This week began with the killing of Jordan Neely, an unhoused 30-year-old Black man known for dancing like Michael Jackson, on a New York City subway. Neely had a history of mental health issues and on a particularly difficult day, had an outburst—perhaps a mental breakdown—about his circumstances. Rather than help from his fellow passengers, Neely was met with violence. A 24-year-old former U.S. Marine, Daniel Penny, put him in a chokehold for 15 minutes, killing him with the help of a couple of other passengers. The majority of onlookers simply did nothing as the life was choked out of the troubled dancer.
The week ended with carnage in Texas. On Saturday, there was a mass shooting by a suspected neo-Nazi in Allen, Texas, which left 9 dead, including the shooter, and 7 injured. On Sunday, someone drove a Range Rover through a group of migrants waiting at a bus stop, killing 7 and injuring 10 in a suspected intentional hit-and-run. According to local reporting, the driver had been gesturing at and insulting his victims.
Footage of the aftermath of both incidents was circulated on social media. We have included it in this post behind links because we feel it is important for Americans to see. Be warned that the footage is disturbing, difficult to watch, and potentially triggering for some readers.
Only readers who wish to view the graphic footage should click the following links:
It is hard to know what to say in response to the senseless violence that has now become a feature of modern American life. We can identify the causes—rising white supremacist hate in the face of demographic shifts, the capture and neoliberal hollowing out of our government that has left Americans working harder for less, with little hope of retirement—but solutions, even obvious ones, remain elusive.
America’s leaders today seem paralyzed as the nation deteriorates. Republicans are hopelessly beholden to capital and an increasingly extreme right-wing voter base. Democrats, meanwhile, prefer stasis to the backlash of bold action as reporter Will Stancil recently observed.
Futile as it may seem, nothing will change without persistence and continued demand. Reporting in these times is essential, not only to bear witness but to inspire action. So, please read these stories about the tragedies.
For more on the slaying of Jordan Neely, check out these stories from our OptOut participating outlets.
HELLGATE NYC wrote about the lack of action by onlookers as Neely was killed.
DEFECTOR wrote about what Neely really needed.
DISCOURSE BLOG reminded us all of Neely’s humanity.
For more on the shooting in Allen, Texas, check out this piece from THE NEW REPUBLIC.
COVID-19 Pandemic News
In other news, the COVID-19 public health emergency is ending this month, which is different from the national emergency declaration, which President Biden ended last month when he signed Republican legislation. Still, the end of the public health emergency will mean a number of changes.
OREGON CAPTIAL CHRONICLE documented those changes.
The CONNECTICUT MIRROR wrote about what the end of the public health emergency could mean for transgender youths.
Meanwhile, long COVID is emerging as a global crisis. MISINFORMATION KILLS had a good piece this week about the condition and the lack of focus paid to it.
Hate In America
Florida has new legislation that could allow the state to take trans children away from their parents. THE NEW REPUBLIC had the story.
IN THESE TIMES published an examination of the role of right-wing media in the rise of anti-trans violence.
THE INTERCEPT reported on the latest efforts in Texas to ban transition case.
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