Couple Attacked by Group of Teens at Metro Center, 9:30pm on a Saturday Night – Unprovoked, Nothing Taken

Thanks to a reader for passing on this maddening report from Fox 5:

“I think there were about ten kids who were just all attacking us,” said the girlfriend.

It was 9:30 p.m. Saturday night on January 2. The couple was waiting for a train at the Metro Center stop after spending a night at the movies. They were sitting on a bench when he was sucker-punched from behind and suffered a loss of vision.

Nothing was stolen by this group of teens.”

359 Comment

  • So, when are we going to start referring to these assaults as “hate crimes”?

    • Are you serious?

      • Does that seem unreasonable? It seems that this attack was almost certainly motivated by racial prejudice and involved violence.

        • Is racial resentment common among people who commit street crimes in DC: Yes
          Is it easier to rationalize targeting a “privileged white” person: Yes
          Do we really have any actual evidence that this particular case was as hate crime: No.

          Everybody knows this and I doubt any of the posters truly thinks this should be a hate crime. This seems to be more of a reaction against the double standard element,if the roles were reversed and there had been a series of similar attacks: groups of white teens randomly beating innocent blacks it would obviously be treated as a racial issue.

          There would be national news coverage, editorials on “white collective responsibility” marches in the streets, analogies to Emmett Till and Selma, protesters would be shutting down 7th and H, Federal DOJ investigations would be opened, etc. People who pointed out the lack of clear motive, or dismissed this as a very rare occurrence would be dismissed as naïve, at best.

          Personally, I think this is a bit of a false equivalency given our history and the current societal imbalances between whites and blacks. But, there is some underlying truth and it is the reason why I tend to be skeptical of the most “dogmatic” views on race (or any other topic)

          • You have no more proof that this incident was “a reaction against the double standard element” (whatever that is) than you do that it was a hate crime.

          • I’m not sure where you are going with that? I’m posting opinion on a blog, not trying to clear a burden of proof requirement in a court of law.

            I’m arguing that some of white people who argue this a hate crime are probably doing so to call attention to what they perceive as a “double standard more generally” in racial discussions. I laid out the “perceived double standard” in the counter-factual of what would have happened if the races were reversed.

            Do you think the people calling this a hate crime, truly believe it is “literally a technical hate crime”?
            Or do you think they are expressing a grievance more generally?

          • justinbc

            Why even bother speculating? It very well could have been a hate crime, but that seems almost entirely impossible to prove unless one of the criminals comes forth with a video recording of them discussing it prior to the event or something hard like that.

      • Did you read the article?

        • There’s nothing mentioned about race, age, gender, etc. is there? It was just someone attacking someone random as far as we know. That doesn’t equate to a hate crime.

          • It does when a series of similar crimes have taken place all over the District with young black teenagers attacking (mostly) caucasian men on the Metro. This is, what, the 10th time this has happened in the last six months? That we know of?

          • You can’t prosecute a hate crime as a hunch. I’m not saying they aren’t targeting certain types probably, but it’s not gonna work in the legal system.

          • Right. Sure. It was probably a bunch of Korean girls… Don’t be naïve. This is why people can’t have real conversations.

          • Is your theory then that young black teenagers are not also randomly attacking black men? I don’t think that is correct. One of my neighbors (a young black teenager himself) was violently assaulted in just this manner while walking home.

          • Okay, that’ seems like a logical way to analyze this issue. Let’s compare all unprovoked attacks of black teens attacking other blacks to unprovoked attacks of black teens attacking whites. Something tells me the numbers won’t show what you think they’d show.

          • My point (I’ll speak for myself) is that in the LEGAL system, it won’t work. I’m not saying it’s not – but you cannot possibly prove it with the information we know in the court of law.

    • How about the MPD bust these jerks for simple assault. I’d be happy enough with that.

      • Probably because it’s actually battery.

        • And probably also because MPD is extremely reluctant to arrest juveniles. Thanks so VERY MUCH Mendo, McDuffie and Bowser!!

        • In the District of Columbia it’s Aggravated Assault. As far as I know there is no statutory criminal offense called battery in the District.

          D.C. Code § 22–404.01. Aggravated assault.

          (a) A person commits the offense of aggravated assault if:
          (1) By any means, that person knowingly or purposely causes serious bodily injury to another person;

  • I never thought I’d long for the days after 9/11 when the metro was filled with military style police all the time.

    • In the countries I’ve visited where there were machine gun-wielding police and soldiers on every corner, I certainly didn’t worry about being attacked by a pack of teenagers.

      • I’ve visited more than two dozen countries and never worried about being attacked by gangs of teenagers. For the most part, this sort of crime just doesn’t exist in other developed countries.

        • That’s because these “teenagers” don’t behave like anyone in the “developed” world. They’re thugs who behave like savages.

    • Ally

      Agreed. At a minimum, one police officer stationed at each metro station seems more than reasonable and doable. Would act as a deterrent and would let someone be available to monitor the security cameras (as opposed to leaving that up to the train station manager who is usually otherwise occupied).

  • I will never understand why metro cares so little about this issue. I used to commute via Gallery Place at “after school rush” hour and I changed my commute to avoid the harassment from groups of teens. And it seems more and more of the crime alerts on my phone (that I can’t figure out how to stop getting, but I find interesting) are about groups of young people involved in crime. Essentially, they have discovered how hard it is to catch any of them if they’re in a group while also doing the most damage. Disgusting humans, and they’ll likely never be productive members of society, which is just as sad for the community.

    • It’s not just a matter of being hard to catch them, but what’s the point of catching them when there will be no meaningful penalty?

      • This is a good point. We need to figure out how to dole out meaningful consequences.
        If it’s any consolation, the odds of these kids ending up in jail are very, very high.

        • eventually, but in this city they can likely commit crime after crime up until their 18th birthday with no fear of even modest legal consequences.

        • Hold their parents accountable. Take their welfare away, kick them out of public housing, and disallow them from taking public transportation for a few years.

          • Wow! Making a lot of assumptions, aren’t we?

          • What you suggested would certainly result in more violence against the kids. This will have exactly the opposite outcome than you seem to expect.

          • That’ll make them tow the line! Make them homeless and dehumanize them even more!

          • Anon & sproc,

            So are you okay being held hostage by these criminal “children”? If you violently attack the public, there should be consequences.

          • Nobody here is arguing against consequences. We’re just pointing out that the consequences you suggested are extremely short-sighted and are not likely to positively affect behavior.

          • It is absurd that anyone has to even explain anything to someone who assumes that welfare is involved–you racist troll.

            It’s really disappointing to see a lot of PoP’s readers’ true colors come out. The amount of casual or thinly-veiled racism on this post is really depressing. It is really hard to be a white person in D.C., what afraid of all of the poor black kids committing crimes against you. Of course, people don’t really care until it’s either a “hate crime!” or a threat to their personal safety.


          • Anonnnn,

            Look closely at my comment, that WASN’T my only option. First, hold their parents accountable. IF they are gov assistance, then that could be another option. As for race, I never mentioned race. You assumed race since I mentioned gov assistance. So, you need to check your prejudice.

          • We all know its the rich kids that are committing these crimes.

    • While their behavior is disgusting, they are still human beings, and juveniles at that. I have no idea what the solution is, and behavior like this needs to have appropriate consequences, but simply writing people off only makes things worse.

      • Appropriate consequences is all anyone was asking for. But appropriate includes some consideration for public safety and the needs of totally innocent victims, IMO. It’s not a good result for anyone if the metro or DC, generally, become cesspools once everyone who has options chooses other transportation or leaves town.

      • a system which provides no disincentive for juveniles to commit crime *is* the equivalent of writing them off.

      • yes, they are human, but when you do that to another – unprovoked – , you aren’t of the moral character that can really be ‘fixed’, IMO. I have no problem writing off folks who do this for fun. I can understand the hungry man who steels and similar, but I can’t understand KIDS who do this – I am sure their homes aren’t necessarily the most stable, or they see violence at home…but even then, I can’t comprehend. sorry.

        • I feel guilty saying this, but I completely agree.

        • I hear your point, but we have to keep in mind that kids often do things that they deeply regret in later adulthood. There should absolutely be real consequences for their actions, but completely giving up on people this early in their lives seems rather inhumane given what we do about brain development. (Not to say that society hasn’t effectively given up on these kids from a much earlier point, but that’s another topic altogether.)

          • … given what we KNOW about brain development…

          • justinbc

            I’m pretty sure the part of the brain that decides whether or not to assault someone in the subway tunnel and then continue to beat them has fully formed (improperly) in these individuals by this age.

          • You’re a developmental pediatric neurologist now? In addition to being an OBGYN. Bravo.
            Read some studies. No, just read the exsums. No, let me do the work for you. Do you trust the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry?
            “Scientists have identified a specific region of the brain called the amygdala which is responsible for instinctual reactions including fear and aggressive behavior. This region develops early. However, the frontal cortex, the area of the brain that controls reasoning and helps us think before we act, develops later. This part of the brain is still changing and maturing well into adulthood.”

          • Justin, I’m pretty sure you have no idea what you’re taking about here with regard to childhood development. But good try with the feigned conviction.

          • justinbc

            Oh yeah, I’m sure they were just strolling along and spontaneously decided to beat the shit out of some guy. Your optimism amuses me.

          • I’m similarly amused by how widely your esteemed sense of self seems to differ from others’ perception of reality.

          • I don’t need optimism. I definitely don’t need pointless speculation about these offenders’ thought process. I have science. Try some.

          • justinbc

            You’re right, they’re probably all God’s little angels who would never hurt a fly, if only they just had time to properly think through their choices!

      • Inaction by government leaders leads to citizens taking it into their own hands.

    • saf

      This is the page where you go to update/delete your profile for alert DC messages

  • Metro just keeps getting worse and worse.

    The crappy off peak service has really lead to a decline in “choice ridership”, which has limited the “safety in numbers” aspect of the system. It is a dame shame, but metro is getting close to an “unreliable and unsafe” Baltimore or Philly type system that the middle class avoids outside of commuting and one off downtown events.

    I really don’t know how to fix metro at this point? When (and if) track work ends, perhaps people will return to metro once again and with it safety will improve?

    • phl2dc

      And somehow I feel safer on the El in Philly than on the Metro here.

    • +1. Last time my wife and I went through Columbia Heights station during off peak there were panhandlers inside the station verbally hassling women at both entrances. When I complained to the three people inside the station manager’s kiosk they looked at me like I was crazy. You can forget about the two of using it on weekend evenings.

    • For most of us it doesn’t make sense to take Metro at night, when you can Uber for just a couple dollars more. The people that need to take Metro outside of commuting hours are those that can’t spare the extra couple of dollars, or can’t afford smartphones, or live so far out that the Uber would be prohibitively expensive.

      • I really dislike the perspective that public transit is only for those who cannot afford other options. Not only is it incredibly elitist, but it perpetuates the income inequality issue that (exists everywhere and) is especially highlighted in DC.

        • But it’s the truth. There’s no reason to use a form of transit that takes a lot longer and is less safe unless you can’t afford the much better alternative that is now available.

          • I was also speaking mainly about Metrorail, not public transit in general. I often take the bus because I live in a wealthy neighborhood where there are lots of buses that run frequently and go all over the city. The poorer neighborhoods, especially the suburban ones, are not as well connected to the bus system.

          • uh…metro doesn’t take that much longer than uber in many cases. So if it’s a choice between a $2.50 metro ride that takes like 10 minutes and a $7.50 car ride that takes like 10 minutes, I will absolutely take the metro. Just because I can afford the extra $5, doesn’t mean I should be spending it.

        • That’s an unfortunate side effect of a transit system that is increasingly unreliable and unsafe. At some point, only those who have no alternative will be using it.

        • Maybe it speaks to income inequality as a factor in limiting choices, but I don’t understand why it would be elitist. We’re not exactly talking about a choice between taking the subway and hiring a limo for the night. Two people going three stops pay $3.50 on Metro and the UberX fare will be about $7.50.

          • My girlfriend and I have been doing a lot of movie nights lately, and one of my first thoughts when I saw this was why they were taking the metro in the first place. I don’t mean that in a blame-the-victim kind of way– no one should expect to be punched while taking the metro– but that it seemed unnecessarily annoying and time-consuming compared to sharing an Uber for the same price.

          • There are many reasons not to take Uber, concern about their labor practices/wages being only one of them. I take the metro at night all the time, as a single woman, and don’t think twice about it, and that is how a subway system in a major city should be. Do you think people in NYC worry about taking the subway at night? Nope. It’s often still packed at 2 or 3 in the morning. The only reason you wouldn’t take it is that the trains run so infrequently at night and you don’t want your trip to take an extra hour. Uber will never replace a good public transportation system.

        • Agreed with womp.
          And generally speaking, if you think Metrorail is bad… Metrobus is like Metrorail’s ill-treated stepsibling.
          I purposely moved near a Metrorail stop to have a faster commute to my job and to give myself the option of Metrorail for going out to entertainment spots. I don’t use Uber — partially because I’m (apparently) the last person in D.C. without a smartphone, but also because I’m pretty budget-minded. Maybe I should be more worried about riding Metro than I am, but so far I’ve been OK.
          I know Metro ridership has decreased, but I’m not convinced that people are really abandoning Metro because of crime — I think it’s been more because of Metro’s ongoing problems (constant snafus on the Red Line) and inconvenient off-peak timing, particularly on weekends.

          • justinbc

            Depends on the bus, for sure. My particular bus is significantly cleaner, less crowded, and full of less rowdy people than almost any Metro rail ride I’ve had. And the AC/heat rarely ever go out, and I’ve never been “offloaded”.

          • Yep, it definitely varies from one bus route to another and one Metro line to another. And with the buses, the experience can depend on the time of day — I found riding the 42 bus during rush hour a very different experience than riding it at night.

          • metrobuis is heaven compared to metrorail (with a couple exceptions). My wife ditched metroraill even when heading to the MD burbs from Columbia Heights.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Individual results may vary. Riding the 70 from Gallery Place almost all the way up to Silver Spring late at night–which I do often because that’s a $15 Uber ride vs. a $1.75 bus ride and I’ve been robbed at gunpoint walking the 3/4 miles home from the metro late at night–is often not a particularly pleasant experience.

  • Is it wrong to think there’s a correlation between DC school kids riding free and the rise of random attacks by teens on metro?

  • I’m sure they’re just protesting gentrification.

  • You can sense Fox’s barely contained glee in its reporting:
    “The couple said had they been made aware by Metro about the recent uptick in assaults by groups of juveniles, they would have likely chosen another way to get home. [. . .]
    “This is now the fourth known assault of this type since late December. Three of the four cases have been uncovered by FOX 5.
    “For this most recent case, Metro has yet to put out any suspect description or surveillance images of the suspects.
    “Metro said in 2015, it saw its lowest point for serious crime in seven years.”

    • Inexcusable for the Metro. There has to be footage of the perps coming in or out of the metro. Where is this footage so we can at least know what to look for? Maybe one of the youths has a hairstyle that sounds out like one of the NOMA beating juveniles.

      When you are completely attacking a couple unprovoked that you outnumber 5:1, not to mention hitting a woman in the face, you deserve to be written off. Lock them up and throw away the key before they commit more crimes.

    • You realize that Fox-affiliated local broadcast stations are a separate entity from FoxNews, the famously right-wing cable channel, right?

      • The reporting still seemed almost gleeful to me.

        • It’s local news. All local news outlets seem to chomp at the bit when presented with crime stories; it’s practically their bread and butter.

        • Agreed, screw the facts and statistics, scaring people stokes the ratings. More and more recently I’m coming to the realization that people need and want something to be scared or worried about. Also, these stories just act as a reinforcement for all the suburbanites that they made the right choice. If you like what you hear you will continue to watch.

          In the mean time, the facts of an overall decrease in violent crime on the metro gets lost. I guarantee the man on the street will say crime on metro is at an all time high and that they will never use it again (in fact people in this comment thread have said that).

    • It may be a tad sensationalist in that special TV news way, but they are highlighting a lack of transparency and accountability by a poorly functioning government entity. I thought on balance the report was a cut above what one can expect from a TV news report.

    • Why in the hell do we have to give up the Metro to a bunch of idiots? What’s next: declare downtown off-limits?

      • It sounds like your question was rhetorical, but it’s not at all far-fetched. Are you familiar with the history of American cities? Look into what happened in urban centers from the late 1960s through the 1980s. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t good for anyone. I’d bet money that’s what’s next for DC if our justice system can’t get it together with this nonsense.

        • I’d argue that they only people it wasn’t good for were those that couldn’t afford to move. For those that could it was fine, maybe even great because they could afford to invest in rock-bottom real estate.

          • You’re right. The people who left the cities they called home because they were afraid for their lives and their families’ safety–I’m sure they were happy they had the opportunity to make that decision. I’ll concede it’s better than not having the option, but I don’t think it was as much of a free choice as many assume (Certainly not according to the standards of choice and personal reaponsibility applied to other agents in this thread). Not to mention the tragedy of seeing all the resources that were built up in great American cities go to waste and crumbling urban infrastructure as everyone with options fled to the burbs. Cities have a lot to offer in terms of quality of life beyond chasing real estate investment opportunities. As it relates to today, DC is our home and our national capital city. Why is it so objectionable to want to have some standards and not give the city over to criminals so easily? Even if leaving is easy, is it the best answer?

  • Nothing to see here, this totally happens in EVERY city! Just be more vigilant is all!

    • I’m hoping this is sarcasm. Even if it happens, accepting it certainly doesn’t help at all, and arguably helps create the attitude towards crime that results in animal/youths like these.

      • Animal/youths? That’s classy. Maybe folks are getting attacked because people in this city treat them like animals.
        My experience – as a 40ish, black woman, I am not greeted the same as my white counterparts in restaurants, the metro, the sidewalk and I am a proponent of change, yet each time I am treated with an attitude of entitlement (not served when its my turn, instead overlooked for the person of privilege/shoved on the metro by white men who make a deliberate point of moving me so they can be one person further/or racing me to a seat) or that I am invisible I get pissed (I make moves with my dollars/I will not support your business, and I tell all my friends not to either)… I am ignored or folks won’t even smile. Yet I can not afford to live near any metro in this city even though my grandfather helped build it, my mother drove/worked with for 30 years. My thing is if you have the land, the restaurants, the jobs, why you gotta treat folks so badly? I can name numerous establishments that I will not frequent because the bartender served everyone at the bar except me, the waitress wouldn’t come to my table until she HAD to, I’ve even walked out of places when I felt the treatment starting. Let’s not start on the hiring practices of said establishments.
        Maybe the animalistic behavior is brought about by animalistic treatment (put the poor people in this box and treat all people that look them as if they are the enemy). The anger has bubbled to the surface and coming out in the youth. Neighborhoods don’t look the same, families don’t look the same yet the stark contrast of the quality of life is vast. Folks yelling about community, but don’t want to COMMUNE! The next time you are out and about look around and see the diversity that doesn’t exist. I am no means excusing the behavior but please don’t think that it is unwarranted. I saw the dude and his wife on the metro earlier this week, as a human, I cried on the Metro for a stranger. His pain is real. Folks that don’t look like me have the power to change the treatment innocent folks are experiencing.

        • ” I am no means excusing the behavior but please don’t think that it is unwarranted. ”

          Sorry. But that sentence alone shows that you are, in fact, excusing the behavior.

        • “I am no means excusing the behavior but please don’t think that it is unwarranted. ”


        • And here it is, the obligatory, “society/gentrification made them do it.” Fantastic.
          Also, “I am no means excusing the behavior but please don’t think that it is unwarranted.” Are you serious? You believe this behavior is warranted?

        • You think this unprovoked violent attack was actually WARRANTED? Perhaps people treat you poorly because you seem to demonstrate poor moral character.

        • “shoved on the metro by white men who make a deliberate point of moving me so they can be one person further/or racing me to a seat”

          i mean, this is everyone, lady.

        • Are you arguing that the assault on these two innocent people was warranted?

        • It’s unfortunate that she implied that the attack was warranted because she does make a valid point- if you treat people like less than human, it causes problems in society. The kids who attacked the couple on metro are not animals- they’re children. They’re humans. Calling them animals negates the greater issue and perpetuates the underlying problems.

          • It really doesn’t. When people act like this, they’re acting like animals. And while we’re on the subject, calling them “children” is an attempt to gloss over the greater issue – this is a premeditated, unprovoked group assault, rather than kids being kids – and perpetuates the greater issues and underlying problems – the criminal justice system in this city, and the juvenile justice system in particular, is broken and provided neither justice nor reform.

          • “[I]f you treat people like less than human, it causes problems in society.” Exactly! The thugs who commit these violent crimes need to treat their victims like the human beings they are… Oh, that wasn’t what you meant? You were trying to point the finger at people other than the violent criminals?

          • You’re proving my point. We can call them animals, but that solves nothing. They’re children exhibiting violent behavior that needs to be addressed.

          • houseintherear

            Calling people of color “animals” was pretty much the norm during times of slavery. Sorry, but it’s just not ok. Spend the 2 secs to think of a word more specific and less horrible, like: criminals, perps, robbers, etc.

          • +1 to Houseintherear.

          • houseintherear- Yes, thank you! I think it’s particularly shameful to call kids animals. We’re giving up on them before they’ve had a real shot at life. If children are attacking people frequently, there is a bigger problem that we need to address. Devaluing their basic humanity might be part of the reason why they feel like they should be violent in the first place.

          • thank you houseintherear. It appalls me to see this language used and condoned in this group.

          • justinbc

            “Calling people of color “animals” was pretty much the norm during times of slavery.”
            And if this were 1860 I could totally understand getting upset about this. However, we as a society have moved past that point, even if some people’s mindsets have not. When humans randomly engage in group assault behaviors of this type it’s commonly referred to acting like animals, regardless of race. If a particular demographic in an area happens to be the ones always engaging in the behavior they’re not being called animals because of their color, it’s because of their behavior. I can assure you people in Oklahoma, Oregon, Idaho, and other predominantly “white” states still use this term to refer to unruly kids (or adults).

        • You seem like you have a lot of resentment as well- that’s the ONLY way possible you could say ” I am no means excusing the behavior but please don’t think that it is unwarranted. ”

        • I understand where you are coming from and, as a white man, the way i experience the city is far different then the way you experience the city as a black woman. and as such, i respect your opinion on the matter.

          but, to say crime in DC is because of whitewashing of the city is misguided. Certainly, there are some understandable reasons for anger towards gentrification and gentrifiers. However, some of this, even if just a tiny part of this, has to do with the way these kids were raised and how present their parents were/are in their life.

          I don’t know the answer to how to stop things like this from happening but when teenagers are brutally attacking people just sitting waiting for the metro, there has to be an honest discussion about all the factors, not just “we dont like the way your business serves us” or “we dont like change in our neighborhood that pushes us out and marginalizes our community even further then it has been” (both reasons, at least to me, are honest explainers for at least some of what is happening in this city)

          • Whitewashing of the city is exactly the reason violence exists against whites. Why aren’t black people being beat on the metro? Black people are frowning at me when I enter their establishments. Ms. Girken likened the kids to animals, I just elaborated on her point and described my experience as a person who does not act like an animal.

          • Black people are NOT frowning at me…

          • It not that she doesn’t like the way businesses serve her, it’s that she can’t get served at some businesses. She’s not being treated like a full member of society, like a customer, like a person.

            It’s pretty easy not to ignore society’s rules- like don’t mug people on metro- when society fails to recognize you as a person worthy of respect. Why buy into the system when it’s rigged against you? The attack was not warranted, but I think that’s what she was getting at?

          • “Whitewashing of the city is exactly the reason violence exists against whites.”
            why aren’t hispanics lashing out violently against white people?

        • I don’t thing people can appreciate the anger, rage when you are treated as less than on your street. The neighbor who told me that if blacks don’t like the way the neighborhood is changing they should move. The neighbor who goes out of the way to ignore me. The neighbors who never miss an opportunity to tell me since they have moved in my property values have gone up. I should move and be greatful

          • +10000000 why should I have to move if I was born here and happy here.

          • you don’t have to move. and if you want to stay, i’d think you’d be invested in making this city as safe for all of it’s residents as possible. if not, consider what that says about your character.

          • What does this have to do with packs of kids attacking people on the metro?

          • Your neighbors are heinous human beings.

          • NO one is saying that you or anyone for that fact must move. But if you decide stay- you don’t have the right to make it a living hell for everyone else. You adapt by welcoming new comers, not by beating them up. Still can’t believe you think that’s acceptable. Do you know how many whites are mistreated when they go into an establishment that mostly caters to blacks? You don’t see any of them getting angry and decide to form a mob mentality and go beat up random blacks. I say this as a black man.

          • justinbc

            “I don’t thing people can appreciate the anger, rage when you are treated as less than on your street. ”
            Did these victims treat anyone like that? Because otherwise this point is moot.

        • generally, people give back what you put out. sounds like you might be the one with a sense of entitlement in a lot of these stories.

          • Well maybe the people put out a vibe that got their asses beat for no reason… See what I did there…

          • good point. approaching people with good vibes doesn’t stop random assaults, but it will certainly help you in social situations.

          • Expecting to be treated like everyone around you at a bar would be the opposite of entitlement.

          • Anon Spock, true in isolation, but read in conjunction with the entirety of her post, it’s definitely possible lovessoldier carries around an air of resentment that people (including bartenders) tend to avoid, as many other posters have pointed out.

          • lovessoldier, what vibe could POSSIBLY justify getting “their asses beat for no reason”? If there’s no reason, there’s no reason.

          • “Well maybe the people put out a vibe that got their asses beat for no reason”. Maybe, just maybe, growing up hearing things like this is part of the reason why children believe it’s okay to attack people?

          • There’s absolutely no “maybe” about it. If these kids’ parents taught them coping mechanisms outside of violence, then they wouldn’t be so quick to gang up on innocent riders.

          • Holy smokes, you guys. Lovessoldier was illustrating how stupid that logic was. What is even going on in this thread?

          • the logic in this thread was stupid? lovessoldier was connecting various social slights that may or may not have been racially motivated with the violent beating of two random people. this thread, along with many other posts, simply pointed out that even the social slights she mentions may not be as overwrought with racial tension as she suggests. and her sarcastic reply conflates a random attack, which by definition can have no precipitating event, with bad service, which certainly can.

        • If you go around expecting people to treat you differently because of your race (or other characteristic), you are more than likely projecting a certain attitude that gets reflected back to you. I promise you that a lot of people in this city are crappy and give bad service no matter what your race/creed/sex. People are rude to everyone. Try looking at it objectively and focus more on being kind to others than on retaliating on perceived bad treatment which furthers the strained race relations in this city (and will make you very unhappy). Also, if you continue to perpetuate the excuses for bad behavior because of gentrification, you’re only hurting the people who are already hurt. Does it occur to you that prices go up because neighborhoods get safer, cleaner, more welcoming? It’s not that “white people are taking all the houses away,” it’s that people of all races are investing in their communities to improve the quality of life which makes them inherently more valuable. Unfortunately, that’s how real estate and a free market work. On my floor in my condo building, my partner and I are the only white couple– the diversity in this city is amazing and I’m happy to be part of the diversity. When people are productive members of society, I welcome them and enjoy how we all thrive. When people are violent criminals who only care about their instant gratification and living for now, I don’t have any respect or sympathy for them. We have to stop excusing the crime, drugs, lack of education, lack of family structure and expect more for our youths.

          • I’m a reasonably attractive white woman and I constantly see people treated differently than me in DC. It’s unfair and I try to be mindful of it. Yes, people are rude and some people are jerks to wait staff, but you can’t ignore that people are treated (sometimes dramatically) differently based on how they look, whether that be because of race, weight, age, etc. This happens regardless of whether their attitude is as positive as you think it should be in order to be treated well.

          • Yall are just messy. I am not entitled. I am a mentor, no I do not mentor people to whoop peoples asses on the metro. I talk to the youth. What I get from them I repeated to you. What you do with it is your choice. Kids are angry/fed up/not getting jobs. Have no direction/or activities. No girls/boys clubs, no outreach programs, no non-traditional classes (trades). So everyone around them is chasing them away, no one is saying “Hey, I have an opportunity”. When folks can make a call to report suspicious behavior because you use the ATM, we have a PROBLEM. I called for community development/mentoring four years ago on this very site. It is about inclusion not seclusion. COMMUNE, but I guess no one read that. They just skipped to some ridiculous notion I am a proponent of folks getting jumped on the metro. Classy…

          • WHAT? If I expect to be treated differently because I’m a woman and a man grabs my ass in the metro it’s probably because I was projecting an attitude that said please sexually assault me because I expect that to happen? That’s a logical extension of your argument.

          • DC government has a number of after school programs to get kids involved. The problem with “opportunities” is that they simply don’t exist for people who haven’t learned basic skills in school. Look at the math and language test results coming out of DCPS. A huge portion of kids is effectively illiterate, and it’s not the fault of DCPS for not trying. How do you expect these kids to be handed “opportunities” outside of menial labor that nobody wants to do?

          • “They just skipped to some ridiculous notion I am a proponent of folks getting jumped on the metro.”
            Yeah, that’s ridiculous. Where could they have gotten that idea? (Hint: perhaps the part where you sat that the behavior (jumping a couple on the metro) is warranted.)

          • eva: you’re the reason we can’t have civilized discourse. If you jump to conclusions so easily and only believe in absolutes, you can’t be reasoned with. of course there is sexism, racism, discrimination. your logic is flawed.

          • I’ll disagree and say that Eva’s argument is EXACTLY analogous. You are saying that this woman is being treated differently because she is somehow asking to be treated differently. That is exactly the same as saying women bring their harassment on themselves.

          • I apologize for having ruined civil discourse for you. I’ll leave you be to keep telling a black woman how she ought to comport herself to receive better treatment.

          • eva: The fact that you can’t concede that even part of what I said is true shows that you just want to argue. I said that people do treat others differently based on certain exterior characteristics but it doesn’t mean that it’s always the cause. You know it’s true but you’d rather go on an internet tirade and “fight hard for justice.” You’re not doing anything to further discourse, YOU’RE just being purposefully obtuse.

        • tell me more about this bar where most people don’t get ignored by bartenders? I’d like to go there, I’m so thirsty!

        • lovessoldier, thank you for offering another perspective. It seems that many commenters on this blog experience white privilege that they don’t fully understand. It would be helpful if we could all step back and reflect on how it feels to be treated as a second class person. I’m sure the women on this blog have experienced the frustration of being treated as inferior in the context of their jobs, and have experienced street harassment and other forms of harassment perpetuated by men who feel entitled to do and say whatever they want. Not all gentrifiers are white, and not all poor people are black, but in this city there is a strong racial divide. We need empathy to fight the frustration on all sides.

          • Do you think it’s at all possible that the people commenting on this blog understand white privilege, while also refusing to accept the existence of structural racism as a valid justification for violently assaulting randos on Metro?

          • It’s always funny to me that people spout out “white privilege” whenever a white person tries to speak on race. Yes, there is a certain amount of privilege that comes with being white in general but it doesn’t mean that a white person’s perspective is any less valid. Being a minority doesn’t make you somehow omnipotent. As I said, people are jerks in this city so don’t always assume poor treatment is a result of your race. Yes, sometimes it is…but I guarantee, in a city that is 50% black (so you’re not a minority) most of the time you are just being treated poorly because that person is a jerk.

          • *omniscient sorry

          • I think people here are purposely and unfairly conflating “justification” with “theory as to why SOME young people engage in criminal behavior.” Deliberate obtuseness and all.

          • There’s a difference between context and justification. Based on these comments, I think a lot of PoP commentators miss the larger context of what it is like to be a black teenager (or adult) in DC and fail to realize that discussing this context is not an excuse or justification for criminal behavior.

          • Oh, good, it’s the “if you disagree with me it’s because of white privilege” argument, to go along with “gentrification made me do it.” Along with the free center square, my bingo card is 3/5 full. Come on, who’s going to break out, “they come from broken homes” excuse?

          • dcd- So then it’s the “I can’t hear what others around me are saying because I assume they’re complaining about gentrification and supposed white privilege” rationale. Americans have been talking over each other about race for generations. So here we are, again.

          • Sorry but nearly ALL poor people in WDC are people of color. And the reason Hispanics are not lashing out may be because they have a different history in WDC.
            I do not have the solution to the violent youth problem but I do know mass incarceration is not it. The youth have nothing to lose if they are punished with jail because they are not employed, their parents are not employed and even grandparents. The inequality income/wealth gap between blacks and whites in WDC is huge and growing wider. White affirmative action is in full effect here.. Behind the scenes hiring practices are very real but hard to prove. Some gentrification residents earn more in 1 month than their black neighbors will earn in a year. OK, have it your way and lock them up for months/years. What do you think will happen when they get out? Will you be better off? Another approach is needed. Nearly everyone is against crime/violence. Most people, if given a chance, would choose to live a productive life.

          • I’m assume you’re complaining about white privilege? Didn’t you (or maybe some other anon) write, “It seems that many commenters on this blog experience white privilege that they don’t fully understand.” And I’m assuming lovessoldier is complaining about gentrification? She wrote, “Neighborhoods don’t look the same, families don’t look the same yet the stark contrast of the quality of life is vast.” And that’s just one of several little nuggets from her posts that demonstrate that gentrification is one of her primary complaints.
            Look, what has been lost in the nonsense here is that a group of ten teenagers beat up a couple, unprovoked. Although lovessoldier thinks it’s warranted, it’s not, and it’s ridiculous to suggest it is. And you’ll just have to pardon me if my concern is more for the innocent people being assaulted than the poor, misunderstood children [cough, cough] that commit the assault. Of course I’d like conditions for all people in DC to improve. But more than that, I’d like the perpetrators of assault to be caught and punished, and for steps to be taken to deter future assaults. Long term steps are fine, but we also need some short term measures in the interest of public safety. I’s astonished that anyone could think differently, and if that makes me a mean, horrible person blinded by white privilege, so be it.

          • “Nearly everyone is against crime/violence.”

            But not everyone is in favor of consequences for those who commit crimes of violence, and this city will continue to elect mayors (and council members etc) unwilling to seriously address violent crime as long as this remains the case.

        • Do we even know the race of the individuals who did this? I thought the video and article say there’s no description. You are projecting an assumption onto me that I did not make. IMO, the behavior earned the description I used, because of the behavior, not because of any other characteristic of the individuals involved. I would not have called anyone an animal before they acted like it, so I don’t see how that has anything to do with the unfair treatment you’ve received, unless you are expecting people to wait on you after you beat them up (seems unlikely). It seems like you are trying to twist emotions in your favor rather than have a productive discussion. If that’s the discussion you want to have: how many innocent people should thank their attackers before you think this cycle can be successfully broken?

          • yes we know the race of these teens. The same race as the teens who assaulted a mom with her toddler in Georgetown, the guy on the redline at 5pm, and guy in sherman circle at 7pm. Yes we know. WaPo won’t post it but we know 99% of the time. And people wonder why folks are scared of groups of black teens.

        • I noticed I became invisible when I turned 45. Men practically run into me rather than look at me and walk aside. Same with service.

        • It’s tricky — I suspect that some of the bad treatment Lovessoldier is receiving is indeed because of her race, but some of it is equal-opportunity (so to speak) bad behavior. It reminds me of when I was living in Japan and wondering, “Am I being treated in XYZ manner because I’m a foreigner? Or is it just coincidence?”
          There are also different cultural practices/norms at work. I think white people are less apt to smile at/greet/acknowledge people they don’t know (unless they’re working at a restaurant/store/etc.). To their black neighbors, it comes across as rude and quite possibly racist. And sometimes it is probably IS racist… but most of the time, it’s white people ignoring EVERYBODY. (When I greet people on my street, it’s the people who look most like me — white, youngish — who are least likely to acknowledge me or reply.) Or in the case of Metro, people shoving past EVERYONE.
          Even in situations where conscious racism isn’t an issue, unconscious racism persists — see the studies on how hiring managers respond to job applicants with comparable resumes, but where one applicant is named Lakisha and the other is named Lauren. It’s been more than 50 years since the Civil Rights Act, but the United States still has a lot of complicated and unresolved issues when it comes to race.

        • lovessoldier, your post really makes me angry. I’m a 40 year old black woman and I am disgusted. Believe it or not, folks really do not care if your grandfather built this city or how long your mother worked in DC. Cities change over time. That’s just a fact. The fact that restaurant workers do not treat you appropriately and you don’t make enough to live near a metro station doesn’t warrant this couple getting attacked. There is absolutely NO excuse for these kids to be acting in this manner. These kids are being raised by the streets and their parents just sit back and watch. Plain and simple.

          • +Everything

          • Your comment sickens me. I gave you my perspective not a reason for people to whoop folks. I also gave you the perspective of kids I actually talk to. NO I am not a grandmother, or a mother. Guess what I step outside my comfort zone to get stuff accomplished. I have been mentored by older jewish and eastern european woman, when it wasn’t popular to be white in DC. I have been mentored by white men when it was not popular to be white in dc. I believe my comments may have been misconstrued and my name used as a whooping post. But this is popville, what do you expect. You say something folks don’t want to hear and then they call their friends and they all take one word and try and manipulate your post. NO ONE DESERVES THEIR ASSES BEAT ON THE METRO!!! I SAID THE VICTIMS WERE INNOCENT!!! THE eff..,

        • Girl Bye. I cant even. -Early 30’s Black Woman (that didnt transplant from some far off land)

    • yes, just kinds being kids.

    • There’s around 1,500 crimes (robbery/theft on up) that happens on the Metro per year. Out of 200 million riders. Not saying it’s not worth fixing – because there are obviously steps that can be taken. But overall, it’s not “dangerous” in terms of overall risk.

      • stop with your facts. we must be reactionary and base our opinions on fear, not reality! I suppose you also think we aren’t all likely to be murdered this year, because there were so many murders last year.

        • are those wmata’s numbers? if yes, do we believe them?

          • The reported 0 homicides on the metro as of Last November (for that previous year) even after the very highly publicized one in July, so there’s that…

          • WMATA reported 0 homicides on the metro as of Last November (for that previous year) even after the very highly publicized one in July, so there’s that…

      • No John. Stats like this I don’t care about. We’re you beaten on the Metro? Was one of your loved ones robbed or molested or in the hospital? Zero excuse zero tolerance zero instances. One is too many.

        • When the heck did I say it didn’t matter? This is not logical reasoning though. I was struck by a car crossing a street in a crosswalk with the walk sign – should I never walk across a street again? The crimes are horrible no matter where they are happening. But it doesn’t make it automatically “dangerous” to ride the Metro because it happens. The Metro is statistically safer than walking around in DC.

  • I swear- All someone needs to do is grab just ONE of these kids. That’s all you need, just grab one of them and chokehold them with NO mercy.

      • Saw it happen and the guy ( a sane father of three boys) who gently nabbed the boy barely got away with his life – he was attacked.

    • Yes, this is a wonderful idea that will most certainly result in you spending time in prison.

    • Seriously. If people would attempt to stand up for themselves, and defend each other when they see something like this happening.. maybe those little f*ckers would back off. I’ll tell you right now these kids would get an eye full of pepper spray if I’m within a few feet of even witnessing this sort of thing.

      • its’ hard to “stand up” to a sucker punch, which seems to be the opening salvo in many of these attacks. that said, definitely think carrying pepper spray is a smart move these days, just in case.

  • “For this most recent case, Metro has yet to put out any suspect description or surveillance images of the suspects.”

    This happened TEN days ago! Have the police made any attempt to identify the suspects or apprehend the assailants since then?!?

    • all the crime on metro makes me think of Bernhard Goetz, who lived in NYC thru 1984 and shot four black teenagers as they tried to rob him on a subway train. the context is very similar to DC today; not necessarily in volume or scope, but by perception of those on this blog:
      high crime;
      lack of punitive measures;
      inadequate policing;
      the subway a symbol for uncontrolled crime

      • Yeah, I’ve had similar thoughts. These kids are going to mess with the wrong (unhinged, gun-toting) person one of these days. Can’t wait for the media circus that will inevitably ensue.

        • Hopefully they’ll move their crimes out to the VA end of the line.

          • violent kids aint got time for those delays!

          • I doubt it, if you listen to people like lovessoldier above the reason this is happening is because they’re being treated so poorly in their neighborhoods. They wouldn’t have any reason to attack those who don’t live in the District!

  • When is enough enough in terms of juvenile crime in DC? For a city of so many intelligent, type-A people, I’m always surprised at the way the apathy from DC government is generally accepted. We need a Giuliani.

    • And I’m not even a fan of Giuliani

      • My husband and I are just about at the point to throw in the towel. Our friend was just minding his own business and got attacked by a group of teenagers, multiple robberies in and around our house (we have been victims more than once), and seeing our first homicide victim on the street has just about pushed us over the edge. These things all happened within the last month. We have lived in DC for many years and lived in the inner city many years before we moved here and we are just over it all. While it might not be the case, it just seems to be getting worse.

        The things we love about this city are beginning to far outweigh the crime and other crap.

        • Do you mind if I ask what neighborhood you live in? It sounds a lot like my recent experience and I’m debating whether it’s an all-of-DC thing or what (so I know where to move to/away from).

          • You can look at crime stats very easily by neighborhood. But if you don’t look at context, it’s rather meaningless. This past summer, people were freaking out about murders occurring in Shaw – because the previous year there weren’t any. Well, anyone with any historical knowledge would know that 0 is an exception in this area, not the rule. And homicides are still WAY down from just 10 years ago. So statistically, it’s gotten a lot better – but it’s still not “good”…
            Just because an area is “hip” to live in, doesn’t equal safe. Historically, U Street, Shaw, 14th Street, Columbia Heights, Petworth, NoMa, H Street, etc. are NOT safe places.
            If you want to move to a “safe” place in DC, the neighborhoods that are known as historically being safe happen to be the most expensive (west of Rock Creek Park).

      • My sentiments exactly!!! As someone that grew up in Brooklyn in the 80s and 90s from Koch to Dinkins to Giuliani to Bloomberg, I could not agree more… we need a City government comparable to NYC which has high hiring standards and demands accountability.

    • Rudy Giuliani was not responsible for the drop in crime in NYC. The police commissioners who led the NYPD were.

      • Well the mayor appoints the police commissioner in NYC, so they have at least some power there.

        • Crime and murders were already dropping fast during the 2nd half of the Dinkins administration. Giuliani kept the ball rolling, while blatantly appealing to racist sentiments within the Police Union (that’s how he won their backing and sandbagged Dinkins). All because Dinkins had the temerity to propose a Civilian Review Board.

  • Would carrying pepper spray be of any use against these rodents? Apparently it’s considered a firearm in DC and has to be registered upon purchase?

    I am 6’5″, 240 lb male…and I still doubt I could handle a gang of em. What else to do?

    • Registration is pretty easy for what it’s worth. Wherever you buy it will give you a little slip, you put your name and contact info and then they send it to some company that keeps track of it. Took me all of 2 extra minutes while checking out. Now for the question of will it work or not….

    • Yes pepper spray is legal for self-defense and protection of property.

    • Become a mentor. Let kids see you aren’t just a white dude coming to make their life miserable.

      • Mentor me or I’ll beat your ass! FWIW, I’ve mentored at an elementary school weekly and the vast majority of kids are sweet and bright. It’s not until a couple years later when they’ve been influenced by their broken families and peers who compete to see who can be the biggest drain on society that they turn to violence. Those are the main factors and thus why the problem is so hard to solve. It’s got nothing to do with gentrification other than that providing more targets for their violence.

  • Maybe we should make concealed carry a thing in DC – Virginia has concealed and open carry and they experience far less crime.

    • Firing a handgun at teenagers on metro trains definitely seems like a good common sense solution.

      • The fact that someone could be carrying would stop a lot of this. Criminals typically do not attack people who can fight back.

        • it would also escalate a lot of situations and create criminals who go in knowing they need to go for the kill, as well as increase the likelihood of accidental shootings of innocent bystanders and at home. better to keep all the armchair sheriffs out of dc and work on fixing our actual police force.

          • Agreed. And DC has more crime because we are more population dense – if you research actual per capita violent crime statistics, we’re not nearly as bad as places like Camden, NJ, or Cleveland, OH (open carry state).

            Which isn’t an excuse to overlook Metro and MPD’s responsibilities to make the trains and the stations and the District safe for everyone. But I don’t think vigilante justice will do anything but increase the body count.

    • I don’t believe DC is or ever will be a candidate for concealed carry. The primary reason being the number of government buildings and entities in which people work, visit, or frequent for any other reason. Concealed carry would be useless for these people (unless they only want to carry on the weekends or at night after returning home), and won’t result in an effective ROI policy-wise.
      Furthermore, I really wouldn’t consider VA and DC comparable. Perhaps, VA and MD. But neither MD/DC or VA/DC.

    • perhaps there are other reasons the crime rates differ in DC and Virginia?

      • Whaaaaaat????

      • Because many parts of Northern Virginia refused to allow sales of real estate to African-Americans into the 1970s. Which led to the warehousing of poor African-Americans in DC and MD, rather than being evenly distributed. And being poor correlates very strongly with high crime. So enjoy your relative lack of crime in Nova, but it stems from an extremely racist history of urban planning.
        Poverty causes crime. That’s the root of all it. As an amateur statistician you should know that. It’s the same reason poor parts of West Virginia filled with addicted white people are plagued by crime. Though its race restrictions, Virginia essentially said “NO POOR PEOPLE ALLOWED!” for a couple centuries.

        • I’m pretty sure amateur statistician was being sarcastic. As was I. The idea that concealed carry explains the entire difference in crime rates between VA and DC is absurd – it’s just too facile point out the correlation does not imply causation argument. (Though I want to be clear that providing an alternate explanation, as you did, is very valuable to the discourse.)

    • I’d like to see you whip out your gun while you’re being beaten senseless by a dozen teenagers and not only shoot at them but also not manage to not get the gun taken from your hands and used against you.

      • it’s not necessarily the person being beaten who would/could use a concealed weapon – it’s the bystanders who currently are unarmed and unable to help because they are outnumbered. I’d be far more willing to intervene if I had a 9 mm on me. That said, I’m an Army vet and have been around guns all my life – I don’t think concealed carry if for everyone.

        • oh god, please don’t fire a bullet in there if i’m getting beat somewhere.

        • In this particular attack the bystanders may be outnumbered, but in many others the bystanders easily outnumbered the assailants, and they still did nothing. Bystanders with guns shoot the victim fairly often too. In an enclosed space like a train car, that is a recipe for disaster.

          • when has that EVER happened?

          • The off-duty Baltimore cop I believe shot the victim in Union Station last month?

          • Car jacking victim shot by bystander then left for dead
            Random person in a store fired into bystanders trying to shoot a petty thief in the parking lot

            You can easily Google both examples Joan.

          • Car jacking victim shot by bystander then left for dead

            That was the case where the guy tried to stop a carjacking by shooting at the perp but hit the victim in the head. Then he calmly scoured the scene to remove the shell casings from the bullets he fired and left the victim at the scene. Didn’t even call for help.

        • Honest question here… if you saw someone getting attacked and shot/killed the attacker, would that just get you charged with homicide? Would they have to attack you as well in order for it to be self defense?

          • Depends on the state law.

          • No. 3rd party self defense is allowed.

          • Tsar of Truxton

            Depends. You can use self-defense as a defense under a defense of others theory (though I don’t know for sure if DC allows this theory); however, using deadly force under any self-defense theory is only a valid defense if there is threat of death or serious bodily injury. You can’t just shot someone who punches you and claim self-defense.

          • You would have to prove you were similarly threatened. Yes, there would be legal consequences and it would get very, very messy. See: Zimmerman.

          • Zimmerman was stand your ground which is a bit different and not a law here. He also didn’t face any consequences iirc.
            I spoke only of the self defense aspect. Appropriate use of force is another issue entirely. In the context of 10 on 1 attacks, I think the argument could be made.
            You have to prove that you reasonably believed the person being attacked had a right to defend themselves or a special relationship exists.
            I don’t think any jurisdictions require you to be similarly threatened. That would simply be self defense not 3rd party defense.

        • If you’re a combat vet as opposed to desk jockey vet, you know you don’t pull a gun you’re not prepared to fire.

          Are you prepared to fire at L’Enfant, Gallery Place or inside a car? Can you guarantee you’ll get the assailant and not his human shield (me reading with my ipad)?

          • This is true and I am prepared. Initial hopes would be for it to serve as a deterrent but if the attack continued with no end in sight you can guarantee a shot would be fired.

            Are you saying you would just be sitting there reading your iPad while another person is getting beat by ten “kids”? What if it were you being attacked?

          • Yea, that’s pretty much what has happened every time an attack happens on metro. Occasionally someone will push the call button.
            They have families to go home to after all.

          • i think we’ve found dc’s bernie goetz.

      • George Zimmerman did it.

    • It will be interesting to see if this argument holds true once the poverty inevitably moves out to VA.

  • This is what happens when you have a city full of 45-year-old grandparents and great-grandparents.

    Condoms and safe access to abortions is what these kids really need, so they’re not parents at 13 or 14 raising their own generation of violent assholes.

    I live in Columbia Heights and see teenagers dragging toddlers through the Target–screaming and cursing at them and damn near ripping their arms out of shoulder sockets as they literally drag them around. These kids are going to grow up to be just like their horrible parents, and in a dozen years, they’ll be “raising” their own, and the cycle will continue.

    In short, these kids need to have a chance to grow up before they have kids, or else none of this is ever going to change.

    • That, along with IUDs and implants, which ACOG recommends for teens. Also, there’s the matter of a change in attitudes (which might be starting), so that there’s no longer any prestige in all this unwise childbearing. I understand the “Promises I can Keep” thesis, even if it makes no logical sense to me.

    • I’m dying. How far does a kid have to go in Washington, DC to get a free condom or cheap abortion?

    • Unfortunately, the people who need birth control do not take it. These babies are just another paycheck, nothing more, nothing less. We need to start cutting off their benefits and stop rewarding bad behavior.

      • Yep, punishing poor children for their parents’ poor choices by cutting off their food benefits will really teach them a lesson. smh.

      • Cite? Do you have empirical evidence that people think they are having children as welfare cash cows?

      • You’re about 20 years late to the party. Welfare is a non-issue politically and has been a non-issue since the welfare reform that took place under the Clinton administration. Benefits have been cut back so much and so many additional restrictions have been added on that even conservatives can’t use welfare for political gain any more.

        • How about this. Okay, might not be real gains for popping out kids but your life is also not a struggle. They still get Wic and government housing.

          • Before you go on these tangents, you might want to do a smidge of research. You’ve clearly done none.

          • You should head over to DC General and tell all the homeless parents and their children about this plethora of free housing that exists in DC.

    • “Condoms and safe access to abortions is what these kids really need…”

      So you think that the solution to crime is for certain populations of the city to literally NOT EXIST?

      Don’t wander too far down that path. You won’t like where it leads.

      • Copwatch said “In short, these kids need to have a chance to grow up before they have kids,” and I think that was his/her main point. Not that these kids shouldn’t have kids, but that having kids as teenagers isn’t good for the teenage parents or for the children.

      • I see where you’re going with this. I don’t care. Make me out to be a monster if you like. Teenagers should not have babies. Babies of teenagers would, in most cases, be better off if they had been born when their parents were old enough and mature enough to take care of them. Children would be better off if they weren’t sexualized before they were women and if they did not become pregnant at 14. If you think any of these statements are controversial, you’re a horrible person, because it means you’re ok with perpetuated this cycle of poverty.

        • Not sure if JB is trolling or what. Just doesn’t make sense how someone would come to that conclusion from what Copwatch wrote. I can’t think of one scenario where a teenage pregnancy is a good thing.

      • Listen. A equal-opportunity policy that implants IUDs in every young women at puberty and takes them out at 22 seems like a no-brainer, with none of the murky implications you’re so worried about.

        • Mandatory implantation of IUDs in “every young woman” will never happen.

        • Good luck with getting that implemented. This is an obvious non-starter. (Though I do agree that kids shouldn’t be having kids.)

        • Access. These kids should have access. This is a cheap, easy policy solution with first-order, positive consequences for teenagers. White kids in our city already have access, for the most part, because again, history -> white teens around here are pretty wealthy. Black kids often don’t because our preferred policy seems to be to tell poor teens to pin their knees together, refuse them abortions, and then fume at their parenting skills.

          • It’s insane to hear certain politicians rant about “Welfare Mamas” and then vote against access to cheap and readily available family planning services.
            And I know they are smart enough to make the connection between the two issues. What gives? We already know what the most cost effective policies are, yet we can’t seem to implement them. It’s like everyone on a certain side of the aisle in Congress is taking Crazy Pills.

          • It’s not crazy – it’s perfectly rational from the politician’s POV. It’s much easier to manipulate voters if you have an obvious “other” against which to pin their constituency. By voting against helping this “othered” group, the politicians are making it that much easier to separate them from their core constituents, creating an easy scapegoat.

        • abortions for certain groups of people, gov ran sterilization programs….. Sounds like something out of Nazi Germany to me.

          • Forcing people to keep kids they can’t afford? Grown ass men praying on little girls, getting them pregnant, and holding the kids over them as a threat? Sounds like ISIS to me?

            See, I can play your game, too, you clever little thing, you.

          • No, it was mandatory there. Also, I call Godwin.

        • I’d prefer a reversible vasectomy for every young man, no?

          Let’s not drag misogyny into this please.

          • I thought vasectomies were not easily reversible. In any event, I imagine the cost of vasectomy surgery is greater than the cost of implant/IUD plus implantation/insertion.
            IMO, implants and IUDs are the best option. Easily removable, etc.

          • More easy than a tube tie reversal certainly.

            But yes you’re placing all the responsibility on the young woman.

          • The young women face the consequences. I don’t think it’s appropriate to pin all the “responsibility” on them for getting pregnant, but given that they overwhelmingly bear the punishment, let’s be practical and get them birth control. We can talk about responsibility later.
            If there were easily-reversible birth control for men, I’d be in favor of that, too. But none of your talk about misogyny will change which party gets pregnant. I say that is as a raging feminist who fully intends to get her daughters IUDs.

          • +1 to Nonsense at 4:04 p.m.

          • Nonsense and textdoc,

            I wasn’t saying don’t give women access to birth control. I believe firmly that both young men and women should have access, because it’s clear nobody actually does that abstinence thing…But I don’t believe that mandatory IUD implantation (especially considering that we have no idea of the long-term risks to young women) is either fair, or humane. I was pointing out that no one suggested that young men have any mandatory implantation or surgery because no one would ever even consider that.

          • Mamasan, “nonsense” might have suggested mandatory IUD implementation, but no way is that going to happen in 21st-century America. Maybe in China, but not here.

  • Better parenting would be helpful, but I think the schools also need to start emphasizing nonviolent conflict resolution. There was something Anonamom posted a while back about one of her kids’ classmates — I can’t remember the details, and my google-fu is failing to find the post, but it made me think that early intervention needs to happen.
    Reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’s article on incarceration of blacks in the U.S., I was also struck by how one of the cases he focused on was a case of inflamed tempers leading to violence — a woman shot and killed another woman who had accused her (mistakenly) of stealing money. I’m not sure whether there’s a good way to root out violence being used as a means to a criminal end (killing someone in order to rob them), but it seems really sad to me that easy availability of firearms + hot tempers + an acceptance of violence = somebody being killed for impugning someone else’s honor.

    • “Better parenting would be helpful, but I think the schools also need to start emphasizing nonviolent conflict resolution.”

      Do you have any idea how tired/out of touch this sounds?

      • genuine curiosity – do you have suggestions that are not tired / out of touch?

        • How about mass incarceration? (aka, the only thing that has ever worked in the past)

          • it’s interesting you bring that up in textdoc’s thread in which he references an article titled “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration.”
            “the only thing that has ever worked in the past” is based on what you arbitrarily deem successful. where is the line? what is the magic number that divides recidivism rates into successful and unsuccessful? for example, in Virginia in 2013, the juvenile recidivism rate was 46.3%. is that successful? is it successful that over 4 out of 10 juveniles are rearrested, reconvicted, or reincarcerated less than 12 months after being released? by whose standard is that successful?
            Furthermore, WHY do they reoffend? in order to solve a problem, we must first understand root cause. without determining and understanding root cause, our actions will be reactive rather than proactive. preventative measures are what we need in this country (for a number of issues, btw). how about we teach individuals from a young age constructive (or at least non-violent) ways to handle conflict, criticism, and threatening situations/behavior? THAT is a proactive measure. throwing people in jail because their misguided, learned behavior is now ingrained in their being is simply an overreaction.

          • I define ‘successful’ in the same way most people do: violent individuals posing less of a threat to innocent, law-abiding people.

            We had a nice little run of this from 1993 until now, but it appears the pendulum is swinging the other way.

            I don’t really care about the other questions you pose; they are secondary to removing the violent element.

      • Clearly if kids are hitting other kids and growing up while continuing to view violence as an acceptable means of resolving disputes, there’s a problem.
        I don’t remember the elementary schools I attended ever specifically getting into nonviolent conflict resolution. (I don’t know whether this is something DCPS teaches, and if so, in what grades.) If kids aren’t getting this message at home, it has to come from somewhere — roleplaying what to do when someone else insults you, etc.

        • +1. My elementary school did have a conflict resolution program and even did mediation training (clearly at a stupidly fundamental level). Not sure of the effectiveness but it must have been memorable enough…

        • They aren’t violent because they don’t know how to be non-violent; they’re violent because they have low time-preference and society doesn’t discipline them in ways that strongly disincentivize violence.

          • BINGO!!!! +100000

          • If the stick isn’t working, why not try harder with the carrot?

          • +100 to textdoc

          • Because there’s no evidence that any carrot will ever be enough. How many hare-brained schemes have liberals (sorry to be frank about which group is responsible for this) pushed for solving this problem, over the years?

            Our government(s) – federal and local – spend enormous resources on this segment of the population. The only things that appear to consistently work are high levels of employment (which keeps the marginal criminal off the streets) and strict penalties for violence. It’s enough to make a guy want to vote for Trump.

          • And, textdoc, there’s a clear policy move in recent years to dismantle the government’s ‘stick’ (incarceration). You yourself cite TN Coates lovingly – this guy has been a major factor behind these kinds of initiatives. The ‘stick’ isn’t working because the newest idea among the cognoscenti is to make the stick as floppy and ineffectual as possible.

          • That’s your own reading that I cited Ta-Nehisi Coates’s article “lovingly” — I thought the article was thought-provoking, but disagreed with many of its subpoints.
            It seems pretty clear that mass incarceration isn’t having the desired effect. And it means more kids grow up without fathers around, which helps perpetuate the cycle.

          • I’d argue there has been a big movement to focus our incarceration efforts on violent crime, reducing “debtors’ prisons”, and trying to effectively separate the mentally ill from the criminal population. I’d argue this amounts to better focusing the stick. And I honestly don’t know what to say to you if you don’t believe those are worthwhile efforts.

  • Metro could learn a few things from Bill Bratton, the old NYPD commissioner. I believe it was he who led the Transit Police before that. Transit police started cracking down on fare beating and other minor offences and it led to a drop in more serious crimes fairly quickly. Openly (yes, openly) allowing people to fare-beat, litter and violate other rules gives the impression that no one is watching or cares and paves the way for worse behavior. I know people would get upset when an undercover detective gave them a $20 citation for drinking coffee on the train but I don’t remember hearing about this other stuff when they were doing that. if drinking coffee is not a big deal to Metro, then they should do away with the rule, but the system should not have any rules that they are not willing to enforce.

  • If you ever find yourself in this situation – fight back! Don’t turtle! (i.e. don’t cover your head and hope to weather the blows). There’s usually one or two psychopath ringleaders – do whatever you can to hit/choke/pepper spray them! Fighting back flips the script, changes the psychological nature of the encounter for the kids (most of whom are just following the psychopaths). There’s a good chance the group will move on.

    Plus, what else are you going to do? If you’re a guy, chances are, you can do some damage to one or two of the kids. If you’re a woman, take self-defense classes and don’t be afraid to go for the groin.

    • +1 Might as well get a couple of punches in if you’re going to get your ass kicked either way

    • Surely you see how quickly this could turn out badly, especially if there are multiple teens there? If one pins you down the others could beat you to a pulp before scattering when the cops get near.

      • And that won’t happen when you don’t fight back? Broken jaw and collarbone with a serious concussion would disagree that simply taking the beating avoids being beat to a pulp.

  • M – Marauding
    E – Egregious
    T – Teenage
    R – Riders
    O – Only

  • What the hell do the metro police do? It’s quite clear criminals use our metro system to attack and/or rob people because it makes for an easy escape. MPD has privately blamed Metro Police for much of this crime. What’s the truth? Crime in DC is out of control!

    • Who knows. I ride metro ~every day for 8+ years, and see metro pd officers less than once a month.

    • Metro Transit PD covers the trains and train stations, but also the bus stops and a defined area around the bus stops. According to the Metro website, “The MTPD has an authorized strength of 490 sworn police officers, 64 security special police, and 91 civilian personnel.” I don’t know the percentage of officers dedicated to the trains vs the bus stops, but 490 officers (not all of whom will be working at the same time) over 91 stations doesn’t sound like a whole lot.

      • At this point, it may be more effective to disband the Metro PD and just have each jurisdiction patrol the stations and bus stops within its borders. It’s absurd that Metro PD is responsible for crimes that happen at bus stops. WTF.

    • Well, a friend of mine got a ticket for bringing his bike onto the Metro at the wrong time. Of course, his skin is on the darker side…

      • For what it’s worth… A friend of mine got a ticket from MTPD for (inadvertently) walking in behind me on my farecard. The friend is white.
        The MTPD officers I see (well, the uniformed ones — I don’t know about the plainclothes ones) always seem to be congregating near station entrances and talking to each other, rather than keeping an eye on the station and the people walking through. Maybe their mere presence is supposed to act as a deterrent, but it would be nice to see them actually observing what’s going on.

    • Ally

      +1 I don’t understand why we can’t have at least one uniformed police officer or transit officer in each metro station. There aren’t THAT many stations.

  • Really hope I win powerball.

  • Having returned about two years ago from Boston where I lived for nine years, I’m amazed at the lack of patrol (on foot) presence by both Metro PD (and DC police in general–but that’s a different issue). This won’t completely stop all station crime, especially at stations where it can take half a minute even at full sprint to reach the exit thanks to the ridiculous escalators, but it could have a deterrent effect, as well as decrease response time (which might make arrests more likely).

    • General Grant Circle

      I saw the first Transit police ive seen actually on a train (not standing by the gate, escalators, or doing the K-9 walks) yesterday. They got off when I got on (and held open the door while it was closing for some reason…)

      • I wasn’t aware Metro Police did any sort of foot patrol. The only visible presence I have ever seen of them is when they illegally park their cars outside of stations.

        • I’ve seen metro pd fairly often on metro considering how infrequently I take it.
          They need to hire more people it seems.

          • FWIW, WMATA has been advertising transit police jobs on Spotify recently. One of the perks that they list in the ad is “arrest powers in Maryland, Virginia and DC for Metro-related crimes.”

            Now, my first reaction was along the lines of: “wow, it really sounds terrible to be advertising arrest powers as a perk” (and yes, it’s specifically listed as a “benefit” in the ad). But jeez… if we don’t want this kind of stuff happening and we don’t want randos going all Batman on the Metro…

  • I’m surprised that metro ridership hasn’t fallen off more than it has. Living within walking or biking distance to the office and downtown entertainment is such an obvious choice. I live in a near downtown crap neighborhood (Shaw), and I never need to venture more than 1.5 miles from my house. Most of DC neighborhoods are crap, so why live in far flung crap neighborhoods (Columbia Heights, Petworth, Brookland) and have to rely on the horrible public transit system to go to work or the movies?

    • Lots of people can’t afford to live in Shaw, especially now that the rents are through the roof. That’s why people live in “far flung crap neighborhoods” like the ones you mentioned.

    • justinbc

      I’ve rarely heard of Shaw referred to as a “crap neighborhood”, except when the shootings are happening.

    • This is a weird statement. Columbia Heights (and parts of Petworth) are not really that far from downtown, and certainly not far enough that people would need to rely on transit rather than walking or biking. I’ve been commuting downtown from those two neighborhoods for going on 13 years and I very rarely use transit nor do I drive. My commute by bike is 15-20 minutes depending on the time of day (and therefore the light cycles).

      Not everyone wants to live in Shaw. When I bought a house I avoided that neighborhood specifically.

    • If you think Shaw, Columbia Heights, and Petworth are crap and far, I’d like to know where you would like to live if you could.

    • Columbia Heights, Petworth aren’t exactly “far flung.” Try something outside the city’s core.

      • And I might add from my “far flung crap neighborhood” known as Mt. Pleasant I can go weeks without using mass transit or getting in a car by walking/biking, just the same as if living in Shaw.

  • Gee, I’m no expert but, here goes. There are 91 Metro stations and approximately 500 Metro Transit officers. There should be enough to put at least one officer in almost every station, excluding a few that have little or no trouble, allowing for 2 or 3 for large transfer stations and others that have had lots of trouble. Train the useless station managers to report (not confront) fare jumpers and groups of unruly teens, so that they are tracked. They have cameras and video monitors, they can see which trains they’re getting on and which direction. Alert the transit officers along the line to be on the lookout for whatever, and take action if needed. During down times, have the officers patrol the stations. From time to time have them switch between stations so that they can patrol up and down the moving trains on their way to their new station. Spend a few buck to install large bright red “Panic” buttons on platforms that can be used to alert the transit police and/or station managers.

    • You’re forgetting Metrobus — WMATA (and thus MTPD) is more than just Metrorail. And some bus lines have had significant problems — passengers refusing to pay fares, people on the street throwing rocks at buses, etc., etc.

      • Not forgetting Metrobus, there would still be personnel left over to do whatever they do now on the buses, which seems to be nothing. Stopping random violent attacks on the subway system should take priority over stopping people from getting on buses without paying fares, and the kids throwing rocks outside of a bus would I believe be an MPD issue. On further reflection, I’m willing to make an educated guess that at least some of the rock throwers might also be involved in the assaults, so it’s a two-fer

    • Ally

      +1. Crime has escalated on metro. The transit police should reposition to the places getting hit hard which, lately, is metro stations.

  • Race isn’t the only inequality that prevails in this city. An overwhelming number of us are highly educated but don’t put an effort forth to share our knowledge with those in need in the community. I have been in DC for 10 + years and have tutored in the public schools or with For Love of Children (FLOC) since I moved here. Tutoring is an incredible way to make positive bonds with young people, help them with basic education so that the learning gaps can be closed, and in many cases, show young black children in DC that white people are not the enemy, but are part of the community and on their side. I find it hard to believe that folks on this blog think bad parenting means their offspring are hopeless. I do not believe that if folks thought about the heavy implications of locking up a juvenile- statistically once a kid is affected by the JJ system, they are in the system for life, so it is clearly not a solution for children- they would be so quick to dismiss kids/children/teens as hopeless for the eternity of their lives. It is easy to call black teenagers rodents and animals on a blog because we are all essentially anonymous, but I agree that not only is it cruel, it is rolling back the clock, creating an us vs. them mentality and frankly dismissing any individual’s responsibility to the community at large. Find your hearts, people, it takes a village.

    • Thank you!! Best comment I have read in this thread. You don’t realize you can personally make a difference in their lives. I used to tutor with Little Lights ( and it was a great experience. It really opened my eyes to how some of these kids live and where they live.

      • Ally

        We love this organization. We use the program they maintain that provides yard work/lawn maintenance service and employs people in need. We have been so happy with the service and the organization as a whole.

    • For most people moving to DC recently, their “sense of responsibility” to city starts with buying property and stops when they gloat about “cashing out” and leaving the city with kids in tow.
      It’s a dehumanized dog-eat-dog town.

    • justinbc

      Capital Partners for Education is another great mentoring program

    • +100000000000

    • Here’s the problem that I and many others have with this type of response. I know that what you are saying makes sense from a long-term perspective, and I truly do admire your empathy and eagerness to help others, but when I hear this in response to an attack on innocent bystanders in our mutually-shared public transportation I become exasperated. Why? Because the first response to such an attack in my mind shouldn’t be, what can we do to help these poor children? It should be, what can we do immediately to protect the people who got attacked and to prevent others from being harmed. And once that is under control, move on to what we can all do to stop the cycle of violence. As a person who has given many years, many tax dollars, many hours of volunteering and many other things to this city and its residents, and who has been repaid with random violence, focusing empathy on the attackers rather than the attacked is harmful and offensive. And if one takes it as a given that many of these youths are deaf to appeals to decency because of their life histories, as so many commenters do, then it shouldn’t be a surprise that those of us who have been victims of their violent actions and/or live in fear of that happening are also a little tone-deaf when we hear all about the poor violent kids and very little if anything about the people whose lives they disrupt. Stop the damn crime, stop the attacks and make it safe to walk down the street or take the subway, then let’s all work for a better, long-term solution.

      • Can’t we do both simultaneously — try to address the immediate crime issue, and also work on longer-term prevention strategies?

        • If the violence happens to you, immediate solutions probably seem more important. Also, I would be interested in hearing the ways you think DC is failing on the long-term strategies (preferably with specificity or facts). I feel like we spend more per pupil than almost any city in the country and also spend a good deal on social programs relatively speaking.

          • Agreed with your last sentence — it’s frustrating.
            IIRC, DCPS spends a disproportionate amount on administrative/management-type employees.

      • “The world is poor and man’s a s**t and that is all there is to it” Brecht seems terribly true here. All of human history is full of deprivation, segregation, isolation, bad parenting & kid stupidity. But this teen-group-Clockwork Orange- extreme-random-violence is a fairly recent and specific pathology.
        I don’t pretend to know the answer. Churches have proven to be useless. Schools, community groups are maybe keeping some kids out of it – but let’s not pretend they can fix this.

        Young “gangs” fighting each other are probably paleolithic, but random predatory attacks are a recent phenomenon.

      • anon is right. I committed my resources to DC for many years in big ways. I really wanted my daughter to go to DC public school, for example. But I don’t see a real force for change mobilizing right now. Without that, I don’t see how things will significantly improve in the next several years. Maybe it’s time for my family to go.

      • By the time they beat someone like that, they’re not coming back. There may be accomplices who aren’t really into it and know it’s wrong, but there is at least one (maybe more) who came up with the idea. The only thing that will rehab them is old age.

  • Seems we’ve narrowed it down to mentoring or vasectomies. Good work.

    • +1. These conversations always seem to be binary. Is mentoring and community involvement an important part of preventing this type of behavior in the first place? I think it is. But once a teen has reached a point where he (or she) is randomly attacking complete strangers for no reason, I think the ship has sailed on mentoring. And that’s where a stronger and more effective juvenile justice system comes into play.

      • Meant to add – I also don’t think it makes sense to “throw away the key” on every kid who steals a phone.

  • Tsar of Truxton

    I guess we know which post will hold the crown next December for most-commented in January 2016.

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