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I wrote elsewhere that this case is much, much closer to a homicide than the George Floyd case. I don't reasonably doubt, at least at this point, that Penny's actions did lead to Neely's death. I think the D.A. should have at least taken this case to the grand jury (and may yet do so, if he hasn't).

Penny was in no-win situation, though- you have a vagrant ranting and raving, threatening violence against the riders in moving subway car, so what do you do if you were in his situation- what would you be thinking? I know I would be very concerned for myself and the other riders, and I would feel like a coward if I just got up and left the other riders to Neely's threatened violence (which is what I probably would have done if I were completely unarmed depending solely on my physical capability to grapple with him- but I would have been ashamed of my walking away). Penny faced a choice do nothing and let Neely harm someone, possibly killing them, and then act, or act pre-emptively. Penny chose the pre-emptive approach, and once grappling with Neely, had a tiger by the tail.

Twelve years ago, the last time I was in New York, it was illegal to possess and carry stun guns and tasers for personal protection, and I imagine that hasn't changed. Neely would almost certainly be alive today if Penny had a stun gun or taser to use rather than having to depend on a risky submission hold. Given what I have seen on the video, and what the other passengers described to some of the journalists who covered the story, I would acquit on the present charges (manslaughter at this point) simply because the government of New York, state and city, aren't doing their jobs any longer in enforcing the civil order. I am not going to second guess Daniel Penny here and send him to prison.

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After Penny had him in a hold, 2 other men were involved. Surely 3 men can hold down 1 man, allowing the choke to be released? A lot hinges on how long the choke was applied and how well Penny knew the risks involved. I have read reports Penny kept the hold going after Neely defecated. These are all matters for a court, where they can be presented and contested properly. The article implied reverse racism in the way it has been handled so far, and all I know is, in a less racially charged country, the UK, Penny would be charged regardless of race.

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You are writing as if everything should have been as clear to Penny in real time as they are to you now. As if everybody should know exactly how to calibrate a response when dealing with a violent, psychotic, threatening individual.

If anyone is guilty of negligence and manslaughter, it is the NYC officials who were dealing with Neely. They had time to plan and think. They had training in dealing with psychotics. They were not under personal threat.

You're sure that Penny mishandled things in that high-pressure, threatening situation, and you're certain that he deserves to have his life ruined. I sure hope the jury sees it differently.

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May 18, 2023·edited May 18, 2023

I'm not certain of part i), just the balance of what I have seen so far, and I will never be certain in either direction unless I am on the jury. And I'm defintely against ruining ANOTHER life. But no one should expect to be able to take a life without consequences, even if those consequences are just a trial and a not guilty verdict. A homeless mentally ill individual is not at fault if the authorities and the law deem them safe to be on the street. I see very little sympathy in the comments for the guy who died. The accounts I have read said his mental illness began after his Mum was murdered as a teenager, found in a suitcase, and he had to testify against his stepfather.

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Hands can be deadly weapons. Neely died. Q.E.D.

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So, if someone threatens others with a gun, and someone else shoots and kills him would you prosecute the shooter?

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A black guy decked a white guy on the street in Queens. One punch, killed him. Black kid decked a white guy at a fair in Maryland, one punch, killed him. Neither of those assailants went to jail.

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Could you link to articles in a newspaper or something? Thanks.

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The tit-for-tat oppression of Catholics v Protestants, Protestants v Catholics in England spanned over 200 years starting in the reign of Henry VIII, and resulted in civil war, the Wars of the Three Kingdoms regicide and dictatorship. The last flames of that burning until the late 20th Century in Northern Ireland. Just exchange Black & White for Protestant and Catholic.... and consider yourselves warned.

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I've rarely seen an article of such perfect length.

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I like that Arnold is usually concise and to the point. Someone like Scott Alexander often has interesting and important things to say, but he says it at such great length that I find myself mostly skipping it.

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We don't know whether the restraint used on Neely was the cause of his death. For example, in the case of the death of George Floyd, the original Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Report showed Floyd had a much greater than lethal dose of fentanyl in his system, plus several other illicit drugs, and that the restraint used was not a contributing cause. The officer restraining him was nevertheless convicted of homicide in what appears to be a Great White Defendant case, blown up by Democratic media for political advantage (gin up black racial paranoia). To my knowledge no autopsy report has been published on Neely.

Already, nobody in New York who can afford a taxi or Uber will use the subway. It is too dangerous. The rush to charge Neely prior to any thorough investigation sends a message to other thugs that they can misbehave with impunity because severe sanctions may be imposed on self-help against their depredations. At any rate Neely is gone, and given his record, many of his future victims are at least freed of that risk.

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The coroner ruled that pressure to the throat caused the death already.

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You will note I said the original medical examiner's report. Subsequently pressure was applied to modify the report so as to allow this to be argued at trial.

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When it comes to the latest thing, we're, all of us, usually wrong. The policy of not addressing the latest thing is probably a good one to stick with. Time will tell.

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I'm a Brit, so excuse my lack of knowledge of US law. There is no way, over here, that someone could be restrained to the point of death for threats that were only verbal in nature (and no weapon threat) and no investigation ensue. The only complaint I can see is a fast charge, but I'm sure that over here it ends in a trial, all the same. Regardless of race

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May 18, 2023·edited May 18, 2023

Yeah, I see your point, but there's a lot of conspicuous outrage surrounding this case from certain quarters, and it seems to have to do with the race of the individuals involved. If you ignored that and considered the relevant facts of the case to be that a violent, notorious crazy person with dozens of prior arrests was threatening passengers in a crowded subway car and that not one but several men had intervened to try to restrain the violent crazy person with a chokehold, and after a long struggle, the crazy person died, you wouldn't call that "murder" or "a lynching" because there's obviously no intent, but that's the kind of rhetoric we're seeing from certain quarters. Like I said, it's selective and conspicuous. One really hopes there's a degree of cynicism, because the alternative is our chattering classes are deranged rather than demagogic, which is to me a rather unsettling prospect.

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Understood, but there are loons on both both sides. Lynching and murder are hyberbolic talk, but so is calling someone whose actions resulted in the death of another human a hero when verbal threats were the only provocation. He didn't step in front of a gun.

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How would you tell whether these verbal threats were a prelude to a physical threat? Given the track record of the crazy person, it seems likely that his verbal threats turn into physical threats fairly often. It seems like multiple people on the train, having observed this behavior, thought he was a threat, so it could not have been an unreasonable assumption.

"calling someone whose actions resulted in the death of another human"

I'm going to be rather blunt here. In all of these cases the only action that the "victims" have to take is to calm down and leave people alone. That is literally it. There would be no incident if they just stopped. Having been restrained, there would be no incident if they stopped resisting.

If they are too "crazy" to be expected to act differently, then they shouldn't be on the street. If one encountered such people rarely, it might be prudent to just disengage as best on could, confident that the authorities would quickly rectify the situation. But the reality of the subway on which this encounter took place is that the state lets such people roam free and commit violence with great frequency, making the situation intolerable for anyone that needs to use the subway. In such circumstances "wait for the authorities to do something" is a tacit acknowledgement of "nothing will be done and the crazy person will inevitably hurt people." I don't think its the better part of valor in that situation to say "I don't give a damn and I'm not doing anything."

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Maybe, but I would just comment that I would give the former marine more credit than what you would, I guess. It's one thing shouting obscenities at people on the street, but it's another story when you're stuck in a confined space like a subway car with a random lunatic threatening to kill people. No one knows whether he's got a weapon on him like a knife or a gun, and his obvious insanity makes it difficult or impossible to predict if he'll attempt to actually make good on those threats or not, and you can't just run away. With that in mind, I would give the guy laying on the chokehold some real credit for sticking his neck out for the other people on the train. No, he didn't stop a bullet exactly, but what he did took some courage, even if it went bad.

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There seems to be some controversy over how long Neely was choked. If it was between two subway stops, unlikely it was 15 minutes.

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Well, it has been over a decade since I last used the NYC system, but 15 minutes wasn't unusual, just not the norm, for the time between stops. Of course, I was ever only there on weekends or holidays, not a normal weekday.

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Ideally the government would remove Neelys from the streets some time after arrest #40 so that bystanders don't need to be medical experts / self defense experts / and legal experts in order to ride a mile on the subway.

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A choke hold is used to subdue an aggressive person. It is not intended to be lethal force. (I thought everybody knew this, but I guess I was wrong.) Would pepper spray have been "disproportional"? Pepper spray would be much more aggressive than a choke hold. Pepper spray could also, inadvertently, lead to death. Almost any maneuver to subdue a belligerent can have adverse consequences.

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Perhaps "the public" do not understand how aggressive it would be to use pepper spray in a crowded area, potentially inducing life threatening upper respiratory reactions for one of the many nearby people, and perhaps they don't understand that choke holds are effective nonlethal force?? My feeling is that, since a choke hold looks more aggressive and since, "if it bleeds it leads" it's good for commentators to try to oppose those who would use public misconceptions to stoke ill will.

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So, not only do you assume that the brave person preventing violence against the weak will happen to be carrying legal pepper spray, now you want that person to just happen to have your preferred brand? It's better to be honest and to not be a troll.

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It is not realistic or reasonable to talk about the other passengers 'retreating to safety' in a situation where they are trapped underground in the confined space of a subway car with a person who is acting in an erratic and threatening manner. There have been other videos posted of subway passengers being beaten or otherwise physically harassed by similarly erratic individuals, while other passengers stood by and did nothing, so it is not as if the potential for violence in this situation is purely hypothetical. Also, your gratuitous reference in a previous comment to 'fanning the flames of the culture war' by 'Carl Tuckerson' casts doubts on whether you are arguing in good faith, especially when used in response to a comment by Arnold Kling, of all people.

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deletedMay 18, 2023·edited May 18, 2023
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Thanks for confirming my suspicions and outing yourself as the self-appointed enforcer of someone else's Substack.

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Also of interest may be Katherine Dee, who writes,

“Where the Left is constantly looking for demons and martyrs to those demons, the Right is frequently looking for heroes to lead them to greatness.”

Perhaps conservatives are as hungry for heroes as black americans of an earlier era.

https://t.co/iYeGfiGL9I

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Jordan Neely utterly fulfilled the regime's purpose for him. He sowed chaos and fear on the streets and trains, and then entrapped a good Samaritan who sought to prevent him from harming others.

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Am I reading a different parable of the Good Samaritan to everyone else? I thought it was about helping someone from a different group to you, who you are expected to hate. At no point in the parable does the Samaritan do so much as kill a fly.

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One thing seems clear to me: the consistent erosion of the rule of law and the proper role of government is a major cause of the current turmoil. If the state had carried out its primary function competently -- that of protecting the citizenry -- we would likely not be having this discussion. Moreover, the rancor regarding Penny's prosecution stems, in large part, because Americans -- for good reason -- no longer trust their public officials to act professionally and impartially under the law. I don't know all of the facts, but I'd be a fool to believe that Mr. Bragg exercised his prosecutorial discretion without resort to his own personal political considerations.

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A Patterico review of the ongoing "journalism" coverage, and the inaccuracies and contradictions he's found.

https://patterico.substack.com/p/is-daniel-penny-criminally-liable

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That all sounds likely. Of course in the early 1900s more than 1963, it's very likely such a black guy would have been lynched too.

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There is another interpretation of the primary lesson of the parable of the good samaritan. You should treat others as individuals instead of members of a race, religion, ethnicity, or some other group one might have stereotypes or prejudices about. They used to teach a secular version of this in public schools. Now we get everyone telling us group differences are superordinate and matter more than anything and we can judge people by their groups. Pretty absurd to see anyone in the New York Times opinion section reference this parable when they are trying stuff everything inside a contextless race obsessed narrative and the majority of their columns are about the evils and evil leaders of their out group.

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Yes, AK you are right, but the sad fact about today's America is this: rush to judgement regarding all things by too many who do not have the facts of what took place. Unfortunately this behavior resembles the lynch em mobs back in the old west, but today, the "Marshall" might be a bit too ready to side with the mob...

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May 18, 2023·edited May 18, 2023

Yes, sk, so true....

Every time I read of incidents like this, from Floyd to Neely to the next inter-racial (black "victim") interaction, whatever it might be, it brings to mind a great novel of the West, "The Ox Box Incident," by Walter Van Tilburg Clark. (Coincidentally, the local sheriff also plays a conspicuous role in the resolution..., or rather, the non-resolution.)

That the book dates from 1940 is a reminder that human nature, taken in general, does not change, and that emotion tends to rule reason during high stress events.

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Oh jeepers. It's "Ox BoW" -- however did I miss that when I proofed before pressing Save?

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To counter the claim that the criminal justice system is biased against minorities, I cite the example of the prosecutor in The Bonfire of the Vanities (a 1987 novel) who was overjoyed to finally have a white defendant.

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You should read the book.

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I did read the book. Did you?

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The dynamic on the streets of NYC is not one of diffident blacks living in terror of white assaults but the complete opposite.

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It might be interesting that none of the other restrainers were charged (i'm assuming they weren't?). If the restraint was disproportional to the threat, and the others knew he was using this type of hold (which they did), I would think it would be unlawful for them to contribute to it.

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I predict Penny goes to prison. If the jury is made up of regular subway riders of New York City, he can probably be acquitted, or least get a hung jury several times in a row, but I predict the jury would not contain any such people but, rather, would be made up of people who used Uber for everything and/or are racial justice advocates. I also suspect that the charges will be increased in the coming weeks as the pressure mounts on the D.A.'s office, forcing Penny to take a plea.

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