Political analysis devolved into political activism Friday when a Newsmax panel’s disagreement on the circumstances of Jordan Neely’s New York City subway death turned into a shouting match: “Being hungry is not a crime!”
Friday, former U.S. Marine Daniel Penny turned himself in to the authorities to be charged with second-degree manslaughter after his actions, said to have been taken in defense of the safety of fellow passengers, allegedly led to Neely’s death. During a discussion on Newsmax’s “Chris Plante The Right Squad” host Jenn Pellegrino recapped the circumstances and asked, “Is this the beginning of the end of the good Samaritan?”
“You know, it certainly seems that way in [Manhattan District Attorney Alvin] Bragg’s New York City,” she began to answer her own question. “I mean he goes after former President Trump, he’s focused on that, but the people that are out there either defending themselves from violent crime or defending others–”
“There was no violent crime though,” interrupted Democratic political analyst Jason Nichols.
Disputing that, Pellegrino replied, “He was threatening people,” as Plante suggested during the crosstalk, “We should wait until he murders someone…”
“Violent crime means someone was attacked. Nobody was attacked,” Nichols reiterated before crossing into hyperbole. “If someone looks at me wrong or screams at me, should I kill them? Should I choke them to death? Should I come up behind them and put them in a rear naked choke?”
Unwavering in his support of Penny’s actions, Plante further defended, “Probably, yeah, if he’s threatening to murder people on a subway train.”
Bragg’s office has repeatedly sided in favor of prosecuting those who’ve stepped up to defend themselves only to later backtrack as he had with parking garage attendant Moussa Diarra who shot a man after wrestling the gun away from an assailant who had already shot him, and bodega clerk Jose Alba who fatally stabbed a customer who had violently attacked him.
Reality didn’t stop Nichols from conflating arguments while firing off selective details, “He did not threaten, he said he was hungry…And being mentally ill is not a crime. Being hungry is not a crime. Being homeless is not a crime.”
Dispelling the tension as quickly as it had arisen, former Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake spoke up, “We need to address the whole situation. It’s so frightening to walk down the street and you have somebody who’s either on something or severely mentally ill and we’re just supposed to look away and act like nothing’s happening, or if somebody is getting right up our face, ignore it.”
“We’re afraid to act. We need to address this,” she asserted. “We spend a fortune in taxes and what is it getting us? Unsafe streets. We can’t even defend ourselves, not…just in this case but there’s other cases where somebody is hurting someone, and people are going to be afraid to defend themselves or help others.”
Penny was released from custody on $100,000 bail and is expected back in court on July 17. If convicted of second-degree manslaughter, he faces up to 15 years in prison.
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