A Rumble in Times Square

The First Essential Scary Truth


Ah, the little ironies life offers if you are able to look in the proper places.  And today, that place was page 7 of the New York Daily News. 


Page 7 is to the right of the tabloid fold.  The top headline, in huge lack letters, by itself is guaranteed to catch the attention of even the least discriminating reader.  It reads TIMES SQ. KNIFE MELEE.  The article underneath has a headline in smaller type proclaiming MANHATTAN CHURCHES DRAW MORE GUNS OFF STREET.


The first story is about a good old fashioned rumble that erupted after a showing of SAW V at the Times Square AMC Empire 25 theatre.  Apparently, the film, another in the ‘torture porn’ genre, was showing in separate theatres every half an hour and was selling out for most of them.  The audience for this film, mostly teens and young adults, were rather unhappy to be shut out from the movie and began to scream, yell, run around, taunt each other and generally act like total null nodes.  None of which is illegal, although was probably distasteful to the tourists and Broadway theatre goers milling about.  Finally, several of the youngsters got into a bit of a tiff, knives were drawn and one 25 year old man was stabbed.  (As of this writing, he was in critical but stable condition at Bellevue Hospital.)  The two young men arrested in concert for the attack were found to be carrying box cutters.


The article underneath details attempts by the NYPD and Manhattan DA’s office to stem the tide of gun violence in high crime areas.  The location to turn in the firearms of any type is a local house of worship and those that turn in their weapons are rewarded with $200 for each gun.  One Harlem church made those who were attempting cash in their weapons walk between tombstones in order to collect their bounty.


And now, the waiting game begins.  Within a week, I expect to hear the first anti-violence advocate, say Michael Moore, decry our violent society and look what happens when the movies our see are so violent.  Simultaneously, the self-congratulatory pats on the back from the powers that be that have made our city streets safer from the scourge of firearms and their illicit usage will find its way to the papers and local TV broadcasts.


Yes, what the city agencies and churches have done to get guns out of the hands of those that might use them is a good thing, although a criminal might just turn in two weapons, collect his $400, and go buy another illegal handgun in a back alley somewhere, but will it make a dent in the bottom line of violent crime?  No.  Will it stop what happened this weekend in Times Square?  No.  But I am still heartened.


The actual event on the city streets of the Hell’s Kitchen district of Manhattan was a stabbing during an argument between kids who grew up in the post Columbine age.  This was a disagreement and fight that came straight out of the 1950’s, think Brando in The Wild One.  Could it have been deadly?  Of course but no shots were fired.  If all things in the US circa 2008 were equal, we would be holding the young men arrested in Times Square as heroes of a sort; young men who only injure the intended, not the bystander.  I think that’s worth, say a year or so off the 15-20 they are going to get from Attempted Murder.  Perhaps gun violence among Generation Y is becoming a thing of the past.


But I thank the Daily News for the unconscious attempt to make their more educated readers laugh.


Do you think gun violence among the youth of America is on the downturn?

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