On the subway from Manhattan to Brooklyn, 67-year-old Ellen Grossman scooted over to make room for a seat for 43-year-old Jay-Z who celebrated his 43rd birthday on December 4th. Her gesture was appreciated by the hip hop mogul who had taken the train for the first time in 18 years on the way to the first of his sold-out shows at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
It is estimated that Mr. Z last rode the train at approximately the same time that Carrie Bradshaw rode it for the only time on “Sex and the City”, on her way to the NYSE to ring the bell when her fictitious employer went public.Ms. Grossman’s heartwarming encounter was reported in the news some weeks after it occurred, but at a time when people needed to hear it. Three days ago, City dwellers and City dweller observers worldwide were appalled to learn of the death of subway rider Ki-Suck Han who was pushed onto the tracks of an oncoming train allegedly by Naeem Davis. Davis was reported to have been speaking to himself in a delusional manner before confronting Han following a quarrel that Han was having with his wife while waiting on the platform. Following Davis’ verbal confrontation, he pushed Han onto the track where he was hit and dragged while trying to climb to safety. Han ultimately died of his injuries.
Many details surrounding the attack are known due to the most disturbing aspect of this event: Images were captured by freelance photographer R. Umar Abbasi who subsequently sold these to the New York Post, which subsequently published them on the front page. When asked, Abbasi stated that he was attempting to warn the train conductor by using flash photography. Apparently, monetary compensation afterwards had been the farthest thing from his mind.
That random acts of violence are a possibility anywhere two or more humans congregate is an uneasy risk that most people have accepted. More outrageous is the notion that a rational observer(s) would not intervene in a life-threatening crisis. Emergently diabolical is the possibility that someone could choose to watch someone die in order to financially benefit.
The next level down in the fall from heaven would be if the larger community condoned this type of commercial horror. How many steps remain between the Abbasi/NYPost transaction and the new iteration of Coliseum games is less and less perceptible.
Don’t kid yourself: Blood lust – like all human appetites – can be cultivated. And not all hunger is holy. With feeding, spectators either become numb or exhilarated, but never satiated. And the obscene pleasure present in this type of voyeurism is not victimless.
There is a possibility that the most intimate moment in a human life is when that life is ending. That Mr. Ki-Su Han’s family is faced with him becoming the subject of garish and unrestrained observation in his most desperate moment should mobilize all levels of society against this violation.
Such things ought not to be so.
Buy the NYPost and you are validating Abbasi’s paycheck.
The subway system is wired with cameras, so an archival record from Abbasi as a photojournalist was a redundant contribution. Imagine the WHAT IF…? Dream scenario of having Officer Larry DiPrimo on that platform instead. He made the news after buying shoes and socks for a homeless man recently. Could he have talked down the delusional Naeem Davis who might have become agitated from witnessing a common quarrel between a husband and wife? Could Officer DiPrimo have pulled Mr. Ki-Suck Han clear from his impending death? Even at the risk of his own life, the answer is undeniable…
Oh God, please give us more heroes.
And God, make us into heroes – even if no one ever knows.
Quote of the Blog from Officer Larry DiPrimo, official transcript: “…It was a very, very cold night, that night. But I was assigned to West 44th Street and Broadway. And I was on the foot post there. And I myself that night had about two pairs of socks on, winter socks, and also my combat boots and my feet was still freezing. So basically I was standing there and I had heard somebody laughing, joking around, and I looked over and somebody was laughing, this elderly gentlemen ,who had no socks, no shoes on or anything.
And I went up to him I was like: “Where are your shoes?” And he’s like: “It’s okay officer.” He is like, “I’ve never had a pair of shoes.” He’s like: “God bless you, thank you for doing what you’re doing.” And that really, it taken me back, because uh you know, this gentleman had enough heart to say: “God bless me.” But didn’t even have a pair of socks on and I can only imagine how cold that pavement was.
And so I ran a little bit of ahead of him, because he was headed south on Seventh Avenue and I knew the area there was a shoe store. So I ran into the shoe store and I had explained to them, there was an elderly gentleman with no socks on, or shoes on. And I said listen: “I’d like to buy a pair of boots something that will last a while.” And I don’t care what the price is. I just – We got to do this because an elderly gentlemen out there with no socks.
And Skechers helped me out, so while they are waiting to find out what pair they have, I ran outside I grab the elderly gentlemen, I said: “Listen: I got a surprise for you.” So I brought him to the Skechers and sat him down, asked what shoe size he was. And he said it was size 12. So I ran back in there and I said: listen got anything size 12. And they came made out and I paid and I brought the shoes and the socks out. And I had knelt down and that’s when Jennifer had taken the picture. But to my surprise, I didn’t see anybody there at that time. I didn’t even know somebody had taken a picture. And so I was just doing my job, just knelt down put the socks on him, the shoes on him, lifted him back up and so, I said: listen sir, do you want to grab a cup of coffee maybe we will get something to eat.
[Larry DiPrimo - NYPD Officer] Source: LYBIO.net
And he goes: “No officer” He goes, you know, no officer, he is like: “Listen you’ve done enough”. He said: “God bless you and be safe.” He said: “I love the police.” And that again; just you know; when I brought out the shoes, it was just smiles ear to ear. So it was absolutely amazing. And I was able to share a moment with him; and he just continued to walk on his way, he didn’t ask for anything and it was a great moment for both of us.
Image of Ellen Grossman and Jay-Z, courtesy of iconoclasts.com.