Whenever anyone gets shoved onto the subway tracks, someone with severe mental illness usually did the pushing — and it happens all too often, because Mayor Bill de Blasio refuses to get serious about protecting the public, and the mentally ill themselves.
Soon after the city saw two apparent such incidents within hours, Sarah Feinberg, the interim president of NYC Transit, erupted: “It’s not fair to the woman, to the people who are using the system. It’s not fair to the woman who experienced this today. We have a crisis in this city, and it absolutely has to be addressed.” Too bad the mayor doesn’t care.
Feinberg spoke at the 14th Street-Union Square station, where an unhinged man had shoved a Queens woman into the path of an oncoming No. 5 train. The victim, 40, had two train cars rumble over her head.
This follows another pushing Wednesday night, at the 42nd Street-Bryant Park station. The suspect was apparently panhandling outside the station before the incident.
And two more last month: at the Times Square-42nd Street station on Oct. 23, and at the C train’s Clinton-Washington stop on Oct. 26 — where the victim was a 73-year-old grandmother.
The pattern is clear. And, sadly, it’s not the only way those walking city streets with untreated illness endanger others: Random attacks happen aboveground, too.
Feinberg’s plea is common sense: “It’s gotta be addressed, and I’m desperate for this mayor or the next mayor to take it on, because we’ve got a long way to go.”
Tragically, a regular part of severe mental illness is a resistance to accepting help — or even to admitting the problem.
But state law allows for action against clear threats: Authorities can get court orders requiring people to take their meds, or be sequestered. But using that law requires leaders to force the mental-health system — which would much rather focus on people who are easier to help — to do its job.
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