To the editor:

Re “Subway Killing Both Stuns City and Divides It” (cover, May 5):

Politicians and ordinary New Yorkers are pounced on a debate over whether or not a subway rider who choked Jordan Neely, a screaming distraught homeless man, should face legal repercussions. Meanwhile, they continue to sit on their hands and fail to make significant investments in solutions that can fundamentally address the city’s mental illness and homelessness crisis.

Mr. Neely represents just one of the thousands of homeless and mentally ill New Yorkers who exist on our streets, in our messy shelter system, and often on our subway stations and trains. We encounter these human beings every day, and most of us just move on because contemplating the moral stain this crisis is placing on all of us is too much to bear.

Jordan Neely forces us to reflect that, in many ways, we all share some responsibility in his tragic death.

cody lyon

To the editor:

Re “Making Someone Uncomfortable Now Can Get You Killed” by Roxane Gay (invited opinion essay, May 5):

I have never in all my decades felt that my neighbors in New York were hateful. I never thought they lacked empathy. In fact, I’ve always felt that while our city has its share of bigotry, New Yorkers come together to help each other. Now, after subway passengers harmed and killed another passenger, a homeless man, I’m at a loss.

Ms. Gay’s article does the job of walking readers through incidents across the country where people have been seriously injured and killed by making a mistake. But it’s clear that Jordan Neely’s death is something different. The media and politicians have increased people’s anxiety and made them unnecessarily nervous. That led to Mr. Neely’s death.

And unfortunately, reading the comments on Ms. Gay’s article, we can see that empathy has not only cracked, but has drifted away from many of us. Many comments essentially say “I shouldn’t have died, but…” There is no “but”.

The other subway riders should never have laid their hands on him, and New Yorkers are excusing a murder.

How safe are we now?

jeremy rosen

To the editor:

As a subway rider, I don’t appreciate Roxane Gay’s gratuitous denigration of those who may have witnessed Jordan Neely’s death as callous or worse. My children and I often fear riding the subway precisely because of the people who shout and threaten and sometimes kill or push others onto the tracks. Almost invariably we remain silent and pray that we are not attacked.

If any brave soul decides to subdue him, they have our thanks. If the person threatening is killed in the process, why the immediate conclusion that the prolonged strangulation was reckless and avoidable?

Perhaps in the unspeakable panic and adrenaline rush of a fight where death is possible, this was a tragic mistake? Can’t the submitter get the benefit of the doubt? Did it occur to Mrs. Gay that the subjugator might be just as upset about death as she is?

Lumping this incident together with those who shoot random strangers who mistakenly ring the wrong doorbell is totally unfair.

Ari Weitzner

To the editor:

As a lifelong New Yorker, I am shocked by the faces of many of my neighbors and fellow Americans at the murder of Jordan Neely.

This is not a dangerous city. Living here has its challenges, but it is one of the safest big cities in the country.

You have no right to take someone’s life, especially an unarmed and mentally ill person, because you are afraid of them. Or angry. Or annoying. For the love of God!

If the subway causes you so much anguish, take the bus, ride a bike, take a taxi.

I got an stomach ache. This hysteria about crime and homelessness needs to end now.

Sharyar Motia

To the editor:

Re “The protest is a fight for the humanities in the age of AI” (front page, May 3):

His story about the sit-in at the doomed anthropology library at the University of California, Berkeley (“Cal” to us vets), is yet another indictment of the end of higher education as we knew it.

As the university moves away from the humanities toward AI, data analytics, and machine learning, it loses its soul in the process.

How clever it would have been to weave the humanities together in Gateway, the new data sciences building, creating an interdisciplinary tapestry that transcends the antiquated silo of campus departments.

Instead, we sacrifice the arts and humanities on the altar of STEM. What a shame.

Maris Thatcher Meyerson
Berkeley, Calif.
The writer is a donor to the University of California, Berkeley.

To the editor:

Re “Federal Reserve Criticizes Itself Over Bank Failure” (front page, April 29):

The Federal Reserve’s review of its supervision and regulation of Silicon Valley Bank noted several failures in supervision, with the article noting that the bank “had 31 open supervisory findings, pointing to problems, when it failed in March.”

Clearly, we need better regulation and supervision. In the meantime, I suspect a simple solution would help encourage banks to immediately address weaknesses as bank supervisors raise them: as long as a bank has open supervisory findings, its employees and directors should not be able to trade their shares or exercise any stock option.

Given what we’ve learned about the seemingly bottomless venality of bank management, I suppose such a rule would help them solve supervisory problems quickly.

François Furstenberg

To the editor:

Re “The Tragedy of Fox News,” by Bret Stephens (column, April 26):

We’ve heard this plea before: If only there was a rational, honest, centre-right party or news source!

Mr. Stephens and other similar lamenters do not indicate what that party’s positions would be, apart from general shifts towards more liberal democratic ideals.

The fact is that the agendas of these center-right Republicans have already triumphed. We live in a country dominated by their policies, which today’s Democrats either accept or try in vain to mitigate, while occasionally passing a measure that is inadequate to solve a problem.

So the wealth gap is constantly increasing; the rich continue to evade fair taxes; the prospects of the poor continue to worsen; the judicial system incarcerates a disproportionate number of minorities; military-style weapons continue to proliferate, resulting in an absurd rate of mass shootings; debt hurts the young and the poor; And the list goes on.

With the agendas of the Republicans of yesteryear in place, contemporary Republicans appeal to the scared, aggrieved, white supremacist, macho, and uneducated people who are impervious to the evidence and unaware that their real economic interests are not being served.

The only group that addresses the real needs of our ailing nation are progressives, but they are given little attention by the mainstream media.

Meanwhile, weather extremes are becoming more and more destructive, and China is getting stronger.

joel simpson
Union, New Jersey

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