By on June 7, 2016

alternatives

“Just because you’re paranoid,” my father used to joke, “it doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.” WMATA, the metro rail system of Washington, DC, has long been infamous for subpar service, indifferent adherence to schedule, and a truly staggering amount of crime that includes over 100 reported felony assaults in a four-year period.

Starting today, however, WMATA added a new nightmare for commuters who have already been brutalized into submission: the “SafeTrack” program that features maintenance “surges” to replace dangerous and degraded sections of railway. The resulting closures and delays have riders looking for alternatives to WMATA — but isn’t WMATA supposed to be an alternative to owning and operating a private automobile? What’s at the end of this “alternative” rabbit hole?

But if you needed another reason to quit WMATA besides WMATA asking you to quit, there’s a very good “alternative” reason out there as well: roving gangs of rapists.


battery

I have to admit that I hesitated to put the above photo up. The three men in the photo are wanted for approaching a female WMATA rider, demanding that she perform sexual acts on them, and then holding her down for a solid session of sexual battery.

The problem, obviously, is that the three fellows above just look like they were conjured up to fit the racist imaginations of neo-Nazi #AltRight Reddit shitposters. So I looked through every person-of-interest post put up by MetroTransitPD, hoping to find a white guy that I could use instead of, or possibly in conjunction with, the police photo of these fine citizens. I didn’t find any. I suppose if I want the DC Metro Police to put a photo of a white criminal in the subway I’m going to have to go there myself and steal somebody’s iPhone. The closest I could come to a photo that depicts a non-PoC person of interest was this:

predator

I think there is a solid chance that the criminal shown in the photo on the left is actually a Predator alien. But the problem with that is that the actor who played the Predator, Kevin Peter Hall, is also a person of color. So there’s no getting away from it. Readers, I apologize.

In all seriousness, however, this series of unfortunate events adroitly demonstrates the primary issues with mass transit. Issue the First: Once you agree to get rid of your car or motorcycle and become part of the “mass transit solution”, you have all the rights and clout of a sheep in the abattoir. By its very definition and nature, government-controlled mass transit is a monopoly. You have two choices: like it, or lump it. That’s how you get things like a “maintenance surge” in place of an intelligently conceived longevity plan. By all accounts, WMATA is half make-work project for otherwise unemployable idiots and half utter catastrophe — and that was before SafeTrack.

Issue the Second is that you’re simply not safe in the DC subway. The District Of Columbia bans the public possession of most weapons, right down to “knives of three inches or above”. Gun law in DC could be the subject of an entire War and Peace-sized book but it’s fair to say that where possible the powers that be in the District will aggressively prosecute, not to say persecute, anybody who dares to defend themselves with a pistol. The end result, perhaps the intended result, of this legal climate is to make it impossible for law-abiding, employed, tax-paying citizens to use anything but hands and feet in self-defense. This is awesome news if you’re Steven Seagal circa 1985. It’s less awesome if you’re under six-five and/or not able to fight off three full-grown men at the same time.

No surprise, then, that the three dudes in the above photo feel completely free to wander through the subway and demand that women perform fellatio on them. Who’s going to stop them? The DC Metro Police? They’re conspicuous by their absence. WMATA employees? They don’t care. Maybe Batman?

Speaking plainly and personally, if I saw that crew raping a woman on the subway I would consider my obligation to that woman versus my obligation to feed and clothe my son for the next eleven years, a feat I could not accomplish from a hospital bed, a motorized wheelchair, or a morgue, and I’d leave the white-knight act to someone else.

It’s possible, just possible, that at the age of forty-four, with bad joints and oft-broken limbs, I might be able to scrap one of them to a standstill. I have a reasonable background in the martial arts. Reasonable for a writer, anyway. If they catch me on a day when I’m feeling my oats and my knees work. But all three of them? Somehow I doubt they even know who the Marquess of Queensberry was. Nah, bro, you guys do your thing. I’ll be over here playing Slither.io on my Samsung if anybody needs to be carried to the hospital afterwards.

The real future of mass transit is an automated one: individualized, safe, clean modules taking customers to individual destinations. Five hundred years from now, our descendants will regard the idea of the subway the way we regard the idea of using leeches to heal disease. (Yeah, yeah, save your links about modern usage of leeches, you Aspies.) In the meantime, however, the best way to deal with mass transit is this: view it at a distance, from behind the windshield of an S-Class. You know, the way the people who run DC — the people who say that you need to use WMATA — do.

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190 Comments on “Washington Metro Asks Riders To Find Two Things: An Alternative To Mass Transit, And Some Would-Be Rapists...”


  • avatar

    BULLETS turn “rape” into “attempted rape”

    Regardless what the Liberals try to tell you: You have a 2nd Amendment right.

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      I have a theory that serial rapists collect whistles and WalMart-grade keychain pepper sprays the same way General Grievous collected lightsabers.

    • 0 avatar
      caelaorn

      I wish you the best of luck following your own advice in DC. Like Jack says you assuredly will be punished harsher than the perpetrators of whatever crime you were trying to stop.

      • 0 avatar

        Better to be judged by twelve than carried by 6.

        The handgun bans for LAW ABIDING CITIZENS are nothing more than measures taken by liberals to ensure that their criminal buddies don’t wind up getting blown away when they attempt to commit crimes.

        FORTUNATELY reality over-rules all law.

        We, the people, will not be held hostage to the LUNATIC LEFT.

        • 0 avatar
          Piston Slap Yo Mama

          BTSR – you see the world as a cartoon caricature of cliches. I’m a left leaning progressive who will outshoot you at the pistol range. My tree-hugging friends don’t want to take everyone’s guns away either – that’s a fear-mongering fabrication of your favorite ‘news’ outlets. On this topic you & I see eye to eye: I’d rather plug these guys with my Glock and face the fallout of illegally packing heat than not having it to begin with.

          • 0 avatar
            pragmatist

            A woman in Denmark used mace to fend off a rapist. SHE was charged with illegal weapon.

            Gotta love Europe.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            ” My tree-hugging friends don’t want to take everyone’s guns away either – that’s a fear-mongering fabrication of your favorite ‘news’ outlets. ”

            This isn’t hypothetical. Where your “tree-hugging friends” run things, like DC, they exactly did take the guns away. You can’t (legally) buy them, you certainly can’t carry them outside your home where you’re likely to be attacked, often as not you need to drive an hour or two to even shoot them.

            You can relax and enjoy it.

          • 0 avatar
            Dave M.

            Here in Texas (pregnant Ron White pause), we might have what y’all call a different viewpoint in regards to gun ownership.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            “On this topic you & I see eye to eye: I’d rather plug these guys with my Glock and face the fallout of illegally packing heat than not having it to begin with.”

            As long as you realize that you said obviating the 2nd amendment was a fabrication of the news agency whose reporting you don’t like and admitted that it was a reality perpetrated by the Democrats where they can get away with it simultaneously.

          • 0 avatar
            Piston Slap Yo Mama

            Dan: according to the Wiki on gun ownership in D.C. you can buy handguns there – and also provisionally get a permit to conceal carry them.
            If anyone finds that the Wiki I’m linking to is wrong, plz let us know.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws_in_the_District_of_Columbia
            And I stand by my contention: my liberal friends largely would not vote to abolish gun ownership. Except for Mike – he really *hates* guns.

        • 0 avatar
          ect

          Trumpian bloviating.

          More guns = more gun deaths. The US has a gun death rate that is MUCH higher than that of other Western countries, thanks to the empty-headed gun mania of the unintelligent. In some states, gun death rates either near or (Alaska) exceed that of Mexico.

          But the right-wing gun nuts don’t care about facts.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            In 1993, there were 7 gun homicides per 100,000 Americans and .94 guns per person. In 2013, there were 3.6 gun homicides per 100,000 Americans and 1.45 guns per person. That’s a 50% increase in guns per capita and a 50% decrease in gun homicides. Who doesn’t care about facts?

    • 0 avatar
      yamahog

      The 2nd amendment doesn’t exist so you can protect yourself, it exists so you/a well-regulated militia can protect the state.

      The right to protect yourself (up to using lethal force) is an element of the ‘common law’ basis of our legal system.

      In DC, it would be much easier to take an affirmative defense to manslaughter / murder if you used your hands than if you used a gun. In fact, I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that you’d catch a gun charge and would get a pass on the lethal self-defense.

      But by all means, go walk around DC with a hand gun and explain to a police officer that you have a 2nd amendment right to do so.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      Please show me the conservative congress critters that think visitors to the capitol carrying guns will make it safer. Not the schools our kids go to, the building they work in. Lets test it there first.

  • avatar
    NoID

    *slow clap*

  • avatar
    319583076

    Nature’s cruel, Staros.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I lived in Northern VA for a number of years before moving to Chicago and I used the METRO almost daily in my time there. Just to get it out of the way, it is a [email protected] system, full of problems brought on by years of neglect and poor management. But in the end, it does work well for the majority of people. The problem is that it is a commuter system and not a true public system as is Boston, NYC, or Chicago. I would bet you can overlay the METRO crime statistics over the “bad” parts of the DC metro area and see strong correlation. Plenty of areas run safely and without issue (e.g Northern VA).

    As far as the METRO police. Rarely, rarely ever see them and you never see employees on a train. The METRO employment is the equivalent of a DC social service program.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      You left NoVa and went to Chicago? Has anyone ever even suggested to you that life can be worth living?

    • 0 avatar
      ect

      Jack’s article is uninformed fear-mongering, pure and simple.

      Our daughter and son-in-law have used the Metro for more than a decade, at all hours and without incident. We’ve been regular visitors to DC/NoVA since 2003,with similar experience.

      It is very clear that Metro has been a political football, and often orphan. The Feds, MD and VA all want the service, but don’t want to pay to maintain it. With predictable results. And now, the system has reached a point where the “deferred maintenance” bill must be paid.

      Reality is that it is simply not possible to build and maintain enough roads to meet traffic demand. In urban areas, mass transit is the only feasible solution, as city after city has discovered.

      In most Western cities, mass transit is the core system for delivering people to and from their jobs. That’s reality, from which there is no escape.

      • 0 avatar

        There wouldn’t happen to be any public employees in your family, would there?

        • 0 avatar
          ect

          Not that it matters, but my daughter works for the US Government. My wife (MBA) and I (JD, MBA) have always worked in the private sector, as did all my ancestors for at least 4 generations, and as does my son-in-law, and as do all my (3) siblings.

          And your point would be… well, what, exactly?

          • 0 avatar

            Just making a guess, that’s all. What’s the point of indicating your advanced degrees? There aren’t any lawyers or MBAs employed by government agencies?

            That wasn’t status signaling or credentialism, no, not at all.

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            Your question seems to presume that I must be in the public sector, hence a supporter of public transit.

            In fact, I am a former C-suite executive in international companies and have strong private-sector credentials. So, I clearly don’t match your prejudice.

            But I am a pragmatist. And the fact remains, cities that that try to rely exclusively on highway construction to solve traffic congestion are doomed to failure. The experience of cities around the world has consistently been that only mass transit can move the large and growing number of people that need to get to work and back home.

            So, what was the real motivation for your question?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Just so you know, you sound like a complete wank when you list you and your wife’s credentials for no good reason, and follow it up with even more credentials.

            “In fact, I am a former C-suite executive in international companies and have strong private-sector credentials.”

            Nobody asked.

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            Actually, Ronnie Schreiber did ask, incidentally inferring that I must be sucking on the public teat to have such a perspective. Which I’m not, fwiw.

        • 0 avatar
          HotPotato

          Actually, a public employee would be the ideal person to comment on this, because they would have some expertise and understanding of the issues involved. I wouldn’t ask my dry cleaner which car to buy, and I wouldn’t ask a car blogger how to fix a dysfunctional public agency. “So Mr. Schrieber, would you prefer your heart surgery be done by a heart surgeon, or a janitor? Are you sure? The janitor has such a refreshing perspective, he’s not part of the problem!”

          Do some reading on the issues with the DC Metro system and you’ll learn it’s exactly as he said: “The Metro has been a political football, and often orphan. The Feds, MD and VA all want the service, but don’t want to pay to maintain it. With predictable results.” Everyone across three states and three levels of government wants the benefit, but none of them have sole responsibility, and they’re all busy dealing with their own constituents’ parochial issues. So there are intergovernmental meetings for Metro to which literally no lawmakers show.

          Metro needs to be run by an independent public or private agency with a secure and sufficient funding stream and a clear 5 year strategic plan created with public input and then insulated from political meddling.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    “roving gangs of rapists”

    How very eurotrendy.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I was able to find your white alleged criminal:
    http://crimedc.com/alerts
    It’s about the 5th instance of the word “white” if you do a ctrl-f search. The rest are white things worn or driven by a described black assailant. That includes “10 black males in a white vehicle.”

    It’s very unfortunate watching the news here because the crime statistics do so much harm to the perceptions of the black majority in DC. In the years I was frequenting a club in the U Street area of DC I never encountered any trouble directed at me. In fact, the most uneasy I ever felt was a result of actions of fellow caucasians. It really is the actions of the few impacting the many and it’s unfair.

    Speaking to Metro, my wife takes Metro from the outermost station of the new Silver line all the way to Federal Triangle in the heart of the area most people think of as DC. Her organization has told employees that they can work from home for the next 3 weeks. Since I don’t have the same opportunity I am very happy for her and not the least bit jealous.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      It’s pretty easy to use a standard regression model to see being black is not the factor in crime, it’s poverty. Being poor makes you more willing to commit crimes because there is nothing in the social order that you can value or fear from. Baruth is a fear mongering person who I refrain from calling something more terse because I rather this get posted than not….

      Jack is pretty much worthless as a journalist when he writes this crap.

  • avatar
    sco

    Whenever I go to DC I’m always struck by how much people complain about the METRO and how nice the DC METRO system is relative to those in places like SF and Chicago. Get off BART at 16th and Mission and walk up 96 urine-stained steps with bags (because the escalator is never running), then tell me how awful your nice clean METRO system is. i wish it wasnt this way, i wish public transportation was cleaner, safer etc but that costs money.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      I lived there for years (Northern VA). It’s not so much that is isn’t “nice”, it’s the lack of maintenance and service that I remember causing the most frustration. Pieces are always breaking and there seemed to be a continual series of service shutdowns. I was always frustrated at the fact that METRO services the commute traffic. Before or after hours had very little train service to the point that unless it was during the day, we just didn’t ride METRO, because you were always waiting.

      I live in Chicago now. The L is just more prevalent (easy to use and get to), runs far more often, and is just more convenient, and doesn’t seem to be plagued by the same scale of maintenance issues.

      • 0 avatar
        ferdburful

        The “Surge” is supposed to take care of all the deferred maintenance. Until the surge, Metro closed later on Fridays and Saturdays to allow for people out on the town. It’s been a while since you rode Metro. Times, they are a changing.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          I think the only reason the Surge is taking place is because the Dept. of Transportation threatened to shut down the whole system if WMATA didn’t fix the safety issues, like sparking electric lines and smoking rails.

          Let’s not forget, in March they shut down the entire Metro rail system with less than 24 hours notice for emergency inspections. A huge chunk of DC stayed home that day.

          They’ve had reduced weekend service for years now. Nothing’s working. No money and, as some have noted, it’s basically a jobs program for people who aren’t skilled enough to be doing anything else. That’s who you have putting Metro back together.

    • 0 avatar
      duncanator

      For what it’s worth, BART is better and cleaner than the tiny, dirty and disgusting light rail system that we have in Sacramento. You’re right about the escalator though as the piss probably keeps messing with the electrical components.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      It’s been a while, but… isn’t the West Oakland BART station still more dangerous?

  • avatar
    Frank Galvin

    DC has done a A+ job of disarming law abiding citizenry. Truly, concealed carry would go a long way towards restoring order.

    “Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that’s it.

    In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.

    When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force. The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gangbanger, and a single gay guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.

    There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations. These are the people who think that we’d be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes it easier for a mugger to do his job. That, of course, is only true if the mugger’s potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat–it has no validity when most of a mugger’s potential marks are armed. People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that’s the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.” ( munchkinwrangler.wordpress.com/2007/03/23/why-the-gun-is-civilization/ )

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Amen!! Well put.

    • 0 avatar
      yamahog

      But the existence of guns encourages would-be criminals to use the element of surprise to get the jump on their would-be victim.

      Though Yamahog has a solution – a tactical nuclear vest. Just tie my heart beat to a nuclear weapon’s trigger and if I flat-line, take out a 2 mile radius. Surely that would give people an incentive not to kill me.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’d say the potential benefit of more people carrying guns is overstated, at the very best. You know what I think? Given the lax state of our gun laws, if ordinary citizens begin to arm themselves, then the crooks will just buy better firepower.

      Better solution: HIRE MORE COPS. Given that DC is basically a federal protectorate, there’s no excuse for this.

      • 0 avatar
        carrya1911

        The sorts of criminals who commit violent crimes do not really fear arrest and incarceration. These things are a fact of their life. They also know that they will only face the possibility of arrest and incarceration in a fairly small number of their criminal acts.

        The DC police force has a clearance rate on murder…as in there is a dead body…that hovers around 60% in the last few years. That means that in a year’s time when they find a murder they are able to bring formal charges in only about 6 out of 10 of those cases within a calendar year. That doesn’t factor in successful prosecution OR the actual amount of time the offender will spend behind bars on the crime. That’s just bringing charges in the most severe category of violent crime.

        The success rate doesn’t get any rosier when you start looking at robbery (actually robbing a human being as opposed to breaking into a place and stealing things), aggravated assault, or rape/sexual assault.

        Now consider that the overwhelming majority of criminal cases in this country are adjudicated via plea agreement. This means that the state and the accused come to a deal without the charges being presented at trial. Generally for there to be a deal the charges that actually go before the court are negotiated down to obtain the guilty plea and avoid the risk and expense of a trial. In other words, the fact that someone is charged with a serious violent crime does not mean that they are *convicted* of that serious violent crime.

        And I won’t even touch sentencing because space does not allow.

        As a result, I can cite dozens of examples of victims of violent crime like aggravated assault who spent more time in a hospital bed recovering from injuries they suffered than the violent criminals who attacked them spent behind bars.

        More police would certainly be helpful…but more police would be helpful primarily because it would be putting more armed individuals in the path of violent criminals. In other words, the primary benefit would be putting more armed people on the trains.

        The most successful method of defense against a serious violent crime is an immediate violent counter assault. In other words, pulling a gun with the full intention to use it. This act alone is usually sufficient to bring the matter to a conclusion without shots being fired. Most violent criminals, you see, are not trying to rape or rob somebody on the metro expecting to end up staring down the wrong end of a gun. They are attacking someone precisely because that person looks like a potential victim, not because they look like a potential opponent.

        When their intended victim suddenly appears ready and able to end them on the spot, it rather changes their mood…and they often bugger off immediately. Statistics can be argued, but generally speaking the overwhelming majority of the time that a victim presents a firearm to defend themselves it ends the problem without gun play. Tom Givens, a former Memphis police officer, has trained more than 50,000 ordinary civilians in the defensive use of firearms. Of those 50,000+, several thousand have had to draw a weapon to stop a criminal attack. So far only 63 of them have had to actually pull the trigger.

        The violent criminals who do not have the sense to immediately flee…or who are too ornery to run away instead of continue to press the attack…usually get shot. Usually they are shot poorly, requiring them to get treated at the local hospital where they are often arrested without incident. Sometimes they are shot well enough that they are dead before their corpse hits the pavement…in which case it’s problem solved. Because this was not their first crime and would not be their last.

        Suffice it to say that in general violent criminals do not live in fear of arrest or prosecution. It doesn’t happen to them every time they commit a crime, and when it does happen it’s just a part of life. They view going back into prison about the same way you would view having to go back to school. It’s a feature of their existence in the same way that high school and college are a feature of your existence.

        Stopping them as they are attempting to offend is the most effective method of dealing with them…and the only people able to do that regularly are the intended victims of criminal violence.

        Increased visible police presence will certainly have an effect on violent crime, but probably not as much as a few honest citizens thoroughly ventilating a few violent criminals on the train. Police, you see, are highly visible. The idea that the mousy-looking accountant you are eyeing up might be able to shoot you in the face, however, is a much harder threat to deal with.

        • 0 avatar
          dswilly

          And ventilating several people around them at the same time

          • 0 avatar
            carrya1911

            There have been quite a number of civilian self defense shootings. Generally speaking, they don’t tend to hit other people when trying to shoot the criminal threatening them.

            To return to the example of Tom Givens, of his 63 students who have had to shoot someone none have hit an innocent bystander. They have a 95% accuracy rate in actual shootings which is far in excess of what you will find with, say, the NYPD’s stats.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “There have been quite a number of civilian self defense shootings. Generally speaking, they don’t tend to hit other people when trying to shoot the criminal threatening them.”

            That’s for the LAPD and NYPD to do.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        x unit of gun / 0 unit of gun is infinite advantage.

        3x unit of gun / x unit of gun, is still just 3 to 1.

        Much worse odds for the criminals. And they do respond to this. Especially as even in crime infested places like the DC metro, non criminals outnumber criminals 100 to 1.

        So, per above you’d have 3x unit of gun / ( x units of gun times 100 ) against you…..

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      BS. If you’re carrying a gun, you don’t have to be reasonable, because I either have it your way or I run the risk of getting shot. Or I can carry a gun myself. Then we have the law of the jungle.

      • 0 avatar
        carrya1911

        I’ve carried a gun personally and professionally for 20 years. I know hundreds of others who have done the same.

        We are all expected by the law to be reasonable with it. Criminals aren’t particularly troubled by going to jail (because they know they are going to jail) or by the possibility of civil liability for bad acts with a gun. (Because they have no assets. By design.)

        Normal law-abiding people, on the other hand, are quite concerned with behaving reasonably while armed. To the point that the vast majority of them will go to great lengths to avoid the possibility of needing to use the gun at all.

        Whether anyone wishes to admit this or not, violent criminals operate EXCLUSIVELY by the law of the jungle. Which means if you cross paths with one you are subject to that law as they see fit to apply it…unless you have the ability to contest them.

  • avatar
    Driver8

    Ya know what else looks like it was conjured up to fit the racist imaginations of neo-Nazi #AltRight Reddit shitposters? FBI crime stats.

    “Speaking plainly and personally, if I saw that crew raping a woman on the subway I would consider my obligation to that woman..” Hey, it was her SJW feelz-vote that made things this way, so…

    Which Metro line was that anyway?

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      It was in Alexandria, so probably Blue/Yellow. Or just Yellow, if it was the southern part of town. Not an area where you expect this to happen. It’s crossing the Anacostia, not the Potomac, that will usually get you assaulted on the Metro.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Things must have changed. I’ve taken the DC Metro many times, even at night, without incident. Like any public transit system, it has its share of pan handlers and just plain crazy people. The DC metro police were always on top of littering and graffiti. Maybe they let other crime slide.
    I’m surprised that each car is not video monitored in this day and age. It doesn’t cost much.
    As far a guns go, widespread carrying may help prevent some of this type of crime, but the collateral damage would be just as bad or worse. My limited experience with hand guns is that Joe or Jody average cannot hit the side of a barn at 20 paces, but they can shoot up everything else nearby.
    Also, most of the commuters using public transportation do so for the convenience, not because they have to. On a normal day, going from the suburbs to central DC is a driving nightmare. The Metro is much faster plus you don’t have to pay for parking downtown. Self driving cars would only make the commute less tedious, not quicker.
    I do think self driving transport is a good option for suburb to suburb commuting.

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      ” My limited experience with hand guns is that Joe or Jody average cannot hit the side of a barn at 20 paces, but they can shoot up everything else nearby.”
      .
      _THIS_ ~ I think Private ownership of Firearms is fine , just _RESPONSIBLY_ so .
      .
      Those who yammer endlessly about ‘! open carry ! ‘ are almost always the least trained and have little self control nor the ability to see the bigger picture of whipping out your cannon and blasting away inside a Trolley Car or Bar , whatever crowed enclosed space the imagine it’d be good to begin killing in , just ‘because’ .
      .
      -Nate

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-Iron

        “Those who yammer endlessly about ‘! open carry ! ‘ are almost always the least trained and have little self control nor the ability to see the bigger picture of whipping out your cannon and blasting away inside a Trolley Car or Bar , whatever crowed enclosed space the imagine it’d be good to begin killing in , just ‘because’ .”

        According to a statistic you just made up? Or are you talking about New York City police officers?

        • 0 avatar
          -Nate

          “According to a statistic you just made up? Or are you talking about New York City police officers?”
          .
          NO ONE was talking about trained Police officers pinhead .
          .
          Way to loose the argument by mouth breathing attempt to obfuscate (you can look it up) .
          .
          -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      “I’m surprised that each car is not video monitored in this day and age.”

      Most of them are. That’s where those pictures came from. And that’s one of the brand new trains they’re on, so I doubt many things, including the cameras, have broken yet.

      Everything’s on film these days. Subhuman criminals don’t care, or are too stupid to know.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        They don’t care because they know the cops are overwhelmed and probably won’t catch them.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          Hit ’em where they ain’t.

          ‘Em = victims
          They = cops

          The criminals know where the cops patrol. I’m not a criminal, and even I know where they’re at. They sit in marked cars in high traffic areas.

          The criminals move two blocks away, rob someone, and are making a getaway on the Metro before the call even comes in.

          There was an incident where this happened a few months ago, when the criminals attacked people in a McDonald’s near Chinatown. Not IN Chinatown, because there’s tons of cops there. A few blocks away.

        • 0 avatar
          carrya1911

          FreedMike is correct. The criminals do not care. They have been caught on camera committing crimes before and they are still out and about breathing free air today. Cameras do not intimidate them. The possibility of arrest and prosecution does not intimidate them.

          An immediate violent counter-assault, however, is quite effective.

          • 0 avatar
            tedward

            I agree with everyone that owning guns is important, and having the ability to carry then when you feel threatened is the entire point of their utility (at home stored I’d say they are more of a liability than a safety aid) However, let’s be fair, they are absolutely an element that increases aggression in people of a certain temperment or those who are drunk. Guns in bars, or on college campuses, strike me as a monstrously stupid idea.

            I like to make complex arguments in favor of gun liberalization (they resemble my arguments against prohibition) when confronted with pleas to pass this law to save the kids. Being persuasive there is only possible if you frankly acknowledge the weaknesses of what you are yourself espousing. Also, remember that people in favor of strict gun control live in fast police response times areas with low home crime rates, OR, where criminals are brazenly armed. In both of those cases they are right. The problem is that their only workable solution involves removing guns from their source, which means in our country of no internal borders and cheap transport, everywhere.

          • 0 avatar
            Detroit-Iron

            @tedward

            “However, let’s be fair, they are absolutely an element that increases aggression in people of a certain temperment or those who are drunk.”

            citation needed

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Wow .
    .
    One of my Sisters lives just outside of the loop (Silver Springs) and rides the DC Metro to work every day it’s running .
    .
    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Hope she’s not walking east up Colesville Road to get home from the station everyday. Lots of little thugs hanging out in around the McD’s and 7/11. I used to live in that neighborhood. Those punks won’t bother anyone bigger than they are. But a woman? Different story.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      Good thing she doesn’t own a gun. She might have to fellate those dudes extra hard after they take it from her.

  • avatar
    baconator

    Well, Jack, if you had any chance left of writing for Jalopnik, this column puts the nail in the coffin.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      I’ve come to the conclusion that I no longer care if Jalopnik goes down with the rest of Gawker. They’ve fired some writers which has been extremely unpopular with their readers, and when anyone says anything about it in the comments of an article, they get banned (“dismissed” in Kinja-speak.) Then of course with the Hulk Hogan/Peter Thiel thing going on, you’ve got one of their editors dutifully toeing the Gawker party line on Twitter.

      They’re a bunch of hypocrite f**ks. They work for a company which exists solely to pry into people’s private lives, but when their decisions are questioned by the readership they close ranks and silence dissenters.

  • avatar
    Sam Hall

    If you use Metro to commute to your 9-5 government/government-related job downtown from your home in the suburbs, you’ll find it crowded but functional. As others said, it’s far cleaner and nicer than the NYC subway, BART, Chicago’s El, and so on. You could ride it all your life from the western MD suburbs or Northern VA to downtown DC and never notice any issues. This is what the hipsters, yuppies and interns do.

    It does also run through the crime-infested wastelands of northeast DC and Prince George’s County, and most of the bad stuff happens a) after hours and b) in those areas.

    The maintenance is a separate issue. The system is chronically underfunded and responsibility for it is distributed among several local governments such that the buck never has to stop anywhere. It is also configured to run from the suburbs downtown only, so only the aforementioned government courtiers care about it. And since at least 2001, they are no longer the driving economic force of the region.

  • avatar
    mshenzi

    Seems to me that there have been plenty of posts here– including from JB– about how unsafe from assault and stupid behavior the roads can be.

    There are real trade-offs between public and private transportation, and pointing out one side without weighing it against the other is lame. Nobody in a bus or subway gets maimed because somebody else is texting, but you can’t say that when you’re driving. It’s hard to do a perfect like-to-like comparisons, but the lack of an attempt in this article is a big flaw in its logic.

    Sexual (and other kinds of) assault on mass transit is terrible. So is being killed or injured by a trucker gone off the rails (last week, right?), or by a car that veers out of its lane while its driver’s scrolling though a play-list, or by getting caught in a mass-pile up. How much road rage ends up causing injury or death to someone, not just a slap and knockdown? (last week, right?) AAA has an answer to that question: about 1500 people a year.

    Do a search on recent traffic accident deaths and the list is basically endless. And the idea that you’re in control because YOU drive alertly and defensively is meh– there’s such a thing as being an alert, defensive public transportation user, too, and it’ll improve your odds, but if you want to be perfectly safe, don’t get into a car, onto a motorcyle, into a bus or subway, and certainly not onto a bicycle. And be careful about walking– my mother was killed while legally crossing the street, by a car that blew through the light. Yes, really.

    By the way, the DC subway is seeking a decreased ridership on that stretch of line FOR A FEW WEEKS, while it goes down to a single track in order to make repairs. The goal is not to permananently reduce ridership, but to catch up on too much deferred maintenance. JB mis-represents the WMATA announcement in order to hop on a hobby-horse.

    Is WMATA messed up in various ways? Yep. So are the roadways in any place I’ve ever lived. My family– from kids to grandparents– uses the metro system all the time, and we don’t quaver in fear, despite the mongering encouraged here.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      Good point. I also kept asking myself is this really that much different than any other major metropolitan mass transit system?

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Also, sure, talk a big game about how riding the big bad government’s monopolized public transit makes you a sheep, but unless there’s huge secret networks of roadways controlled by private enterprise I never knew of, you’re not that different using a motor vehicle.

  • avatar
    dwford

    It’s a sad commentary on our PC world that you had to stop and think about posting that photo. When we are afraid to state the obvious because we don’t want to be called racist, the problem can never be solved. Thats why we frisk old ladies and children at the airport, and let Muslim women get their driver’s license photo wearing a full hijab so only their eyes are visible.

    Young, undereducated, underemployed black men are the prime perpetrators of violent crime in our country. Young Muslim men are the prime perpetrators of terrorist acts on the PLANET. There, I said it.

    • 0 avatar
      Felis Concolor

      It isn’t a wild-eyed conspiracy theory of deliberate bias and misinformation when every single major news outlet refused to post a photograph of the UCLA shooter, instead placing the white victim’s image next to each “UCLA Shooter Identified” headline, the better to sow confusion regarding the killer’s identity among casual headline skimmers.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        “Young, undereducated, underemployed black men are the prime perpetrators of violent crime in our country. ”
        .
        If this is so , why then don’t we _educate_ them so they’re employable ? .
        .
        That’s far cheaper than mass incarceration .
        .
        -Nate

        • 0 avatar
          319583076

          But it’s far less profitable for the “justice” industry, which is why we have to live with it.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          Your suggestion has two faults:

          1: They don’t want an education. That’s hard, and that would be “acting white.”

          2: They don’t want to work. Better to “keep it real.”

          Incidentally, Prince George’s County (east of DC) is now experimenting with a program to pay criminals stipends so they won’t commit crimes.

          • 0 avatar
            Sam Hall

            “Incidentally, Prince George’s County (east of DC) is now experimenting with a program to pay criminals stipends so they won’t commit crimes.”

            Jeebus. The notion that poverty causes crime is never going to die. It’s a wonder anyone survived the great depression.

            I wonder if we’ll ever hear about it when they survey the results and find that the criminals have taken the stipend and continued to commit crimes.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            The notion that poverty causes crime won’t die because it’s absolutely true.

            Take a look at the cities with the highest crime rates, and look at the percentage of people living under the poverty line in each of them. You’ll find a clear correlation.

          • 0 avatar
            pragmatist

            “Take a look at the cities with the highest crime rates, and look at the percentage of people living under the poverty line in each of them. You’ll find a clear correlation”

            Correlation!= Causation. Indeed your cause and effect might be reversed.

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            “Your suggestion has two faults:

            1: They don’t want an education. That’s hard, and that would be “acting white.”

            2: They don’t want to work. Better to “keep it real.””
            .
            I just love bullshit blatantly racist crap like this .
            .
            Do you ever actually KNOW ANY or TALK to any Black People ? .
            .
            I thought not .
            .
            Go back to mommy’s basement or your rusted out trailer where you 300# sister/wife is waiting with warm beer….
            .
            To – day is High School Graduation for one of my Foster boys , he’s all excited about going off to College .
            .
            -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      As a black guy, that doesn’t bother me one bit. It’s not a stereotype or a generalization, it’s a statistically proven majority.

      Chris Rock nailed it 20 damn years ago. “Ted Koppel ain’t never stole s**t from me, but ******* have! when I go to the ATM I ain’t looking over my shoulder for the media!”

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      And what’s the common denominator between the Crips and Bloods and ISIS, dwford?

      It’s poverty and lack of opportunity. Young black men with faith in their future don’t choose to spend their lives shooting at each other over the color of their clothing. Young Muslim men with faith in their future don’t strap bomb vests on and blow themselves up in airports.

      Poverty leads to lack of opportunity, which leads to hopelessness. A life of crime sounds a lot better to someone with no other options. It’s an old story.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        I would beg to differ on the muslim thing. Those weren’t poor, ignorant garbage-pickers on the 9/11 planes.

        The world has never seen such a thorough system of childhood indoctrination for misogyny and culturally sanctioned killing as that perfected over its pederastic centuries by islam.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Agreed, Kenmore, but for the most part, Islamic militants are poor. The entire Gaza Strip is an economic basket case, which makes it a fertile breeding ground for extremism. Same for Afghanistan.

          Worth noting – it isn’t just poor Muslims that end up terrorists. Remember the Irish Republican Army? Centuries of repression + ridiculous unemployment rates = lots of Irish lads ready and willing to do nasty stuff. It’s no accident.

      • 0 avatar
        pragmatist

        That’s the narrative, but the crime continues after they get money. How many rappers are still involved in lethal violence?

        Plenty of the street thugs are not poor.

        It’s stupid BS. Poverty may explain stealing some food. It does NOT explain lives of senseless violence.

        The nation was not a cesspool during the depression, indeed a lot of nobility arose OUT of the depression.

        • 0 avatar
          tedward

          Pragmatist

          The argument against poverty is a generational one. If your parents have money you are less likely to end up a violent criminal. It is literally the story of the Irish.

        • 0 avatar
          HotPotato

          Read the book “Ghettoside” about LAPD homicide investigators working on the wrong side of the 10 Freeway. There are a lot of eye-openers, but the biggest eye-opener is actually in the epilogue, where the author casually mentions very strong evidence of exactly this: pay people money and crime goes down. Violent crime declined when more ex-cons were made eligible for SSI. (A shockingly high proportion of them are mentally ill, addicted, afflicted with PTSD from living in neighborhoods that literally see more murder every day of the year than Fallujah during the Iraq war, or all three, and so genuinely are unable to hold down a normal job.) SSI is not much money at all, but it’s juuuust enough that even mentally addled people can think twice when they’re tempted to make a bad decision to get some cash. Surprising but logical.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      “Jeebus. The notion that poverty causes crime is never going to die. It’s a wonder anyone survived the great depression.”

      “Incidentally, Prince George’s County (east of DC) is now experimenting with a program to pay criminals stipends so they won’t commit crimes.”

      President Roosevelt started the WPA, CCC, and many other government jobs programs that kept men busy, fed, and earning a stipend that they would send to their families; much infrastructure and conservation efforts resulted, and the country was better off for it.

      But, it could not continue indefinitely – it took WWII to bring us out of the stock market crash, and the economic malaise that lingered. The GI Bill jump-started an entire generation that became the “middle class”.

      We’re in a similar (though less dire) situation – some think that WWIII might be a solution – it would certainly rid the world of many pesky lower class folks.

      We have to look at what created the poor, uneducated underclass that we fear so much that we need to go back to the Wild-West Mentality, and reverse the trend through intelligent policy.

      First: Jobs that are accessible to the poorly-educated. Second: Education. Third: Opportunity.

      We need to rebuild the Middle Class, people who have a stake in this society, who have something to lose by turning to criminal behavior – who have enough to be satisfied with life.

      This won’t happen if all of the wealth continues to flow upwards, and becomes unavailable to the lower classes except by government mandate.

      If the rich don’t want to be taxed at 80%-90% (like in post WWII), then why not start by keeping manufacturing jobs here, and developing an economy here that’s sustainable, equitable, and fearless – not based on shuffling money around, but on the desire of middle-class folks to maintain their standard of living by doing good work.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        Get rid of the teachers unions and all the agencies Nixon added to the federal government and you’d do much to reverse the trends that are killing the middle class. People have been brainwashed to fight for the rules that keep them poor and dumb though, so it won’t be easy.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          “Get rid of the teachers unions..”

          8th grade when you last saw a teacher was a long time ago but your resentment is longer!

          Unquenchable Fi-yah!

          (Matthew 3:12)

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            When I was in 8th grade, the teachers unions had minimal authority in my state. I’ve known plenty of teachers since though, and I know what they have to deal with if they’re well-intentioned.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          how the f**k is it the fault of the “teachers’ unions?” Christ, you people love to mis-direct blame towards your pet hatred any chance you get.

          Banks trashed the financial sector by over-selling bad mortgages? It’s the unions’ fault! Japan loses four nuclear reactors due to an earthquake and tsunami? It’s the unions’ fault! Extremist groups are taking over the Middle East and parts of Africa? It’s the unions’ fault!

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Ill-informed sheep are the teachers unions fault. Earthquakes are not. If you can’t see the difference, then there’s nothing I can do for you.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            Ah yes, *everyone else* are “ill-informed sheep.” But you… you alone have the truth, you alone see the world for what it is.

            Yeah, no. This is you:

            https://xkcd.com/610/

            Iconoclastic thinking for its own sake is all well and good, but most of us outgrow it by the time we reach our junior year of college.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    Still safer than driving in parts of Detroit. Hopefully we’ll get under 500 carjackings this year. Still, it’s better than 1200/year in 2008.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

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    Take the ‘A’ Train
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    …and many more!

    “Just remember to send $5 cash – no checks or cards accepted – $5 cash to:
    Bernhard Hugo Goetz Sings the Classics
    Behind the Turnstiles
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    “Order Now!”

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    The DC Metro is allegedly poorly managed and under-policed. This renders all of of mass transit null and void?

    If that’s the case, my ’81 Corolla should have made the case for automobile ownership null and void.

    Crime is opportunist, it goes where the people are. Your solution is for crime-fearing people to live in bunkers and avoid any social interaction, especially across class boundaries.

    It’s great click bait, but come on. All you’re going on is 100 crimes over 4 years in a population of 10 million. And your solution would not prevent any of those crimes.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I’ve ridden on Metro a few times when on vacation in the DC area.
    The passenger load was 98% ok and 2% scary.
    The 2% scary was definitely enough to make an unarmed guy nervous.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I am not seeing the connection…. women get assaulted off of trains too. Similarly you can’t carry a gun anywhere in DC basically without security clearance. Makes sense…. it’s the nation’s capital after all.

    No, public transportation sucks in DC because everything sucks in DC. It’s a miserable place to be, top to bottom. Have you driven there? I’d rather take my chances with these guys than sit through their traffic. Just another of many American cities that spent its money on pet projects and BS rather than making necessary changes to its infrastructure.

    But yea owning a car doesn’t keep you from being beholden to the gov’t. Ask anyone who lives north of Charlotte NC on the I-77 corridor. We’re in a fight to cancel a project for toll lanes… that the state already collected taxes to pay for for free.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      This.

      But I’d argue with the assertion that everything in DC is miserable – it’s actually a great city, as long as you don’t have to get anywhere quickly. Transportation is the main problem, coupled with poverty and the crime that follows.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Transportation works fine in DC if you’re rich. It’s the center of the universe for Uber and Lyft.

        And it really is a great city… again, if you have plenty of money. I still miss it, but part of the reason I left was that even on a professional salary I couldn’t afford to buy a house anywhere with decent public schools.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    “alternative mass transit” won’t do anything to address the fact that 16-25 year old males are the most dangerous and destructive things in existence.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    My friends at Google tell me that the FBI reports that there were 472 reported rapes in DC in 2014.

    It would be fair to guess that about 30-40% of those occurred at home, and the vast majority of them occurred within a mile of home. Using the logic of this article, I suppose that we should conclude that the safest thing to do would be to never go home.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      As long as you’re going to try the whole I-know-math-and-you-don’t, would you care to adjust those ratios by the amount of time spent in each location?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        You missed the point, namely that crime that occurs in City X will occur in a wide variety of places.

        You’ve made the typical blunder of focusing on a factoid of a tiny subsection of that data without providing a broader context for that factoid. You did that because you began with a conclusion already in your head (cars good! trains bad!) instead of the total pool of data (lots of crime in DC generally; naturally, some of it is bound to happen somewhere near public transit.)

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          Do you have the statistics on how many women were dragged out of Lexus LX570s and raped?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            In a given year, a couple of dozen people are killed in DC auto crashes.

            About seven thousand more will be injured, including a few hundred who become disabled as the result of a crash.

            A few thousand cars will be stolen.

            I couldn’t find any stats for carjackings in DC, but if the percentage of auto thefts that involve carjacking is consistent with national averages, then it’s fair to guess that the number of DC carjackings exceeds the number of subway rapes.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Does this mean you’d rather be raped than have your car stolen, or is that a choice you’d only make for other people?

          • 0 avatar
            mshenzi

            “Do you have the statistics on how many women were dragged out of Lexus LX570s and raped?”

            Do you have any on how many subway riders were killed in a collision? If we’re going to talk counter-factual cases about horrible risks, that should work both ways.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    So you can have a knife under 3″, and a good quality mace spray if being on the subway is a must for you. Right?

    Keys are supposed to work in a pinch.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Or you can just ride the subway. I’ve ridden mass transit pretty much every workday of my working life — and drove it full-time for five years — and not that much happens.

      Jack still thinks every city is New York circa 1979.

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        That’s true. I spent eleven years riding nyc subways and I’ve never seen people alow crime to happen. When some whack-job looses it or somebody is being preyed upon the crowd reacts. I’ve seen quite a few train car beatings, they were all mob justice or straight up fights. It’s a huge part of the difference between the 90’s and now.

        Crimes in empty subway cars by determined criminals are like those on empty streets, they will be successful, and police will have to react to them. Budgeting more cops helps but doesn’t ever fix it.

        • 0 avatar
          carrya1911

          Jack didn’t invent the Metro PD’s alert. The fact that you’ve never personally seen criminal violence on mass transit is awesome for you.

          It happens, though. In some places more than others.

          Last year a man was murdered on the DC metro while nobody intervened to help him. There have been increased enforcement efforts aimed at curbing the rising trend of violent crimes on the Metro lines.

          It may not have happened to you. I hope it never does. But it’s happening every day to people not much different than you.

  • avatar
    BiturboS4

    As a long-time (10 years +) regular rider of the D.C. Metro, I’ve only ever seen one incident of violence, and that was late on a Saturday night with a bunch of drunk white bros brawling over a girl. Most of the violence on the metro is confined to the sections of trains that pass through the more crime-riddled parts of the city, and most sections of the system are entirely safe for commuters and other casual riders. I don’t mean to dismiss the dangers sometimes associated with riding through certain sections of the system, but it’s nowhere near as widespread as Jack suggests.

    In terms of the effectiveness and wisdom of mass transit systems, unless and until we all have networked cars that eliminate traffic jams (and run on clean electricity), there will be a need for mass transit. Sure, in a prisoner’s dilemma an individual can cheat and commute by car, but if everyone does so, the roads quickly get jammed and everyone is worse off.

    Finally, mass transit is a UTILITY, not a monopoly. It is cost-prohibitive for a market entrant to build another set of tunnels, tracks, and stations in an attempt to compete with the incumbent. Therefore the system is highly regulated, though I’m not arguing that it wouldn’t be more efficient and safe if privately run – it almost certainly would be.

    Many of the issues that plague metro would have been avoided with more foresight and investment – three tracks and tunnel bores instead of two system-wide would have allowed for routine maintenance of tracks without track closures. Instead, you had opponents of the system rejecting three track proposals in a bad-faith effort to torpedo the whole initiative. Add the fact that the system spans three jurisdictions (DC, MD, VA), and involves the federal government (with more bad-faith, non-local politicians thrown in), and it’s a mess. But on the whole, I’m still quite glad for the system and use it regularly, even though I’m a die-hard car guy.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      That system does indeed keep a lot of people off the road who have no business/idea/money for driving and maintaining a vehicle required to travel high speeds in modern traffic situations.

      I’m glad for it as well.

      Other countries just manage mass transit much better than the US. I’m not sure why the US can’t get it together on things like mass transit, education, and healthcare. But we won’t go down that political rabbit hole/dungeon.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        “I’m not sure why the US can’t get it together on things like mass transit, education, and healthcare.”

        I know why. It’s what I call “The War Against Taxes”. It’s based upon the premise that, if something is badly run, it should be starved of revenue instead of being fixed. It has become a religion, of sorts. I’m not saying that some badly run things shouldn’t be shut down or starved, just that, as a universal solution, it’s just a way of ignoring the problem.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          But this would assert that with higher taxes, said money would be used to fund things appropriately and responsibly. You believe that to be true in this country, presently?

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            True, throwing money at a problem isn’t necessarily an answer, but in the case of crime, throwing more money at additional cops WOULD make a difference.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            It really depends on the agency. The DC Metro is about the worst possible case, because it has a governance structure that is set up for failure. It’s run by a board made up of local politicians from three jurisdictions, each of which has an incentive to try to get the others to carry the load. On top of that, because one of those jurisdictions is DC, it has to derive a significant amount of its funding from the federal government — that is, from a Congress that loves to show how much it’s Of the People and Hates Washington.

            The only way to fix Metro would be to 1) give it its own dedicated funding stream and 2) take the DC piece of it out of the federal ambit by either making DC a state, making it part of Maryland, or giving DC true home rule (which would probably require a constitutional amendment).

            But other agencies would surely do a better job with more resources. Example #1: the hated IRS. It knows how to audit taxpayers and does a decent job of it. But its budget has been systematically cut over decades to the point where now it audits so few taxpayers that it pays to evade taxes and the occasional audit feels to taxpayers like they’re being singled out for some reason. Give it more resources, and tax administration would get a lot fairer.

          • 0 avatar
            bunkie

            Corey, not to single you out here, but this kind of response really drives me nuts. It does so because when faced with a poorly-functioning system, the questions should be 1) Can it be fixed 2) Is it worth fixing and (assuming 1 and 2) 3) How do we fix it.

            Your response “You believe that to be true in this country, presently?” does nothing to further the discussion. First, it’s a ridiculously broad question that has only one possible answer: Yes. Not everything is broken, some things are simply under-funded. In fact a lot less is broken than most anti-taxers claim. And second, “more taxes” is a relative term. With 35 years of reduced taxation, it could just as easily be called “a return to normal taxation levels”. What’s really important is deciding what we want done, figuring out how to do it effectively and then funding it at the appropriate levels. In the end, it’s an engineering problem, not an ideological one because, despite what acolytes of Ayn Rand say, we can’t have a functioning society without a reasonable level of shared responsibility and that, in most cases, means taxes at a level required to meet those responsibilities. So, to come back to your original question, it’s clear that, on the one hand, we have a simplistic response to a complex set of issues while, simultaneously, we have a simple cause for a number of our problems, namely under-funding.

            A few years back, I had a conversation with an old friend who was the mayor of his town in Sweden. He belongs to a center-right party and I asked him what that means in a Swedish context. His response was very illuminating. He said that his party was not in favor of cutting or even scaling back the various social programs. Their primary focus was on making them efficient, making sure the tax dollars were well spent.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            An increase in DC cops would only reduce crime rates because the cops wouldn’t be prosecuted.

        • 0 avatar
          Sam Hall

          I’ve heard that theory, and it sounds logical, but in real life the jurisdictions with the highest taxes almost always seem to be the ones that have crumbling infrastructure and high crime. So the tax money doesn’t go where it’s supposed to, at least after a certain point.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “the jurisdictions with the highest taxes almost always seem to be the ones that have crumbling infrastructure and high crime.”

            Citation needed. The places with the highest taxes in the developed world are Sweden and Denmark.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            That’s because the cities in this fix have a structural tax issue, Sam. It’s not that the tax money doesn’t go where it’s supposed to – it’s that there isn’t enough tax revenue being generated.

            I’m from St. Louis originally and it’s a prime example – at one point 900,000 people lived in the city, and it’s down to 350,000 now. Fully half of the people left (basically anyone north of downtown) live in horrific, crushing poverty. But all the streets, streetlights, sewers, schools, services and infrastructure were built out to support a far larger population, and you can’t just undo all that structural stuff when people leave, so they still have to pay for it…with a far weaker tax base.

            Thus, the crumbling infrastructure you’re talking about, the high crime rates based on the huge number of poverty cases, and a weakened tax base to deal with it all. And then the folks who CAN pay taxes end up shouldering an unfair amount of them, which prompts them to leave.

            And downward it spirals.

            It’s the same story in pretty much any large ex-industrial city. Detroit has a similar problem.

            There’s no mystery why cities like St. Louis or Detroit have such monstrously high crime rates – it’s a combination of poverty and lack of resources to deal with the resultant after effects.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            The solution is to build a wall to prevent the taxpayers from leaving.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        “Other countries just manage mass transit much better than the US.”

        They’re tiny and monocultural compared to us.

        And they didn’t bring the victims of their slaving days home to live among them.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Scale is the same, within some of the large cities. I don’t imply here that we’re going to run high speed transit across Montana.

          And whether you’re a Buddhist or a Catholic or a vegan, your person is transported across locations in the same manner.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            American exceptionalism is real and it has an ugly side. Anglos (not us Bohunks!) have been exceptionally cruel and, worse, exceptionally stupid.

            Now the 80% have to live with the consequences.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I’ll be very gentle and tip-toe here, and say that much harsher penalties for repeat offenders including jail time with forced labor would solve much of this.

            Slap on wrist ain’t no thug deterrent.

          • 0 avatar
            05lgt

            Corey, huge incarceratoon rates are not very effective at reducing the crime rate in the area the incarcerated came from. It seems to me like all those extra impoverished families left with single mothers whole dad is third striked out might breed crime. Or not. You do the math.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            If three-strike baby daddy is providing income through crime (which he would be, because two strikes doesn’t net you a job), they’re better off without him.

            ToddAtlas covered it below. Prison is far too easy and luxurious, and needs to be feared instead. No TV, no conjugal visit, no luxury. Only work. For -years- not a few months.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            You guys are talking about two different things. The problem Corey is talking about is that jail time is not miserable enough to serve as a deterrent. Alternatively, sufficiently long sentences under any conditions prevent re-offending. It’s also hard to create new offenders if you’re denied conjugal visits and doing life in prison.

    • 0 avatar
      BiturboS4

      Just to follow-up on my earlier post: Metro is currently operating at severely reduced service on the Orange, Blue, and Silver lines for maintenance. The streets downtown are completely gridlocked at 7:00 pm, which is highly unusual. Further proof that the view from behind the windshield of Jack’s S Class as he opts out of mass transit will just be a sea of brake lights.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    “The problem, obviously, is that the three fellows above just look like they were conjured up to fit the racist imaginations of neo-Nazi #AltRight Reddit shitposters. So I looked through every person-of-interest post put up by MetroTransitPD, hoping to find a white guy that I could use instead of, or possibly in conjunction with, the police photo of these fine citizens. I didn’t find any. I suppose if I want the DC Metro Police to put a photo of a white criminal in the subway I’m going to have to go there myself and steal somebody’s iPhone. The closest I could come to a photo that depicts a non-PoC person of interest was this:”

    According to the Wiki article, DC is 49.5% African-American (2013 estimate). Just post the pictures, and don’t worry about the idiot racists. The crimes say more about where our culture is headed, than race.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington,_D.C.#Demographics

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      The problem is poverty, not race. Back when Italians, Irish, Jews, etc. – all white groups – were the economic underclass, crime was rampant among them too.

      (And better organized – the Italian and Irish mobs are still with us today.)

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        Having the jobs of an industrial superpower sure helped with mainstreaming.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Yep.

          The truly unfortunate thing about the civil rights movement was as soon as legal barriers to equality were removed, the good-paying jobs that the newly-emancipated people would have gone for began to dry up as the industrial economy declined. The legal barriers were replaced with economic ones.

          This just adds another layer of sadness to an already tragic story.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      It’s not enough just to say DC is 49.5% black. It’s also important to point out that DC has a greater degree of *economic* segregation that just about anywhere else in the country. The reason is that there are very few poor or even middle-class white people in the DC area. The white population of DC is almost exclusively professional, very highly educated, and either very highly paid or likely in the future to be very highly paid. Meanwhile, you have a broad cross-section of economic status among black people in DC. It’s got a huge black professional class, but it’s also got a whole lot of very poor black people. In any place, poor people are the ones that commit most of the violent crime. So, because almost all of the poor people in DC are black, most of the violent crime is committed by black people as well.

      But all of this is pretty much irrelevant to the tourist who visits DC and uses Metro to get around. The great bulk of crime on Metro (including the incident Jack is making a huge deal about) is at or near stations tourists will never, ever visit. The Metro is likely to be late, but it’s very safe in the areas tourists are likely to go.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        This.

        I grew up in St. Louis, a national poster child for violent crime, and people who visited there asked me how the crime rate could possibly be so high with all those cops around.

        Well, guess what? In the areas where visitors are (i.e., downtown where the stadiums and nightlife areas are, the museums, the zoo, etc) the cops do saturation patrols. Meanwhile, the areas where the crime is don’t get enough coverage, because they’re all busy patrolling the “gentrified” areas where outsiders don’t go. You won’t see many cops if you’re cruising around the ghetto, but you’ll sure see them if you’re walking back to your hotel from a Cards game. And, thus, the problem stays hidden, much like it stays hidden from DC tourists who never take their subway to rough neighborhoods.

        • 0 avatar
          HotPotato

          When I visited St Louis years ago, my hotel was opposite the Arch, and I’d heard all about the great clubs in town to hear live music. It was a warm summer evening. So I walked along the river, under the underpass, over to the music district, enjoyed some music, and walked back. It was lovely. When I arrived back at the hotel clerk chirped, “So, what did you do tonight?” I told her and she blanched. “You WALKED?” she said. “At NIGHT?”

          I am not street-smart. But yeah, except for that underpass area where pedestrians clearly didn’t usually tread, I didn’t feel unsafe for exactly that reason: there were hotels and revelers nearby, so cops couldn’t be far either. It wasn’t East St. Louis where the cops only show up to murders.

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    Research indicates that the fatality rate per passenger mile is significantly lower for buses and trains than it is for passenger cars.

    That being the case,do you advise people not to take cars in the interests of their own safety?

  • avatar
    TMA1

    They’re building a new Metro line to connect the poor to the rich. The Purple Line will be in Maryland only, stretching from some ‘hoodish parts of PGC in the east, to where the rich white people live in Montgomery County. When I lived in the middle of that path, the people there were still fighting the proposed construction. Honestly, I thought the whole reason the country pumped all that money into Silver Spring was to give the undesirables a nice area to destroy, and keep them out of the western part of the county.

    That’s what Metro is all about. Bringing people together. This usually means bringing the sort of people to your neighborhood that make you lock your doors at night. You think the weekly brawls in Chinatown are among the locals? No, those punks ride the Green Line up from the SE ghettos, so they can fight it out among the bright lights.

    Oh, speaking of rapes on the Metro. A few weeks ago, a father of four (who lives with his mother) raped a woman at knife point on a Red Line train. At 10 in the morning. Previous crimes include first-degree sexual abuse, attempted second-degree child sexual abuse and unauthorized use of a vehicle. I hope folks will remember that none of this is his fault!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3605880/John-Prentice-Hicks-charged- raping-woman-knife-point-Washington-DC-Metro.html#ixzz4AuZ5JjT5

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Sounds like he’s a serial piece of garbage and is ready for execution.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        Oh, and he was a suspect in an indecent exposure case a few weeks before. But police chose not to pursue an arrest warrant. So yeah, more cops are definitely the answer.

        Good news for him though, he’s a DC resident and DC is also paying criminals to not commit crimes now. So maybe he can get into that program, since none of his other convictions for sex crimes have stopped him.

        At least he’s stupid. He used a Metro card registered in his own name to exit the station.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    “Once you agree to get rid of your car or motorcycle and become part of the “mass transit solution”, you have all the rights and clout of a sheep in the abattoir. By its very definition and nature, government-controlled mass transit is a monopoly. You have two choices: like it, or lump it.”

    You always say things like that. And when you do, you are always oversimplifying dramatically, to the point where you are just wrong.

    If you get rid of your car, that doesn’t mean that mass transit suddenly becomes the only transportation solution available. It’s going to play a part, but so are lots of other things.

    First are feet. If you give up your car, it’s probably because you moved somewhere where you don’t have to drive two miles just to get out of a subdivision to pick up a quart of milk. In fact, that quart of milk is probably available on your block. And you may will be able to walk to lots of other things that you would drive to in the suburbs. Your job, your friends, and entertainment may all be in walking distance, as they often were for me when I lived in central DC. (Bicycles can work for this purpose too if you are so inclined.)

    Then there are Uber, Lyft, and taxis. If you live in the central city, parking at your home is likely to be horrifically expensive (whether on its own or as a six-figure amount of the value of property that has it), and parking away from your home is expensive as well and often very inconvenient and time-consuming. All that paying for parking can buy you an awful lot of ridesharing rides. In a central city, they’re ubiquitously available and cheap because of the short distances.

    Then there are rental and carsharing cars. When you need a car for only the occasional trip, it’s easy to get one. Most downtowns have multiple rental offices in the downtown area, and many cities also have Car2Go or Zipcar. Yes, it’s expensive per hour or day compared with car ownership, but you probably only need it for a very small number of hours or days.

    In the central city, a car is not freedom. Parking is a ball and chain. Your home parking costs a fortune, and parking in other places is costly or sometimes just plain unavailable. The combination of ridesharing, carsharing, and mass transit that runs often doesn’t leave you beholden to anyone else’s schedule, and often gets you places way faster than driving *and parking* would.

    I know this is just baffling to a lot of Americans who have never lived anywhere but suburbia and just think of driving as The Way to get places. But it’s still true, and you’re still wrong every time you say something like the above.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Walking and bicycling are great — as long as you’re healthy enough, young enough, and the weather is good enough.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I think the total distance from my doorstep in DC to the milk in my local drugstore and back was less than the distance from the handicapped parking spot to the milk and back at the Super-Mega-Target a few miles from my current place. And far safer; there’s no parking lot to cross.

        Getting things closer together makes a HUGE difference for those with physical challenges.

      • 0 avatar
        pragmatist

        And don’t need to carry young children,old people, or groceries.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Young children old enough to walk need to do more walking and less riding around in the back of Suburbans.

          My two-year-old (25 months) just did a 2.5-mile, hilly forest hike this past Sunday, all by himself except for the last 200 feet or so when he ran out of steam and rode on my shoulders. He loves it, because he gets to run a lot, poke at slugs, mess around in the dirt, and balance on tree roots. I love the shock we see on other parents’ faces who are breaking their backs carrying 40+ pounds of three-year-old and carrier on their shoulders.

          • 0 avatar
            Dave M.

            Shame on you! Exposing him to ticks!

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I know. Even worse, he might scrape his knee and be scarred for life.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            I came home from work at 4:00 PM today, something I usually do not do. I was behind a school bus in my suburban neighborhood, dropping off kids I would guess were in middle school. Hell if that bus didn’t stop every eighty feet to disgorge those future diabetics. WTF? When I was in grade school, I walked about three blocks to the bus stop. When I was in middle school, I walked half a mile to a bus stop. I’m not going to talk about uphill through three feet of snow, because school generally closed on the mere hint it might snow, but when did kids start getting door-to-door bus service?

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        “Walking and bicycling are great — as long as you’re healthy enough, young enough, and the weather is good enough.”

        I still walk to the subway or to the stores when it rains or snows. They work pretty well. Here in NYC “young enough” can be pretty damned old as walking regularly tends to keep us pretty healthy.

        I’m in better physical condition than when I lived in Columbus in the ’90s.

    • 0 avatar
      Felix Hoenikker

      This.
      I used to live near Phila when I worked and went to school there. Cars and center city never did mix well. During rush hour, you literally could walk faster than traffic moved down town.
      My daughter lives and works in center city Philly, and has come up with a low cost parking solution. To avoid having to pay for a place to park her car near where she lives, she parks it for free in NJ at one of the trains stations just across the river. She’s been doing this for almost a year now with now issues. When she needs the car, she jumps on the train and uses her pass and is there in 15 minutes.

  • avatar
    dswilly

    Multiple posts here support carrying a firearm a deterrent to crime. Problem is, in almost any circumstance you find you need a weapon it’s too late to get it “gun ready”. This is usually preached by pro-gun professionals that realize just having a gun on your person does very little to stop a crime. And is likely to turn you into an adversary vs victim. Which means they first only wanted your wallet, now they feel threatened and kill you instead. Then take your wallet and gun. Remember, they most likely got the drop on you. So what you really mean if you are pro carry is that everyone should be walking around with a gun in hand, safety off, finger on the guard. That sounds great.

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatist

      By that logic,its a waste for police to carry guns either.

      • 0 avatar
        dswilly

        because police get mugged all the time..

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          And don’t have to get extensive training and requalification on the use of said firearms like the concealed carry types.

          • 0 avatar
            dswilly

            So the concealed carry types are better trained than the cops?

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            After 15 years of war, many of them are better trained than many cops.

          • 0 avatar
            carrya1911

            dswilly, it seems you are also unfamiliar with police training standards in the United States. There are some organizations with superb firearms training and standards. The old Federal Air Marshal Tactical Pistol Course qualification is a good example of an excellent qualification.

            Unfortunately that is not the standard for every department in the US. I have a friend who illustrated the rather pathetic standards for a *patrol rifle* qualification by shooting that qualification with a perfect score…using a 5 shot J frame revolver.

            Police training ranges from superb to dismal, with the trend being mostly toward dismal. To give some example of what I’m talking about, for many years Ohio’s state POST standards had a requirement to fire 12 rounds through a service weapon with welding goggles on to simulate low-light shooting. No scored target…no accuracy standard…just making the gun go bang 12 times with welding goggles. This does not simulate the challenges of using a handgun in low light in the slightest…but actually conducting low light training at night would require overtime. And that’s expensive.

            The police in general (with notable exceptions) are far less well-trained in the use of firearms and in the crucial decision making skills necessary to using them well under stress than the general public thinks. They are also not as well trained in hand-to-hand combat as the public thinks. Or in first aid.

            So to answer the question, yes…there are a number of people with a concealed carry license who are in fact much better trained than the police officers in their community.

            The police and the private citizen, though, deal with different problems. The police officer responds to a call for service. The citizen is responding to a criminal assault. The citizen’s problem is much simpler than the one the police officer faces…as they know who the bad guy is since he’s trying to rob them/kill them when they use their weapon.

            It’s still a very dangerous situation, but a simple one. Police tend to shoot the wrong person far more often than private citizens do. As an example, I am unaware of any plain clothes officers who have been killed by private citizens with permits to carry at this point…but there have been quite a few plain clothes police officers shot or killed by other police officers.

        • 0 avatar
          carrya1911

          dswilly, police do, in fact, get mugged all the time. Roughly half of the shootings FBI agents are involved in are attempted robberies.

          FBI personnel are usually in plain clothes and aren’t readily identifiable to your average street criminal as a fed. So they try and rob them…and the agent pulls a gun and fights.

          I started receiving professional firearms training in 2002. In that time I’ve trained under experts from elite counter-terrorism units, elite law enforcement units, military special forces units, competitive shooters, and street cops…and not once in all those years have I heard anyone say that if you need a gun you don’t have time to get one “gun ready.”

          In fact, “gun ready” is not a term I’ve ever heard before today. I don’t know where you heard that term, but I’d like to know the source. I’d wager whatever “expert” you got that term from isn’t really an expert.

          As for becoming an opponent vs. a victim, being an opponent is a damn good thing. I can literally spend the next several hours listing the names and details of perfectly cooperative victims WHO WERE EXECUTED ANYWAY. Because it turns out that betting one’s life on the moral recognizance of a violent felon is a pretty risky bet.

          I do not, in fact, mean everyone should be walking around with a gun in hand all the time. I’ll refer to Tom Givens again because he has had literally THOUSANDS of students effectively deploy a concealed handgun to stop an attack…and none of them had to walk around every day with a gun in their hand giving everybody the 1,000 yard stare.

          I have personally stopped criminal attacks by drawing a concealed weapon.

          So I find it rather difficult take your comments above too seriously, as it seems like you have absolutely no relevant education or experience in this area.

  • avatar
    5280thinair

    The points Jack is trying to make really need more context to back up his assertions. How many people ride the metro versus the number of assaults and robberies committed? How does that compare to the number of serious accidents and road rage incidents versus the number of people on the road in that metro area? With concealed carry, how often do people successfully defend themselves versus the number of “unintended” injuries/fatalities (kid finds gun in mom’s purse and manages to shoot someone, old guy with gun in movie theater cometely overreacts to minor confrontation with guy texting in the row ahead of him, etc.)

    People tend to gravitate towards situations where they think they have more control, but the reality is situations where they have less control may actually be safer (for example, people who are afraid of flying despite the fact statistics show being on the road is far more dangerous.)

  • avatar

    Two quick points:

    1) In my time doing a prison ministry, the issue cut much deeper than mere poverty being the common factor among the population present. Every time we touched on the subject of family, it would always come back to the fact that most of the men present never had strong father figures, if dad had even been in their lives at all.

    2) DC might have a ban on firearms, but what about wasp and hornet spray? It’s incredibly disabling, way more than pepper spray.

  • avatar

    Oh, cool. Headed to DC tomorrow.

  • avatar
    46664

    Personally I’m all for mass transit, but disruptions to normal services are simply unacceptably bad planning. The Hong Kong MTR conducts all of its maintenance during out-of-service hours. They’ve even written a computer program to maximise their efficiency.
    And by the way, be glad that your public transport is still run by the public sector. You guys don’t want to endure the bad nightmare that the UK and Australia have had to with the mass privatisation of their mass transit.

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