The NY subway picture

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Robert Coe, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. Robert Coe

    Robert Coe Guest

    So doesn't anyone in the group have an opinion about the New York Post
    publishing that picture of the guy who's about to get cut in half by a subway
    train? Should the photographer have taken the picture? Could/should he have
    tried to help the guy instead? Would it have changed the outcome or merely put
    the photographer at risk? What would any of us have done? Why were people
    closer to the victim than the photographer was, just standing around?

    And the saddest question of this event: Why was the victim trying to climb
    back onto the platform at all? It was obvious he wasn't going to make it. And
    every subway station that I've ever seen, including those in N.Y., has a crawl
    space under every raised platform so that someone caught on the tracks can get
    out of the way. If the victim had used it, he'd have escaped unharmed. Perhaps
    the photograph, however else one feels about it, at least constitutes a
    teachable moment.

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Dec 9, 2012
    #1
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  2. Robert Coe

    Savageduck Guest

    From the reports I have read there is not much the photographer could
    have done to help the victim. As far as others who were closer not
    helping, there is the element of understanding what has happened.
    Heroics and blame are always apparent in hindsight. The photographer is
    blameless, but still has to live with what he witnessed.

    Regarding the victim's ability to rescue himself, some of the back
    story had to be understood. It was reported that he had got into a
    domestic argument with his wife. He had left their home intoxicated and
    proceeded to add to that intoxication after he stormed out of the house.
    He probably would not be able to think clearly enough to take the
    recommended action, which is to get to the end of the platform where
    there is an access ladder. If he did that he would be moving away from
    the approaching train, giving the motorman more braking room.
    He might have found refuge in some crawl space, but he would have had
    to have the presence of mind to grasp exactly where he needed to move,
    and avoid the third rail.

    He was not entirely a blameless victim. It was also reported that in
    his intoxicated state he had bothered several people in the subway, and
    when he picked on the homeless guy who had a history of mental illness
    and petty crime, he chose the wrong guy. Even crazy homeless folks
    don't like to be bothered by drunks.

    The victim might have been a fine family man when sober, but drunk he
    was an irritating accident waiting to happen.
     
    Savageduck, Dec 9, 2012
    #2
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  3. Robert Coe

    Robert Coe Guest

    : On 2012-12-09 11:18:55 -0800, Robert Coe <> said:
    :
    : > So doesn't anyone in the group have an opinion about the New York Post
    : > publishing that picture of the guy who's about to get cut in half by a subway
    : > train? Should the photographer have taken the picture? Could/should he have
    : > tried to help the guy instead? Would it have changed the outcome or merely put
    : > the photographer at risk? What would any of us have done? Why were people
    : > closer to the victim than the photographer was, just standing around?
    : >
    : > And the saddest question of this event: Why was the victim trying to climb
    : > back onto the platform at all? It was obvious he wasn't going to make it. And
    : > every subway station that I've ever seen, including those in N.Y., has a crawl
    : > space under every raised platform so that someone caught on the tracks can get
    : > out of the way. If the victim had used it, he'd have escaped unharmed. Perhaps
    : > the photograph, however else one feels about it, at least constitutes a
    : > teachable moment.
    : >
    : > Bob
    :
    : From the reports I have read there is not much the photographer could
    : have done to help the victim. As far as others who were closer not
    : helping, there is the element of understanding what has happened.
    : Heroics and blame are always apparent in hindsight. The photographer is
    : blameless, but still has to live with what he witnessed.

    I would certainly not have wanted to be that photographer. I guess what I
    might have done is yell to him to get under the platform, since I wouldn't
    have dreamed that I could have pulled him out. Would I have gone into grabshot
    mode if I were too far away to be of any help? Maybe, but it's at least as
    likely that I'd have screwed it up and not gotten a usable shot.

    : Regarding the victim's ability to rescue himself, some of the back
    : story had to be understood. It was reported that he had got into a
    : domestic argument with his wife. He had left their home intoxicated and
    : proceeded to add to that intoxication after he stormed out of the house.
    : He probably would not be able to think clearly enough to take the
    : recommended action, which is to get to the end of the platform where
    : there is an access ladder. If he did that he would be moving away from
    : the approaching train, giving the motorman more braking room.
    : He might have found refuge in some crawl space, but he would have had
    : to have the presence of mind to grasp exactly where he needed to move,
    : and avoid the third rail.

    In New York you don't have to worry as much about the third rail as you would
    in, say, Boston or Chicago. All third rails in New York have a wooden cover on
    top, and the third rail is always placed on the side opposite to the platform
    unless the track has platforms on both sides.

    : He was not entirely a blameless victim. It was also reported that in
    : his intoxicated state he had bothered several people in the subway, and
    : when he picked on the homeless guy who had a history of mental illness
    : and petty crime, he chose the wrong guy. Even crazy homeless folks
    : don't like to be bothered by drunks.
    :
    : The victim might have been a fine family man when sober, but drunk he
    : was an irritating accident waiting to happen.

    I hadn't realized that he was drunk and had picked the fight with the homeless
    guy. (None of that was revealed in any of the hyped reports that I saw on TV.)
    That could explain a lot, particularly his counterintuitive behavior once he
    landed on the track.

    And I guess we all agree that the fact that the victim was drunk shouldn't
    excuse the homeless guy from prosecution for the act of pushing him off the
    platform, though I assume it could be a mitigating factor that the victim
    apparently started the fight.

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Dec 9, 2012
    #3
  4. Robert Coe

    Alan Browne Guest

    I doubt the photographer could have done much from where he was.

    The Post should not have published the photo in my opinion. The lasting
    memory of that photo will haunt the victim's family for the rest of
    their lives. Publishing the photo does nobody any good - except perhaps
    ... [1]


    A friend over for supper last night remarked on it by saying that the
    Montreal Metro has area under the platform that one could scramble into
    and fit. I don't know that that is a common feature of metro stations -
    though it does make sense.

    OTOH, people:

    1. don't know.
    2. panic

    But really:

    [1] Subway stations could EASILY have a wall between the platform and
    the trains with doors that open only when the train is there.

    You see such in places like some airports. Orlando IIRC, perhaps SFO,
    and others.

    Not having such a wall is serious engineering malpractice IMO.

    Not only is there the danger of being hit and crushed but there is the
    electrical danger as well - so you might not even have the chance to
    scramble into the void area.

    (A better void would be a trench under the tracks with very wide holes
    between the ties... much easier to fall into a hole than scramble to the
    side). Looking along the tracks:

    platform
    rail ________________________
    \ |
    |
    ____I__ __I________|
    | |
    | |
    | |
    | trench |
    +--------+

    This would work very well in Montreal as the cars ride on tires which
    ride on concrete "rails" that lay on the bed. No rail ties.
     
    Alan Browne, Dec 9, 2012
    #4
  5. Robert Coe

    Chemiker Guest

    In a situation like this, you can (1) watch because you cannot help,
    (2) make an effort and fail.

    I can attest to the latter. I had a chance to save someone, and
    failed. He'd collapsed, after taking medication for a sore throat,
    and then drinking a martini. When I reached him, I heard a heart in
    trouble and began external massage of the heart. He suffocated to
    death looking me right in the eye. His throat had swelled from the
    alcohol and he had no clear airway,,,,,,, and I forgot rule #1, to
    clear the airway. He was a friend. After 40 years, I am still guilty.
    My error,,,,,, his death. For this, there is no atonement.

    A-
     
    Chemiker, Dec 9, 2012
    #5
  6. Robert Coe

    Robert Coe Guest

    On 2012.12.09 14:18 , Robert Coe wrote:
    : > So doesn't anyone in the group have an opinion about the New York Post
    : > publishing that picture of the guy who's about to get cut in half by a subway
    : > train? Should the photographer have taken the picture? Could/should he have
    : > tried to help the guy instead? Would it have changed the outcome or merely put
    : > the photographer at risk? What would any of us have done? Why were people
    : > closer to the victim than the photographer was, just standing around?
    :
    : I doubt the photographer could have done much from where he was.
    :
    : The Post should not have published the photo in my opinion. The lasting
    : memory of that photo will haunt the victim's family for the rest of
    : their lives. Publishing the photo does nobody any good - except perhaps
    : ... [1]
    :
    :
    :
    : > And the saddest question of this event: Why was the victim trying to climb
    : > back onto the platform at all? It was obvious he wasn't going to make it. And
    : > every subway station that I've ever seen, including those in N.Y., has a crawl
    : > space under every raised platform so that someone caught on the tracks can get
    : > out of the way. If the victim had used it, he'd have escaped unharmed. Perhaps
    : > the photograph, however else one feels about it, at least constitutes a
    : > teachable moment.
    :
    : A friend over for supper last night remarked on it by saying that the
    : Montreal Metro has area under the platform that one could scramble into
    : and fit. I don't know that that is a common feature of metro stations -
    : though it does make sense.

    Actually, I'd have supposed that it might have been difficult to provide crawl
    spaces in Montreal. I haven't seen the system there, but I've been told that
    to keep the trains centered in the absence of steel rails, there are
    horizontal tires on the sides of the trains that bear against the side walls
    of the tunnel below the level of the platforms.

    I've ridden the subways in at least ten cities in North America, and my
    recollection is that they all had such spaces. But they also all had steel
    rails.

    : OTOH, people:
    :
    : 1. don't know.
    : 2. panic

    True, and some signs educating people on what to do if they fell onto the
    track would hardly be amiss. But transit authorities like to pretend that
    nothing bad can possibly happen if people will just stay behind the yellow
    line.

    : But really:
    :
    : [1] Subway stations could EASILY have a wall between the platform and
    : the trains with doors that open only when the train is there.

    Here I question your use of the word "easily". The train doors and the
    platform doors would have to line up very closely, which would require greater
    consistency than most systems are capable of. Besides, cars bought at
    different times can be of different lengths, and in at least two cases I can
    think of, have different numbers of doors. It would be very complicated to
    accommodate those differences.

    : You see such in places like some airports. Orlando IIRC, perhaps SFO,
    : and others.

    Yeah, Seattle, Atlanta, etc. But those cars are lighter and don't move as fast
    as those in a heavy-rail rapid transit system, and the systems were designed
    for the platform doors from scratch. It certainly wouldn't be practical in
    most cities with existing rail transit systems.

    : Not having such a wall is serious engineering malpractice IMO.
    :
    : Not only is there the danger of being hit and crushed but there is the
    : electrical danger as well - so you might not even have the chance to
    : scramble into the void area.
    :
    : (A better void would be a trench under the tracks with very wide holes
    : between the ties... much easier to fall into a hole than scramble to the
    : side). Looking along the tracks:
    :
    : platform
    : rail ________________________
    : \ |
    : |
    : ____I__ __I________|
    : | |
    : | |
    : | |
    : | trench |
    : +--------+
    :
    : This would work very well in Montreal as the cars ride on tires which
    : ride on concrete "rails" that lay on the bed. No rail ties.

    Trenches (although much shallower than you indicate) exist in some locations
    in the Hew York system. There was a famous case a few years ago where a man
    having an epileptic seizure (IIRC) fell onto the tracks in front of a train,
    and a bystander jumped in and held him down in one of those trenches, with the
    front end of the train passing over them before it could stop. (The rescuer
    was chided by The Authorities for the risk that he took, but rewarded with a
    lifetime pass to the NY transit system.) But a full installation would be
    expensive and require even more education and quick thinking than the crawl
    space under the platform.

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Dec 10, 2012
    #6
  7. Robert Coe

    Savageduck Guest

    Both Detroit and Cincinnati Airport shuttles have holding
    stations/platforms where there is in effect no platform space between
    the train and the sliding glass door of the holding area. This door
    only opens once the train is stationary and closes before it moves on.
    < >
     
    Savageduck, Dec 10, 2012
    #7
  8. Oh, my.

    There was an incident recently caught on CCTV where a young drunk British
    woman was dragged into the gap between a train and the platform for 20 feet
    and, of course, the nurse who committed suicide after a prank call went
    wrong.

    I can and have gone on about the philosophy and cruelty towards people for
    entertainment. This hasn't made me popular in some circles but the economic
    crash and backlash against feral media and abusive trolling has at least
    caught up.

    This is a fine point but I think our society generally needs a better sense
    of doing and kindness. We have become a little confused by abstractions and
    distant from each other.

    Most of my casual friends are transgender. I refused to visit the local
    Transgender Day of Remembrance service because I believe people should focus
    on living a better life not hijacking the memories of the dead. I feel the
    same way about Remembrance Day and 9/11.

    I remember the screams one night of an old tramp who was kicked to death.
    Maybe I could have intervened or called for medical assistance. The
    semi-naked body of a dead heroin addict. Conversations with murderers and
    people I knew who were murdered. Stupid accidental deaths. They were all
    babies once. Maybe loved, maybe never knowing love.

    I didn't get it at the time but when a gang of men were standing around
    laughing at the dead heroin addict while waiting for the police to arrive a
    woman said "That's someone's son." Ki Suk Han is someone's son.
     
    Charles E. Hardwidge, Dec 10, 2012
    #8
  9. You did your best. I know it doesn't change anything but at least your
    friend didn't die alone feeling nobody cared.

    I had a really bad day recently. I can't say what it is but someone who
    tried to help couldn't change anything. The most I could do in the end was
    let them know they tried and make a connection. Sometimes you are stuffed
    and all you can do is return the love.
     
    Charles E. Hardwidge, Dec 10, 2012
    #9
  10. They have platform walls (or whatever you call them) at some stations in
    China and Japan. I'm not suggesting the solution is easy but it's a solved
    problem. Really the only question is political will and finance.

    I get so fed up with the posturing. There's so many black holes of failure
    because management has forgotten the reason for something's existence, or
    won't embrace something new, or has just totally forgotten about the issue
    of quality and people's experience. Money isn't the real economy anyway.
     
    Charles E. Hardwidge, Dec 10, 2012
    #10
  11. Robert Coe

    Robert Coe Guest

    :
    : In a situation like this, you can (1) watch because you cannot help,
    : (2) make an effort and fail.
    :
    : I can attest to the latter. I had a chance to save someone, and
    : failed. He'd collapsed, after taking medication for a sore throat,
    : and then drinking a martini. When I reached him, I heard a heart
    : in trouble and began external massage of the heart. He suffocated
    : to death looking me right in the eye. His throat had swelled from
    : the alcohol and he had no clear airway,,,,,,, and I forgot rule #1,
    : to clear the airway. He was a friend. After 40 years, I am still
    : guilty. My error,,,,,, his death. For this, there is no atonement.

    I can see regret, remorse, anguish. I have a hard time seeing guilt.

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Dec 10, 2012
    #11
  12. Robert Coe

    otter Guest

    The first thought I had when I heard about this was, "The NYC subways
    are working again?"

    So I went to the MTA site, and sure enough, it is almost all working
    again, except for a few segments and stops. Amazing.

    The subway is over 100 years old. It's a pity that it's not safer,
    but that wasn't on the agenda back then. I doubt if a bill would get
    passed to spend the money necessary to upgrade it.
     
    otter, Dec 10, 2012
    #12
  13. Robert Coe

    Robert Coe Guest

    : > So doesn't anyone in the group have an opinion about the New York Post
    : > publishing that picture of the guy who's about to get cut in half by a subway
    : > train? Should the photographer have taken the picture? Could/should he have
    : > tried to help the guy instead? Would it have changed the outcome or merely put
    : > the photographer at risk? What would any of us have done? Why were people
    : > closer to the victim than the photographer was, just standing around?
    : >
    : > And the saddest question of this event: Why was the victim trying to climb
    : > back onto the platform at all? It was obvious he wasn't going to make it. And
    : > every subway station that I've ever seen, including those in N.Y., has a crawl
    : > space under every raised platform so that someone caught on the tracks can get
    : > out of the way. If the victim had used it, he'd have escaped unharmed. Perhaps
    : > the photograph, however else one feels about it, at least constitutes a
    : > teachable moment.
    : >
    : > Bob
    :
    : The first thought I had when I heard about this was, "The NYC subways
    : are working again?"
    :
    : So I went to the MTA site, and sure enough, it is almost all working
    : again, except for a few segments and stops. Amazing.

    Only a relatively small portion of the system was flooded, of course. It
    affected a lot of lines because so many of the lines linking Manhattan and
    Brooklyn go through the lower end of Manhattan. And I believe they started
    pumping it out as soon as the storm passed. But the recovery was, as you say,
    amazing, given the extensive damage the flooding caused to the electrical
    equipment.

    Bob

    :
    : The subway is over 100 years old. It's a pity that it's not safer,
    : but that wasn't on the agenda back then. I doubt if a bill would get
    : passed to spend the money necessary to upgrade it.

    Look how long it took to get the money to finally start digging the
    desperately needed tunnel under 2nd Avenue.

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Dec 10, 2012
    #13
  14. Robert Coe

    Alan Browne Guest

    That's a good point. But per my friend there is such a void for
    passengers to escape to. Perhaps one has to go above that "rail" into
    the void area. I'll try to see what's up next time (I use the metro
    about 1 per year).
    This has existed in some places for decades. Stopping a train
    accurately is part of operator training - and when enhanced with control
    systems it can easily be accurate to less than 1 cm.

    It's a non issue engineering wise and certainly worth the value returned
    in safety. Cost is the barrier.

    Besides, cars bought at
    In designing for safety, these things are considered and dealt with.

    Safety trumps convenience.
    The old Japanese bullet trains stop on a freaking dime within cm's of
    where they are supposed to be (and within a few seconds of schedule
    too). And have been doing so since the 60's!

    These are much heavier than subway trains.

    This is really not an issue.
    It was just a thought in passing.

    The real solution is to keep people off of the rail bed in the first
    place with a barrier. It is VERY feasible and not that expensive.
     
    Alan Browne, Dec 10, 2012
    #14
  15. Robert Coe

    Alan Browne Guest

    The holding area is the platform...
     
    Alan Browne, Dec 10, 2012
    #15
  16. Robert Coe

    Alan Browne Guest

    Sorry that happened. It's easy to forget the basics when all hell
    breaks loose.

    An accident (preventable as all such are).

    So let go of the guilt. He's not coming back.
     
    Alan Browne, Dec 10, 2012
    #16
  17. Robert Coe

    PeterN Guest

    the photographer could have done nothing. Some say he should have tried. that would have been fruitless, and perhaps endangered the photographer, for no reason. The poor guy who was hi, just panicked.
     
    PeterN, Dec 19, 2012
    #17
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