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  • New York City, December 22nd, 1984.

  • It's the day, as one person put it, the whole world exploded.

  • A number two subway train is passing through Lower Manhattan on a dirty carriage festooned with graffiti.

  • Four youths approach a man and ask him for five bucks, the man replies.

  • I got $5 for each of you.

  • Amid the noise of the train, shots ring out.

  • A chaotic struggle ensues as all but two of the 17 other passengers flee the carriage, the youths air lying on the floor when the train stops.

  • One of them has been hit in the chest, one in the side and two took bullets to the back.

  • The shooter seems to just disappear.

  • The last anyone sees of him is a silhouette slinking off into a dark tunnel.

  • The man's actions would divide America.

  • What was he, Ah, heroic vigilante fighting back in the city, infested with crime?

  • Or was he a cold blooded killer with a heart filled with hatred and a mind set on vengeance?

  • Police released a sketch of the shooter, a man people were already comparing to Charles Bronson's character in the death wish movies.

  • Ah 1000 cops were tasked with the job of finding the mystery shooter.

  • Each and every day they monitored the subway looking for him every day.

  • The tabloids were Justus, busy as the police as they ran story after story about the guy that took on a group of alleged muggers and one from New York to Newcastle, England.

  • Everyone was asking the same questions.

  • Who was this guy?

  • Was he a hardened criminal or just some dude on his way home from work?

  • The controversy around the shooting soon made the event the crime of the century, or at least one of them.

  • Was it okay to take the law into your own hands in the city, so rife with crime?

  • Was vigilante is a necessary when the cops couldn't protect you.

  • And what about the kids who were shot?

  • Did nobody have their backs?

  • What if they were just messing around?

  • What if they were merely panhandling?

  • What if the guy started shooting others around New York City, a place at the time called the Murder Capital of America?

  • This was a city where many residents lived each day, wondering if they were going to be a crime statistic.

  • A place of daily carnage, where the sound of police sirens was never far away.

  • If the cops couldn't stop the crime, maybe it was time for residents to take up arms themselves.

  • These were the things people were thinking.

  • As the manhunt continued.

  • As one reporter put it, We're all sick and tired of being scared all the time.

  • Those sentiments echoed around the city.

  • Rather than denounce a man for shooting four young men, a lot of people were saying he was some kind of hero.

  • Their reasoning was that he had stood up for himself in a place that resembled the fictional Gotham, especially for those who had to ride that decrepit subway system.

  • Things had been so bad on that subway system that a group had been working down there for a while.

  • As vigilantes, these guys call themselves the Guardian Angels.

  • Sure, they face some opposition at first, but who wanted to live in a city where violent crime was so pervasive the police just couldn't offer enough protection?

  • Had things got so bad that the regular folks had to Ghana Red Beret and act as guards for everyone else, this group actually supported the mystery gunman.

  • They even wrote a letter to the mayor asking for amnesty If he handed himself in, he felt the need to protect himself.

  • That's what they said again and again.

  • And many locals, rich and poor of all ethnicities, joined the chorus.

  • But things weren't quite as cut and dried as they seemed.

  • For all the praise the subway vigilante got, he received an equal amount of criticism, especially as time went on.

  • What about the four kids that were shot?

  • They were Barry Allen, Troy Canty and Daryl K.

  • B, all 19 years of age and all from the South Bronx.

  • The fourth boy, James Ran Sir, was 18.

  • They were no angels, all three of them having been convicted of small crimes before they met the man who shot them.

  • None of them, however, had been arrested for anything close to a serious crime.

  • That night, they got on the Broadway Seventh Avenue Express with the intention of robbing a video arcade in Manhattan.

  • That was the reason two of them had sharpened screwdrivers in their pockets.

  • That's what they later testified anyway.

  • On the way to that arcades, two of them approached demand at the rear end of the seventh car of the train.

  • They asked him how he was doing, to which the man replied, He was fine.

  • One of the group asked him for the $5 and you know what happened next.

  • The question is, just how aggressive were these teens did asking for some cash really justify the man opening fire?

  • Surely just brandishing a weapon would have been a good enough warning.

  • And why did he carry on shooting after he shot the first team, he hit another of the youth when one was already on the floor, crying out, Why did he shoot me?

  • Why did he shoot me?

  • When the teens were down and pools of blood were spreading over the carriage floor, the man bent down next to one of the cowering teens and said, You don't look so bad.

  • Here's another.

  • That team was K B and the injury insured.

  • He'd never walk again.

  • Does this sound like a hero to you?

  • For many people, he was exactly that.

  • Don't make your decision just yet, though, because you need to hear some of the things this man once said about racial minorities.

  • We'll get to that soon Nine days later, the gunman walked into a police station in New Hampshire and told the cops he was the subway vigilante.

  • His exact words.

  • Where I'm the person they're seeking in New York, he was no Charles Bronson, fragile and build and also demeanor.

  • Still, he had a blood lust.

  • He carried a lot of anger.

  • During those first talks with the cops.

  • He was recorded saying that he wanted to kill all of the teams.

  • That night, Even said he was disappointed he hadn't got one teen in the head when he had the chance.

  • Who was he?

  • His name was Bernard Goetz.

  • He was a 37 year old man who'd grown up with German immigrant parents in Queens, New York But later during his childhood, the family moved to upstate New York.

  • It seems they weren't short of cash, grossing millions a year from their family business.

  • In the early eighties, Bernard and his youngest sister were schooled for a while in Switzerland with the help of the cash earned from their Pops business.

  • When Bernard returned to the U.

  • S, he studied in college and left with a degree in electrical engineering and then later he studied nuclear engineering as the seventies were coming to a close gets was a successful businessman producing precision high tech engineering equipment.

  • There was one thing that bothered him about New York City, and that was the crime.

  • This was something gets was very out, spoken about.

  • To him, it seemed every day was a struggle to stay out of the way of violence.

  • So when he was mugged and injured by three teens in the subway station in 1981 he made a decision to get himself a gun.

  • He did so illegally after being turned down for a pistol permit.

  • He was irate not only because he'd been hurt in the mugging, but because those charged with the crime got off.

  • Prior to that mugging, he'd been mugged twice before and threatened to other times.

  • This was a bully kid grown up who still got bullied after his arrest.

  • He didn't hold back about what he felt was the ongoing destruction of a city he loved.

  • He called New York lawless and a disgrace.

  • He didn't show announce of sympathy towards the kids he had shot.

  • In fact, he said this.

  • I wanted to kill those guys.

  • I wanted to maim those guys.

  • I wanted to make them suffer in every way I could.

  • If I had more bullets, I would have shot them all again and again.

  • My problem was I ran out of bullets.

  • Get said he had no intention of shooting people on the subway, but when he felt his life was being threatened, he didn't think twice about using his weapon.

  • He admitted that his objective when he pulled out that gun was to kill his assailants.

  • But we're the teens so aggressive that gets rightly felt in fear of his life.

  • No one ever said they pulled out those sharpen screwdrivers.

  • So was using the gun a massive overreaction.

  • One of the teens did once admit that gets looked like easy prey, and indeed, they wanted to rob him of his money.

  • The public was split down the middle at times after hearing this.

  • As the trial approached, many people still hailed, gets as a hero and even wore T shirts with his face on them, while others condemned him for being an angry maniac with racism issues.

  • Those folks had a right to think he was a maniac.

  • After hearing that gets told police he was about to gouge the eyes out of one of the teens, but only stopped when he saw the utter fear in the kids.

  • Expression gets couldn't keep his mouth closed, which wasn't to the liking of his lawyers.

  • Not only was he never repentant for what he'd done, but whenever he got the chance, he told all New Yorkers to do as he had done and armed themselves in the fight against crime.

  • One time he even told a reporter that the mother of the boy whose spine he'd suffered should have aborted her child.

  • Slowly, the people's hero was becoming something to testable, or at least to some of his supporters.

  • The case absolutely divided people, some saw gets as a fragile scientists who never had the strength to protect himself in a rough city.

  • Other some as a depressive weakling in a fanaticism.

  • Who should have thought Maura about why such crime existed in the first place?

  • One person interviewed said she thought gets was not only right, but he should run for president.

  • The crime of the century became the trial of the century, gets his chief defense lawyer, Joseph Kelner, said.

  • The truth and the facts are that he acted reasonably and understandably in a life threatening situation.

  • He did not take the law into his own hands.

  • Kellner talked a lot about the breakdown of society and how regular working people suffered at the hands of criminals who often got off likely psychiatrist talk to the media and tried to explain why gets had so much support.

  • They all said the same thing.

  • People had lost their trust in the authorities, so gets had become a kind of anti hero for them.

  • He was a white collar guy pushing back against a wave of violence, and if he had some personal problems that made him unlikeable, a broken society had created him.

  • But this was also a racial issue.

  • Some people asked how the reaction would have been if an African American had turned a gun on four white teenagers who hadn't brandished any weapons that, they said would likely have led to the death penalty if it had happened in the state that had the death penalty.

  • This is what one academic said about it.

  • There would be much more questioning about gets his behavior if those were white kids.

  • The public is rather callous about this.

  • They have no sympathy for that young black kid who's paralyzed from the waist down.

  • Even so, after polls were taken, it seemed that gets it almost as much support from African Americans as white Americans.

  • 49% of black folks said in the poll that they thought gets had acted in the right way, as opposed to 52% of white people.

  • A conclusion many people came to was that if there was so much support for a man gunning down four kids, that one thing was for sure there was a problem in the USA.

  • When the trial happened, gets his defense argued that what their client had done was within the law.

  • What they were talking about was New York state self defense statute, which in part reads a person may not use deadly physical force upon another person unless he reasonably believes that such other person is committing or attempting to commit a list of crimes that includes robbery.

  • The jury was made up of 10 white people in to black people.

  • Half of them had one point in time than a victim of street crime.

  • You might not be surprised then to hear that they acquitted gets of attempted murder and first degree assault, and he was only found guilty of carrying a loaded weapon without a license.

  • For that, he served a total of eight months.

  • Civil rights activist Al Sharpton echoed the sentiments of many people who thought gets hadn't just got off lightly.

  • But there have been a huge miscarriage of justice underpinned by racism, he said.

  • Mr Gets was seriously psychologically damaged by former muggings and that in his mind, young blacks are the stereotypical type muggers.

  • He also said the boys were far from being role models, but gets was definitely not a role model, either.

  • Had those boys have been White, said Sharpton, Gets wouldn't have pulled out his gun.

  • In fact, prior to gets committing the crime he'd attended a building association meeting in which residents discussed cleaning up the neighborhood in that meeting, gets used crude and abusive racial slurs.

  • When he aired his opinion about how he thought the black and Latino community were to blame for all crime, he also once said, Forget about their ever making a positive contribution to society in a civil case in 1996 gets admitted he used such hateful, racist language in the past, the jury found that gets had acted recklessly, but he never paid a dime of the $46 million that was awarded to KB.

  • To this day, he never received any of that money.

  • In 2001, Gets his name, was back on the front pages of the media when he unsuccessfully ran for the mayor of New York.

  • He later made headlines in 2013, when he was arrested on the charge of selling marijuana.

  • Although the charge was later dropped, Gets never repented for what he did in 2015, after a shooting on the New York subway Gets was asked if the man was comparable to him.

  • He said no, But one thing that was the same was the troublemakers got shot?

  • He was asked in an interview in 2017.

  • If he regretted anything about the shooting on, his answer was the same as it's always been.

New York City, December 22nd, 1984.

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The New York Subway Shooter (Court Case of the Century)

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/02/05
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