Punk on the Metro

Not every day on Metro is an adventure for me … THANK GOD!!! Unfortunately, today wasn’t one of those boring, I won’t remember it a week from now kind of days.

My first leg of Metro each day is Petworth to Gallery Place. Right off the bat, a youth … a student from Lincoln Middle School in Columbia Heights … is on the platform with a friend of his, also a student.

This punk decided it would be funny to sit on the edge of the platform with a foot over the edge as the train pulled into the station. He pulled his foot in just before the train would hit it and stood back laughing. Of course, this caused the train to blare its horn and the operator to immediately get on the intercom reminding folks to stand clear of the train.

This same kid, now on the train with a few more of his friends, pulls a box cutter out of his pocket and starts playing with it … incessantly. He even jokes about stabbing his friends. I did hear him say he’d “found” it and intended to “toss it” before going to school, but it shouldn’t even have been on the train. He got off at Columbia Heights with his friends.

What do you do in a situation like this. Do you insert yourself and demand the blade? Is it acceptable to push the button on the car and alert the operator? Do you follow the kid out of the station and alert the kiosk attendant?

I’m at a loss. I feel stupid for just being an observer and yet don’t know what I should have done. I do know I’d recognize the kid again.

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One Response to “Punk on the Metro”

  1. anxiousmodernman Says:

    For incident one the response is: “What the fuck are you doing?! Do you realize that playing on the tracks is dangerous to yourself and passengers on the train? What if the operator had to slam on the brakes?”

    For incident two: “You’re lucky you’re just a punk kid, because if you were any older and brandishing a KNIFE on Metro no one would hesitate to call the cops.”

    I think it’s up in the air whether to get the authorities involved. A good public shaming would suffice, if some other passengers on the train could give you some rhetorical backup. It’s easy to put kids in the juvenile justice system, and what he did probably would have warranted that, but what’s harder is to confront him yourself. It’s a hundred times harder, but maybe, ultimately, more effective. Granted, I’m formulating these responses from the comfort of my cubicle, and I wasn’t in the moment with you.

    If you REALLY feel physically threatened, and not just angst-ridden about what to do, then by all means call the cops. That’s their job. But good citizens need to stand up when they see bad stuff going down. It’s a risk, but one act of courage can embolden others. What if three other adults had stood with you on this?

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