Bernhard Goetz – The Subway Vigilante
Historien om Bernard Hugo Goetz er gammel og beskrevet mange steder, både i bøger, film og på internettet. Her er et uddrag fra bogen ‘The Tipping Point‘ af Malcom Gladwell.
Side: 133 – 135:
BERNIE GOETZ AND
THE RISE AND FALL
OF NEW YORK CITY CRIME
On December 22. 1984, the Saturday before Christmas, Bernhard Goetz left his apartment in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village and walked to the IRT subway station at Fourteenth Street and Seventh Avenue. He was a slender man in his late thirties, with sandy-colored hair and glasses, dressed that day in jeans and a windbreaker. At the station, he boarded the number two downtown express train and sat down next to four young black men. There were about twenty people in the car, but most sat at the other end, avoiding the four teenagers, because they were, as eyewitnesses would say later, “horsing around” and “acting rowdy.” Goetz seemed oblivious. “How are ya?” one of the four, Troy Canty, said to Goetz, as he walked in. Canty was lying almost prone on one of the subway benches. Canty and another of the teenagers, Barry Allen, walked up to Goetz and asked him for five dollars. A third youth, James
Ramseur, gestured toward a suspicious-looking bulg: his pocket, as if he had a gun in there.
“What do you want?” Goetz asked.
“Give me five dollars,” Canty repeated.
Goetz looked up and, as he would say later, saw that Canty’s “eyes were shiny, and he was enjoying himself… He had a big smile on his face,” and somehow that smik and those eyes set him off. Goetz reached into his pocket and pulled out a chrome-plated five-shot Smith and Wes-son .38, firing at each of the four youths in turn. As die fourth member of the group, Darrell Cabey, lay screaming on the ground, Goetz walked over to him and said, “Yob seem all right. Here’s another,” before firing a fifth bullet into Cabey’s spinal cord and paralyzing him for life.
In the tumult, someone pulled the emergency brake, The other passengers ran into the next car, except for two women who remained riveted in panic. “Are you all right?” Goetz asked the first, politely. Yes, she said. The second woman was lying on the floor. She wanted Goetz to think she was dead. “Are you all right?” Goetz asked her, twice. She nodded yes. The conductor, now on the scene, asked Goetz if he was a police officer.
“No,” said Goetz. “I don’t know why I did it.” Pause. “They tried to rip me off.”
The conductor asked Goetz for his gun. Goetz declined. He walked through the doorway at the front of the car, unhooked die safety chain, and jumped down onto the tracks, disappearing into the dark of the tunnel.
In the days that followed, the shooting on the IRT caused a national sensation. The four youths all turned out to have criminal records. Cabey had been arrested
Previously for armed robbery, Canty for theft. Three of them had screwdrivers in their pockets. They seemed the embodiment of the kind of young thug feared by nearly all urban-dwellers, and the mysterious gunman who shot Hem down seemed like an avenging angel. The tabloids duobbed Goetz die “Subway Vigilante” and die “Deadi Wish Shooter.” On radio call-in shows and in die streets,
he was treated as a hero, a man who had fulfilled the secret fantasy of every New Yorker who had ever been mugged or intimidated or assaulted on the subway. On New Year’s Eve, a week after the shooting, Goetz turned himself in to a police station in New Hampshire. Upon his extradition to New York City, the New York Post ran two pictures on
its front page: one of Goetz, handcuffed and head bowed, king led into custody, and one of Troy Canty – black, defiant, eyes hooded, arms folded – being released from the hospital. The headline read, “Led Away in Cuffs While Wounded Mugger Walks to Freedom.” When the case came to trial, Goetz was easily acquitted on charges of assault and attempted murder. Outside Goetz’s apartment building, on die evening of the verdict, there was a raucous, impromptu street party.
Videre på side 147 beskrives bandens baggrund og hensigt tydeligt:
Allen, Ram-seur, Cabey, and Canty. At least two of them, according to some reports, appear to have been on drugs at the time of the incident. They all came from the Claremont Village housing project in one of the worst parts of the South Bronx. Cabey was, at the time, under indictment for armed robbery. Canty had a prior felony arrest for posses-sion of stolen property. Allen had been previously arrested for attempted assault. Allen, Canty, and Ramseur also all had misdemeanor convictions, ranging from criminal mischief to petty larceny. Two years after the Goetz shooting, Ramseur was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison for rape, robbery, sodomy, sexual abuse, assault, criminal use of a firearm, and possession of stolen property. It’s hard to be surprised when people like this wind up in the middle of a violent incident.
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