Subway Death Caused by Religious Hatred

On Saturday, Indian born Sunando Sen was pushed in front of an oncoming NYC subway car and was killed. His attacker was Erika Menendez, who has been charged with second degree murder and a hate crime because of her justification (pdf):

It is further alleged that the defendant admitted pushing the victim and said in sum and substance “I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001 when they put down the twin towers I’ve been beating them up.”

It’s probably worth noting that this is the second such attack this month, although the previous attack seems to have no hate crime attached. That makes this seem like a copycat crime.

It may also be worth noting that the NYC subways have recently sported pro-Israel, anti-muslim ads. I don’t think it can be argued that there is a direct link, but it’s worth mentioning:

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  • Charles Collom

    “I don’t think it can be argued that there is a direct link, but it’s worth mentioning”–Why?
    This is writing so lazy it can’t even articulate a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy so it admits to its own irrelevance.

    • ANDY

      because religious people are easily led.

    • JohnMWhite

      If anybody’s being lazy here, it’s you with your refusal to engage your own mind. Use your imagination. It’s not exactly a leap to think that a possible connection can be drawn between anti-Muslim hate crimes and anti-Muslim hate posters in the same location. Vorjack isn’t saying there is a provable connection but that doesn’t make the point irrelevant. The world is complicated, you know, you can’t explain everything that happens in a couple of hundred words, but you can always invite discussion.

      • Charles Collom

        When you can’t show a direct link any discussion is just speculation, or as you called it, “imagination.”
        if there is a link, then there is a link. If there is no link, then bringing it up is a lazy attempt at a smear. Discussion is lovely, but only when people have something worthwhile to say. Otherwise it is mindless prattle.

        • Jabster

          “Discussion is lovely, but only when people have something worthwhile to say. Otherwise it is mindless prattle.”

          Oh the irony …

    • FO

      The fact that in western society Muslim = Terrorist?

  • Andrew Hall

    Hindus took down the twin towers? That doesn’s sound right to me…

    • Brian Westley

      She’s the worst kind of murderer – a complete idiot.

  • kessy_athena

    I’m pretty shocked the MTA would allow ads like that at all – to my eye they’re pretty blatantly hate speech. But I guess it really is acceptable in the US to openly hate Muslims. It’s so sad, we’ve come so far and yet some things never change.

    • JohnMWhite

      Due to the First Amendment to the US Constitution, freedom of speech is quite a bit more expansive in the public sphere in the US than in much of Europe. In theory at least, it would be just as acceptable to display posters with the roles of Muslims and Jews reversed. Unfortunately the practicalities are such that you’re likely to get a lot more public pushback pointing out Israel is a violent state than suggesting that Muslims in general are evil enemies.

    • Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort

      MTA wanted to deny the ads, but a judge ordered them to be placed up. They distanced themselves from them, put them up because of First Amendment rights, and basically let whatever happened happen.

      I can’t remember who said it, but someone said something like “protecting popular speech is easy, which is why we have to protect unpopular speech”

      • UrsaMinor

        That’s the bottom line. Free speech is free speech. If you want to have the right to express your opinion freely, you have to expect that other people will want the same thing, and what they have to say may be very different from what you have to say. You don’t have to like each other’s ideas- and you can exercise your right to say that you don’t like what the other guy is saying.

        • kessy_athena

          While generally I agree with that, I don’t think it extends to obligating people selling advertising space to accept blatant hate speech. If the Klan wanted to put up a sign that’s identical to that one except that instead of “Support Israel, defeat jihad,” it said “support the white race, defeat the black menace,” I don’t think there would be any question that the MTA would be within its rights to refuse to put it up.

      • Kodie

        It’s one thing for someone to hold a picket sign with protected free speech and another thing to buy advertising space. The other difference may be that the MTA is a government agency and not a private agency. I still think this sign is like shouting fire in a theater. If the subway is holding a campaign to “see something, say something,” it ostensibly cares if someone on the subway is a terrorist, then you should say something. It doesn’t say to push them onto the tracks right before the next train.

        Free speech by one, let’s say the Jews, they may believe this sign, but the government, if the MTA represents the government and not a private agency, I think it’s protected from forwarding the message. … It’s hard to say. What are we doing at war but defeating Jihad. It can’t be said to be at odds with American goals. It seems to me ultimately that it’s not wrong for a Jew to hold a picket sign in protest with this message, but it is not oppression if the MTA doesn’t sell this sign space to the Jews.

  • smrnda

    On free speech, my take is that being denied a billboard ad in a subway isn’t censorship in any meaningful way. The last time I rode mass transit the bus made a point that IF any rider should feel discriminated against for their sex, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or religious views they are permitted to lodge a complaint. In the mass transit situation, you have 2 competing principles – one, which is creating an environment where all riders will feel welcome, and secondly, with providing some advertizing space. I’d say in a situation like this, the first goal ought to override the second, since I think it’s greater imposition (and obviously danger) to an individual who has to ride the subway where signs are up defaming their demographic, rather than someone who wants to make a statement. They’ve got plenty of other places.

    I think certain public spaces ought to be handled differently since people can’t necessarily avoid having to be in them. If a guy wanted to say, preach on a university quadrangle, the students, support staff and faculty could watch and listen, or could ignore the guy. If someone starts preaching on the bus or the subway station, patrons can’t just get up and leave.

    • Michael

      I agree with this. When public businesses like this sell advertising space, they should have a degree of control over the content of those ads. In fact, they do, which is why they can censor ads they deem inappropriate. It seems like this poster would offend many people far more than, say, a nipple, so the current law makes no sense.
      I also think this is a first amendment gray area for a different reason: they might actually be constitutionally prohibited from displaying ads like this, which clearly promote one religion over another. It’s true that the government isn’t paying for the ad, and that they would display opposing ads if anyone wanted to purchase them, but nevertheless the reality is that the trains currently sport pro-Jewish, anti-Muslim posters. You could even argue that by accepting money to display religious ads, they are effectively preferring richer churches over poorer ones. I think it would be an interesting debate.

  • The Other Weirdo

    But what did the Hindus have to do with 9/11? Or is she just a complete retard?

    • Yoav

      She’s probably been deeply indoctrinated into the fundi world view where the only categories are christian white people (good) and everyone else (evil).

    • Kodie

      She doesn’t know the difference.

    • Kodie

      I was thinking that a few dozen or so posts ago, that I had said we don’t have religious studies in school and some other people thought it was a great idea and I didn’t, but here might be a case in favor. The education of what religions exist and what they believe in is entirely up to the discretion of their own church. It may be a lie of omission, or it may be cast into a category of brown people, no standard of what a Hindu is and why they’re not a Muslim – but if it was a Muslim, is that better? No. Just like that Sikh temple that was shot up, is it ok that the person made a mistake if they meant to kill a Muslim instead? Hey asshole, they’re just a person waiting for the train like you.

      The Israel poster pertains to a world away, essentially. If you want to join the cause then gear up and go to war formally. You don’t just push someone onto the tracks.

    • trj

      I suspect her reasoning is something like: Muslims = brown people, Hindus = brown people, therefore Hindus = Muslims (and therefore terrorists). Or maybe it’s just that both groups are non-Christians. Doesn’t really matter what it is, and it wouldn’t surprise me if she doesn’t even know herself. She’s clearly an idiot.

  • Hitchslapper

    Duct Tape this bitch to the tracks and wait for the punishment to come rolling in………..

    • Kodie

      What kind of punishment is death?

    • Kodie

      Furthermore, think of the driver. What kind of super sick fuck are you that you think subway train drivers love to run over people duct-taped to the tracks. I don’t like you because you don’t think things through. You’re passionate in some sense but a total fail on rationality.

    • Nox

      I get that the person in question did something very f*cked up, and you want to express visceral disgust with those actions, and express it in harsh terms, but you’re not doing it right.

      What you’re calling for is eye for an eye. And that has never been a good solution. Eye for an eye thinking was what motivated Menendez in the first place.

      The main thing that has made your violent revenge fantasies here not a problem so far is that you have only been expressing a generic wish to see harm befall people. In itself this is a perfectly natural human emotion when confronted with some of the overwhelming injustices we’ve discussed here. Not one which really contributes anything productive to the discussion and one you would ideally get past so as to think of more constructive ways to attack the underlying problems. But it is a different thing from actually calling for that harm to be carried out.

      Your last comment comes dangerously close to crossing this line.

      Please be more careful about this in the future.

  • FO

    I can’t help but notice the several instances where the “civilized man” is far more violent than the “savage”, well beyond the middle-eastern conflict.
    It’s definitely a statement I can’t stay behind.

    • Kodie

      That’s how propaganda works. They don’t want you to be deep.

      Would an American Jew like to see Americans pushing American brown people Jihad or not onto the train tracks? How far do they see their cause extending? I don’t see Israeli or Jew Americans actively hostile to anyone so they might specify the ad to say, ok, not here. I don’t agree with it over there neither, but they have to take some responsibility for the poster.

      • FO

        The fact that someone was allowed to display that poster is really a minor problem to me.
        The fact that such a racist and stupid mentality is strong in the society is much worse.

  • Custador

    > Civilised
    > Israel