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New York Pols have let the mentally ill take over our streets

The menacing ramblings of the alleged subway shooter Frank James, Now in custody, they sound disturbingly familiar, don’t they? Sure, they’re on YouTube – but bitter murmurs of the same kind can be heard all day, increasing in volume every day in New York unsustainable subway system.

So the question of the moment is: How long will the city accommodate – even encourage – aggressive mental illness in its public spaces? Will it ever push back?

How many shots, how many smacks, how many deadly shoves and – grossly – how many insane smear smears does it take before the penny drops?

How many subway cars, train and bus stations and public parks must fill to the brim with the pathetic, helpless and obvious self-destructive people before New York’s leaders have enough?

Of course, this is not a new problem – by no means.

Once upon a time, decades ago, a police captain got caught. He had very little patience with a then-novel notion that therapy must always trump coercion when it does severely mentally ill appear in public.

“If you knew that much about the mentally ill,” he barked at social workers, “the police wouldn’t be called. We are here because you failed.”

Certainly the new policy failed badly. It assumed that whatever the circumstances, the madmen were fit masters of their own destiny and consequences – which, well, was crazy. But it had become law.

Presently, New York’s mental hospitals emptied, public spaces became unwelcoming — and decades of often deadly chaos ensued.

Suspected Brooklyn subway shooter Frank James is escorted out of the 9th Precinct after being arrested on April 13, 2022.
Suspected Brooklyn subway shooter Frank James is escorted out of the 9th Precinct after being arrested on April 13, 2022.
Matthew McDermott

Kendra’s Law, a ’90s response to a deadly shoving in the subway, gave judges limited powers to order involuntary committals for the mentally ill – until then, police and courts had been virtually powerless over violent mental patients.

At least that was the theory. In practice, as this old-fashioned police captain well knew, coercion – jail – was used because “therapy” didn’t exist and was a recipe for continued chaos anyway.

Then came the progressive “reforms” by 2019. Hardly anyone goes to jail for anything now – and the predictable result has been a sharp rise in seemingly baseless violent crime.

An activist is arrested after refusing to leave a homeless camp on 9th Street at Avenue B in New York, New York, United States, April 6, 2022.
Social workers have long proven ineffective in dealing with hostile homeless people in camps.
EPA/SARAH YENESEL

Except that they’re usually not motiveless at all – but rather driven by demons that defy reason, let alone compassionate understanding. You are simply invisible.

None of this changes the city’s growing league from accidental victims – Babies in strollers, wide-eyed tourists, elderly straphangers and Tuesday morning commuters from Brooklyn.

Who speaks for you? Who acts for them?

Nobody with the power to help them, that’s for sure.

Kendra’s Law is a well-intentioned half-measure that takes full account of the interests of those affected State is violent mad — but only nominally those of other New Yorkers.

This assumption must be turned on its head. Where interests collide, the innocent must prevail — and ironically, that would include those too confused to protect themselves.

Why is this so complicated?

This old cop knew failure when he saw it. After five decades, you’d think New York would do the same.

bob@bobmcmanus.nyc

https://nypost.com/2022/04/13/nyc-pols-have-let-the-mentally-ill-take-over-our-streets/ New York Pols have let the mentally ill take over our streets

DUSTIN JONES

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