[UPDATE] Another Man Pushed to His Death in Front of Subway & Something Has to Be Done

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Update: A 31-year-old woman, Erika Menendez, was charged with murder as a hate crime Saturday for allegedly pushing the victim, Sunando Sen, to his death in front of the 7 train in Queens. Police say she told them she killed Sen because she thought he was Muslim and has hated Muslims and Hindus since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Sen, 46, was from India but his religion wasn't immediately known.

I don't know what's going on inside the New York City subway system, but it's beginning to seem like open season on passengers. Police are looking for a "heavy-set Hispanic woman" who pushed a complete stranger to his death from a subway platform in Queens. This comes in the same month that a drifter with a long criminal history pushed another man, Ki-Suk Han. His last moments were captured by a photographer and shockingly splashed on the cover of the New York Post. This latest victim was apparently targeted, accorded to witnesses, by a woman who was "mumbling to herself."

Witnesses who saw the woman said she had blond or brown hair, was about 5 feet 5 inches tall, appeared to be in her 20s, and was muttering to herself in the station. She apparently sat alone on a bench until the train came in. Then she darted up behind the man, who witnesses said didn't even notice her, and pushed him in front of the train, which didn't have time to stop. It apparently happened so fast, no one had a chance to help him. Police are now on the lookout for her.

The fact that the suspect was "mumbling to herself" and that she didn't appear to know the stranger she killed points to the strong possibility that she was mentally ill. Unfortunately, there are a lot of mentally ill people roaming the streets of the city. I've lived here a long time, so trust me, I know. I've never had an issue with any of them -- in fact, usually they are quite polite, though it can be a bit disconcerting to see someone ranting to himself. You see it so often, though, that you kind of grow immune to it.

I would urge all New Yorkers, and anyone who rides the subway the world over, not to stand close to the platform. This way, if someone tries to push you, you've at least got a fighting chance of digging your feet in and stopping the attack. Also, straphangers (as New York subway passengers are called) should always be aware of their surroundings. It's tempting to bury your nose in your cellphone while you wait, but be vigilant. 

Police say the man's injuries prevented him from immediately being identified. It's heartbreaking to think that right now some family is probably being informed that a loved one was killed in such a senseless act. Sadly, since Kendra Webdale was pushed in front of a train by a schizophrenic man in 1999, Kendra's Law hasn't stopped these things from happening.

I hope the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the NYC subway system, will seriously consider installing safeguards along the tracks.

Does this make you worried about riding the subway? What can we do about mentally ill people roaming the streets?


Image via Vincentdesjardains/Flickr

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miche... micheledo

Something has to be done? Really? What?

We can't stop terrible things from happening. There isn't always something we can do.

Even the pleas for better mental health care - what do you do when someone refuses help? Force them?

I guess it's good to ask ourselves if we could have done something. But sometimes, there just isn't.

nonmember avatar michelle

Ban all subways!!!

nikol... nikolita87

I agree with the above comments. We cannot prevent all tragedies and it is so naive to think so. We cannot control what other people do. Mentally ill people are of course dangerous to society but what can we do about them? Why would Kendra's law prevent more people from dying in this horrific way? Believe me, I am repulsed that anyone would do this to somebody but I am so tired of people "demanding" that something be done to prevent senseless acts of violence. We can't stop them. Criminals and mentally ill people have NO regard for the law or for living up to moral standards.

Flori... Floridamom96

"Something has to be done!" should be the motto of CafeMom. This is all we hear every time any bad thing happens.

Torra... TorranceMom

You're right Kiri, something must be done. Stricter subway control is our only option. It may be every American's right to choose the method of transportation that works best for them but holding the pushers responsible would be an infringement of their rights. The only answer is to punish the subways themselves - they are clearly to blame. /End sarcasm/

belon... belongs2Jesus

ban all subways they're all evil they're killing people left and right.

bleed... bleedingheart8D

Couldn't they install barrers of some sort that go down when the subway doors open?

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