Thursday, April 02, 2009
It is just over 45 years since Kitty Genovese screamed for help, March 13, 1964. That was a national scandal. It is just over 80 years and a month since the St Valentine's Day Massacre, February 14, 1929. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan pointed out the deaths of seven mobsters then was enough to get us to change the Constitution. As we become more progressively desensitized to the suffering of those near us we become more isolated and therefore more subject to manipulation and absorption in a totalitarian culture. In part people try to compensate by attaching to other wider humanitarian gestures, suffering in foreign places or diseases or global injustice, to cover for the fact that they are afraid and unwilling to tell the slouching youth to pull his pants up and leave the lady alone.
Our Constitution didn’t keep Andrew Jackson or Woodrow Wilson from implementing evil policy, but it has at least stopped some horrors such as ex post facto laws and bills of attainder. (emphasis added)
Wanna bet? Now that was funny. The reason that the citizenry are presumptively empowered to keep and bear arms is because the government only has any right to use weapons because those same people have delegated that ability to the government. The government can not grant a license or privilege to the same power that has delegated a partial exercise of that same power to the government.
It is not necessary for average people to physically intervene by using firearms to change the dynamic of passivity that breeds crime. What is important is to answer "Yes" when asked if you expect the train to stop. In a healthy society when there is a cry for help all normal activity ceases until the emergency is over. In this case the MTA employees should have publicly announced, "Attention Passengers, warning, there is a possible crime in progress on the West end of the Southbound platform," or wherever the location was. Then the employees and every able bodied person available should have gone to that location, not necessarily to intervene, but to witness. If a circle of a dozen people are standing there, with cell phone cameras, waiting for the police to arrive, they are doing the right thing.
If someone has the training to subdue the criminal then all the better. The key thing is to bare witness. When I was at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center they told us that if a criminal is assaulting someone other than another LEO and no Federal crime is happening then we did not have to intervene. We did our jobs if we were a good witness. Of course if you were carrying your off duty weapon and choose to intervene then that was your right.