Sunday, March 31, 2024

NYC’s Dangerous Transit System is Harming Kids by Putting Their Rite of ‘passage’ At Risk; Civil Rights Groups Slam New York’s ‘militarized’ Subways: ‘Overreaction and overreach’

Christopher Sadowski
NYC’s dangerous transit system is harming kids by putting their rite of ‘passage’ at risk:
Even in the boom years, raising kids in New York City wasn’t easy: Apartments are tiny, neighbors hate noise and sidewalks are too narrow for strollers.
But today, as disorder has taken over the subways, parents face another logistical headache: How should my growing kid get around town, whether on the transit system, on foot or in a car, without putting herself in danger?
Over two generations, kids in the suburbs have lost their freedom to move autonomously: Young teens who once would’ve walked or biked to school take the school bus or are driven by their parents.
That’s not good: Kids can’t develop well if they can’t take some risks, and make some judgments outside of adult supervision.
In the city, though, kids still enjoy a measure of autonomy, largely because of our transit system.
Out of 1.3 million elementary-age through high-school students, only 150,000 take a yellow bus.
Yes, some private schools arrange their own transportation, and some parents (or nannies) drive their kids.
But the rest — hundreds of thousands — either take a subway or bus, using a city-issued free MetroCard, or walk.
It’s thus not uncommon in New York City, from Jackson Heights to the Upper West Side to Jamaica, to see what is an increasingly rare site in car-dependent suburbs: teens and even pre-teen kids riding the train, in small groups or alone, with no parent helicoptering nearby.
Kids naturally grow into their independence, by taking more freedom as a school year progresses.
Now, though, as kids have fully resumed their routines post-COVID, parents have a new fear, one not experienced in a generation: transit disorder and crime.
Felony violence on the subways remains 61% higher than in 2019 — and kids aren’t safe from attack just because they’re kids.
Lives at risk --->READ MORE HERE
Civil rights groups slam New York’s ‘militarized’ subways: ‘Overreaction and overreach’:
Elected officials, activists and even NYPD reject the idea that the city’s transit system is a ‘war zone’ that needs US military patrolling Americans
Heavily armed US Army National Guard troops in camouflage strode the concourse at New York City’s Penn Station, a vast terminal typically filled with American commuters who are now under surveillance from their own military.
The deployment of US troops and state police throughout the city’s extensive subway system this week was immediately met with outrage, fear and scepticism from riders, elected officials, civil rights groups and even police, who rejected the idea that the city is a “war zone” that needs the American military patrolling it.
On Wednesday, New York’s Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul announced that 1,000 National Guard troops, state police and transit officers would begin patrolling the city’s subway stations, checking bags at random and staging a massive show of force that places heavily armed uniformed service members at highly trafficked entrances.
Riders can refuse bag checks, but National Guard troops and police officers can deny them entry. Those riders can “go home,” Ms Hochul told Fox 5 New York on Thursday. “We’re not going to search you. You can say no. But you’re not taking the subway.”
Critics have suggested the changes have more to do with politics than with public safety, with Democratic lawmakers buckling under pressure from Republican officials and right-wing policymakers in election-year campaigns against their “soft on crime” rivals.
Her plan “sounds like something straight out of the mind” of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, according to Albert Fox Cahn, director of the New York-based Surveillance Technology Oversight Project.
“The governor continues to put PR ahead of public safety, wasting taxpayer dollars on these sorts of stunts,” he said. “We shouldn’t militarize the MTA when crime rates are falling and budgets are contracting. This is a tragedy in the making, and I fear how many New Yorkers will be wrongly arrested or hurt before we recognize that soldiers have no place on the streets of democracy.”
Ms Hochul told MSNBC on Thursday that she wants to demonstrate that Democrats “fight crime as well.”
“This narrative that Republicans have said and hijacked the story that we’re soft on crime, that we defund the police. No,” she said. --->READ MORE HERE
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