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Subject: Bernhard Goetz finally gets his man.

Written By: Foo Bar on 12/24/11 at 3:18 am

It was 27 years ago today,
that (I'm not going to attempt a Sgt. Pepper parody at this hour.)

27 years ago, James Ramseur was shot while attempting to mug Bernhard Goetz on a New York subway.

On the 27th anniversary of the 1984 shooting, Ramseur checked into a hotel and took his own life by overdose.  Although Goetz' aim was fantastic for a combat situation, I must confess that I wish his aim had been better: Ramseur wasn't a very nice fellow; in fact, he spent 25 of those intervening 27 years were spent in prison for aiding in the commission of a rape a year or so later in 1985.  I'm willing to call Ramseur's suicide - on the 27th anniversary of being wounded by Goetz - a case of justice delayed, but not denied. 

(For anyone wondering who the hell this Goetz dude was, he's a dude who shot a bunch of dudes who threatened to mug him on an NYC subway in 1984.  The shooting was questionable - in regards to one of the muggers, Goetz said something along the lines of "You don't look too bad, here's another", before firing again - that act of carelessness earned him a $43M judgement against him in civil court, bankrupting Goetz for life.  In Goetz' defense, better to be judged by twelve than to be carried by six.)

Obligatory Pop Culture Content:


Back in the day, crime in 70s/80s NYC was so rampant that it became its own pop culture phenomenon, spawning Charles Bronson's Death Wish ('74-'94) series of movies, The Equalizer ('85-'89) TV series, and other sprinklings throughout late-80s pop culture - including re-recorded quotes from the criminals' defense in the Goetz case (namely that they were merely asking for five dollars, rather than attmempting to mug Goetz) appearing at 3:37 and 4:53 in Sigue Sigue Sputnik's 1986 track Rockit Miss USA (Death Wish IV remix).

Subject: Re: Bernhard Goetz finally gets his man.

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 12/26/11 at 6:24 pm

The police and firefighter unions mounted a huge scare campaign in the seventies to counter I-heart-New York.  The federal government and the investment bankers left the city high and dry in the early seventies.  The feds and the bankers cut the grants and the loans.  In turn, the city government cut services to the bone.  Among those receiving heavy cuts were cops and firemen, who are highly unionized and don't much appreciate the short end of the stick.  They'd hand out flyers at Kennedy Airport warning people not to go into Manhattan or they'd get knifed on the subway.  This was very bad for business.  The cops and firemen got restored in exchange for calling off the scare, but the new assignments all went to Manhattan.  Brooklyn and Queens suffered a massive crimewave and the Bronx burned down.  A lot of those Death Wish/Fort Apache movies were a caricature of the New York the scare campaign created.  The Goetz story played right into the general hysteria.

Crime in the seventies and eighties was worse everywhere in NYC than today.  However, crime was never that bad in the touristy areas of Manhattan.  Then again, my sister's friends were robbed at gunpoint on Bleecker Street one afternoon in 1980, which would be unheard of today.

New York is very safe today at the price of having a cops around every corner.  Better that than robbed at gunpoint!

Also, nowadays in New York City just about nobody can have a handgun.  I don't want sketchy teenagers asking me for five bucks in the subway car but that's better than getting shot in the ass on the F train!

Subject: Re: Bernhard Goetz finally gets his man.

Written By: Howard on 12/27/11 at 6:35 am

New York is very safe today at the price of having a cops around every corner.  Better that than robbed at gunpoint!

I agree, New York is safer now than it once was 30 years ago. Where were cops in 1981?

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