by Tony Candela
Over the past week or so, there have been a number of incidences in the New York City subway focused on homeless people and how they despoil the quality of life there, are a nuisance, and most recently commit acts of violence against passengers, including those waiting on platforms. There was an incident of a man trying to rape a woman in the subway car and no one coming to her rescue. When a man attempted to help another who was being attacked, he was stabbed. That one might have been out on the street; the events begin to blur after a while. The other day, three police officers were shot and two of them died investigating a domestic violence situation. The shooter died and a third officer on the scene received less severe gunshot wounds. A few days ago a woman of Asian descent was pushed onto the subway tracks and killed by an oncoming train. Yesterday, a man was pushed onto the tracks, but the conductor saw him and stopped the train in time. All the while, the news media has been reporting the events, but they have not sought information from those whom they have interviewed about how we can help ourselves or even what police officers can do to protect against the ambush that killed and wounded the domestic violence respondents. Well, I have some advice. Subway riders: Please do not stand near the platform edge at any time. Yes, for decades there have been tactile warning strips (otherwise known as detectable warning surfaces) in most subways stations and yellow lines in all of them to show people where not to tread, but they are only at most 2 feet wide. People crowd up to the edges well before trains enter the station, making them ripe for the picking should someone have murderous intent. Let’s not forget why this happens. Historically, subway cars have gotten so crowded, people want to be first in line to push and squeeze their way in. In northern California when I lived there, one of the first things I noticed was that people queue up one behind each other, more civilized than the New York scrums to which we in the Big Apple have grown accustomed, but a nuisance in their own right as the platform is blocked for people wishing to walk along it and just as dangerous for the person at the head of the line. In Tokyo, there are hired “pushers” shoving people into the crowded trains, or so I’ve been told. During the pandemic the crowds have been sparser, but old habits die hard and so has a person or two as they have gotten pushed, either accidentally or on purpose onto the tracks. People, help yourselves. Stand far back from the edge, at least until the lead car has passed you. It is more difficult to get pushed in between the cars once the train is at the platform, thanks to blind protestors who demanded this fix in the early 1980s after a beloved blind counselor and colleague died by stepping into open space between two cars on a Queens-bound train. Since then, all cars that are used in the New York City system are sealed at their joining points so people cannot fall between them. Conductors, slow your trains as you enter the stations. Don’t barrel into the stations at high speed and then have to jam on your brakes as some of you seem to relish. Police officers, please help yourselves. Don’t let your union use the death of one of your colleagues for political purposes. Work toward the best procedures and techniques and do please guard the safety of your youngest officers. The officers who died (Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora) were only 22 and 27, respectively. They left behind loving families. News media, be more helpful. Help us to help ourselves. You should be publicizing ways that we can protect ourselves, legally and non-violently. No amount of policing or infiltration of mental health workers – both good things – can prevent a split-second psychotic impulse to kill.
Anthony R. Candela, Author
Saying aloud what should not remain silent.
Stand Up Or Sit Out: Memories and Musings Of a Blind Wrestler, Runner, and All-around Regular Guy
A memoir about life lessons learned, especially through sports
Vision Dreams: A Parable
A sci-fi novella about how a dysfunctional society forces people to go to extremes, including four blind people who seek out artificial vision.
Christian Faith Publishing, 2019
Tony Candela has worked as a Rehabilitation Counselor, supervisor, manager consultant and administrator for more than 40 years in the field of blindness and visual impairment. His work has included promoting literacy and employment of blind persons and a special interest in enhancing the career preparation of blind persons who wish to work in the computer science field. He is a “retired” athlete, loves movies, sports, reading, writing, and music, including dabbling in guitar. Follow the author and read more posts at: https://m.facebook.com/anthonyrcandelaauthor/