The Killing of a Homeless Man on the Subway

Readers react to the chokehold death of Jordan Neely in New York City.

The Killing of a Homeless Man on the Subway


To the Editor

Re " Subway killing both stuns city and divides it'(frontpage, May 5:

Politicians and New Yorkers have jumped on the debate over whether a subway rider who choked a homeless man screaming in distress, Jordan Neely should be punished. They continue to ignore the crisis in mental illness and homelessness and do not invest meaningfully in solutions.

Mr. Neely is just one of thousands of New Yorkers living in shelters, on the streets and in subway stations. Most of us don't stop to think about the moral stain that this crisis has on us all.

Jordan Neely makes us reflect on the fact that we are all responsible for his tragic death.

Cody Lyon

To the Editor

Roxane Gay's 'Making Someone Uncomfortable can Now Get You Killed' (Opinion Guest Essay, May 5).

In all my years, I have never felt that my New York neighbors were hateful. I have never thought that they lack empathy. Although New Yorkers are not without their share of prejudice, I've always believed that they come together and help one another, despite the city's bigotry. After the subway passengers killed and injured a homeless passenger, I'm at a loss.

Gay's article does the hard work of guiding readers through incidents across the country in which people were seriously injured or killed because they made a mistake. Jordan Neely’s death, however, is a different story. Media and politicians have heightened people's anxiety and made them unnecessarily tense. This led to the death of Mr. Neely.

Unfortunately, when we read the comments made on Ms. We can see from Gay's article that a great deal of empathy has been lost. Many comments are essentially saying 'He shouldn’t have died but ...' there is no "but".

New Yorkers excuse a murder by saying that the other subway passengers should never have touched him.

How safe is it now?

Jeremy Rosen

To the Editor

As a subway user, I find it offensive that Roxane Gay vilifies those who witnessed Jordan Neely’s death by calling them cold-hearted or worse. We often avoid riding the subway because people scream, threaten and even kill others or push them onto the tracks. We almost always stay silent and pray that we won't be attacked.

We will be grateful to the brave soul who subdues him. Why is it that if the person who was threatening dies, the conclusion that the prolonged grip was reckless and preventable is made immediately?

This could have been a tragic error in the unimaginable rush of adrenaline and panic in a fight with death possible. Can't the subduer be given the benefit-of-the doubt? Gay, did it ever occur to her that the subduer may be just as upset about the death? Did it ever occur to Ms.

It is unfair to lump this incident with those who kill random strangers when they ring the doorbell by mistake.

Ari Weitzner
New York

To the Editor

As a New Yorker for most of my life, I'm appalled by the way many of my American neighbors and friends have reacted to Jordan Neely being killed.

It is not dangerous. Although there are challenges to living here, it is among the safest big cities in the nation.

Or angry. Please, God!

If you're that worried about the subway, try the bus, a bicycle, or a taxi.

I feel sick to my stomach. This hysteria about crime and homeless people has to stop now.

Shahryar Motia

Berkeley Loses


To the Editor

Re: 'Protest is a Fight for Humanities In an A.I. Age' (frontpage, May 3).

Your article about the doomed anthropology collection at the University of California Berkeley (or 'Cal' for us old-timers) is yet another testament to the demise of higher education.

The university's soul is lost as it pivots from humanities to A.I. and data analytics, machine learning.

It would have been clever to incorporate humanities in the Gateway, a new building for data sciences, creating a tapestry of interdisciplinary disciplines that transcends antiquated silos between campus departments.

We sacrifice arts and humanities to STEM. What a shame.

The writer is also a donor at the University of California Berkeley.

Silicon Valley Bank failure


To the Editor

Re " Federal Reserve criticizes itself on bank failure" (front page, 29 April):

The Federal Reserve's assessment of its supervision of Silicon Valley Bank and its regulation was criticized for several oversight lapses. According to the article, the bank had 31 supervisory findings open -- which indicated issues -- at the time of the failure in March.

We need more regulation and oversight. While I'm waiting for the banks to address their weaknesses, I think a simple fix will help them to do so. As long as there are any outstanding supervisory findings at a bank, its directors and employees should not be able to trade or exercise stock options.

A rule like this would probably help resolve issues quickly, given what we know about the venality that seems to be the hallmark of bank management.


To the Editor

Bret Stephens' column, "The Tragedy Of Fox News", April 26, 2004:

This is a plea we've heard before: If there was only a center-right, rational party or news outlet!

Mr. Stephens, and other lamenters of the same kind, don't specify what positions such a political party would take. They only mention a general shift to more liberal democratic ideas.

In reality, these Republicans of the center-right have already won. We live in a nation dominated by the policies of these center-right Republicans, to which Democrats today either agree or attempt to mitigate.

The wealth gap continues to grow, the rich continue evading fair taxation, the prospects for the poor continue deteriorating; the judicial systems incarcerates an disproportionate number of minorities; the proliferation of military-style guns results in an absurdly high rate of mass shootings. Debt handicaps young people and the poor.

The agendas of the Republicans of yesterday are still in place. They appeal to those who are frightened and angry, male chauvinists, white supremacists, and undereducated. These people are oblivious to facts, unaware of their economic interests, or are unable to see them.

Progressives are the only group who can address the needs of the nation, yet the mainstream media gives them little attention.

Joel Simpson
Union, N.J.