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What kind of woman rides the New York subway? Politicising Jordan Neely's death won't make strap-hangers safer

"I was groped, flashed, or masturbated at probably two dozen times during the seven years I spent living in New York." Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images

"I was groped, flashed, or masturbated at probably two dozen times during the seven years I spent living in New York." Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images


May 11, 2023   7 mins

During the 2017 peak of the #MeToo movement, the conversation about sexual harassment came down to two related but ultimately separate questions. On the one hand, there was the question of what men shouldn’t do; on the other, there was the question of what women could be expected to tolerate.

This was where some women, usually but not always older, rolled their eyes. Did an awkward joke, a bad date, or — as one memorable entry in the infamous Shitty Media Men list alleged — a “weird lunch” really constitute a form of harassment, let alone a cancellable offence? But other women, usually but not always younger, clucked their tongues: it was only because women kept putting up with such behaviour that men kept thinking they could get away with it.

At the time, the younger cohort appeared to the older like a bunch of hypersensitive harpies, retreating to the fainting couch at the slightest whiff of insult. The older, according to the younger, were cosying up to the patriarchy, in a desperate attempt to stave off their own irrelevance.

“We’re tough enough to take it,” said the Olds.

“It’s sad you think you have to,” said the Youths.

This early rift in the movement represented a deeper philosophical disagreement, about the nature and importance of resilience. The narrow question is, when does an annoying man becomes an evil harasser? The broader one is, when does a tolerable nuisance cross the line to become an intolerable transgression?

This question has been on my mind this week, for the most tragic of reasons. On 1st May, a 30-year-old man named Jordan Neely was choked to death on a crowded New York City subway train by a 24-year-old Marine named Daniel Penny. Neely, who was homeless and mentally ill, was reportedly screaming and confronting passengers; he was killed after Penny put him in a chokehold, while two other passengers held him down. Penny, in a statement released through his lawyers, said he did not intend to kill Neely.

This incident was preventable. Long before his death, Neely was known to New York City authorities as a person who could not manage independent living, and who had been spiralling in recent years, desperately in need of help. For him to die on the dirty floor of a subway car, screaming and defecating on himself while three strangers held him by the arms, legs, and neck, he had to be first failed at every turn by a system that was supposed to shelter and protect him — not just from doing harm, but from being harmed by others when his mental illness manifested in frightening ways.

That Neely slipped through the cracks is not the only sign of institutional failure here. As ridership on the NYC subway has increased in the wake of Covid, so too have instances of violence, including several high-profile incidents in which people have been attacked or killed. New York City mayor Eric Adams was elected in 2021 on a campaign that promised to flood the subway system with uniformed police officers, to combat both crime and the perception that the subway has become wildly more dangerous in recent years.

To what extent this campaign could succeed is not clear. There has always been a baseline level of criminality and antisocial behaviour on the subway; sexual harassment and assault is so ubiquitous that brushing up against it is all but inevitable. I was groped, flashed, or masturbated at probably two dozen times during the seven years I spent living in New York. When a friend moved to NYC last year, I told her that she couldn’t truly call herself a New Yorker until she exited a crowded subway car to discover that someone had ejaculated on her coat. (I was only partly kidding.) It’s not that anyone thinks these things are okay; it’s more that they’re expected, a sad fact of life in a city of 8.5 million people, one of those things you cannot change and hence have to find a way to put up with. You look away, you shrug it off, you don’t let it ruin your day because if you did, it would ruin all of your days.

Here is where the notion of resilience enters in. New York City residents have perhaps a higher tolerance than most for antisocial behaviour in public places, on the subway in particular. Warm and dry, with a captive audience, it attracts all kinds of colourful personalities: panhandlers and performers, pickpockets and preachers, as well as people like Neely who are in the grips of something darker. Until recently, it was standard practice to meet the arrival of one of these people on a crowded carriage with downcast eyes and silence; there was a tacit agreement that you neither react to nor acknowledge the transgressor. That agreement remained in place as crime rose, and as NYC saw a marked increase in behaviour that, even if it started out as merely weird, could — and did — escalate rapidly to violence. In 2022, for instance, a video did the rounds, of a woman begging for help while a deranged man hauls her around a train car by her hair.

But if it was difficult to know exactly where a tolerance for breaches of decorum became apologia for criminal harassment, it was even harder to identify, after Jordan Neely’s death, where the tacit agreement to tolerate becomes a duty to intervene. How do we know when to stand by, when to step in, when to look away, when to be afraid?

Here, one might have expected that many of the same voices who argued so vehemently against the notion of resilience in the midst of MeToo — the ones who believed that the solution to harassment lay not in teaching women to be assertive, but in teaching men not to abuse — would now demand zero tolerance for male aggression on public transit. If you argue that a woman can be traumatised by bawdy humour in the office or awkward come-ons in a bar, surely you would agree that she’s entitled to be fearful when trapped underground on a metal tube with an erratically-behaving stranger twice her size.

But, no: instead, many of the people who once insisted that men who slid into DMs deserved the complete destruction of their professional reputations became passionate advocates for toughening up when it came to dealing with volatile people on public transit. Coverage and commentary from the Left downplayed the possibility that Neely’s behaviour was frightening; instead, he was “acting erratic“, or “houseless and crying for food“. One viral tweet suggested that tragedy could have been averted with “a dollar and granola bar”. The New York Times guide to navigating similar scenarios on public transit took it a step further, imagining someone like Neely as a wild animal it is everyone else’s duty not to provoke: “Don’t make eye contact — especially prolonged eye contact, which might be perceived as threatening.”

Meanwhile, threads proliferated mocking the notion that New York’s subways might be a dangerous place: “I’ve safely ridden the subway for 23 years and my child has never been menaced by a half naked lunatic, but these imaginary monsters in your head are addressable with therapy,” wrote Elizabeth Spiers, a founding editor of Gawker and journalism professor at NYU. This is a remarkable sentiment, and not just because of its stunning reversal of the MeToo-era catechism that allegations should be believed. Less than a year ago, Spiers was among those advocating for the suspension without pay of journalist Dave Weigel after he retweeted what some perceived as a sexist joke, owing to the way this was allegedly received by his female colleagues (“[Every] woman who works with you thinks you’ve telegraphed publicly that you don’t respect women.”)

To sum up: a man who reposts an off-colour joke is advertising his innate misogyny, to the point where women should feel uncomfortable sharing a workplace with him. But an agitated and clearly unstable man announcing to a crowded subway car — as Neely reportedly did — that he’s been pushed to the brink and is ready to die, or go to prison for life: why in the world would you find that menacing?

This sudden rediscovery of the merits of resilience would have been almost refreshing, if not for the whiplash of its promotion by people who up until very recently were arguing that a tweet made them unsafe. There’s even something to it: the ubiquity of certain kinds of boundary-challenging behaviour in big cities makes it not just impractical but impossible to treat every incident of one-off harassment from a stranger as if it’s the end of the world. And of course, once you’ve survived a run-in with the mystery subway ejaculator, sexist microaggressions are unlikely to faze you: cultivating resilience is how we learn to recognise that a situation can be both genuinely alarming but not materially unsafe, or to make peace with the fact that many things which make us uncomfortable should nevertheless be allowed.

But this mindset was considered anathema during MeToo. With trauma allegedly lurking just around the corner of every heterosexual encounter, distrust became the default. Not just the default, but celebrated — “men need to feel a cold spike of fear when they begin a sexual encounter,” intoned Vox‘s Ezra Klein, in a proto-MeToo celebration of this new, terrified paradigm for intimacy. The idea, of course, was that women already felt that fear, living as they did at the eternal precipice of victimisation by the patriarchy; in a truly equal society, everyone would be scared.

Of course, today’s 180-degree pivot to brash fearlessness is identitarian horse-trading: MeToo is out, BLM is in. The dynamics of any conflict must be considered along these lines, and the narrative must be massaged accordingly. This was true in 2020 when a white woman called the police on a black man who threatened her in a public park; it is true now, as piety demands that the behaviour of the black, homeless victim of this terrible tragedy must not be scrutinised in any way. On the Left, that is; the Right has spent the past few days waving Neely’s criminal history in the air, singing “He Had It Coming”, in an absolute spectacle of ghoulishness.

In the end, neither the malicious glee from the Right nor the aggressive minimisation from the Left are treating this case with the sensitivity it deserves. The truth is, eyewitnesses did report that Neely was behaving in a threatening way, and other people on the train were calling 911 well before his confrontation with Penny, suggesting that whatever was happening, it was a cut above the ordinary subway madness that New Yorkers are usually so good at ignoring. But it is also true that the tragic conclusion of this incident seems, at least in part, like the result of a cultivated fragility — the kind that results when you encourage people to view every uncomfortable situation as a trauma in the making, every unpleasant interaction as a precursor to a far worse harm, every upset as an offence for which there must be consequences. That mindset, so ubiquitous in the wake of MeToo, so popular among progressives in general, says that no breach of decorum or moment of discomfort is too insignificant to ignore. It must be registered. It must be punished. It’s nothing more or less than a call for constant vigilance. The thing about that: when you demand vigilance, you get vigilantes.


Kat Rosenfield is an UnHerd columnist and co-host of the Feminine Chaos podcast. Her latest novel is You Must Remember This.

katrosenfield

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Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

Excellent essay underlining the hypocrisy of both movements. The hardcore me too activists and the mob looking to lynch the guy who intervened on the subway share something else in common – they don’t actually believe any of the garbage spewing from their mouths.

No serious, rationale human being actually thinks every single women should be believed, and no rationale human being believes someone is evil or malign for intervening when a dangerous schizophrenic is threatening people.

It’s all political theatre. They couldn’t care less about people suffering mental health issues, or women who have actually been assaulted. They are props. They don’t see the victims as human beings. They are chess pieces to be exploited for political or personal gain.

I remember having a debate with a criminal defence lawyer, of all people, during the height of the me too movement. I told him it would take two minutes to be exploited for political purposes. Then Brett Kavanaugh happened. Hmm.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The ability to simultaneously hold in your head two totally incompatible and contradictory beliefs and to switch between them instantly in response to daily events appears to be an essential skill for feminists and the left in general.

Last edited 1 year ago by William Shaw
Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

It seems you’ve failed to appreciate JV’s very sound and helpful point, roughly: this is b-s kabuki done for ‘political likes’, and both side do it. For all our sakes they should desist from this indulgence.

At the same time, you reminded me of a compliment I wanted to extend to JV for one of his recent quotes – Jim, you manifested Fitzgerald’s dictum :
“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless yet be determined to make them otherwise.”

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

I think you have just abused that quote

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

Care to say why?

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago

Agreed.
Maybe too subtle.

Last edited 1 year ago by William Shaw
Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

Care to say why?

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago

Agreed.
Maybe too subtle.

Last edited 1 year ago by William Shaw
Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Good quote. Thanks for that. Agree with your point also.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

It wasn’t something I thought needed commenting on.
Strange for being admonished for not writing down everything that’s in my head.
p.s. There’s a difference between holding two opposing ideas in your mind at the same time and using opposing ideas whenever it suits your cause… also something that shouldn’t need explaining, but apparently it does.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

JV decried the dysfunctional political theatre involving both sides – it solves nothing, increases animosity and treats people as mere chess pieces in a political game . Your comment was essentially ‘yeah, feminists and leftists do that all the time’ – a small demonstration of what JV was calling out. Then, if you read my comment, the second part was addressed to JV not you. However, if we are to apply it to your comment – try holding in your head two things – there is crappy political kabuki going on; and ii) factions of both the left and right are at it – this is the thrust of the article and JV’s comment.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Thank you

Nona Yubiz
Nona Yubiz
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Yep.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Thank you

Nona Yubiz
Nona Yubiz
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Yep.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

JV decried the dysfunctional political theatre involving both sides – it solves nothing, increases animosity and treats people as mere chess pieces in a political game . Your comment was essentially ‘yeah, feminists and leftists do that all the time’ – a small demonstration of what JV was calling out. Then, if you read my comment, the second part was addressed to JV not you. However, if we are to apply it to your comment – try holding in your head two things – there is crappy political kabuki going on; and ii) factions of both the left and right are at it – this is the thrust of the article and JV’s comment.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

I think you have just abused that quote

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Good quote. Thanks for that. Agree with your point also.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

It wasn’t something I thought needed commenting on.
Strange for being admonished for not writing down everything that’s in my head.
p.s. There’s a difference between holding two opposing ideas in your mind at the same time and using opposing ideas whenever it suits your cause… also something that shouldn’t need explaining, but apparently it does.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

It seems you’ve failed to appreciate JV’s very sound and helpful point, roughly: this is b-s kabuki done for ‘political likes’, and both side do it. For all our sakes they should desist from this indulgence.

At the same time, you reminded me of a compliment I wanted to extend to JV for one of his recent quotes – Jim, you manifested Fitzgerald’s dictum :
“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless yet be determined to make them otherwise.”

0 0
0 0
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

“They don’t see the victims as human beings.”
Nor do either the wooly-headed social engineers in academe and the ubiquitous tax-free “foundations” or their usual cheerleaders in Big Media. But the worst of ’em all are the politicians who support them and parrot what the late historian Paul Johnson would call “the higher humbug” so they can continue to feed from the public trough.

Last edited 1 year ago by 0 0
jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  0 0

It’s called Care in the Community. The place that mostly doesn’t care,and often burns witches. Instead of a relatively comfortable and ordered life in an asylum(ie place of safety) you enjoy the freedom to sleep in a shop doorway,hand over your benefit payment to your drug dealer and have dirty Dossers you dont even know make free with your flat if you have one. That’s what Care in the Community is. It sounds like it’s the same in USA as UK.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  0 0

It’s called Care in the Community. The place that mostly doesn’t care,and often burns witches. Instead of a relatively comfortable and ordered life in an asylum(ie place of safety) you enjoy the freedom to sleep in a shop doorway,hand over your benefit payment to your drug dealer and have dirty Dossers you dont even know make free with your flat if you have one. That’s what Care in the Community is. It sounds like it’s the same in USA as UK.

George Heingartner
George Heingartner
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

“no rational human being believes someone is evil or malign for intervening when a dangerous schizophrenic is threatening people”
They do indeed, Jim, when in the grip of an ideology that tells them…
Society is a swamp of injustice, hypocrisy & various “-isms.”
Psychiatric confinement is political oppression.
Psychology itself is corrupted by Euro-Centric, Cis-Het-Patriarchal biases.
The Neelys of the world are just misunderstood and neglected victims and anyway WHO ARE WE TO JUDGE?
I was surrounded by this mindset in college as far back as the late 80s. I promise you it hasn’t gotten any better among the NPR crowd.

Last edited 1 year ago by George Heingartner
William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The ability to simultaneously hold in your head two totally incompatible and contradictory beliefs and to switch between them instantly in response to daily events appears to be an essential skill for feminists and the left in general.

Last edited 1 year ago by William Shaw
0 0
0 0
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

“They don’t see the victims as human beings.”
Nor do either the wooly-headed social engineers in academe and the ubiquitous tax-free “foundations” or their usual cheerleaders in Big Media. But the worst of ’em all are the politicians who support them and parrot what the late historian Paul Johnson would call “the higher humbug” so they can continue to feed from the public trough.

Last edited 1 year ago by 0 0
George Heingartner
George Heingartner
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

“no rational human being believes someone is evil or malign for intervening when a dangerous schizophrenic is threatening people”
They do indeed, Jim, when in the grip of an ideology that tells them…
Society is a swamp of injustice, hypocrisy & various “-isms.”
Psychiatric confinement is political oppression.
Psychology itself is corrupted by Euro-Centric, Cis-Het-Patriarchal biases.
The Neelys of the world are just misunderstood and neglected victims and anyway WHO ARE WE TO JUDGE?
I was surrounded by this mindset in college as far back as the late 80s. I promise you it hasn’t gotten any better among the NPR crowd.

Last edited 1 year ago by George Heingartner
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

Excellent essay underlining the hypocrisy of both movements. The hardcore me too activists and the mob looking to lynch the guy who intervened on the subway share something else in common – they don’t actually believe any of the garbage spewing from their mouths.

No serious, rationale human being actually thinks every single women should be believed, and no rationale human being believes someone is evil or malign for intervening when a dangerous schizophrenic is threatening people.

It’s all political theatre. They couldn’t care less about people suffering mental health issues, or women who have actually been assaulted. They are props. They don’t see the victims as human beings. They are chess pieces to be exploited for political or personal gain.

I remember having a debate with a criminal defence lawyer, of all people, during the height of the me too movement. I told him it would take two minutes to be exploited for political purposes. Then Brett Kavanaugh happened. Hmm.

Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
1 year ago

I’m concerned that the author (like many people) confuses dissociation with resilience.
I’ve earned my claim to resilience by surviving father-daughter rapes throughout childhood, surviving homelessness in SF’s Tenderloin as a single mom, overcoming addiction, and parenting a disabled child.
Shrugging off being ejaculated on in the subway is not “resilience”; it’s dissociation, and it cripples our empathy and self awareness.
Subway riders who stare glassy eyed at their phones while women are being “dragged around the subway car by their hair” are NOT “resilient”. They are dissociated cowards.
When we dissociate we lose our humanity.
The author of this article seems to have lost some of her own humanity by becoming numb to the pain of herself & others.
This dissociation is what allowed the homeless crisis to get so bad in the first place. It is NOT a solution to any human problem.
Daniel Penny was not dissociated. He didn’t numb out and shrug off threatening behavior, which was almost certainly directed at women.
If there were more Daniel Penny’s riding the subways these “inevitable” assaults on women, children, & the elderly would miraculously decrease. Instead, the subway cars are filled with cowardly, dissociated people calling themselves “resilient” when they are just too numbed out and fearful to care.
Genuine resilience leads to courage, not the conveniently cold blooded indifference the author describes.

Todd Kreigh
Todd Kreigh
1 year ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

It’s an excellent point concerning cowardice and the resulting effects. Consider that more alpha males like Daniel Penny need to be riding the subway. Consider what might have happened if one such like-minded male had confronted Neely at some point in the past concerning his abusive, profane behavior and simply punched him in the face and physically ejected him out the door of a subway car. Perhaps Neely would still be alive, just much more subdued knowing his behavior had consequences. Perhaps such an incident might have sobered him enough to get the help he needed? Perhaps others like Neely would be treading with a lot more caution. Impossible to prove a negative, but I’d say it’s worth the speculation.

Sam Sko
Sam Sko
1 year ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

I agree, Penny. The author mentioned that the desired consequence of me too was to make men equally afraid. However, the response should’ve been to encourage men to come to aid of women and children when there is a perceived threat, which Daniel Penny and the other two did. Their response wasn’t because they’ve become overly sensitive to potentially “traumatic” circumstances (Marines cannot be sensitive on the battlefield). Just the fact that it took three men to subdue him indicates that the threat was indeed escalating. It is absolutely tragic that it led to Jordan Neely’s death, and I agree with the author that neither the right nor the left have handled it well. Instead of using Neely’s rap sheet as justification or making Penny and co out to be violent vigilantes, we should all be pointing its finger at the NYC govt’s failure to actually provide social services to the mentally ill for whom they claim care and compassion. Vigilantism doesn’t come from hyper vigilance; it’s the consequence of a government’s inability to protect the people from harm. This is why we have a right to self-defense.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Well said.What has made many men back from restraining violent people is the fear of being prosecuted for assault.
What needs to be undertaken is assessing what physical restraints/ self defence are acceptable, this will vary according to relative strengths of people and how does one determine age and health of agressors?
If one looks at videos of Royal Marine Commandos demonstrating self defence they laugh it off but could kill or cripple many people. The reality is that many people with alcohol, drug and mental problems have very poor health and may easily die during restraint.
Another aspect is that many white Liberals are more or less useless in a streetfight and will criticise other whites for fighting when they are unable to do so. When people of different races are involved in a fight Critical Race Theory becomes involved. What I suggest is that white Liberals try and use their skills to arrest an alcoholic, drug addict or mentally unbalanced person and see what happens.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Thats exactly it. As with Mr Penny, the main danger to any decent citizen intervening in these cases is not the perp himself: it’s the screaming scary loon’s poor health and tendency to expire unexpectedly under moderate physical stress; and the Rainbow Stasi and Criminal Protection Service, which loath and fearsdecent citizens ‘taking the law into their own hands’ (a threat to its monopoly of violence) and iare ever-eager to pander to the Woke BBC’s agenda by nailing public spirited folk to the wall.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Thats exactly it. As with Mr Penny, the main danger to any decent citizen intervening in these cases is not the perp himself: it’s the screaming scary loon’s poor health and tendency to expire unexpectedly under moderate physical stress; and the Rainbow Stasi and Criminal Protection Service, which loath and fearsdecent citizens ‘taking the law into their own hands’ (a threat to its monopoly of violence) and iare ever-eager to pander to the Woke BBC’s agenda by nailing public spirited folk to the wall.

Iris Violet
Iris Violet
1 year ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Well said Penny. We need to ‘associate’ and stand up for others always when they are threatened. What else is a society for.

Aaron Rice
Aaron Rice
1 year ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

You should turn this into an article on your Substack

Todd Kreigh
Todd Kreigh
1 year ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

It’s an excellent point concerning cowardice and the resulting effects. Consider that more alpha males like Daniel Penny need to be riding the subway. Consider what might have happened if one such like-minded male had confronted Neely at some point in the past concerning his abusive, profane behavior and simply punched him in the face and physically ejected him out the door of a subway car. Perhaps Neely would still be alive, just much more subdued knowing his behavior had consequences. Perhaps such an incident might have sobered him enough to get the help he needed? Perhaps others like Neely would be treading with a lot more caution. Impossible to prove a negative, but I’d say it’s worth the speculation.

Sam Sko
Sam Sko
1 year ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

I agree, Penny. The author mentioned that the desired consequence of me too was to make men equally afraid. However, the response should’ve been to encourage men to come to aid of women and children when there is a perceived threat, which Daniel Penny and the other two did. Their response wasn’t because they’ve become overly sensitive to potentially “traumatic” circumstances (Marines cannot be sensitive on the battlefield). Just the fact that it took three men to subdue him indicates that the threat was indeed escalating. It is absolutely tragic that it led to Jordan Neely’s death, and I agree with the author that neither the right nor the left have handled it well. Instead of using Neely’s rap sheet as justification or making Penny and co out to be violent vigilantes, we should all be pointing its finger at the NYC govt’s failure to actually provide social services to the mentally ill for whom they claim care and compassion. Vigilantism doesn’t come from hyper vigilance; it’s the consequence of a government’s inability to protect the people from harm. This is why we have a right to self-defense.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Well said.What has made many men back from restraining violent people is the fear of being prosecuted for assault.
What needs to be undertaken is assessing what physical restraints/ self defence are acceptable, this will vary according to relative strengths of people and how does one determine age and health of agressors?
If one looks at videos of Royal Marine Commandos demonstrating self defence they laugh it off but could kill or cripple many people. The reality is that many people with alcohol, drug and mental problems have very poor health and may easily die during restraint.
Another aspect is that many white Liberals are more or less useless in a streetfight and will criticise other whites for fighting when they are unable to do so. When people of different races are involved in a fight Critical Race Theory becomes involved. What I suggest is that white Liberals try and use their skills to arrest an alcoholic, drug addict or mentally unbalanced person and see what happens.

Iris Violet
Iris Violet
1 year ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Well said Penny. We need to ‘associate’ and stand up for others always when they are threatened. What else is a society for.

Aaron Rice
Aaron Rice
1 year ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

You should turn this into an article on your Substack

Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
1 year ago

I’m concerned that the author (like many people) confuses dissociation with resilience.
I’ve earned my claim to resilience by surviving father-daughter rapes throughout childhood, surviving homelessness in SF’s Tenderloin as a single mom, overcoming addiction, and parenting a disabled child.
Shrugging off being ejaculated on in the subway is not “resilience”; it’s dissociation, and it cripples our empathy and self awareness.
Subway riders who stare glassy eyed at their phones while women are being “dragged around the subway car by their hair” are NOT “resilient”. They are dissociated cowards.
When we dissociate we lose our humanity.
The author of this article seems to have lost some of her own humanity by becoming numb to the pain of herself & others.
This dissociation is what allowed the homeless crisis to get so bad in the first place. It is NOT a solution to any human problem.
Daniel Penny was not dissociated. He didn’t numb out and shrug off threatening behavior, which was almost certainly directed at women.
If there were more Daniel Penny’s riding the subways these “inevitable” assaults on women, children, & the elderly would miraculously decrease. Instead, the subway cars are filled with cowardly, dissociated people calling themselves “resilient” when they are just too numbed out and fearful to care.
Genuine resilience leads to courage, not the conveniently cold blooded indifference the author describes.

Robert Pruger
Robert Pruger
1 year ago

I don’t have a dog in this fight. Left NYC 50 years ago with no regrets. From the above I take it that an assault that isn’t a felony, one should just ignore. I suggest that is utter rubbish. The quality of ones life should be measured by quality of daily interactions — finding your coat stained with semen as you exit from the A train is proof positive of a demonic and degrading life. No amount of cultural attractions can balance out the daily garbage you have to endure.

Every election cycle New Yorkers have the opportunity to make a change. Regrettably they vote largely the same way and expect a different result. Insanity! But you can leave the asylum, and leave what’s left to the inmates. #JustMoveAway

Robert Pruger
Robert Pruger
1 year ago

I don’t have a dog in this fight. Left NYC 50 years ago with no regrets. From the above I take it that an assault that isn’t a felony, one should just ignore. I suggest that is utter rubbish. The quality of ones life should be measured by quality of daily interactions — finding your coat stained with semen as you exit from the A train is proof positive of a demonic and degrading life. No amount of cultural attractions can balance out the daily garbage you have to endure.

Every election cycle New Yorkers have the opportunity to make a change. Regrettably they vote largely the same way and expect a different result. Insanity! But you can leave the asylum, and leave what’s left to the inmates. #JustMoveAway

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

We get article after article, year upon year, about the George Floyds and Jordan Neelys, but hear almost nothing about innocent victims of violent crime if they don’t fall into the correct protected group. Does anyone know the names of the six people murdered in cold blood at the Covenant School? That horror was very quickly given a good leaving alone as soon as the murderer was discovered to be one of the sainted protected.
As for New York City, where I lived in the 80s and have as many stories of gross encounters as the author, it isn’t safe above ground – for either sex.

Geraldine Kelley
Geraldine Kelley
1 year ago

A quick injection of realism is always refreshing. Thank you!

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

Yes. Realism that the liberal mind can’t ever seem to fathom, which constantly confounds me. It must be very unsettling to continually argue from both sides of any subject. Fighting against climate change while flying in a private jet or driving a huge SUV. Advocating for killing unborn human children while fighting for animal rights. Wanting to be protected while defunding the police. Thinking that a massive increase in energy prices is good for ushering in new technology that most people can’t afford and then lamenting the revolution that ensues. Advocating for open borders, as long as the influx of homeless, uneducated people don’t set up the tent in your front yard or a park near your mansion.

Last edited 1 year ago by Warren Trees
Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

Yes. Realism that the liberal mind can’t ever seem to fathom, which constantly confounds me. It must be very unsettling to continually argue from both sides of any subject. Fighting against climate change while flying in a private jet or driving a huge SUV. Advocating for killing unborn human children while fighting for animal rights. Wanting to be protected while defunding the police. Thinking that a massive increase in energy prices is good for ushering in new technology that most people can’t afford and then lamenting the revolution that ensues. Advocating for open borders, as long as the influx of homeless, uneducated people don’t set up the tent in your front yard or a park near your mansion.

Last edited 1 year ago by Warren Trees
Iris Violet
Iris Violet
1 year ago

Well said Allison. I have been groped, threatened, grabbed by the throat, robbed and followed home in NY and London, indeed below and above ground when I was a student/young professional and used public transport. At first I bothered reporting incidents but once it was clear that the perpetrators are of a certain background you are just advised to avoid the area and subsequently harassed with calls and texts from some ‘after care’ organisation which became hugely irritating; I was fine, I just wanted the incidents added to their records in case they ever got caught. They complained I had been hard to reach those two days. No wonder, as I had to replace the phone that had been stolen in the incident. I am sure it was all on cctv but nobody cares. Sad state; police effectively admitting ghetto status of your neighbourhood. But more upsetting, scary and unforgettable than that was the lack of help from other passengers. I will never forget that. I would have been very grateful for a ‘vigilante’ to board my train.

Geraldine Kelley
Geraldine Kelley
1 year ago

A quick injection of realism is always refreshing. Thank you!

Iris Violet
Iris Violet
1 year ago

Well said Allison. I have been groped, threatened, grabbed by the throat, robbed and followed home in NY and London, indeed below and above ground when I was a student/young professional and used public transport. At first I bothered reporting incidents but once it was clear that the perpetrators are of a certain background you are just advised to avoid the area and subsequently harassed with calls and texts from some ‘after care’ organisation which became hugely irritating; I was fine, I just wanted the incidents added to their records in case they ever got caught. They complained I had been hard to reach those two days. No wonder, as I had to replace the phone that had been stolen in the incident. I am sure it was all on cctv but nobody cares. Sad state; police effectively admitting ghetto status of your neighbourhood. But more upsetting, scary and unforgettable than that was the lack of help from other passengers. I will never forget that. I would have been very grateful for a ‘vigilante’ to board my train.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

We get article after article, year upon year, about the George Floyds and Jordan Neelys, but hear almost nothing about innocent victims of violent crime if they don’t fall into the correct protected group. Does anyone know the names of the six people murdered in cold blood at the Covenant School? That horror was very quickly given a good leaving alone as soon as the murderer was discovered to be one of the sainted protected.
As for New York City, where I lived in the 80s and have as many stories of gross encounters as the author, it isn’t safe above ground – for either sex.

Amy Holmes
Amy Holmes
1 year ago

Excellent points, all! I would only add that a dangerously deranged homeless man on the subway merely threatens a woman’s life. A condescending boss or colleague threatens a woman’s *status*, and we can’t have that!

Amy Holmes
Amy Holmes
1 year ago

Excellent points, all! I would only add that a dangerously deranged homeless man on the subway merely threatens a woman’s life. A condescending boss or colleague threatens a woman’s *status*, and we can’t have that!

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 year ago

I think I absolutely do not understand women in print. Something about the media I guess, turns you all into some unrecognizable species.

”This question has been on my mind this week, for the most tragic of reasons. On 1st May, a 30-year-old man”

Tragic? I do not get it – Why? To me it seems his being gone does nothing but improve the place.

;”For him to die on the dirty floor of a subway car, screaming and defecating on himself while three strangers held him by the arms, legs, and neck, he had to be first failed at every turn by a system that was supposed to shelter and protect him — not just from doing harm, but from being harmed by others when his mental illness manifested in frightening ways.”

So? What’s the problem? If you have been around people dying it is not usually great. But what system was supposed to shelter and protect him?

I mean, Lock him up and keep him in an anti-psychotic drug stupor for the rest of his life? There is all kinds of things good and bad about this – but we do not do it. It is no one’s responsibility to keep the run-of-the-mill insane criminals from harming themselves – and no one takes the responsibility to stop them harming others. What? 40 Arrests? And it tales a Lot to get arrested – and I know this. NO – this horrible guy was issued a License by NYC to legally F*c k people up. He had a stack of ‘Get Out Of Jail For Free’ cards signed by the Mayor and so could physically damage and emotionally scar whom ever – where ever….. Best thing he ever did was to pass on……

I just do not have any problem him dieing wile being made to stop his endless crime spree. No problem at all. I wish the Marine the best and think him a hero. If the guy had lived to be arrested he would be out in 3 days just doing it again. Better what happened. I will not lose any sleep. Not ‘Tragic’ to me.

But then I have seen babies starving – and I fallow the wars in Sudan, Ukraine – and want a REALLY ugly one? Really ugly? Check out some Haiti…. These innocents I feel true sadness over – it is ‘Tragic’. You think I shed a tear for George Flo* d? No. Why would I? I have seen too much, Real bad things happening to real people who were not serial criminals, who were just trying to get by, and not harming anyone.

I do not care this guy failed the choke test; so what? And all the writer’s crocodile tears – does she believe this or is it just what must be said by her ilk, here in print?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I hope you have a breakdown one day, and are left to rot in the gutter if that’s you’re attitude towards the mentally ill.
No civilised country treats the mentally ill the same as healthy individuals, as we understand their actions aren’t due to rational thought.
If a person is acting aggressively or threatening then the first course if action is to arrest them and get them off the streets. You then determine whether their actions are due to them being bad in which case you punish them, or mad in which case you cart them off for treatment. The fact this man was allowed to roam the streets in the state he was in is a failure of the system, and you gloating over his demise is disgusting

Last edited 1 year ago by Billy Bob
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Amen. It’s possible to contend that he was failed or indulged by society or “the system” (given a “get out of jail free card”) without advocating death for the indulged and unhinged. This man may have proven beyond real help but that attitude or hypothesis wasn’t tested in earnest. The idea that the available responses were either to “Lock him up and keep him in an anti-psychotic drug stupor for the rest of his life” or perform a summary, public strangulation on him (though I don’t think that was intended) is an absurd farce.
We are our brother’s and sister’s keepers. (“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of these least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me”) As John McWhorter–a black professor and public intellectual–recently wrote: Neely likely deserved to be restrained, but not killed.
Why are so many people publicly unhinged in US cities these days? I don’t think our wider society–nor sub-groups of populists, conservatives, moderates, liberals, radicals, or non-joiners– is off the collective hook for the amount of madness and violence on our streets.
{Clarification: I don’t wish for anyone “to rot in the gutter” but temporary misfortune sometimes increases our compassion for those who are suffering, and even those who are causing suffering for others; I’d say that was true for me}

Last edited 1 year ago by AJ Mac
Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

No ‘civilized country’ would leave the mentally ill out on the streets to fend for themselves and to hurt other people.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

The thing is, when it happened in Blighty, at least part of the reason was that the asylums caused a great deal of suffering.
It’s difficult to deal with this problem.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago

No they didn’t. Over imaginative people,the sort who write books,could see how horrific this would be for them so they assumed that people needing safety and support would feel the same,so they wrote books and movies and such and influenced public minds,our minds,then certain politicians saw this idea could be utilized to further their political ends. So all the Asylums (ie places of safety) got sold off,and the deranged people got the freedom to beg and sleep in shop doorways. And I haven’t noticed any of those playwrights or authors or journalists or film makers,or rock stars or acting folk taking them in and caring for them,but they’re not Ukranian are they.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  jane baker

It was the neoliberal right that closed the asylums in the UK because it was cheaper to chuck these people out into the community. Unfortunately most of those then ended up either addicted to drugs or in jail, and sometimes both

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  jane baker

It was the neoliberal right that closed the asylums in the UK because it was cheaper to chuck these people out into the community. Unfortunately most of those then ended up either addicted to drugs or in jail, and sometimes both

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago

No they didn’t. Over imaginative people,the sort who write books,could see how horrific this would be for them so they assumed that people needing safety and support would feel the same,so they wrote books and movies and such and influenced public minds,our minds,then certain politicians saw this idea could be utilized to further their political ends. So all the Asylums (ie places of safety) got sold off,and the deranged people got the freedom to beg and sleep in shop doorways. And I haven’t noticed any of those playwrights or authors or journalists or film makers,or rock stars or acting folk taking them in and caring for them,but they’re not Ukranian are they.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Which is the point I was making. This man clearly shouldn’t have been wandering the streets and was a danger to himself and others, however that isn’t a reason to cheer his killing

Iris Violet
Iris Violet
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Absolutely right it isn’t. But, what IS the answer? The problem of poor mental health resulting in danger for others is only growing; much of it fuelled by substance abuse. The fentanyl disaster in the US is a little behind but already started to unfold in the UK. Realistically, ‘help and support’ don’t work and addiction to these new (far more powerful than heroin) drugs appears insurmountable. Funds are not endless either. What should be done?

Iris Violet
Iris Violet
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Absolutely right it isn’t. But, what IS the answer? The problem of poor mental health resulting in danger for others is only growing; much of it fuelled by substance abuse. The fentanyl disaster in the US is a little behind but already started to unfold in the UK. Realistically, ‘help and support’ don’t work and addiction to these new (far more powerful than heroin) drugs appears insurmountable. Funds are not endless either. What should be done?

Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
1 year ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

What do you suggest then? These people often WILL not be helped, mess up every chance they get with help and housing. Should we lock them up in mental institutions? That is a viable option but does not fit with your so-called “civilised country” description. You clearly have no idea what you are talking about, some of these people are on the streets because they are incapable of living like normal people – regardless of what help they may be offered.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

The thing is, when it happened in Blighty, at least part of the reason was that the asylums caused a great deal of suffering.
It’s difficult to deal with this problem.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Which is the point I was making. This man clearly shouldn’t have been wandering the streets and was a danger to himself and others, however that isn’t a reason to cheer his killing

Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
1 year ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

What do you suggest then? These people often WILL not be helped, mess up every chance they get with help and housing. Should we lock them up in mental institutions? That is a viable option but does not fit with your so-called “civilised country” description. You clearly have no idea what you are talking about, some of these people are on the streets because they are incapable of living like normal people – regardless of what help they may be offered.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

NY used to do exactly what you advocate for, decades ago, but it was determined by the liberal minded elite that it was inappropriate and undignified. so they closed all the mental hospitals. Now these unfortunate people wander the streets aimlessly.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

It was under the govt of the ‘right wing elite’ in the UK that the closures of psych wards happened (it saved the taxpayers money, and they didn’t really care about the unproductive ill); and, generally, it was the bleeding heart liberals who resisted it. And I’m pretty certain that the situation was similar in the USA: the closing of the mental hospitals was not done solely or even chiefly by ‘the liberal elite’. Rather it was very much the result of more effective anti-psychotics part, within the Regan-era and it’s emphasis on shrinking govt where you can.

I think you’ll be happier, and on safer ground politically, philosophically if you tilt away from seeing liberals as The Font of all Evil in America Today. As the article is implying, and unHerd is always pushing – the problems are herd thought, underpinned by such things as psychological splitting, hyper-partisanship, and highly selective anti-intellectual/elitism. As if there is no such thing as a right wing elite, or a popular left….. It’s manipulative newspeak, don’t be sucked in.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Well stated. Let’s also not pretend that conditions in most mid-to-late 20th century mental institutions were less than horrible. We can’t simply return to throwing all our publicly stark raving mad neighbors into locked-ward warehouses on the old scheme.
Here’s a link to a famous and influential 1946 article in Life Magazine (the descriptions are quite graphic and grim, even by present-day standards):
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/lobotomist-bedlam-1946/

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Exactly. There needs to be new, creative solutions not just either or.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Then you improve the facilities and methods used in the asylums, you don’t chuck all those poor mentally disturbed souls back out onto the streets into a life of homelessness and drug abuse

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I agree. I’m just advocating a middle path. Not every released mental patient becomes a publicly unhinged threat. “Improve the facilities and methods”–totally concur, but that’s rather more easily said than done.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I agree. I’m just advocating a middle path. Not every released mental patient becomes a publicly unhinged threat. “Improve the facilities and methods”–totally concur, but that’s rather more easily said than done.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Exactly. There needs to be new, creative solutions not just either or.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Then you improve the facilities and methods used in the asylums, you don’t chuck all those poor mentally disturbed souls back out onto the streets into a life of homelessness and drug abuse

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Well said and so true.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Well stated. Let’s also not pretend that conditions in most mid-to-late 20th century mental institutions were less than horrible. We can’t simply return to throwing all our publicly stark raving mad neighbors into locked-ward warehouses on the old scheme.
Here’s a link to a famous and influential 1946 article in Life Magazine (the descriptions are quite graphic and grim, even by present-day standards):
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/lobotomist-bedlam-1946/

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Well said and so true.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

It was under the govt of the ‘right wing elite’ in the UK that the closures of psych wards happened (it saved the taxpayers money, and they didn’t really care about the unproductive ill); and, generally, it was the bleeding heart liberals who resisted it. And I’m pretty certain that the situation was similar in the USA: the closing of the mental hospitals was not done solely or even chiefly by ‘the liberal elite’. Rather it was very much the result of more effective anti-psychotics part, within the Regan-era and it’s emphasis on shrinking govt where you can.

I think you’ll be happier, and on safer ground politically, philosophically if you tilt away from seeing liberals as The Font of all Evil in America Today. As the article is implying, and unHerd is always pushing – the problems are herd thought, underpinned by such things as psychological splitting, hyper-partisanship, and highly selective anti-intellectual/elitism. As if there is no such thing as a right wing elite, or a popular left….. It’s manipulative newspeak, don’t be sucked in.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

What’s so wonderful about the “freedom” to sleep in shop doorways.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  jane baker

It’s a little more complicated than that.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  jane baker

You misunderstand the point I’m making. This man should have been in a secure facility getting treatment rather than roaming the streets, but to celebrate his death is a disgusting attitude

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  jane baker

It’s a little more complicated than that.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  jane baker

You misunderstand the point I’m making. This man should have been in a secure facility getting treatment rather than roaming the streets, but to celebrate his death is a disgusting attitude

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Well said.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I find it strange that a board with a number of posters who regularly bemoan the lack of Christian values in modern society will massively upvote a comment glorifying the killing of a mentally ill man while simultaneously downvoting my comment criticising the lack of empathy for their fellow man

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Demagogues, no?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

An unqualified amen to that!

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

How do you find out who up/downvoted a comment?

Anyway if it is in fact as you described, I wouldn’t find it so strange: in today’s Puritanical environment, full of scolds and moralizers, isn’t it so entertaining when someone says what you’re not supposed to say, indeed, think?

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Well let’s be frank: society will not exactly be the poorer for his loss. He was hardly a consultant cardiologist, He was, in any objective sense, nothing but a nuisance, dangerous pest and burden to the collapsing and degenerate society at produced him, of less than nil practical value to man nor beast.

Meredith Brooks
Meredith Brooks
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Indeed. The so-called Christian right is riddled with a ‘cognitive dissonance’ of its own. Jesus himself would be roundly rejected by this group if they had met him not knowing his name. He fed the hungry, healed the sick, was disgusted by wealth hoarding, and embraced society’s outcasts.
There is indeed much cognitive dissonance on the ‘left’ (if you could even unite the ‘woke blob’) but it generally arises from a desire to protect all of the vulnerable rather than just the existing hegemony that the ‘right’ protects.

Last edited 1 year ago by Meredith Brooks
Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Demagogues, no?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

An unqualified amen to that!

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

How do you find out who up/downvoted a comment?

Anyway if it is in fact as you described, I wouldn’t find it so strange: in today’s Puritanical environment, full of scolds and moralizers, isn’t it so entertaining when someone says what you’re not supposed to say, indeed, think?

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Well let’s be frank: society will not exactly be the poorer for his loss. He was hardly a consultant cardiologist, He was, in any objective sense, nothing but a nuisance, dangerous pest and burden to the collapsing and degenerate society at produced him, of less than nil practical value to man nor beast.

Meredith Brooks
Meredith Brooks
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Indeed. The so-called Christian right is riddled with a ‘cognitive dissonance’ of its own. Jesus himself would be roundly rejected by this group if they had met him not knowing his name. He fed the hungry, healed the sick, was disgusted by wealth hoarding, and embraced society’s outcasts.
There is indeed much cognitive dissonance on the ‘left’ (if you could even unite the ‘woke blob’) but it generally arises from a desire to protect all of the vulnerable rather than just the existing hegemony that the ‘right’ protects.

Last edited 1 year ago by Meredith Brooks
Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

What a nasty, disgusting attitude you have. What a vile ting to say.
Take a good hard look at yourself, BB.

Elizabeth Higgins
Elizabeth Higgins
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

If people cannot, or will not, control themselves, then control will be imposed upon them at some point. If deranged people are compromising the safety of others, they need to be controlled. If Neely had been incarcerated, he might be alive today. If the government is going to abdicate their responsibility by refusing to restrain criminals, the people will be forced to take matters into their own hands. If the government doesn’t like the form that this takes (the possible death of the criminals), then they need to step up and do their job.

It’s sad that Neely had to die, but I am less sad and more relieved: one less violent criminal on the streets. Fewer victims of that criminal in the future. I would rather have more marines on the subways.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Amen. It’s possible to contend that he was failed or indulged by society or “the system” (given a “get out of jail free card”) without advocating death for the indulged and unhinged. This man may have proven beyond real help but that attitude or hypothesis wasn’t tested in earnest. The idea that the available responses were either to “Lock him up and keep him in an anti-psychotic drug stupor for the rest of his life” or perform a summary, public strangulation on him (though I don’t think that was intended) is an absurd farce.
We are our brother’s and sister’s keepers. (“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of these least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me”) As John McWhorter–a black professor and public intellectual–recently wrote: Neely likely deserved to be restrained, but not killed.
Why are so many people publicly unhinged in US cities these days? I don’t think our wider society–nor sub-groups of populists, conservatives, moderates, liberals, radicals, or non-joiners– is off the collective hook for the amount of madness and violence on our streets.
{Clarification: I don’t wish for anyone “to rot in the gutter” but temporary misfortune sometimes increases our compassion for those who are suffering, and even those who are causing suffering for others; I’d say that was true for me}

Last edited 1 year ago by AJ Mac
Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

No ‘civilized country’ would leave the mentally ill out on the streets to fend for themselves and to hurt other people.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

NY used to do exactly what you advocate for, decades ago, but it was determined by the liberal minded elite that it was inappropriate and undignified. so they closed all the mental hospitals. Now these unfortunate people wander the streets aimlessly.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

What’s so wonderful about the “freedom” to sleep in shop doorways.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Well said.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I find it strange that a board with a number of posters who regularly bemoan the lack of Christian values in modern society will massively upvote a comment glorifying the killing of a mentally ill man while simultaneously downvoting my comment criticising the lack of empathy for their fellow man

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

What a nasty, disgusting attitude you have. What a vile ting to say.
Take a good hard look at yourself, BB.

Elizabeth Higgins
Elizabeth Higgins
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

If people cannot, or will not, control themselves, then control will be imposed upon them at some point. If deranged people are compromising the safety of others, they need to be controlled. If Neely had been incarcerated, he might be alive today. If the government is going to abdicate their responsibility by refusing to restrain criminals, the people will be forced to take matters into their own hands. If the government doesn’t like the form that this takes (the possible death of the criminals), then they need to step up and do their job.

It’s sad that Neely had to die, but I am less sad and more relieved: one less violent criminal on the streets. Fewer victims of that criminal in the future. I would rather have more marines on the subways.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

It’s my opinion that you’ve picked the wrong target with this author to express your frustration with the current progressive hypocrisy. I regard her insights as more valuable than yours. I too have little to no sympathy for either of those whose deaths sparked the BLM movement or this latest furore, but without the need to justify my opinions with the “look what i’ve witnessed” stance, which is actually unnecessary.

N Satori
N Satori
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Well, Sanford Artzen, looks like you hit a tender spot with UnHerd’s sharing-and-caring virtue-signallers. They remind me of those open-borders advocates who, with lofty moral certitude, declare that “we” must show compassion and someone, somewhere must do something to solve the migrant crisis – just not at my expense.
Perhaps they have forgotten the liberal loathing of mental hospitals – given popular expression in the Oscar winning movie One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Coupled with concern over taxpayer’s money this alleged interest in mental patient’s rights gave us the dubious policy of Care in the Community – a euphemism if ever there was one.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  N Satori

Well N Satori, it looks like you can’t follow a simple counterargument AND can’t recall those you denigrate having no such opinions on issues like open borders. I find it difficult to sympathise with such lack of insight, and your case is no exception.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  N Satori

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless yet be determined to make them otherwise.”

You failed the test.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Really, how so? Holding opposing ideas seems to me to be the epitome of wisdom and fairness. It’s the opposite of black/white, good/bad thinking to be able to see, and consider, both side of an issue. It’s what one hopes all judges would be capable of doing, but sadly they’re not.

Last edited 1 year ago by Clare Knight
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Really, how so? Holding opposing ideas seems to me to be the epitome of wisdom and fairness. It’s the opposite of black/white, good/bad thinking to be able to see, and consider, both side of an issue. It’s what one hopes all judges would be capable of doing, but sadly they’re not.

Last edited 1 year ago by Clare Knight
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  N Satori

Well N Satori, it looks like you can’t follow a simple counterargument AND can’t recall those you denigrate having no such opinions on issues like open borders. I find it difficult to sympathise with such lack of insight, and your case is no exception.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  N Satori

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless yet be determined to make them otherwise.”

You failed the test.

Ronnie Chambers
Ronnie Chambers
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

What an arsehole, I bet you are.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

You must be a very tough guy

Brian Burnell
Brian Burnell
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Reading this I’m reminded of the Romany gypsies and the mental defectives who went into the German gas chambers. No doubt for the Nazis it was an effective solution, but for me and countless others it was more akin to barbarism.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Brian Burnell

Yes. A proud heartlessness. And a disavowal of our social and ethical duty to care for and try to forgive one another. Of course not every outburst or public antisocial behavior should be indulged, but we should not de-humanize people or surrender our own better humanity by advocating death or other punishments of no possible return for the least and most lost among us.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Brian Burnell

Yes. A proud heartlessness. And a disavowal of our social and ethical duty to care for and try to forgive one another. Of course not every outburst or public antisocial behavior should be indulged, but we should not de-humanize people or surrender our own better humanity by advocating death or other punishments of no possible return for the least and most lost among us.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Your world is survival of the fittest.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Ayn Rands lovechild

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Ayn Rands lovechild

Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Why are you using a pseudonym? You might note that almost all of us on here use our real names – I happen to agree with most of what you said but it would carry more weight if there was a real name attached to it.

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago
Reply to  Nikki Hayes

How do you know who’s using their real name?

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago
Reply to  Nikki Hayes

How do you know who’s using their real name?

Nona Yubiz
Nona Yubiz
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Did you really expect me, a woman with a brain, to read past “I think I absolutely do not understand women in print. Something about the media I guess, turns you all into some unrecognizable species.”
I absolutely do not understand men who make the sort of insulting comments about women that would be appropriate for a 1950s sitcom.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I hope you have a breakdown one day, and are left to rot in the gutter if that’s you’re attitude towards the mentally ill.
No civilised country treats the mentally ill the same as healthy individuals, as we understand their actions aren’t due to rational thought.
If a person is acting aggressively or threatening then the first course if action is to arrest them and get them off the streets. You then determine whether their actions are due to them being bad in which case you punish them, or mad in which case you cart them off for treatment. The fact this man was allowed to roam the streets in the state he was in is a failure of the system, and you gloating over his demise is disgusting

Last edited 1 year ago by Billy Bob
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

It’s my opinion that you’ve picked the wrong target with this author to express your frustration with the current progressive hypocrisy. I regard her insights as more valuable than yours. I too have little to no sympathy for either of those whose deaths sparked the BLM movement or this latest furore, but without the need to justify my opinions with the “look what i’ve witnessed” stance, which is actually unnecessary.

N Satori
N Satori
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Well, Sanford Artzen, looks like you hit a tender spot with UnHerd’s sharing-and-caring virtue-signallers. They remind me of those open-borders advocates who, with lofty moral certitude, declare that “we” must show compassion and someone, somewhere must do something to solve the migrant crisis – just not at my expense.
Perhaps they have forgotten the liberal loathing of mental hospitals – given popular expression in the Oscar winning movie One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Coupled with concern over taxpayer’s money this alleged interest in mental patient’s rights gave us the dubious policy of Care in the Community – a euphemism if ever there was one.

Ronnie Chambers
Ronnie Chambers
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

What an arsehole, I bet you are.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

You must be a very tough guy

Brian Burnell
Brian Burnell
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Reading this I’m reminded of the Romany gypsies and the mental defectives who went into the German gas chambers. No doubt for the Nazis it was an effective solution, but for me and countless others it was more akin to barbarism.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Your world is survival of the fittest.

Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Why are you using a pseudonym? You might note that almost all of us on here use our real names – I happen to agree with most of what you said but it would carry more weight if there was a real name attached to it.

Nona Yubiz
Nona Yubiz
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Did you really expect me, a woman with a brain, to read past “I think I absolutely do not understand women in print. Something about the media I guess, turns you all into some unrecognizable species.”
I absolutely do not understand men who make the sort of insulting comments about women that would be appropriate for a 1950s sitcom.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 year ago

I think I absolutely do not understand women in print. Something about the media I guess, turns you all into some unrecognizable species.

”This question has been on my mind this week, for the most tragic of reasons. On 1st May, a 30-year-old man”

Tragic? I do not get it – Why? To me it seems his being gone does nothing but improve the place.

;”For him to die on the dirty floor of a subway car, screaming and defecating on himself while three strangers held him by the arms, legs, and neck, he had to be first failed at every turn by a system that was supposed to shelter and protect him — not just from doing harm, but from being harmed by others when his mental illness manifested in frightening ways.”

So? What’s the problem? If you have been around people dying it is not usually great. But what system was supposed to shelter and protect him?

I mean, Lock him up and keep him in an anti-psychotic drug stupor for the rest of his life? There is all kinds of things good and bad about this – but we do not do it. It is no one’s responsibility to keep the run-of-the-mill insane criminals from harming themselves – and no one takes the responsibility to stop them harming others. What? 40 Arrests? And it tales a Lot to get arrested – and I know this. NO – this horrible guy was issued a License by NYC to legally F*c k people up. He had a stack of ‘Get Out Of Jail For Free’ cards signed by the Mayor and so could physically damage and emotionally scar whom ever – where ever….. Best thing he ever did was to pass on……

I just do not have any problem him dieing wile being made to stop his endless crime spree. No problem at all. I wish the Marine the best and think him a hero. If the guy had lived to be arrested he would be out in 3 days just doing it again. Better what happened. I will not lose any sleep. Not ‘Tragic’ to me.

But then I have seen babies starving – and I fallow the wars in Sudan, Ukraine – and want a REALLY ugly one? Really ugly? Check out some Haiti…. These innocents I feel true sadness over – it is ‘Tragic’. You think I shed a tear for George Flo* d? No. Why would I? I have seen too much, Real bad things happening to real people who were not serial criminals, who were just trying to get by, and not harming anyone.

I do not care this guy failed the choke test; so what? And all the writer’s crocodile tears – does she believe this or is it just what must be said by her ilk, here in print?

George Heingartner
George Heingartner
1 year ago

“The thing about that: when you demand vigilance, you get vigilantes.”
Except… it’s not vigilantism when the bad guys come to you.
If Daniel Penny – as well as those who helped restrain Neely so Penny could hold onto him – wrongfully used force, he should answer to the law for it.
But if he reasonably believed Neely presented an imminent threat of serious harm to himself or others and had to be quickly stopped, then it’s BEYOND a stretch to call him a vigilante.
I’m a lifelong NYer with my share of subway encounters, but since I look like an escapee from Pilgrim Psych – 6’3″, 300lb, bald – I get left alone by all but the most mouth-foaming loons.
It’s a very different situation for kids, the elderly and, of course, women.
Daniel Perry might very well have genuinely felt he was keeping a bad situation from getting much worse. A situation that he didn’t seek out; it found him.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

Reaching out to prevent a crime is one thing, but slowly killing someone because they might commit one is quite another. I’m still haunted by seeing the video of Neely being strangled to death by a man who, like the cop who killed George Floyd, seemed to be rather enjoying it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Clare Knight
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

George Floyd Esq killed himself. Lt Chauvin merely assisted.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
1 year ago

Why is it that so few get this point?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago

Because it is a meanspirited misrepresentation, willful or not.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago

Because it is a meanspirited misrepresentation, willful or not.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago

Through what kind of smug and vicious lens is that true?
Putting my rhetoric aside: Please explain yourself.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
1 year ago

Why is it that so few get this point?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago

Through what kind of smug and vicious lens is that true?
Putting my rhetoric aside: Please explain yourself.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I agree. He had his hands in his pockets and looked quite self-satisfied, in an intense contrast to his bewildered expression when handed a 20-year sentence.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Please explain what should have taken place. What locks should have been used? How does a person assess the health condition of the person being restrained ?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

If the suffocating knee was ever warranted (which is hugely doubtful): You only need a sense of basic humanity to remove your knee from any person’s neck once they are restrained, and cuffed, and you are in the presence of several other officers. His brutal, torturously drawn-out overapplication of force is questionable as a tactic under any circumstances and blameworthy within the specific context as recorded on video and reported on by witnesses, including fellow officers.
To me, only a reflexive unwillingness to see wrongdoing on the part of a police officer, or some oversize animus toward drug addicts or black people (or some other prejudicial blindspot), could make Chauvin’s use of force appear proportionate or humane.
I don’t know why you seem to defend him, but I think the burden of proof for defending or explaining away manslaughter–if that is what you are doing–rests upon you now post conviction.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I am not defending him.I am saying there needs to be clear training based upon peoples physiological and pschological state. The law needs to be based on physiology, psychology and anatomy. This is particularly important where those with mental, drug and alcohol problems may be violent, strong and in poor health and be in a state of hysteria such that their oxygen demands increases due to rapid breathing.
This type of situation is far more difficult than military un- armed combat yet the police, medical and legal establishmenst do not appear to be undertaking research.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Ok I agree with that–in principle. We are asking way too much of our police officers.
I just don’t see how the Chauvin-Floyd case involves anything less than blameworthy, excessive force on the part of the officer. Floyd wasn’t giving major resistance but was decidedly overpowered within seconds, so I don’t think this instance fits well with your more-difficult-than-battlefield model. Nor did the officer appear worried in any way. His fellow officers, though not needed for physical assistance, did appear worried both about the crowd and about Floyd’s developing mortal peril.
20 years was a long and unusual sentence but I have a hard time directing a lot of pity Chauvin’s way. (Although I have a little: I doubt he wanted Floyd to die. Yet he was plenty willing to lie about what happened once the death occurred).
My accusatory response was directed at the provocateur, Mr. Stanhope, who implied either 1) that Floyd’s bad choices and criminal history meant his life was self-forfeited 2) “social cleansing” or herd-thinning via police should be used against undesirables.

Last edited 1 year ago by AJ Mac
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

It requires far more skill to restrain some one when they are larger and stronger than you without doing them harm when they are in a rage, mad, on drugs or drunk and have poor health. Military un armed combat is fairly simple, it is hitting someone and knocking them to the ground and those using it have high upper body strength.
When The Police recruited only large strong men above 5 ft 10 inches, then it made it easier for them to restrain people without doing damage. This is why we have weigth categories in fighting sports.
A person may be strong, large violent and under the drugs, alcohol or a psychotic attack but be subject to panic attacks, asthma, other breathing problems and a weak heart. Restraining a person in this condition without harming them requires far more skill, especially if the Police Officer is smaller and weaker than in military un-armed combat. In Japan, the Riot Police undergo a years full time training in Aikido
Angry White Pyjamas: An Oxford Poet Trains with the Tokyo Riot Police eBook : Twigger, Robert: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store
I suggest The Police, Medics, and Lawyers follow W E Fairbairn, look at the various martial arts; analyse human physiology, anatomy and psychology and develop a self defence and restraint system for the Police who have a different purpose to Commandos who are being trained to kill enemy soldiers.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Ok. I won’t discount your take, which seems to come from some personal knowledge of the situations and challenges involved. But that in no way excuses Chauvin’s actions–and look at his whole record as a cop–nor makes Floyd’s death something that in was inevitable under the circumstances. And Chauvin was not a scrawny weakling, though of moderately slight build (6 feet, 170 lbs.)
Related to the focus of your comments: I agree the mentality of way too many cops is far too militaristic. And a lot of them are hired after tours of combat duty, when they are still suffering from major PTSD. A bad formula.
But even the current state of crime and police training we have right now should result in far fewer deaths (not only of black people) at the hands of cops, especially when the suspect has no gun. I realize that’s pretty easy for me to say from my armchair, but I think that a reduction in fatal interaction with law enforcement is not out of reach, or too much to ask for.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Agreed. There is a saying ” Training only cuts and polishes the stone”. Historically the British Police used to recruit ex sergeants from the military, especially the Guards and Royal Marine Commandos. W E Fairbairn was ex Royal Marines . Many Commandos /Special Forces sergeants if WW2 ended up as senior police officers in Britain. What is needed is emotional maturity with a high levels of relevant training leading to self control. The question is what are the standards of selection, training maintenance of standards?
The reality is the modern world is very bad at defining quality. One can measure quantity, as in quantity of police officers, money spent length of training but how does one discern quality ? What if one quality officer is better than two or three poor quality ones?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Indeed. Or if three bad officers in 20 can dang near ruin a precinct.
I’m not too sure that institutions have ever excelled at measuring quality, but quantification, which can be gamed to an institution’s on-paper advantage, is surely more of a preoccupation–often to the point of foolish numerical fixation–in recent decades. I sometimes fall for it or call for it in ways that don’t make sense too (“where’s your data?”; “”by what exact percentage?”, etc).
I’d guess, without much knowledge and with no data, that law enforcement has always attracted and even promoted some bad apples, from palace centurions and medieval sheriffs onward. But modern policing is said to date only to Sir Robert Peel’s London so-called bobbies beginning about 1829. I wonder how often police killed, or to what degree Londoners of various classes trusted these men in different decades from the 1830s onward. And how many were killed by American slave patrols, under what known circumstances.
You’ve sparked a pocket of interest in me and I wish I knew of a single, well-written book that would answer most of my proliferating questions.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I suggst looking at BBC programmes on training Royal Commando Arctic and Mountaineering Warfare Cadres . They are some of the mostly highly trained people in NATO.
Royal Marines: Behind the Lines: Episode 1 – Fain Would I Climb – YouTube
There are 7 programmes. The last one shows the final tests. The programme only shows those who training for selection to the unit, grade ML2. The instructors are ML1 grade and so have even higher standards.
What I suggest the programme shows is the very levels of self control and self discipline not just discipline where instructors shout at trainees.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Thanks. I took a look at one episode of the show and might watch more later. The approach does seem more balanced than what I think is typical of the US military, without having served. I’m not sure of the specific pertinence to present-day police departments but I think I get your point about a more complete discipline and maybe a warmer camaraderie.
Do you think British police seem less angry and troubled than their American counterparts? More precisely, if they were transplanted to US ghettoes, would they behave better and less violently than US cops on average, while carrying the same firepower as US cops and facing the same amount of crime and weaponry among the public?
Perhaps a bit too concocted or speculative, just seeking your informed opinion.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Nowadays, the standards of British Police appear to vary very widely.I have doubts about the physical fitness, restraint skills, sagacity and ability to react in a controlled manner of some officers. It is the worst people in an organisation who determine overall competence and I am concerned the quality of some people entering is not high enough. I think there needs to be a reassessment of what is needed.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Good thoughts and a sensible suggestion. Cheers.
And I respect that you tend to speak from your own first-hand or directly observed experience, Sometimes I think that can be limiting, but it has a certain integrity that a speculative opinionator like me lacks, and while I can’t and won’t copy you I could stand to take a page or two from your approach as I perceive it.

Last edited 1 year ago by AJ Mac
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Good thoughts and a sensible suggestion. Cheers.
And I respect that you tend to speak from your own first-hand or directly observed experience, Sometimes I think that can be limiting, but it has a certain integrity that a speculative opinionator like me lacks, and while I can’t and won’t copy you I could stand to take a page or two from your approach as I perceive it.

Last edited 1 year ago by AJ Mac
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Nowadays, the standards of British Police appear to vary very widely.I have doubts about the physical fitness, restraint skills, sagacity and ability to react in a controlled manner of some officers. It is the worst people in an organisation who determine overall competence and I am concerned the quality of some people entering is not high enough. I think there needs to be a reassessment of what is needed.