New Yorkers were horrified last month by smartphone video from the subway that showed a tall, fit man repeatedly kicking an old woman in the head and chest.
“WorldStar that!” he crowed to bystanders, a reference to a Web site that features footage of brutal real-world confrontations. When the NYPD caught up with the alleged attacker, Marc Gomez, there was unanimous applause that the thug would be taken off the street and made to pay for his heinous behavior.
Everyone agrees that Marc Gomez belongs on Rikers. Even if, as he claims, his 78-year-old victim — reportedly mentally ill — had yelled at him and threatened his wife, his response was clearly criminal, excessive and brutal. Jail was made for guys like him.
So it makes you wonder why so many New Yorkers who should know better are agitating to close Rikers, eliminate bail and reduce the number of people who are sent to jail in the first place. Opponents of “mass incarceration” claim that Rikers is full of kids who got picked up for smoking pot or jumping a subway turnstile.
Seth Barron is an associate editor of City Journal and project director of the NYC Initiative at the Manhattan Institute.
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