Monday, August 22, 2011

Public Transit Peace Terrorists, Or How I Manage on MUNI.

photo courtesy of Mondayne
  Calling attention to yourself is not new to terrorism.  Leaked videos and intercepted communications are par for the jihadist course. Regimes and governments use this information to their advantage; and to deter or prevent civil unrest. In the case of groups like Anonymous and No Justice, No BART, they are no more than iterations of the lack of values of certain groups of passive-aggressive individuals. Free speech doesn't come at the cost of shutting down a region's busiest transit corridor during rush hour.
   Shutting down cell service to these stations during the unlawful, disruptive behaviors by these fringe groups is fully within BART's rights and shows more solidarity among real citizens than any false solidarity conjured by faceless, cowardly entities on the other end of a CAT5. This isn't about whipper-snappers or the apparent generation gap, or the rants of a technophobe; this is about the idea of individual freedom within the public realm, and how our simple freedoms are taken away everyday by similar scofflaws.
   For example, calling someone a bitch or throwing an attitude when politely asked to put away the basket of fried shrimp you're eating on the bus at 7:30 in the morning, is an over-reaction to a simple request by a fellow passenger. Or evading a fare, and then becoming beligirent or physically violent with the operators for simply doing their job of enforcing laws put in place for a reason. These are clearly unstable, mentally ill and dangerous people that have terrorized our public transportation system for too long.  Sadly, many of these angry and resentful people are our children and teenagers.
   I recently raised this issue with younger friends of mine enrolled at UCSF and CCSF and they informed me, embarrassingly, that not all in 'Generation Me' are as informed or self-aware as one might think. They point to a rancorous, jaded element within their age group. People that feel that any space they occupy must bend to their whims.  People that believe that their freedom to litter, monopolize and terrorize the general public is entitled to them without accountability or consequence. People of a generation that are misguided in self, and lack a bigger picture of the world outside of Maury, 'Lil Wayne or Lady Gaga.

   "Freedom was never found, by beating someone else to the ground" - Amos Lee

   Blatantly virus-like behavior infects all those around you. With your stories of "Kickin' that bitches ass,"or "Fuckin' that ho'", or "Stabbin' that motherfucker," that you subject us to day and night on public transportation. Your freedom to be yourself, enjoy music and engage in group conversation shouldn't take away from someone else's right to a peaceful ride home on the train or bus.  We all pay for public transportation whether we choose to ride or not.  Clearly, public transportation isn't a choice (myself included) for many, as circumstance and a lack of resources determine the options available, but we all must make an effort to respect the public realm for travelers young and older.
    Buy some headphones, smile at a fellow passenger, give up your seat to an elderly person, and shut the fuck up. I'm sure that rehashing of last night's mad hookup can wait until you get home.

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