By on May 1, 2017

BART C1 Car Interior, Image: Wikipedia

Here’s the good news if you own a car in San Francisco or Oakland: property crime is down by a bit compared to last year. Furthermore, there’s a new “auto burglary task force” to increase the chances that your car isn’t going to disappear overnight.

Here’s the bad news: You might want to consider using that car instead of mass transit to commute to your job or to go out in the evenings.

On April 22, a “flash mob” of between 40 and 60 people identified by the media as “teens” performed a coordinated mass robbery and assault on the occupants of a BART train in Oakland, focusing their violent attention on a particular family. They blocked doors, assaulted passengers, took everything they wanted, and vacated the scene — in just a minute or two. A transit police unit in the parking lot responded about five minutes after the attack, but that was at least 180 seconds too late.

As the saying goes: “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.”

A review of camera footage in the area has resulted in one arrest, but would-be BART users all around the Bay Area have to be asking themselves: Is this likely to happen again? And will this sort of vulnerability prevent commuters from making the switch to mass transit in the future?

Perhaps a better question would be: “Why hasn’t this happened more often?” The so-called “flash mob,” facilitated by easy access to social media and a general aimlessness on the part of younger people on the bottom of the socioeconomic food chain, has made appearances all over the country lately. The Oakland incident simply represents the most refined iteration of the idea so far, combining all the below advantages:

  • Sun Tzu’s approach to attack. Commuters on a train are, by definition, usually solitary people with no group affiliation. It’s easy to outnumber and overpower them. Be strong where the enemy is weak. They’re also doing this in California, a state with strong restrictions on personal defense. We don’t have a lot of commuter trains in Ohio, but it’s very probable some nontrivial percentage of the people on a train would be armed and spoiling for a fight if we did have them here.
  • Predator satiation. This technique is used all the time in the animal kingdom. With 40 to 60 people attacking the train, even if there happens to be a cop in the immediate vicinity, the chances of one particular individual being apprehended are very slim. In fact, they can be calculated: one in 40 to 60. It’s even true after the fact; do you really think that the cops are going to arrest each one of these “teens”? Of course not. They’ll arrest a few of them, slap them on the wrist, and ignore the rest.
  • Careful selection of venue. The Coliseum BART station is deliberately designed to offer multiple avenues of entry and exit and to funnel quickly into the neighborhoods in the vicinity.

The unpleasant fact of the matter is that no transit-police authority in the United States has the ability to truly prevent this sort of thing. One also has to wonder whether an individual transit cop would be particularly motivated to resist a mob attack — particularly in San Francisco, where the alleged abuse of BART riders by transit police has been bit of a cause celebre with the progressive media. If you’re a cop and you see a mob like this approaching, you have two effective choices. Either fire into the crowd to dissuade them, knowing that you have just effectively ruined your life in the course of doing so, or turn and flee, knowing that the worst that will happen is you’ll face some departmental discipline.

If we can’t fix the human factors behind flash mob attacks, can we fix the architectural ones? More effective barriers to station entry, such as full-height turnstiles with remotely controlled locks for entry and exit, would make it more difficult for a mob to assemble — but at the cost of increasing the inconvenience suffered by legitimate users. Something along these lines will eventually have to be done, however, regardless of those consequences. One could also argue mass-transit users should be forced to register for an individual ID, similar to a driver’s license, and that ID should be registered every time the holder enters the BART system at any portal.

In the meantime, however, some commuters are probably re-evaluating their choice to use the BART. My wife, who often works and visits family on the West Coast, happened to be at the Coliseum station the night before the attack. As far as I’m concerned, that’s her last ride on the choo-choo. Similar conversations are probably occurring all over the Bay Area now, albeit with less conventionally patriarchal language.

Supporters of mass transit will no doubt point out that these incidents are statistically rare and that there’s also plenty of risk involved in driving a car in the Bay Area. Both of these statements are true. But those of us who have family using the BART or similar systems are likely to respond in visceral, even illogical, fashion to the thought of those family members being assaulted en masse by a “flash mob.” There’s also the fact that even the overall statistics look worse than they did in the past. If nothing else, this helps make it plain why there is so much interest in driverless cars in that area. Such a vehicle could be armored enough to withstand a minute or two of a flash mob attack. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s better than being the tasty crab meat inside the BART’s relatively soft shell, isn’t it?

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243 Comments on “Another Reason To Avoid Mass Transit: Flash Mobs Of ‘Teens’ Attacking Families...”


  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    “We don’t have a lot of commuter trains in Ohio”

    You’re all welcome to come to Cincinnati and ride the $140M street car!

  • avatar
    JimZ

    simple solution is to ban teenagers.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Carry a gun and plenty of ammo

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        Shoot the attacking mob then get attacked by a mob of angry San Franciscans offended by the racist/sexist firearm.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        While I’m not a,run person this seems prudent, especially if you can score one of the barely legal short barrel shotguns. If memory serves one model can hold 14 rounds in two magazines with select fire. One magazine to slow ‘an down and the other to finish them off.

        Really what you need is the happy coincidence of a suicide bomber and the flash mob.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          if it’s select fire and made after 1986, it’s not legal at all. “barely” doesn’t enter into it. In fact, I think select-fire shotguns are considered “destructive devices” and aren’t legal at all for civvies to own.

          • 0 avatar
            Ihatejalops

            @JimZ

            This is both true and untrue. You can legally own a select fire (machine gun) if you have a class 3 license and/or NFA trust. You, as the general public, can’t transfer them to a random citizen if it was made after 1986.

      • 0 avatar
        Mullholland

        A high school algebra text book might slow them down.

  • avatar
    gasser

    This is why the New York City TRANSIT Police is the state’s third largest Police force (after NYC and Buffalo regular police..)

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      Genuine flash mobs are creative, fun, spontaneous events, such as a pillow fight in a public square.
      This mass invasion of a BART station and robbery on a train car was a series of criminal acts commited by an organized group of criminals. Street gang activity is not a “flash mob”, it’s inhumane, cruel, disrespectful, illegal and punishable by prison.

      That said, this flock of delinquents should have absolutely no effect on the public’s use of public transportation. In fact, the chances of it happening today is much less than it was a few days ago, since such events are so rare and one just happened.

      My guess would be that at least 90% of them have grown up in a home without their father.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Just like most of post 1980 society. Legislation has consequences.

        • 0 avatar
          bikegoesbaa

          From a standpoint of violent crime the consequences appear to be positive; as the per capita offense rate is significantly lower now than it was in 1980.

          • 0 avatar
            notwhoithink

            And you’re 100% positive that this is absolutely related to the legislation that has been passed since then and not some other factors? Because sociologists and other researchers trying to determine what has been responsible for the drop in violent crime over the past 35-40 years still haven’t decided on why, and have posited contributory factors that include things like the outlawing of lead-based paint, the legalization of abortion, and other potential causes.

          • 0 avatar
            bikegoesbaa

            Of course I’m not, but I can’t see what other point 28-Cars intended to make by pointing to the consequences on “society since 1980” with respect to crime.

            Crime is waaaaay down since 1980 so it’s not a great point of comparison if you intend to demonstrate that everything is worse and society is falling apart, right?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @both

            I’m starting to believe the “lead in the air” theory is at least partially responsible.

            @bikegoesbaa

            Broken homes, fatherless children etc.

      • 0 avatar
        la834

        > My guess would be that at least 90% of them have grown up in a home without their father.

        When in doubt, or when lacking in verifiable facts, blame single moms….

  • avatar
    newenthusiast

    Easy to avoid when you its slower than driving yourself, and doesn’t have times convenient for you.

    Also, here its only buses. No rail.

    So, since I have never used BART on my trips to the Bay Area, do they not have some sort of police force, like the NY/NJ Port Authority officers? If not, why? It seems that a large, visible force like that would be needed on a mass transit rail system to prevent things like this.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      In SF, unless you’re evolved enough to walk/drive/ride on two rather than four, BART is fast.

      The way SF works, this is simply not a problem. Those who matter, live on Russian Hill and walk to work. Then to $15/drink cocktail hour afterwards. Where they alternate talking about how callous people in those “Red” states are wrt the plight of the poor; and how they need stronger zoning ordinances to prevent “overbuilding” from lowering their poppeti vaijues.

      • 0 avatar
        newenthusiast

        Well, there is neither a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer in here.

      • 0 avatar

        “In other words, this is another example of the decoupling of success in America. Those who are succeeding in America no longer need the overall prosperity of the country in order to personally do well. They can become enriched as a small, albeit sizable, minority.”

        http://www.newgeography.com/content/005526-caterpillar-s-hq-move-chicago-shows-america-s-double-divide

        • 0 avatar
          TrailerTrash

          Ah…TTAC showing it’s fear and reports just like the usually inept, crooked media does.
          Any mention of the criminal rioters make up?
          Or would details imply racism?

          • 0 avatar
            everybodyhatesscott

            ‘teens’ is in quotes for a reason. Anybody who gets it (And Jack gets it) knows what the MSM means when they say teens.

  • avatar
    Pricha33

    A horrific experience I am sure for an innocent family. I agree, biggest issue is lack of everyday citizens with the capacity to defend themselves as well as others. Up here in the no handgun allowed Canada , we so far appear immune to this type of crime, and hopefully with the current education level of most thugs they won’t read TTAC to get any ideas.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      better hope. this kind of stuff is fairly widespread in England. 14-
      to 21-year-old guys with time on their hands are incredibly dangerous.

    • 0 avatar
      operagost

      None of these thugs had guns. They took advantage of their strength and speed. That’s why older, weaker, peaceful, law abiding citizens need to be allowed to defend themselves.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      This type of event used to be unheard of in Canada but not anymore. Since Ottawa got the benefit of a major load of Somali refugees starting in the 90s we now have experience the vibrant cultural diversity in all of its forms.

      Including swarming of transit stations by crowds of Somali youths. That started in about 2004 and has been a fairly regular feature of life in Ottawa South ever since.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        This contagion is limited to Ottawa?

        • 0 avatar
          Kevin Jaeger

          It’s not necessarily limited just to Ottawa, but most of Canada is very safe. And even in Ottawa it’s limited to a fairly small area like the South Keys and Billings bridge transit stations.

          But twenty years ago we’d never have believed such things would happen here at all. And now they do.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @Kevin Jaeger – I’d like so see the empirical evidence showing increased criminality due to Somali immigration.

        @28- “This contagion is limited to Ottawa?”

        No. Xenophobia is common across Canada.

        • 0 avatar
          Kevin Jaeger

          So hang out at the Billings Bridge transit station at night and watch.

          • 0 avatar
            Kevin Jaeger

            On the off chance that you’re seriously curious about how well Somali refugees have settled in various countries you can read about it in the Atlantic at URL politics/archive/2015/12/refugees/419976/

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            A single article is a good start, but it’d be nice to have some academic data too. If you have some, please, by all means, share it. That’s what the Internet is for.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Kevin Jaeger – I enter your link and get a USA site.
            Any Canadian sites other than Alt-right?

            There has been a slight uptick in crime in Canada in 2016. There is no clear correlation to immigration or refugees. Statistically crime is still 30% less than what it was over a decade ago.
            If one looks at those statistics, one province showing an increase is Alberta especially Calgary. Most of that is property crime and has been attributed to the collapse of the oil industry.
            “Arrival of the Fittest: Canada’s crime rate is dropping as immigration increases. Is there a connection?”
            That is a quote from an article posted by “CIFAR” Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.
            https://www.cifar.ca/assets/arrival-of-the-fittest-canadas-crime-rate-is-dropping-as-immigration-increases-is-there-a-connection/
            This is an old article that raises some interesting pints.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          @Lou

          I have much respect for your ideas and opinions as you may know but on this we differ. I’d use those bastards for target practice if I could. F*ck their sh*tty country and f*ck the politicriminals who took money printed from nothing to allow them into yours/ours.

          For once the psychotic West was not to blame for the collapse of their society, but we have also become victims:

          “The regime was weakened further in the 1980s as the Cold War drew to a close and Somalia’s strategic importance was diminished. The government became increasingly authoritarian, and resistance movements, encouraged by Ethiopia, sprang up across the country, eventually leading to the Somali Civil War. Among the militia groups were the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF), United Somali Congress (USC), Somali National Movement (SNM) and the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), together with the non-violent political oppositions of the Somali Democratic Movement (SDM), the Somali Democratic Alliance (SDA) and the Somali Manifesto Group (SMG).

          ..

          In 1991, the Barre administration was ousted by a coalition of clan-based opposition groups, backed by Ethiopia’s then-ruling Derg regime and Libya.[99] Following a meeting of the Somali National Movement and northern clans’ elders, the northern former British portion of the country declared its independence as Somaliland in May 1991. Although de facto independent and relatively stable compared to the tumultuous south, it has not been recognized by any foreign government.[100][101]”

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somalia

          “Among other things, such as a “youth help line,” the locals launched a poster campaign encouraging residents to cooperate with police. (Somalis brought their distrust of armed, uniformed authorities with them from their homeland, which helps explain why only three of those 18 murders have been solved.)

          But speaking of cultural “baggage,” some of it might have gotten lost on the trip to the printing press.

          Anyone familiar with the problems created by Somali immigrants to the West will note that none of the Journal’s articles includes the word “khat” or the phrase “female genital mutilation.”

          Even the Los Angeles Times and Canada’s National Post have reported on the staggering obstacles to Somali assimilation, such as the need for classes explaining that wife-beating is illegal, along with the chronic use of the illegal stimulant khat.”

          http://takimag.com/article/
          canadas_somali_problem/print#axzz4ftIykjT4

          “Family members have identified 30-year-old Amin Mohammed Abdullahi, known to friends as Hamza Tyme, as the man who died in Edmonton after a shooting outside a Whyte Avenue nightclub last Sunday.

          “I was shocked to hear the news and very saddened by it,” said Cannon2x, whose name off-stage is Kamal Abdulhakim, remembering the call he received while setting the table for a family Easter dinner with his daughters, wife and her family.

          “I thought about him and I thought about his family and then, as my thoughts expanded, I thought about all the other recent deaths and how overwhelming this whole situation of gun violence in our country is.”

          Hamza Tyme
          Hamza Tyme, 30, was shot and killed outside an Edmonton nightclub on the weekend. (Supplied)

          Less than three weeks earlier, 20-year-old Nooredin Hassan was shot and killed in Ottawa. A month before that it was Toronto high school student and avid basketball player 17-year old Sharmarke Farah.

          “There’s a crisis, a state of emergency right now,” said Cannon2x, a core member of an Ontario-based campaign called Somali-Canadian Youth Matter (SCYM).

          “We have to recognize it as that, and I think that’s the first step.””

          http://www.cbc.ca/news
          /canada/edmonton/
          somali-canadian-s-death-sparks-call-to-end-gun-violence-solve-cases-1.3511708

          “He’s not exaggerating.

          The bloodletting started when Ahmed Hassan, 24, was shot dead at the Eaton Centre on June 2. Hussein Hussein, 23, died on June 23. Abdulle Elmi, 25, on July 8. Abdulaziz Farah, 28, on Sept. 8.

          And then on Tuesday, Suleiman Ali and Warsame Ali, both 26, were found dead with gunshot wounds in an alley in an Etobicoke townhouse complex.

          The spate of violence has left the Somali community in Toronto crushed, its leaders desperately seeking answers.

          They have held meetings throughout the summer to understand why their young men are getting killed and how they can help keep them safe. They’ve asked federal and provincial politicians for more programs and services to help young people get through school and find jobs. They have asked Toronto Police to help.

          “We need help … I am not ashamed to say that now,” said Mohamed Farah, who works with Midaynta Community Services, an organization that helps Somali-Canadians.

          There are an estimated 80,000 Somalis in Toronto, another few thousand in Ottawa and, community leaders say, about 3,000 in Fort McMurray, Alta.

          For long, the community has battled poverty and unemployment. It tried to deal with many single-parent households. The unemployment rate for Somali-Canadians is above 20 per cent, the highest of any ethnic group.

          But in 2009, it woke up to the grim reality of radicalism.

          Between 2009 and 2011, at least two dozen young men from Toronto and Ottawa — and two young women — disappeared, allegedly to fight alongside Al Shabaab in Somalia, an Islamist youth militia aligned with Al Qaeda.

          As the community grappled with that conundrum, news started trickling in that more than two dozen young men, lured to oil-rich Alberta with the promise of good jobs, have died in what police called an escalating gang and drug turf war.

          And now this.

          “This is hard, I know. There seems to be bad news coming continuously from the community… but we, too, want solutions,” said Ahmed Hussen, president of the Canadian Somali Congress.

          He has been talking to the parents of the dead young men, to figure out whether the killings were gang-related. Toronto Police detectives have refused to comment.

          “We were able to turn Alberta around,” said Hussen. “Hopefully, we can do it here too, with everyone’s help.””

          https://www.thestar.com/
          news/crime/2012
          /09/21/toronto_somali_communitys_cry_our_kids_are_dying.html

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @28-Cars-Later – Kevin Jaeger hasn’t really done anything to support his point of view.

            Somali by definition has been a failed state since 1991. Prior to that it was ruled by a dictator Siad Barre. He took over in 1969. Even then the average per capita was $175 per year. Currently life expectancy is 55 years and literacy is around 30%.

            It is therefore not surprising that refugees/immigrants for that sort of place struggle with the value of human life.
            The one with the most guns rule.
            One cannot expect people leaving that sort of situation to embrace Western society’s values and norms.

            What is the answer to that problem?

            Do we refuse them admission and let them continue to live in hell?

            Marginalization does not help the problem either. Another issue is leaving it up to government to help settle refugees. In Canada refugees sponsored by private groups have adjusted and settled in Canada at much higher rates that by government placement and management by agents of the government. IIRC at double the rate of government settlement.
            Why is that?
            I believe support by volunteer groups aids in refugees learning the norms of the country and help create ties within the communities they have entered.
            You cited “missing” refugees and the belief that they left Canada to go fight with ISIL and/or other extremist groups. Your links also talk about gangs and gang violence.

            Ironically, the processes that drive young people to join gangs or terrorist groups like ISIL are basically the same. Canada is starting to recognize that fact and work on it.

            You can’t relocate people from a f^cked up life and expect that life to miraculously change. Idealism has to be tempered by realism. That is true regardless of where one sits on the political continuum.

            I do appreciate the fact that you are always able to show why you believe what you do. That is one reason why I respect your opinions.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “I have much respect for your ideas and opinions as you may know but on this we differ. I’d use those bastards for target practice if I could. F*ck their sh*tty country and f*ck the politicriminals who took money printed from nothing to allow them into yours/ours.”

            wow. you’d shoot people for target practice because of the country they came from.

            we have a word for people like you.

            PSYCHOPATH.

      • 0 avatar

        Interesting. Sweden also got large amount Somali refugees in 90s. And they are not happy about it. Whats up with Somalis, do they like prefer colder climate? Sweden it is essentially is a one city – Stockholm, the rest of country is almost empty. Probably Somalis prefer countries with generous welfare. What can I say – they are smart people.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Inside Looking Out – maybe they want to go where they fell safe?

          In some respects crime probably has gone up do to refugees. Hate crime wouldn’t happen if they weren’t here.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            that’s ok, just let 28-cars-later shoot them for target practice like he says he wants to above.

          • 0 avatar
            Kevin Jaeger

            Lou – are you seriously dismissing a Canadian author published in the Atlantic as alt-right? You are beyond hope.

            In any case my “point of view” is limited to the topic of this post – swarming of transit stations. Which we’ve experienced in Ottawa, though I have no doubt you would continue to deny it even if you experienced it yourself.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Kevin Jaeger – I’m to used to the “usual suspects” on this site digging up stuff that specifically fits their agenda.

            I did not call the article you cited as alt-right. I requested information from Canadian sites that weren’t alt-right.

            “I enter your link and get a USA site.
            Any Canadian sites other than Alt-right?”

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            Remember Jim;
            .
            All those braggarts with guns usually change their tune the very first time they’re present during a violent death….
            .
            This is why I decline to carry a firearm even though I live/work/travel/play/etc. in scary old South Central Los Angeles .
            .
            Yes, lots and lots of scary non White people, many of whom are openly hostile without any provocation but allowing them to scare you means THEY WIN .
            .
            Screw that ~ I’m an American Citizen and I refuse to be afraid in my home .
            .
            Neither do I need to carry the biggest hand gun I can get and brag endlessly behind the curtains of my home about what I’ll do etc., etc. like keyboard cowards do .
            .
            -Nate

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Nate – I agree. Talking about carrying a fire arm and then using it in defense with the intent to kill is much easier said than done. Most people have never seen violent death let alone “peaceful” death.

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            @ Lou :

            Both rather suck, I have much too much familiarity with both .

            Spent most of this week in the hospital with my DIL who was nearly killed Tuesday afternoon by some fool who fell asleep driving .

            Too many kids these days don’t under stand they cannot out run bullets .

            -Nate

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I assumed this was another story about the DC Metro when I read the headline. It’s odd how the attacks will happen and then nothing for a couple years. Or at last, nothing hits the media.

    I was talking to my neighbor yesterday about the upcoming neighborhood yard sale. I have ultimately decided not to do it, in part because she mentioned that last year several of our neighbors have said they had their stuff stolen by people who mob them and take things when the homeowner is distracted.
    People ganging up and stealing things… from yard sales. How pathetic must your life be to sink to such petty and unprofitable larceny?

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Are the stolen items of any real value? If not, it could be a sort of mass kleptomania brought on by boredom.

    • 0 avatar
      delow48

      This situation happens in my area often. It seems to be a tactic of the illegal alien crowd in our case.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Citation needed. This hasn’t happened “often” anywhere.

        The more common scenario is a lone thief who grabs an inattentive person’s smartphone while rushing out the train door just as it’s closing. As in any other public place, keep your wits about you on the train.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al From 'Murica

          Know where my phone doesn’t get stolen…in my truck while I am driving it to work. Id rather sit in traffic than ride a germ filled smelly tube under ground.

  • avatar
    quaquaqua

    Won’t somebody PLEEEEASE think of the children?! Anyway, this can literally happen anywhere — anywhere — with very few exits. A CVS. A movie theater. A concert venue. The office you work in. Once this happens more often to the millions and millions of people who take trains every day in the US, it will merit more analysis than this cable-news-channel pearl-clutching and security will be increased. But there’s no way to avoid being around all “vulnerable” situations in your day to day life.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I’d written something up in response, but really, there’s no point.

    I’ll check back in in a year or so to see if the narrative improves.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      You’re right, pretty soon this devolves into a gun / racial / blue lives matter / mass transit sucks thing. Circular firing squad. I’ll pass.

      • 0 avatar
        energetik9

        I was formulating some response in my head, but have to agree. I also noticed the progressive media and gun references in the main article.

        I take mass transit all the time and will continue to do so without much concern. Be that where I am now, or any other major system in the US or internationally. I maintain strong awareness of my surroundings, ingress/egress, etc., and have had more threat training than most. The military does that to you.

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      I do that sometimes, write up a long winded comment then say, “Ah fvck it” and delete the whole thing. It’s good to feel my concern for whatever I was writing about just float away in the wind.

    • 0 avatar
      phila_DLJ

      I’m also sitting this one out.

      As an aside, I learned on a visit to SF/Berkeley that the BART has a really weird rail gauge, and it sounds really cool.

      • 0 avatar
        healthy skeptic

        5′ gauge, which some have since attributed to a conspiracy theory by the original train manufacturers to force BART to only buy from them.

        (In reality, part of the original design spec called for BART to run along the underside of the Golden Gate Bridge, and engineers compensated for high cross winds with a wider track gauge. The Golden Gate Bridge is BART-free to this day.)

        As for the cool noise, I hope you’re not referring to the screeching sound from the wheels, especially in tunnels. It’s my third-least-favorite thing about BART, after jam-packed commuter cars and disgusting seats and carpeting.

        Come to think of it, if these kids had tried their attack during commuter hours, they just would have bounced off the people packed inside.

        • 0 avatar
          phila_DLJ

          Haha, I suppose “unique” is a better word to describe the noise while on board, where it got pretty ear-splitting.

          But there was something satisfying about the sound of the train decelerating as it approached the platform, then accelerating away. Very retro-futuristic.

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    And oh goodie, we just raised our taxes by $54B to fund more choo-choos in the greater Seattle area! Still not sure how a train is supposed to go over a floating bridge with expansion joints on it . . .

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Googling “rail bridge expansion joints” brings up 880,000 results. Here’s a selection from the first result, the UK-based Bridge Joint Association:

      “Rail bridge joints have the same requirements as road bridge joints; with the further complications of greater loadings, larger dynamic movements, issues relating to track fixings and ballast.

      Consideration to long-term durability is paramount as access for any routine maintenance is extremely difficult owing to the possible remote location, lack of road maintenance vehicle access, minimum working window and need for ballast excavation and retamping beneath continuous rail tracks.”

      Hope this helps!

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The system for crossing I-90 was harder than expected to design, but design is now final and construction will start in about a year, after the HOV lanes are moved from the center roadway to the mainline (which will be restriped from 3 to 4 lanes in both directions).

      If you’re not sure how it’s supposed to work, watch the below video on YouTube (can’t paste whole YouTube links):

      watch?v=LuXZX1xjytw

  • avatar
    VW4motion

    Trump supporters will love this article. Click bait 101

    • 0 avatar
      Frylock350

      Its not click bait. The title tells me what the additional reason for avoiding mass transit is. I don’t need to click the link to learn it. Click bait uses a provocative title with missing and/or misleading information. Not the case here.

      • 0 avatar
        chuckrs

        You may consider it clickbait. I don’t. Just two days ago I talked my wife out of taking Amtrak from western NYS into Penn Station and transferring to the Northeast Regional for RI. This is a civilized way to travel and avoids the nightmare of short haul flights. But this time, the only train of the day would have put her into Penn Station after 10PM on a Sunday night. With the maintenance woes there, she might have missed her connection. After 10PM on a weekend. In a relatively empty railroad station. Amtrak isn’t mass transit – they only wish – but the stations are shared with mass transit.
        She agreed (thank goodness – doesn’t always happen that way) and got a weekend single day rental of a Mazda 3, which she thought was pretty nice. Cost similar to Amtrak and half that of the air sardine cans. Portal to portal, 400 mile flights take as long as just driving due to hub and spoke connection layovers and TSA security theatre. Hertz Local seems to have picked up that this is an opportunity beyond airport-centric business travel.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      You’re commenting on an article complaining about click bait. Don’t see the irony?

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Every now and again (and considerably more often than a criminal “flash mob” appears on transit), car drivers get carjacked, without the police present.

    Will anyone ever be able to commute by car? People better rush onto the trains and buses to avoid this scourge of crime!

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “scale” claims another victim. 40,000 people die every year on the road? No biggie. 400 die in one plane crash? OH MY GOD THAT’S HORRIBLE AIR TRAVEL IS SO UNSAFE

      • 0 avatar
        Frylock350

        “context” matters as well. 40k auto deaths versus 400 deaths. Those are not normalized values. To have comparable values you need to normalize them, passenger-mile is a good way to do this. How many deaths occur per passenger-mile traveled? I’d bet it will still show air travel to be safer but you’d at have a more accurate comparison. If you’re determining your individual risk of an automotive fatality so many other factors need to be involved. Of that 40k how many were in an older vehicle with dated or improperly maintained safety equipment? How many didn’t use seatbelts? How many were one-vehicle drunk driving accidents? How many were in accidents that would be survivable if the vehicle was was say a Tundra instead of a Corolla? How many involved dangerous or reckless driving by the deceased? How many were texting? Where did these fatalities occur: urban, suburban or rural driving? If I’m driving a modern large vehicle, buckle up, drive defensively, and abstain from substance abuse and texting behind the wheel my odds of being killed in a car accident than someone driving a 20 year old compact, checking for texts, after having a few cold ones. Saying 40k deaths per year for drivers is evidence of it being less safe is silly when its very clear that the vast majority of auto crashes are easily avoidable and your choices in vehicle selection and driving behavior can have a significant effect on the odds.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          Something like 2/3rds of traffic deaths have one or both of the factors 1) drunk driver and 2) no seatbelt. Avoid those two risk behaviors (and try not to drive when drunks are on the road most often, say 10PM-4AM) and your risk goes down substantially.

    • 0 avatar
      phila_DLJ

      I don’t know what the solution is, but it probably involves stealth bombers in local police livery.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      Ill take my chances. Honestly a car jacker is going to get my truck…I wouldn’t attempt to stop them unless I couldn’t get my children out first for whatever reason. I love the truck, but it is insured, not worth killing someone over, and I don’t typically drive it where such crimes happen. I am not a big germ fan and avoid mass transit if possible.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      There hasn’t been a carjacking in my city since… well, since they invented cars. It’s possible somebody got pulled off a horse once in the 1800s.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        And there hasn’t been a criminal “flash mob” on transit in any US city other than Oakland, ever.

        (I assume by “my city” you mean your small suburb. Google is showing me results for plenty of carjackings in the Columbus metro area.)

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          And that’s the question… was this an isolated incident or the first of many?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Remember back in the early ’90s, a time when there was twice as much crime as there is now, when everyone thought “superpredators” were going to take over the world?

            Same scare reflex. I have a five-month-old, and it reminds me of the Moro reflex he shows when he hears a noise in his sleep.

          • 0 avatar
            MrGreenMan

            “Remember back in the early ’90s, a time when there was twice as much crime as there is now, when everyone thought “superpredators” were going to take over the world?”

            Don’t whitewash or pretend to generalize it, dal20402. We’re not all Clinton leftists.

            That “everyone” was Hillary Clinton, and she used the term “superpredator” to mean “black male” to sell the Clinton Crime Bill to federalize local police forces by requiring localities to hire people per federal guidelines for three years in exchange for one year of funding.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Regardless of how the Clintons may or may not have exploited it in 1996, the term was coined by conservative author John DiIulio and was all over the media in 1995. And, yes, it referred almost exclusively to black males, just like almost all fearmongering about “crime” we hear 20 years later (but now with a small niche of fearmongering about “illegals” too). Some things don’t change.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I disagree that this is even remotely political or pertain solely to negro criminals. And I’m no Hilary fan.

            A friend of mine was mugged in Chicago by a teen gang, had his wallet and cellphone stolen, and beat about the head and shoulders.

            That’s what he got for walking around alone outside of his ritzy hotel.

            The perpetrators were latinos and latinas.

            The guy who shot up the La Jolla, CA, pool party yesterday was drunk and White.

            Crime is not exclusive to a particular color of one’s skin.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “just like almost all fearmongering about “crime” we hear 20 years later”

            The FBI race-based violent crime stats paint a very uncomfortable-to-discuss picture.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “very uncomfortable-to-discuss ”

            Only for some. Others don’t buy into all that political correctness and call a spade a spade.

            If we as a civilized society can’t discuss the issue, we will never be able to fix it.

            And it needs fixing.

        • 0 avatar
          Mark MacInnis

          You kid, right? The history of youth gang violence on public transportation in urban areas goes back before Bernie Goetz in NYC…..you may have heard of it? Recent events in Philly, Seattle, Chicago….nothing? Malls in Baltimore?

          The early events may not have been ‘flash mobs’ per se, if by that definition social media must be used for ‘planning’…but these were either planned or spontaneous multiple violent crimes against people and property in public places near public transportation hubs committed by brazen, stupid, dangerous people who have the perception they have little to lose.

          Which is why I concealed-carry. And train (as much as one can) for how to deal with such happenstance. 12 rounds of .40 caliber insurance for the peace and health of myself and my loved ones; all in one, easy to carry package. (Better to have it and never need it, than to need it and not have it.)

          YMMV.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        How many rail car flash mob robberies have occurred in your city?

        Is it possible that rural Ohio is not directly comparable to Oakland?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Zero, but when someone develops an app for that – watch out.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          “Is it possible that rural Ohio is not directly comparable to Oakland?”

          Columbus is “rural?”

          psst- not everything outside of NYC or SoCal/Bay Area is tumbleweeds and cow pasture.

          Yes, there are stretches of highway *between* metro areas which are pretty sparse (many of which I motored past this weekend going to and from Dayton) but Columbus metro is over 2m people.

          that’s not “rural.”

          • 0 avatar
            bikegoesbaa

            Jack said there has never been a carjacking in “his city”.

            I do not know what city he is referencing, but given that fact it is most certainly *not* Columbus proper.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            that doesn’t make it “rural.”

          • 0 avatar
            bikegoesbaa

            I’ve spent a good amount of time in the Columbus area.

            Within 15 miles East and West of downtown Columbus things get decidedly rural. You can see the actual crop rows for yourself on Google Maps.

            I’m not sure where Jack is claiming as “his city” but if “no carjackings ever” is accurate I’d expect it’s geographically closer to an operating farm than it is to the Statehouse.

      • 0 avatar
        notwhoithink

        You are being disingenuous here, Jack. Your “city” is really more of a village, and we’re talking about an affluent bedroom community outside of Columbus with a population of 11,500 and a mean housing price that is twice the national average. Of course you haven’t had carjackings there.

        But go 10-15 minutes south of where you live to the Columbus proper and it’s a different story. Do a little googling and you’ll find plenty of news stories about carjackings in Columbus.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      The issue it that mass transit stops in bad neighborhoods while individual car owners choose to either avoid those areas or travel through them at highway speed without stopping. An individual car owner can almost completely eliminate the risk of carjacking with their choice of where and when to buy gasoline. It’s also much more convenient to carry a gun in a car than under your clothes so the carjacking risk vs. reward calculation shifts in areas where car owners are armed.

  • avatar
    kcflyer

    Hopefully all of the attackers are in the country illegally. That way they wont have to worry about ramifications in this sanctuary city. On the other hand if these folks are citizens they run the risk of a sternly worded talking to. Another thought, maybe the California legislature should consider banning assault smart phones like those used to coordinate this mob. Fortunately they have done an effective job of disarming the non criminal citizens so the mob did not have to factor in armed resistance to their plot.

    • 0 avatar
      delow48

      YES..ban the assault smartphones and high capacity texts and tweets!

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      In my experience, you don’t have to worry much about illegal immigrants – they’re scared to death of being booked. If there’s a problem, it’s that many of them drive exactly at the speed limit. Someone should tell them that it makes them stand out.

      But being able to arrest illegal immigrants for other crimes is the benefit and the raison d’etre of the sanctuary city policy. Before, neighborhoods with illegal immigrants would not cooperate with the police at all. You couldn’t get any information out of them, so you couldn’t follow leads, track people down, etc. The sanctuary city thing is basically an agreement – the local police will ignore one part of the law (illegal immigration) in exchange for being able to do the rest of our job. Likewise, if you let them get drivers’ licenses they’re more likely to have insurance and not run away after an accident. Makes life easier for the rest of us.

      • 0 avatar
        kcflyer

        I wish i could believe that your reasons were in fact the reasons for sanctuary policies. It sounds reasonable. However, even if that were the motivation, the policies have a much wider impact. Case in point, the refusal of left leaning politicians (and cowardly weenies on the right) to support Kate’s law.

    • 0 avatar
      Salzigtal

      BART has the capacity to “ban” smart phones in the underground portions of the system and has turned off the repeaters in the past. But only against demonstrators, not muggers.

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    TheTruthAboutPublicTransit.com

    LastMinuteCNNDredging.org

    DogAteHomework.net

  • avatar
    carguy

    In other news the US homicide rate is the lowest since 1963 but crime stories continue to make popular and convenient filler for news organizations.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    As others have mentioned sheer fear mongering click bait.
    Why not an article on how dangerous it is to go to school. After all how many were killed/injured in this incident.
    And how many die each year in shootings/mass shootings at American public/high schools/colleges and universities.

    Maybe the POTUS should eliminate all public education in order to save lives?

    • 0 avatar
      Willyam

      Arthur,
      May I submit my goofy state for a beta test. 1 out of 5 school districts are already down to 4 day weeks, and teachers are bailing out like they want an actual salary, or something.

      Of course, part of the test is how dangerous our streets will get on Fridays when there’s no place for these kids to actually BE during the day…

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      Betsy is on it!

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Übermensch beat me to it.

        I do believe that the key reason why Republicans are pushing for privatization of schools and vouchers is a way to ensure party survival. Indoctrinate kids young and you got them for life. Higher education statistically shifts people to a centrist or liberal viewpoint.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          “I do believe that the key reason why Republicans are pushing for privatization of schools and vouchers is a way to ensure party survival.”

          I agree. I bet that’s the core of it.

          Just like the current colleges and universities have tried to indoctrinate young people to the liberal lefty agenda mindset, now that the GOP is in power that is exactly what they are trying to reverse.

          So, maybe, instead of autonomous cars, we’ll see the next group of right-wing indoctrinated college graduates revert back to cars and driving themselves.

          Should increase the SAAR of 2020.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            “Should increase the SAAR of 2020.”

            [Citation needed]

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Remind me at the end of Calendar Year 2020. Maybe ttac will publish the 2020 SAAR too.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            highdesertcat – academia looks at things from a scientific approach. It is hard to remain doctrinaire Conservative when applying “the scientific approach” to things like LGBT, Global Warming, poverty,and criminality for example.

            Another failing that gets chewed up by academia is the “moral majority” attempt to justify all sorts of things via citing the bible and hiding behind Christianity.
            Christ was inclusive. He wasn’t anti-gay, or looked down upon the impoverished. You don’t even need to be a liberal academic to read the “New Testament.”

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            We each have to live by the beliefs and tenets that best personify us.

            Like most Americans, I tolerate everything unless it starts to trample on my rights or my liberty and the pursuit of my happiness.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @HDC – “We each have to live by the beliefs and tenets that best personify us.
            Like most Americans, I tolerate everything unless it starts to trample on my rights or my liberty and the pursuit of my happiness.”

            Irony, oh the irony.

            How does LGBT, academia, liberalism et al trample your rights or the pursuit of happiness?

            You come across as a big #emptypotus supporter and said he has accomplished many things in 100 days but by your own admission has spent most of your time outside of the the USA.

            Why is that?

            “We each have to live by the beliefs and tenets that best personify us.”

            You do and so do most.

            We have to live by beliefs and tenets that personify what is the best in us.

            In Matthew 7:12: Jesus said, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them,” adding, “for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

            I’ve said this before, “one does not search for truth, one searches for validation of one’s beliefs.”

            A country will never be able to sort itself out as long as one fails to search for the truth.

        • 0 avatar
          Salzigtal

          Both Nixon & Reagan complained that college students were too educated for their own good. Protesting the war & resisting the draft. Been diverting $ from public education ever since.

    • 0 avatar
      Salzigtal

      Currently working on it as we speak. No telling how many billionaires lives will be saved.

  • avatar
    RedRocket

    Where’s Bernie Goetz when you need him?

    I thought Americans all walked around packing heat? Is California a gun control state? That mob should bless their lucky stars there weren’t a few people on board with weaponry.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      My thoughts, too.

      “…would-be BART users all around the Bay Area have to be asking themselves: Is this likely to happen again?”

      They’re probably also asking themselves if they want to become the next Bernhard Goetz, as Jack alluded to.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      RedRocket, it’s hard to use a gun against a mob on a train car. A train car inherently needs to let large numbers of people enter quickly and it’s difficult for the armed passenger to quickly determine who is an attacker and who is simply riding the train. Even if local and state laws allow you to use deadly force against an attacker, you can be arrested and sued if you injure or kill an innocent bystander.

    • 0 avatar
      doublechili

      “Where’s Bernie Goetz when you need him?”

      Can you imagine if that happened now?

      “You don’t look so bad. Here’s another.”

    • 0 avatar
      Salzigtal

      California has been a gun control state since the Black Panther’s March on Sacramento.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        ?Izzat so ? .
        .
        Funny thing ~ I live in two cities , Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley and both are chock full of idiots with guns both long and side typ, shooting them willy – nilly and killing more innocents than bad folks .
        .
        Of late I’ve been following the crimes reports from lovely and bucolic Pasadena, Ca. where a gang war has flared up once again and random drive by shootings / robberies of Citizens are off the charts this year already .
        .
        -Nate

  • avatar
    Chan

    I’m sure some variation of this type of robbery has happened anywhere that mass transit runs through poverty-stricken areas. Harlem, south Chicago, etc.

    BART is vulnerable because it is only used by a small minority of commuters. The majority of people in California drive cars. As a result, the demand for actual police protection has not reached critical mass.

    NY has dedicated transit police. Even Hong Kong, where violent crime is practically zero compared to ‘Murica, has a dedicated “Railways District” in its police force.

    That said, I’m not too hot about riding BART through Oakland again.

    Correction: BART Police does exist, but my point stands–barring eradication of poverty and crime, the demand for increased police staffing and training for around-the-clock protection on and around BART property is the issue.

  • avatar
    gasser

    When does Skynet go live?

  • avatar
    srh

    I’m no fan of mass transit, but also no fan of sensationalism.

    Here’s what I gather from reading the article you linked. 40-60 teenagers jumped the turnstiles. That’s bad. Seven people got robbed. That’s bad. But it’s hardly an indictment of mass transit.

    I can think of a gazillion other places this could have happened. Shopping mall. Movie theater. Grocery store. Greenpeace conference. Trump rally. Any New York city street.

    There are plenty of reasons to dislike mass transit, but this isn’t one of them.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      yeah. the church I grew up in had to fence off their yearly spring fair last year and use controlled entry/exit points because the year prior a couple dozen teenagers decided to show up and cause trouble.

      undisciplined teenagers *are the problem.* Not mass transit. people (of all walks of life) put more thought into what case they want for their iPhones than they do having kids.

    • 0 avatar
      Kendahl

      A year or so ago, a mob of teenagers did the same inside a Kroger supermarket.

  • avatar
    orenwolf

    Jack,

    Thanks for taking time in the article to focus not just on this commuters who take BART “by choice”, but also those who can’t afford other means of transportation and need to take BART to be employed.

    I’m sure your suggestion to “re-evaluate” their choices will be a breath of fresh air to the folks *dependant* on public transportation to make a living.

    It’s always great to see an article that isn’t just skewed towards the “privileged masses” saving a few bucks and ratcheting up public transit rhetoric vs the rabble!

    • 0 avatar
      Chan

      One could also argue that the cost of taking BART every day rivals the cost to own and maintain a cheap used car.

      • 0 avatar
        orenwolf

        Have you tried paying for parking in most of the Bay Area? Or heck, bridge tolls?

        Or is your suggestion that those without vehicles are just making poor financial decisions? That if they just *tried a little harder* they’d see that they should totally go and get a car?

        • 0 avatar
          Chan

          No, I’m trying to argue that while BART *COULD* have absolve a nearby resident of the hassle of owning, registering and insuring a car, it isn’t really that much cheaper in terms of monthly cash flow. A very very rough calculation:

          $8 in BART rides per work day * 5 days * 5 weeks = $200 in a 5-week period.

          $6 in gas per work day * 5 days * 5 weeks + $12 pro-rata registration + $20 pro-rata maintenance on a reliable old car + $25 pro-rata insurance = $207 in a 5-week period.

          That plus relying on public transportation severely limits your mobility in most American metro areas. That is a damper on economic opportunity, if you want to stretch that line of thinking.

          Not sure where the parking issue comes from–usually if I need to pay to park, it’s for consumption/leisure and not work. Most people need to actually drive to park at the BART station, too. And that isn’t free, either!

          • 0 avatar
            orenwolf

            Your comment comes across as someone who’s never been struggling to make ends meet. Do you think someone living paycheck-to-paycheck should *really* choose an “old-but-reliable” car for “roughly” the same cost as BART, given that at any moment the car could have a failure they cannot afford to fix?

            You’ve also left out that most BART trips transit at least one bridge you have to pay to cross in a vehicle of $4-7.50 per day depending on the bridge.

            Also, yes, it’s quite likely that in most areas of the bay area, parking is going to cost you *somewhere*. the geography of the area limits the free space.

            yes, you’re right – if the stars align you might get a car that needs no repairs, a job with no fees for commuting or parking, and be able to break even on BART fees while gaining the ability to use a car. But it’s not the foregone conclusion you make it out to be.

            I worked in that area on and off for nearly a decade, right in downtown SF. The *vast majority* of employees took BART, Muni or the ferries to get to and from home, because it was both more convenient, *and* less expensive than commuting.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “usually if I need to pay to park, it’s for consumption/leisure and not work.”

            You must never have worked in a city center… where a disproportionate number of the jobs are.

            Expect to pay multiple hundreds of dollars per month to park in the center of any reasonably large city.

            And, as already pointed out, you are also ignoring that many if not most BART commutes would involve a toll bridge if made by car.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            @orenwolf

            “Your comment comes across as someone who’s never been struggling to make ends meet.”

            I know it’s satire, but I’ve encountered too many people who actually are this tone deaf:

            http://www.theonion.com/blogpost/an-open-letter-to-a-starving-child-10972

          • 0 avatar
            Salzigtal

            What part of the $207 buys the car? How do I get free parking in downtown SF?

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        But not to park it in the places you’re probably going if you’re using BART.

        If I had to drive to my job in downtown Seattle every day, I’d have to buy a $350/month parking pass, with about half of that in post-tax dollars. Meanwhile, my employer is able to take advantage of a “commute trip reduction” program that gets me a monthly unlimited transit pass for $50 in pre-tax dollars. I bus about half the time and walk about half the time.

        • 0 avatar
          orenwolf

          The bigger irony here is that Jack has *totally done a post on the costs of parking* and how unfair it is to him, where it is a minor (or well, maybe significant, I shouldn’t assume wealth levels) annoyance.

          As someone who, in the past, absolutely *could not* afford a vehicle of any kind, fuel, parking and insurance to get to my job, and instead endured a 90 minute (each way!) commute, this article really speaks to me of trying to make an event fit an agenda. The implied “fact” that people just need to “choose” to not take public transit and stop lobbying for the otherwise useless (and now dangerous!) mode of transportation.

          I mean, I know the US isn’t like most other urbanized countries in that there’s a lot more land out there, so living in detached homes and having free parking and whatnot is more a reality there than almost anywhere else, but the Bay area is a bloody expensive place to own a vehicle in, and even if you’re coming from the outskirts (where you may well live in a suburban area) into the cities, the same is almost certainly not true if you are parking your vehicle at the usual endpoints of those journies. They make Jack’s woes in OH with parking costs look like peanuts.

          And then we can get into the REAL pedantry, like 27k motor vehicle deaths in 2016.. how many folks died on public transit, even adjusted for ridership?

          Public transit sucks. Everywhere. But it’s not a choice of convenience for as many people as Jack seems to think (because I refuse to believe the alternative, that he only cares to mention the people for which it *is* a choice).

          So many better angles this article could have come from.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          “I’d have to buy a $350/month parking pass”

          IMO, that’s a worthwhile $350. It would probably take about $800/month to get me on a bus or train.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            That’s, more or less, the money it takes to keep both my Lexus and Acura running. I’d rather have interesting cars for the times when driving is fun than drive to work in a $99/month Cruze when the bus runs almost literally door to door.

        • 0 avatar
          Jagboi

          Parking in the downtown building I used to work in was $700/month. When my boss went on holidays he let me use his parking spot and I drove for a few days. It was quicker to take the train and much less stressful, not to mention no wear and tear on my car. I’ll take transit every time thanks.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Many jobs can be done via telecommuting, green minded folks should start promoting (or demanding) more of this.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I can do 75% of my job from home, but I don’t because my office is a much more peaceful and productive work environment than a house that contains two young children and a neverending supply of repairs, hobbies and distractions.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      As soon as I get my sarcasm detector back from the shop I’m gonna wave it over this comment…

      • 0 avatar
        Salzigtal

        A friend commuted on purpose so he could listen to music his teenagers hated. He called it 90 minutes of “me time”. Then sitting in traffic made sense.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Although California has tight restrictions on firearms, self defense is strongly supported. The state has “castle doctrine” by statute and “stand your ground” through case law. Concealed carry permits are issued by the sheriff of the county in which you reside. A few sheriffs are cooperative. Permits are valid throughout the state including in counties that never issue them.

    • 0 avatar
      psychoboy

      It would appear that SF county is, in effect, a ‘no issue’ county. It seems as though the San Fran sheriff is not one to sign off on many licenses.

      According to this Vice article from last year, only 10 CCW permits exist in SF county: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/i-got-a-concealed-carry-gun-permit-i-cant-even-use

      Further, I would almost certainly bet that it’s illegal to carry a gun onto the BART system, even if you had a permit.

      Looking for validation my assumption, I found an article that says the BART director has 1 of the 222 permits authorized by the Alameda County Sheriff: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/BART-director-got-concealed-gun-permit-cites-7238888.php

      this dec 2013 article references another look at permits in the bay area, finding only 1600 for all 9 counties: https://gunculture2point0.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/the-calguns-foundation-and-licenses-to-carry-concealed-weapons-in-san-francisco-and-other-counties-in-california/

      —just some more info on the situation.

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    Another big reason for me is germs. They’re unavoidable on mass transit. If you yourself don’t get sick you’ll take them home and infect your kids.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Hate to say it, but germs are just as unavoidable in your kitchen and bathroom. And if you try to kill them with constant overuse of antibiotic cleaning products, you’ll just make them a lot stronger.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Plus we actually need certain germs and bacteria to live, and to produce certain foodstuffs.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        Nearly all of the germs in your kitchen and bathroom hitched a ride in you to get there so your body’s immune system is already tuned to them.

        Germs don’t make you sick. New germs make you sick.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          “hitched a ride in you to get there”

          Or the chicken you bought that wasn’t packed right, or the bottom of your box of crackers, or your cat’s paws, or a fly’s feet, or random dust that came through the window, or all the mites and gnats you can’t see. The idea that public places are infection-infested swamps of disgustingness while our houses keep us clean and sparkly is just totally wrong.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            I’m primarily concerned about the viruses that cause colds and flu. That’s why I avoid touching things in public and wash my hands when I get home.

            I’ll take my chances with the fly’s feet and the random dust.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            I had salmonellosis a couple of years ago. I’ll gladly take a week of cold symptoms over one day of salmonellosis.

            Or norovirus for that matter.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            Bad hygiene and poor food sources/preparation of all types should be avoided. I suppose I’ve been fortunate to have not experienced any severe intestinal infections, so I still think in terms of the most basic infectious agents.

            I prefer not to even think that a door handle has been touched by someone with vomit or fecal matter on their hands. I just assume that someone coughed into their hand and smeared it on the handle at some recent point. That’s plenty of imagery to convince me to wash my hands.

            But these things wouldn’t scare me off of mass transit. I don’t even think it’s as bad as dining out or buying groceries in that regard. I avoid mass transit because it makes me feel like cattle.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          “Germs don’t make you sick. New germs make you sick.”

          No.

          Our own “flora and fauna” can make us sick. Too many of them and/or if they get into a place they aren’t supposed to be and you will be sick.

          @DrZ – correct.

          @dal20402 – true. I get a kick out of those “kills 99% on contact” advertisements. Since there are trillions of bacteria, what happens to the surviving bugs?

          Kelly Clarkson has a song that covers that.

    • 0 avatar
      Salzigtal

      You kids, with their underdeveloped immune systems will bring home more germs from their classmates. Riding transit will help you develop a more robust immune system. Europeans’ exposure to domestic animals and the resulting anti-bodies is 1/3 of the triad that decimated the first nations in the Americas. See: Guns, Germs and Steel.

  • avatar
    pbx

    If it was a ‘flash mob’ it was obviously a performance piece and everybody had a good time. jk

  • avatar
    MPAVictoria

    Always amazes me how big of cowards right wingers are.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Public transit isn’t the answer (well the current “public” at least).

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Depends on your circumstances. It’s a great answer for me.

      As an everyday rider for something like 25 of my 40 years, I’ve never been threatened and only seen a couple of scary situations. As a driver for five years, I was threatened once with a knife, but talked the dude off the bus (and got a round of applause for it). There’s a lot more reason for fear if you’re standing on a deserted street, whether in the city or the suburbs.

      • 0 avatar
        Sloomis

        it was a great answer for me for many years too, when I worked in downtown Chicago. The alternative would have been taking twice as long to drive and paying ten times as much for parking over train fare.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’ve used it more abroad than here, but I have never been in an instance where I felt threatened. Yet, here is a situation where a large group of people appeared to wreck havoc on ordinary riders. This won’t be the last and as we have seen the police will be ineffectual at best.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          There is a relatively cheap and simple solution to such a crime. And most transit systems probably have it in place.

          Video cameras in each car. Emergency pushbuttons/strips in each car. Somebody pushes the strip/button.

          The train then proceeds non-stop to a station where the police have assembled. Rather than having the police have to go to the station.

          The perpetrators cannot leave the train until it stops.

          OK, what about hostages? Probably zero chance as their are too many doors to guard and it is very easy for the police to activate stun grenades/tear gas, etc when the train does stop at their station.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Most of the time this would work, until someone with a death wish shows up takes advantage of the stopped car.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The problem then is that pranksters will push the button to disrupt people.

            Instead of protecting against an event that has happened once in the 120-year history of American mass transit, maybe we should focus on the routine problems that happen every day. More police presence at stations, where more problems happen than on cars, would be the best way to take care of that.

            But a much bigger risk per capita than anything you’ll find on the transit system comes from drunk, phone-addled, or otherwise impaired drivers. If you’re a train rider, you’re far more likely to get hit while in a crosswalk outside the station than you are to be mugged in the station.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Even if magically there were more police officers I think they have to be allowed to do their jobs, and also prosecutors willing to prosecute.’

            I do also hope this was an isolated incident, as you point out, and not a prelude.

  • avatar
    shedkept

    @Kendahl: California is a “may issue” state like; “it may rain or it may snow”. Only .00089% out of 39,000,000 people have one.

    • 0 avatar
      srh

      Closer to 0.2%. A lot closer.

      • 0 avatar
        psychoboy

        This link says there were about 7million people in the nine counties of the SF bay area in 2010: http://www.bayareacensus.ca.gov/bayarea.htm

        This link says there were about 1600 permits in the nine counties of the SF bay area in 2013: http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2013/11/20/lawsuits-prompt-bay-area-sheriffs-to-issue-concealed-weapons-permits/

        1600/7000000 = 0.000228…

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Diversity is our strength.
    Just keep repeating that to yourself.
    .
    .

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      History has demonstrated that most nations that ‘win’ a war in reality create additional unforeseen long term consequences, for their own nation.

      The United States wins the Mexican-American War(s) and eventually annexes nearly 50% of Mexico’s original territory. In return within the next 50 years, the largest single language spoken in the USA will be Spanish.

      The Union wins the American Civil War. In return they retain a bunch of unrepentant, ‘small government’, ‘states rights’, pro-Confederacy types who eventually overturn the ideals that the Union stood for.

      The British create the single greatest empire in history. In return when they withdraw from those territories, a great many of the indigenous people who have become acclimatized to British culture emigrate their.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        “The United States wins the Mexican-American War(s) and eventually annexes nearly 50% of Mexico’s original territory. ”

        It’s like the Mexicans have always proclaimed that they (the illegal alien Mexicans) didn’t cross the border, the border crossed them.

        What made it worse was when the US needed labor at the onset of WWII and opened the flood gates to the US.

        The US is more to blame for the illegal alien problem of today than any of the foreigners.

        I hope Trump will fix it, but I doubt that he can, with the GOP, the “crats and the Fake News Media all working against him.

        • 0 avatar
          Salzigtal

          Oddly enough, arresting those who hire un-documented workers never gets any traction. Must be the Congressional Nannies Union blocking the reforms.

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            “Oddly enough, arresting those who hire un-documented workers never gets any traction. Must be the Congressional Nannies Union blocking the reforms.”
            .
            No, it’s the lying cowards who got all the breaks and then want to pull the ladder up behind them .
            .
            The only ‘TRUE AMERICANS’ are not White, they’re Indians .
            .
            My people are Scots-Irish and came here by boat, _ASSIMILATED_ and never brag about how wonderful their crappy countreis were/are, don’t speak in Gallic, have stupid un pronounceable fake ethnic names or any other stupid folderol .
            .
            Almost everyone in America is an immigrant maybe a few generations past .
            .
            If you want to succeed in America, _ASSIMILATE_ .
            .
            Simple .
            .
            Not fair to hate on others because they’re not White, or Black, or Yellow etc.
            .
            I got hassled endlessly and my skinny ass beaten when I was little because I was White ~ that’s as wrong as it is to excuse bad behavior “because they’re (insert non White racial profile here) ” .
            . No one forces por folks or rich assholes to be nasty and dirty but many are .
            .
            Guns and violence as the cowards way out ~ this from one who carried a gun for many years .
            .
            -Nate

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        ” In return within the next 50 years, the largest single language spoken in the USA will be Spanish.”

        You left out a few reasons for why that is other than the Mexican-American war. Details.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        Arthur

        Oh, really?
        Your joking. You must be.
        Cause, in my experience reading history…LOSING wars has the more serious after effects!!
        You even get to write the history.

        Oh…ya, The Mouse That Roared

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          *you’re.

          To address your actual argument, though, Arthur was not saying that the winning side suffers “more serious after effects,” but rather that they suffer “additional unforeseen long term consequences.” There is a difference between the two, so they’re not mutually exclusive.

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            Do you need commas before and after though?

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            AFAICT, yes. It’s considered a “parenthetical element,” which is something that can be removed from the sentence without altering its meaning. This begs the question, “Doesn’t that make it superfluous?” And the answer is, “Yes, kind of.”

            Of course, this is grammar, which is related to but distinct from spelling. And both are unrelated to the argument at hand, which is that mutual exclusivity does not apply here. If you’d like to show how it does, please continue.

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            “Doesn’t that make it superfluous?” And the answer is, “Yes, kind of.”

            ok, look. you started this stupid back n forth with picking on an obviously missed spelling, which had nothing to do with the though path.
            This is an annoying habit of brilliant people, most of whom come from overdosing on the study of language and a starvation diet of life and human dissertation.

            Even over eating suffers from unforeseen long term consequences. But neither one suffers as much as a losing of wars.

            So let’s try to lower the attitude and increase the useful information. Let’s control the hyper-bullcrap.

      • 0 avatar
        Willyam

        Interesting theory. I can think of some as well.

        How about the allies winning WWII? Unintended consequence: The eventual erosion of their auto industry by German and (especially) Japanese competition set up by their own reconstruction efforts.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          @Willyam, The US auto industry provided a significant portion if not the majority of equipment required by the Western Powers in WWII plus what they shipped to the Soviets.

          And in the early 1950’s the British auto industry was the world’s largest auto exporter.

          So how did the industrial and in particular the auto industries in the defeated nations of Germany, Japan (and to an extent Italy) end up fairing 70 years later?

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            whose industries who you rather be, the United States or the Germans or Japanese since the war?
            Even today?
            Whose society, economic or social, would you rather be in at any time period since the war through today?

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            That’s actually a pretty good one to think about. How much weight should we give to where these countries were, and how to much to where they might be going? How will certain industries move around the globe or change their methods?

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            @TrailerTrash. You are correct, in every major study Germany ranks ahead of the USA and in most Japan ranks ahead of the USA in regards to standard of living, quality of life, life expectancy, crime rate, and other objective measurements. Below are just some samples.

            Your ‘Mouse That Road’ analogy seems to be a propos.

            https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/quality-of-life-full-list

            http://uk.businessinsider.com/19-countries-with-the-highest-standard-of-life-according-to-the-social-progress-report-2016-6/#19-united-states-8462-the-us-scraping-into-the-top-20-may-surprise-some-and-the-report-does-call-it-a-disappointment-saying-the-countrys-huge-economy-does-not-translate-into-social-progress-for-many-of-its-citizens-1

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Human_Development_Index

      • 0 avatar
        Salzigtal

        The Allies win WWII, decide to not repeat past mistakes, help Europe & Japan modernize, things stay relatively peaceful. Give us time, when climate change evaporates enough water into the atmosphere to create thirst, WWIII will break out.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    I commute by BART from a suburb to downtown San Francisco. Driving would take twice as long, half of that being time spent on the surface streets of SF, and parking near work would cost $30/day. Instead, I get 45 minutes to read a book or play a mobile game while taking in the scents of my fellow travelers (yes, we have a lot of malodorous professionals here).

    But this incident occurred in Oakland, on a weekend. It’s the station right in front of the A’s/Raiders stadium, and it also connects to the Oakland Airport via a new, smaller train system. In other words, there are good reasons to take mass transit to or through that station. None of us are happy with BART’s punctuality, but it is not as unreliable as traffic.

    The train was probably pretty empty, which is why one family took the brunt of the attack. But by “pretty empty” I don’t mean so empty that you could fire off a few rounds without putting other riders at risk. Please stick to mace! And I say that as someone comfortable with guns.

    I don’t expect BART police to be numerous enough to be immediately available, but it is disappointing that they weren’t able to catch anyone as they left the next station.

    • 0 avatar
      Willyam

      I wondered why no one had mentioned this…if indeed it was a crowded train…any decent non-scatter weapon would go clean through teen attackers, plastic seats, laptops, homeless sleeping passengers, etc.

      Also, how would the legal system respond to (I’m assuming) unarmed teen attackers being confronted by deadly force? In states with stand-your-ground laws the passengers would have a defensible argument, but in California?

      • 0 avatar
        carlisimo

        CA goes by the “reasonable fear of great bodily injury” guideline. Against a mob that’s gotten within striking distance, I think anyone would accept that argument. Not that shooting into a mob that large and that close is necessarily effective – what better way to take down a lone gunman than by mobbing him?

        • 0 avatar
          SirRaoulDuke

          40 against one is definitely reasonable fear. And while I could not shoot all 40, quite a few would get a hole or two in them…maybe more if I have time to reload. Yes, the mob could overwhelm a lone shooter, but most attackers will scramble at the sound of gunfire. It says a lot about their level of personal bravery that they attack in a pack.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            John McClane wannabe.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            How many innocent subway riders would you kill in the crossfire?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Crossfire, you’ll get caught up in the; crossfire.

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            “How many innocent subway riders would you kill in the crossfire?”
            .
            ALL of them if you were properly armed with an old pre plug bad High Standard Riot 12 gauge pump shot gun cut down and loaded with some grape shot….
            .
            -Nate

  • avatar
    Dan

    Vibrant people do vibrant things. To their immediate neighbors, so don’t be one of them.

    The freedom to choose your neighbors is the most important part of what a car is.

  • avatar
    zip89123

    If it was Oakland, it definitely wasn’t teens. It’d be the dindu nuthin crowd.

  • avatar
    JohnB

    Wherever you have concentrations of, eh um, “teens”, you’re going to have this sort of thing.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      you don’t have to use code words, we know “teens” means “black” to you.

      which is BS, because teenagers are sh!theads no matter what color they are. a bunch of them get together with nothing to do, stuff’s going to get wrecked.

      • 0 avatar
        Master Baiter

        “teenagers are sh!theads no matter what color they are”

        Yeah, this sort of thing happens in Japan all the time.

        /s

        .
        .

      • 0 avatar
        JohnB

        On April 22, a “flash mob” of between 40 and 60 people identified by the media as “teens” performed a coordinated mass robbery…

        Go back and read the headline – I think you mean when the media uses the code word “teens” – guess what – e v e r y o n e – including you, knows what that means.

        Unless of course they’re talking about those darned Amish kids – ‘cause day be crazy. (just kidding, I’m sure Amish kids are cool)

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        “which is BS, because teenagers are sh!theads no matter what color they are. a bunch of them get together with nothing to do, stuff’s going to get wrecked.”

        What did you wreck? Did you stretch all of your mom’s shoes out of shape?

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          What value does that comment add to this discussion?

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Maybe it’s too nuanced for you. I’m pointing out that JimZ is completely delusional. High school kids wrecking their parents cars and toilet papering their school’s rejects aren’t the same thing as delinquents marauding on commuter trains, and anyone who can’t tell the difference should try to hide their feeble intellects. Sorry if that hits too close to home.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          “Did you stretch all of your mom’s shoes out of shape?”

          “Maybe it’s too nuanced for you.”

          Went from calling people snowflakes to cross-dressers.

          Yeah…

          DrZ’s comment still stands:

          “What value does that comment add to this discussion?”

          ZERO

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        @masterbaiter: Yeah, this sort of thing happens in Japan all the time.

        You’re so right:

        http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/japans-frustrated-youth-a-ticking-crime-bomb

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A50678-2004Aug8.html

        http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/01/31/national/media-national/changing-motives-behind-juvenile-crime-japan/

        • 0 avatar
          -Nate

          “and anyone who can’t tell the difference should try to hide their feeble intellects. Sorry if that hits too close to home.”
          .
          ! HEY ! read my posts, I’m pretty feeble minded and even I can tell the difference .
          .
          -Nate

        • 0 avatar
          Master Baiter

          “@masterbaiter: Yeah, this sort of thing happens in Japan all the time.”

          Nice try, but the FIRST paragraph of your first link contains, “Violent crime rates in Japan are dropping and homicide rates are at all-time lows…”

          I’ve ridden public transit in Japan. You can leave your wallet on the seat, leave the train; come back later and it would still be there.

          We live in a Max Max movie; people are just too ignorant of history and other cultures to recognize it, or they’re too strapped with guilt to hold certain “teens” to the standards they hold their own children to.
          .
          .

  • avatar
    -Nate

    OBVIOUS FAKE NEWS ! .
    .
    I mean, seriously ~ I grew up riding public transport and I have never, _EVER_ seen a rail/trolly/subway car as clean and nice as the one in Jack’s initial photo ! .
    .
    Get real please .
    .
    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      Salzigtal

      Good call. It must be from the BART Museum. Or @ 4:55 AM. Those are the original upholstered seats which are being phased out. I think it’s after the carpet has been replaced with “roll goods”.

  • avatar

    Because of climate change and rising (falling) temperatures this kind of attacks will happen more and more often. What happens in California is a precursor of things coming to other states and to eventually to the world. At some point the European countries as a whole will be subject of flash mob attacks considering billions of people living in despair in Africa and climate change motivating them to come and take over Europe.

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    I take the SF Bay ferry to work. No flash mob robberies so far. I do worry about pirates sometimes.

  • avatar
    cdrmike

    Shoot the leader.

  • avatar
    Shortest Circuit

    Sigh. Absentee parents, broken homes, etc… why bother fixing the cause of the problem when untold amounts can be spent fixing the reoccurring results?

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Shortest Circuit – fixing the problem costs money upfront whereas “for profit” prisons make money. Selling guns due to fear makes money. Moving people into cars makes money.

  • avatar

    An armed society is a polite society.

  • avatar
    mike99

    The problem is that they truly do get slapped on the hand. Harsher punishment for a few caught would go a long way to discourage others. This is a violent crime and should be prosecuted as such regardless of the age Just my opinion though.

  • avatar
    Salzigtal

    Stupid kids, if they had waited for https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SantaCon they could have stolen all the presents & had disguises.


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