You cannot do it merely based on "behaving erratic" or some vague notion of "antisociality", as the definition of that will merrily swing with the political wind (surely someone in NYC will count manspreading; and I don't trust German politicians on this either, as some of them have made some pretty ominous noises around COVID).

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I was happy Katie mentioned Jonathan Rosen's account about Michael Laudor. The book, The Best Minds, I can't recommend enough. It's about mental illness and the "tragedy of good intentions" as its subtitle says and it's so layered and well-written. I listened on Audible and am going out later today to get a hard copy because there was so much I want to reread.

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May 6·edited May 6

The Roxane Gay article started out reasonable but then took a turn to a ridiculous, illogical argument. I would like to think that an editor might question the article's logic before publishing, but I guess that doesn't happen at the nytimes.

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