In NYC Subway, Leftist Governance Reaps What It Sows

A culture of lawlessness begets vigilante justice

The Left spent last week trying to turn one of New York City's mentally ill homeless into the next George Floyd.

"Jordan Neely was murdered," Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced on Twitter. Neely was a schizophrenic with a long history of menacing subway riders, and that's what he was doing when a 24-year-old Marine, Daniel Penny, intervened to stop him in a confrontation that resulted in Neely's death. AOC calls it a "public execution."

New York City councilwoman Tiffany Cabán announced that "people experiencing homelessness, mental illness, hunger, and frustration need and deserve compassion and trauma-informed care" rather than "force."

Set aside the fact that these avatars of progressivism have had precious little to say about the 27 others killed in New York City's subways over the past three years, as the Manhattan Institute's Nicole Gelinas points out.

More importantly, Neely's death is a direct result of the Left's approach to mental illness and criminal justice. The Left's embrace, over the past five decades, of deinstitutionalization, and its opposition to compulsory treatment for mental illness, have led to the creation of a permanent mentally ill homeless population.

And, since Floyd's death in May of 2020, progressives in state legislatures, working hand in hand with left-wing district attorneys like Manhattan's Alvin Bragg, have done away with cash bail for all but the most violent crimes, ordered prosecutors to stop seeking prison sentences for loads of criminals, and made a litany of offenses, such as armed robbery and drug dealing, ineligible for prison sentences.

In a functioning city with a functioning subway system, Neely, who had had dozens of brushes with law enforcement and a warrant out for his arrest for the assault of a 67-year-old woman, would not have been on that train striking fear into his fellow citizens.

In the last two years alone, Neely had punched two people outside of subway stations. Until the Left restores order to our cities, citizens like Penny will feel compelled to step into the breach. Surely the caterwauling from AOC is intended to deter decent citizens from intervening where the police no longer can and the government no longer will. The thin blue line once stood between civilization and anarchy. Now it's Daniel Penny and men like him.

It's unlikely Penny can be convicted, but Bragg and company may yet try and make an example out of him.

Neely and Penny are both victims here. The perpetrators are ensconced on the New York City Council, in Albany's State Legislature, and in the offices of George Soros's Open Society Foundations.