Wall Street Journal Tough Guy Has Some Words For Wimps Who Wore Masks During Brooklyn Subway Attack
US District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle voided the Biden administration’s federal mask mandate for airplanes and public transportation. However, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced that its own mask mandate will remain in place on subways, buses, and cabs. Mayor Eric Adams said this is because "New York is unique. We are densely populated.” Those are true statements.
This will likely infuriate Gerard Baker at the Wall Street Journal, who wrote a pissy column Monday about masks on the city’s public transit. He declared the image of masked people at last week’s Brooklyn subway attack "emblematic of the failure of American government at all levels.”
Those flimsy pieces of fabric might have offered some minimal protection from the noxious fumes of the smoke bombs that Frank James allegedly set off in that subway car. But they were never going to be a match for the bullets fired from the 9mm semiautomatic handgun recovered at the scene. Many innocents were wounded, and it is something of an Easter miracle that no one was killed.
I don’t think anyone assumes that masks will also double as bullet-proof vests. I must also question Baker’s use of the term “Easter miracle,” as the Biblical miracle on Easter is someone literally returning from the dead. If Christ had avoided death, perhaps by wearing a mask, that would’ve been a "Good Friday miracle," but enough with the Bible Study.
For the millions of people who have dared to ride the city’s subway this year, the greatest danger to life isn’t some escaped molecule of a virus of rapidly diminishing potency. That exiguous risk is dwarfed by the combined threat of being pushed in front of an oncoming train, stabbed, hit in the head by a psycho with a hammer, robbed at gunpoint or being sexually assaulted. The number of robberies on the subway so far in 2022 is up 72% from the same period in 2021. There is no easily discoverable record of how many maskless riders have been struck down this year by Covid.
Baker claims without much evidence that COVID’s potency has “rapidly diminished,” as if it’s in late middle age or drank too much whiskey. He insists that the risk from COVID-19 is “exiguous” because the Wall Street Journal is too fancy for the word “small.” However, he simultaneously inflates the risk from violent crime, which has risen over the past year but has still killed fewer people than COVID-19.
An estimated 40,152 New Yorkers have died from COVID-19. Last year, there were 485 recorded murders in New York City. If those were COVID-19 deaths, Baker would’ve said they'd died with hammers and getting shoved in front of trains.
Baker snidely observes that we don’t know how many people who managed to ride the subway without a mask later keeled over and died. This anti-mask mentality requires that we ignore all established germ theory in favor of what my eight-year-old would call a “sick burn.”
The politicians and bureaucrats who run almost all major cities, many states and the federal executive branch seem to care more about preserving the symbol of their authority that mask mandates represent than about the actual physical safety of citizens. In their warped ideology, crime is the result of material deprivation, prejudice and wicked police officers. The real need for enforcement is shown by those tempted to show their faces in public.
Wow, look at all the straw men assembled in one place! Democrats don’t care about inflation or crime. They just want to imprison our faces.
Homeless rates skyrocketed for single adults during the pandemic, and the homeless were more susceptible to contracting and dying from COVID-19. Wall Street Journal centerfold model Ronald Reagan slashed the budget for public housing and sought to eliminate federal housing assistance to the poor altogether. New York crime dropped 73 percent between 1990 and 1999, and Democratic President Bill Clinton was in office for most of that period.
On it goes. from needless bailouts for student loans to a fixation on sacrificing energy capacity in pursuit of long-term climate goals, Democrats display an unerring focus on aims Americans don’t see as pressing—or even necessary.
New York’s problem isn’t a lack of electricity because Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took all the oil. Experts warn that devastating hurricanes will only become more common in New York because of climate change. Last year, 13 people died during Hurricane Ida, most of whom were trapped in flooded basement apartments that weren’t equipped for such storms.
Baker might prefer 1970s problems and solutions, but that’s not what 21st Century New York is facing. For all his ranting about masks, Baker is seemingly wearing one over his eyes and ears.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."