A Complacent Generation That Loves Making Martyrs

jordan neely
Jordan Neely impersonating Michael Jackson in 2009. The photo was taken before being arrested 42 times from 2013 to 2021 for assault.

May 9, 2023

Did people always make martyrs out of the criminal and mentally ill? It would be unsurprising if there were to be erected a statue of Jordan Neely in NYC as there is of George Floyd. The best way to frame the argument in favor is to claim that “murder is never acceptable, especially when someone is “just asking for help,” and then further, “this murder is indicative of the systemic racism that makes it acceptable for the ‘houseless’ to be retaliated against without consequence.”

Note here that retaliation is only ever possible when there is something to retaliate against. The progressive will frame this as the unjustifiable reaction against a homeless population suffering from mental illness—“it is best to ignore them, or give them food and money, just like we do without thanks.” These are “vulnerable populations” but only insofar as their minds and physical condition is destitute. Some do not see the irony that such a population needs more than just looking the other way, a defense that they sleep on the subways and other infrastructure not designed for sleeping, arguing against “hostile architecture,” or temporary feel-good charity that comes with giving someone a whole dollar bill.

Reports the New York Times:

“Metal bars divide a public bench on East 47th Street. Ugly bolts line the ledges at a public plaza on East 56th Street. These are all ways of saying “don’t make yourself at home” in public. This so-called hostile architecture has flourished in New York, even as the city has significantly added more public space in the last decade, including new plazas and parkland, pedestrian areas once used for cars and reclaimed industrial waterfront.

Proponents say this type of urban design is necessary to help maintain order, ensure safety and curb unwanted behavior such as loitering, sleeping or skateboarding.

But hostile architecture, in New York and other cities, has increasingly drawn a backlash from critics who say that such measures are unnecessary and disproportionately target vulnerable populations. They have assailed what they call “anti-homeless spikes” for targeting those who have nowhere else to go at a time when many cities are grappling with a homelessness crisis.”

But the culprit of this problem is never revealed because it is also guarded by complacency and, more importantly, impenetrable stupidity. For as much as the system of racism is allegedly responsible for their demise, the system that both politically follows that conviction and facilitates the creation and demise of that population is always unironically reinforced by progressives who say, “we need more of this policy to prevent its consequences.”

A vulnerable population may be the homeless, but any condition of a man is amplified if he is a minority. This tale is exploitable to the same proponents who can go so far as to publish another piece in their literature both extolling the virtues of reduced policing and arrests and then lamenting the increase in homelessness, but it does explain why minority criminals are then made martyrs when they are victims of a system unconcerned about the general public’s welfare. But the tale is also exploitable to families that otherwise didn’t exist: for example, Neely’s family who is now involved in his alleged murder despite leaving him homeless and mentally ill without help for…how many years?

It might be a new fad to debase our sympathies to “live and let live” and then refuse to match the same level of protest for decades of unaffordable housing prices as they do with deaths of the “racially oppressed.” It must be easier to recognize the legitimacy of death rather than the health and criminal issues getting them there. One requires anger and a feeling of doing good, of standing up for the “right of a man to be homeless (and maybe even threaten people) without excessive force resulting in death.” Note the slight change from murder to excessive force. Be wary of the mental tricks to justify any belief.

But the other reaction requires one to protest the city officials that they elected and will continue to elect who are responsible for negligence, that same negligence of those now in the streets demanding justice (from themselves).

All things considered, New York City appears torn that such a good soul will be missed. New Yorkers love to be terrorized, and when there is no one left to do so, they will hold a vigil.


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