Last year, as I was riding on the train with a friend, I was punched in the head twice, and had my phone knocked out of my hand.

It was a random attack, and the assailant was a kid probably no more than sixteen. He was wearing a hoodie with the insignia of a local Catholic school, and was traveling with an adult male who appeared to be a relative. When I pushed back at the kid, the adult male who was sitting across from him lunged for me. My friend, an elderly Haitian gentleman who had just come from immigration court where he had translated for me in a case, had also been attacked.

While my Irish-Italian nature urged me to stay and do battle, my attorney instincts propelled me and my friend to the train doors where, as soon as they opened, we ran out. Looking back over my shoulder, I heard the adult male screaming curses and threats at me.

I later made a report to SEPTA, the company that runs public transportation in Philadelphia, and they took down my name and information but weren’t able to do very much. 

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I actually don’t blame them. Violence like this is common on subways, buses and elevated cars in the city, and they have to do triage, focusing on the most serious cases.

In fact, just a couple days before I was attacked, a woman had been sexually assaulted on that same route, and other passengers filmed it. Not one person intervened to help her, and it was reminiscent of what we remember as the Kitty Genovese case where a New York woman was stabbed to death in the early ‘60s while neighbors, who heard her screams, reportedly did nothing. (I say “reportedly” because new evidence suggests that perhaps some neighbors either did not hear the cries or that they mistook them for consensual activity. There is also some evidence that the police were, in fact, called.)

But that’s really beside the point. We have become used to believing the stories of victims being attacked and no one intervening, because it’s the truth. It happens every day, in cities large and small. My incident was one of thousands that occur on a yearly basis.

That’s why, when I heard about the man who died after he was put in a chokehold by a marine on a New York City subway, I had a flashback to what had happened to me last year, and I immediately sympathized with the passengers on that train. The man who suffocated was a homeless person (everyone is now using the term “houseless,” which I think is some deliberate PC attempt to bring dignity to a nomadic existence, but I honestly don’t see a difference) and he had been tormenting the other passengers by demanding food and promising he would hurt them if he didn’t get what he wanted. The man apparently had already been in jail with a number of prior arrests, and he was heard to say that he wasn’t afraid of going back to jail.

Imagine being trapped in a subway car with a violent man screaming that he was going to hurt you unless you gave him what he wanted. Imagine not being able to escape from that metal capsule hurtling through subterranean tunnels. Imagine, if you can, having children with you on that journey through an urban hellscape.

We have become used to believing the stories of victims being attacked and no one intervening, because it’s the truth.

I immediately thought “Bravo Zulu,” the term marines use when describing a job well done. Yes, there was a casualty, and that is regrettable. Perhaps it wasn’t necessary to use the force that was used, although we are not in a position to second-guess a man who jumped into the line of danger to protect strangers. 

But there is no question that what followed is repellent. The usual race hustlers started screaming that a black man (because the deceased was black) had been killed by a white man (the marine was white) and that this is an example of the dangers that minorities face in this society. No one wondered if there were other black passengers on that train who would have been grateful to be protected from a mentally ill vagrant threatening them while they were trapped in a crowded space. And the idea that race is even an issue is disgusting. Dead is dead, and all blood is red.

I mentioned before that I had been a victim on public transportation. I did not mention that my attacker and his “guardian” were black. It didn’t matter, even though they were screaming racial epithets at me. I didn’t care, because in the moments when your life is in danger, you are not thinking about the color of your skin. The same can be said for my Haitian friend, who was attacked despite sharing the same race as that feral child and the adult who wouldn’t rein him in.

It’s already bad enough that decent people risk their lives when they pay their fares and descend to the lower depths of our urban nightmare. Adding race to it is the dishonest, despicable salt in our collective, gaping wound.

Christine Flowers is an attorney and lifelong Philadelphian. @flowerlady61

9 thoughts on “Christine Flowers: Subway violence isn’t just a New York problem”

  1. Race is the “go to” excuse for the animalistic behaviour of the sociopaths let loose on the world today. For the pervasiveness of violence in our society, one has to wonder if it is not purposely implanted into our citizens and further encouraged by the elite. If one has ever read Solzhenitsyn’s “Gulag Archipelago” you will have come across the treatment of criminals in the Gulag. Their violent behaviour was tolerated not just because communist theory treated them as “socially friendly” but also because the camp’s overlords recognized them as an effective means of control of the political prisoners. In American society today, it is not hard to imagine this being the driving force behind the “kindness to criminals” movement. Just shrug your shoulders at the innocent victims, after all, it’s not your A** getting kicked.

  2. I wasn’t going to comment since even though I don’t believe a word of Flowers’ story, I have no way to disprove it. But of course, her combination of stupidity and evil never disappoints. Her approval of the comment from George Knoll speaks volumes. The idea that violent behavior is “implanted” and “encouraged” by “The Elite” (whoever that is) is the perfect example of a feeble, conspiracy-driven mind that seems to be increasing in disturbing behavior as she ages.

    1. I wouldn’t use the word ‘implanted’. ‘Tolerated’ or ‘benign neglect’ seems more appropriate to me. That there might be a political payoff for some, well we need to ignore that too. But the result can hardly be contested. And that result is a gnawing violence that tears at the fabric of society.

  3. There is only one explanation for the adjoining Black violence against Whites and Black on Black violence in the neighborhoods. We’ve known the answer to this enigma for years. Why do they kill themselves if they hate us so much? Why do they burn down their neighborhoods and not the suburbs? We grew up knowing it and over the years our schools, churches, justice system, and media, all the very good folks we’ve loved and respected, have tried to make us forget it. All in the name of equality and brotherhood. And now after all these years, since equality has failed, we reach for equity and the undermining of merit. We’ve even defiled Whiteness; concocted it as an original sin from which there is no redemption. Deep inside we know it’s just another lie we are told to live by so that we can build wealth. But we still thank God every morning that we are not Black. And Blacks every morning, in spite of their pretentious inflated racial pride, damn God every morning for being born Black. For all the money in the world, I still would not trade the pauper I am to be Beyonce, Snoop Dog, Jay-Z, or Rihanna. I do wish I could jump like Tyrese Maxey but in Billy Cunningham’s skin.

    Ressentiment (fr.). I learned the word as an undergraduate. The inability to get revenge in Nietzsche’s terms. There is no systemic racism but there is a Black socially structured inferiority complex that no matter how representative we make movies and commercials will remain ossified in the Black worldview. It isn’t Whiteness that is America’s original, unredeemable sin; it’s Black ressentiment. Why don’t Black Africans feel this ressentiment? I think that answer is closely linked to Fanon’s psychological theories of colonization. Looking at the difference between the worldviews of Puerto Ricans and Mexicans sheds light on the demoralization of Puerto Ricans who have no sovereign homeland to return to and the self-sufficiency of Mexicans who do. African Americans have no homeland in spite of their efforts to create one. Kwanzaa is nice but it’s no Chanukah. Blacks are trapped in the United States by their prosperity. Like most things in life it’s a trade off; prosperity or sovereignty, identity or wealth, poverty or Whiteness. Those who are successful, assimilate; those who do not remain…marginalized…and some go insane because of this conflict like Neely who danced like the amorphous Michael Jackson neither White or Black.

    From Wiki, ressentiment is “a sense of hostility directed toward an object [Whites] that one identifies as the cause of one’s frustration, that is, an assignment of blame for one’s frustration. The sense of weakness or inferiority complex and perhaps even jealousy [that] generates a rejecting/justifying value system [rejecting characteristics like being on time or academic achievement as Whiteness], or morality, which attacks or denies the perceived source of one’s frustration. This value system is then used as a means of justifying one’s own weaknesses [victimhood] by identifying the source of envy as objectively inferior [Whites], serving as a defense mechanism that prevents the resentful individual [Blacks] from addressing and overcoming their insecurities and flaws” like addressing behavior and culture as a problem and not as an asset to the Black community.

    If Whiteness is toxic to Blacks, what’s the first step to recovering from that toxic relationship? Don’t dwell on the past.

  4. Let me tell how warped Woke thinking is. Yesterday, I got into a conversation with some Black friends and White progressive women, my age or older, I’m 68, about what was more dangerous to Black people. Racism or nuclear war? Every single one of them said racism. I didn’t argue. I posed the question to get opinions. Then, I called my stepdaughter, a Puerto Rican, who is married to a Black man. They have given me two Black grandsons and one Black great granddaughter. I asked her what was more dangerous to my grandchildren. Racism or nuclear war? She said racism. I asked her why she felt that way and she said because we can do something about racism but we can’t do anything about nuclear war. She continued, nuclear war is something we all have to deal with. Black people have to deal with racism as soon they walk out their front door. They don’t know if they’re going to get back home. I said well if you can’t do anything about something doesn’t that make it more dangerous? She said no because there would always be racism but there doesn’t have to be nuclear war. So I said, if I’m swimming in the ocean and see a shark I can do something about it. I can get back into the boat but if the boat I’m on sinks, I can’t get out of the water. Her response, “You shouldn’t have gotten into the boat to begin with.”

  5. Margaret comments, regarding what Christine Flowers has written about her subway experience, that she “doesn’t believe a word of it” but has “no way to disprove it”.
    Using her own words, the ”stupidity and evil nature” of Margaret’s message is staggering.

  6. Racism has a long and pervasive history of humanity. I suspect it predates humans’ ability to walk upright, but that is not the point I wish to make. My opinion, based on various studies, essays, and writings I have digested over the years, is that we have destroyed the ability of people of colour to succeed in life. Marriage, family, employment, education all went backward with the establishment of the social/civil rights programs beginning in the 1960s. They have stripped from the recipients’ incentives for marriage, family, education and the willingness to strive and achieve, replacing these with a worldview of victimhood and entitlement. I recommend to anyone interested to read: “Please Stop Helping Us” by Jason L. Riley.

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