I meet dozens of potential Frank James

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    I meet dozens of potential Frank James

    “If we desire a society of peace, then we cannot achieve such a society through violence. If we desire a society without discrimination, then we must not discriminate against anyone in the process of building this society. If we desire a society that is democratic, then democracy must become a means as well as an end.”

    —Bayard Rustin

    THE distance of my regular subway ride in New York City was reduced by almost 45 minutes effective September 2021 when I stopped working in Brooklyn, for the time being.

    I now travel only for about 15 minutes from Queens to Midtown Manhattan vice versa, where the bulk of my livelihood is based.

    After my first shift in the Lower Manhattan, I strut straight to my second shift in the Upper East Manhattan, which is three stops away via subway.

    I learned in February this year that I could walk for about 16 blocks (from 51st Avenue to 67th Avenue vice versa) for only 30 minutes if the weather was good, thus I started to avoid the subway and save $2.75 (fare per trip).

    There’s no substitute for a good walking exercise early in the morning.

    Less travel via subway, less danger from being victimized once more by the so-called “Asian Hate Crime” in the subway (any unlucky Asian, for that matter, can still be “hated” even in the streets and other public places).

    For three years before the pandemic, I traveled from the Latino community in Queens via Lower Manhattan to Brooklyn (three stops away from the last station in Coney Island) from Monday to Friday.

    Those were the years I experienced so many eerie moments as a subway rider, which I normally saw only in the Al Pacino and Charles Bronson movies when I was a teenager in the Philippines.

    From being elbowed and sneered at inside a packed train, to being spat at and sometimes scandalously mistaken for a kook and pickpocket.

    In March 2021, the video where I was verbally harassed and nearly mugged by an angry black passenger for being “a Chinese” on my way to Brooklyn’s Coney Island from Queen’s Jackson Heights, went viral.

    Every trip I make around the Big Apple via subway, I meet a lot of potential Frank James of all stripes and colors.

    Frank R. James, 62, has been identified by police in Sunset Park, Brooklyn as a person of interest in connection with Tuesday (April 12) morning’s Brooklyn subway attack that wounded 17 passengers (10 individuals were shot).

    Although police did not have evidence James was the same person who actually committed the shooting, his name was reportedly connected to a U-Haul sought in connection with the attack.

    A key was left behind at the scene of the shooting and investigators connected that to a U-Haul James had rented with Arizona plates, which they later located in Brooklyn.

    “We’re looking to determine if he has any connection to the train,” NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said.

    There were some “concerning” social media posts police believe may be connected to James, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said. They mentioned homelessness and New York City Mayor Eric Adams. Security for the mayor was increased because of the posts.

    James, who rented the U-Haul in Philadelphia, has addresses in Wisconsin and Philadelphia.

    Police recovered a 9mm semi-automatic weapon and a hatchet at the scene of the carnage and found a liquid believed to be gasoline and a bag with commercial-grade fireworks inside.

    No arrests have been made as of this writing even as police described the suspected gunman as being around 5 feet, 5 inches tall.

    The suspect weighs around 175-200 pounds and was last seen wearing a gas mask and a construction vest. Police initially said the vest was green, but later officials said it was orange.

    He also had on a gray, hooded sweatshirt. There was no immediate confirmation if among those wounded in the attack were Asians.

    Definitely it wasn’t perpetrated specifically to target only the Asians since many of the victims weren’t from Asia.

    Both Governor Cathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams have condemned the lates attack that placed New York in another headline worldwide for crime and violence.

    (The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)