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Bad News Bites: Train blame, gun threats and the inspirational … Adolf Hitler?

Hitler fighting back a sneeze

Today, three unsettling news stories that have sort of fallen through the cracks in recent days.

TRAIN BLAME:

In April, Toronto resident Shamsa Al-Balushi was pushed off a subway platform onto the tracks. She survived, but as Vice reports she’s suing the Toronto Transportation Commission (TTC) for negligence, claiming that she was badly injured by the fall and left stuck behind a subway train for 30 minutes before help arrived.

The TTC has responded by quite literally blaming the victim, saying it was partly her fault that she got pushed off the tracks, chiding her for, among other things, “travelling alone and unassisted on public transit.”

As Vice notes, the TTC claims that

Al-Balushi “failed to take reasonable steps and precautions for her own safety and protection.” The statement says “she chose to stand close to the edge of the platform,” “failed to pay due care and attention to her surroundings,” and “was travelling alone and unassisted on public transit when she knew or ought to have known that it was unsafe for her to do so.”

There is video of the incident; she wasn’t standing close to the edge. And that last bit is even worse, akin to blaming a rape victim for wearing “revealing” clothes.

VIOLENT TRANS BACKLASH

So on Monday a group of students staged a walkout at their high school in the Portland, Oregon area in support of a trans classmate who’d been assaulted by another student last week.

And then the whole school district was put on lockdown because another student threatened to gun down the protesters with an automatic rifle.

By all accounts the assault last week was brutal; as Jezebel notes, the victim was “on the ground, and the assailant repeatedly kicked him with steel-toed boots,” resulting in a trip to the hospital. The students who staged the walkout were also angry about “incidents of Nazi salutes in classrooms and locker rooms.”

So yeah. That’s a real 2022 kind of story.

I worry that progressive protests and gatherings of all types in the near future are going to routinely get shut down or at least disrupted by gun and bomb threats — if not by actual bombs and mass shooters. At least in this case the threat was hypothetical.

THE INSPIRATION OF ADOLF HITLER

So it’s not news exactly thar Congressional candidate Carl Paladino is a bit of a dick. The Buffalo, New York Republican, as MSNBC points out, has “a history of racismhomophobia, and utterly bonkers conspiracy theories,” making news most recently by suggesting in a Facebook share that the mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde were “false flags” by evil Democrats eager for an excuse to grab guns.

Now Media Matters reports that in a radio appearance last year, Paladino declared none other than Adolf Hitler “inspirational” and “the kind of leader we need today.” And, no, those quotes aren’t taken out of context or anything like that. Here’s what he said:

I was thinking the other day about somebody had mentioned on the radio Adolf Hitler and how he aroused the crowds. And he would get up there screaming these epithets and these people were just — they were hypnotized by him. That’s, I guess, I guess that’s the kind of leader we need today. We need somebody inspirational. We need somebody that is a doer, has been there and done it, so that it’s not a strange new world to him.

Dude, do you know what Hitler the “doer” actually … did?

I look around at the politicians that we’ve elected locally and I, I just can’t [unintelligible] on a federal level, I can’t get comfortable with the RINO-ism. And on a state level, we — our Republicans are sound asleep.

I dunno, I think “asleep on the job” is preferable to, you know, GENOCIDE. But maybe that’s just me.

Paladino has offered up a sort of apology for the remarks, admitting that the “inspirational” leader did some bad shit. But seriously, how does that minimal acceptance of reality make up for his original remarks, which he wouldn’t have ever apologized for if he hadn’t gotten caught.

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Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 months ago

“Well I think Hitler was a real jerk; and I don’t care who knows that.” ~ Norm McDonald

Chris Oakley
Chris Oakley
5 months ago

What. The. Actual. Fuck.

Surplus to Requirements
Surplus to Requirements
5 months ago

was travelling alone and unassisted on public transit when she knew or ought to have known that it was unsafe for her to do so.

A woman out in public unchaperoned? The horror! Or so, at least, the following two entities would agree: a) the TTC; and b) Saudi Arabia.

Will the TTC next be mandating that all female riders wear burqas?

So yeah. That’s a real 2022 kind of story.

Portland, 2022, meet Berlin, 1932. You’re like two peas in a pod.

Contrapangloss
Contrapangloss
5 months ago

Yeah, seriously a bit concerned. Not gonna lie.

Snowberry
Snowberry
5 months ago

Why do they always choose Hitler? Why not John F Kennedy? Martin Luther King Jr? Winston Churchill? Oh wait they’re not Fascists I got it okay. They have got to know that from the perspective of most people that’s like praising Satan unironically though. If they don’t then they’re too dumb to have a political career. (Unfortunately being too dumb to have a political career doesn’t seem to be much of an impediment for Republicans in some places)

Also, after reading complaints that “40 miles from Portland” is deceptive, I checked the map and Kalama appears to be an exurb of Vancouver WA. (“Exurbs” are the small towns some distance outside the suburbs.) Implying that it’s a part of the Portland OR metro area seems a real stretch. You might want to fix that.

Lollypop
Lollypop
5 months ago

I like to put on random documentaries while I cook or do the washing up, and recently got through “How the Nazis Lost the War”. And the thing is that while Hitler was a “doer” not only were a lot if the things he directed the worst kind of human evil, they were also often stupid and wildly incompetent! He invaded Russia without giving his army COATS.

Mimi Haha
Mimi Haha
5 months ago

I’m not huge on lawsuits but I would make an exception for the TTC just for blaming the woman she got knocked off the platform.

Fishy Goat
Fishy Goat
5 months ago

If you are inclined, the TTC complaints e-mail is [email protected]

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
5 months ago

That was indeed an absolutely horrid response from the TTC.

In slightly better Toronto news, I don’t know if this has been mentioned here already (I was in Montreal for the last few days) but the Toronto van killer Alek Minassian was sentenced on Monday to life imprisonment with no chance for parole for 25 years, and pretty much the only reason it wasn’t longer was that the Supreme Court recently handed down a decision that stacking consecutive life sentences solely to extend the ‘no chance for parole until X’ time frame was unconstitutional. (An decision which, in the general case, I can’t really argue with.) In fact part of the reason the sentencing took so long in this case was because they were waiting for that Supreme Court decision.

Certainly based on the comments from the judge, the various victim impact statements, the news reports, and his own lack of demonstrating any real remorse about what has happened, the likelihood of him actually getting parole after 25 years seems pretty low.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 months ago

@ jenora

An decision which, in the general case, I can’t really argue with.

With my ‘lefty lawyer’ (as Boris Johnson would have it) head on I would agree. And it’s worth bearing in mind 25 years isn’t an automatic realise date. Just that sets a minimum time before he can even apply for parole. He would then have to convince the parole board he was safe to release. So this could easily end up as a whole life tariff in practical terms.

I appreciate my hypocrisy there though. As someone recently said to me “You’re all for rehabilitation and rule of law. Until someone looks at a dog funny and then you’re suspending habeus corpus.”

Last edited 5 months ago by Alan Robertshaw
GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
5 months ago

@Jenora: Charles Manson came up for parole many times. Still died in jail. So the van killer will be rotting away as well.

Meanwhile, I do hope the woman from the subway wins big (or at least enough to cover her expenses, treatments, lawyer fees, lost wages), and TTC deserves to have the internet fall on its head for such a ridiculous statement.

@FishyGoats: thanks for the link.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
5 months ago

@Alan Robertshaw, GSS ex-noob:
Oh, yes, I’m well aware of that. As I noted myself, I consider it really unlikely that he’s actually going to get parole in 25 years despite his young age; he’s not exactly demonstrated himself to be anything other than self-absorbed and anti-social, which doesn’t make him exactly low-risk on any release. People can change, sure, but the sort of person who blames everybody else for their own problems rarely fix themselves without more of a shock to the worldview than he seems to have received. Not to mention that all the ‘he’s autistic’ arguments during the trial haven’t exactly helped his reputation. It all rather screamed ‘child who’s still upset he got caught after breaking things’.

The way it sounded like he was going for ‘suicide by cop’ at first after being stopped doesn’t help, as it also suggests he didn’t figure he’d have to deal with any consequences.

Of course, in a sense pausing this court sentencing to wait for the Supreme Court decision was another show of just how seriously they were taking it… if they applied sentencing that extended the ‘no parole’ indefinitely, and then the Supreme Court decision came down, that would presumably have granted a cause for appeal. By waiting until the decision came from the Supreme Court and then abiding by that decision as well, they’re giving his lawyers less room to complain. And I expect that was very deliberate.

KatInBoots
KatInBoots
5 months ago

Given the ethnic diversity of the Greater Toronto Area, this response from the TTC is truly shocking. They need a serious reprimand and their P.R. guy should be fired.

Even if this were not an area that is home to so many BIPOC, the response would still be horrendous. But the fact that anyone thought for a second that this sort of statement would be acceptable in this sort of community is another bridge past the bridge too far.

kamosa
kamosa
5 months ago

These guys can’t stop idolizing Hitler. It’s like they forget they aren’t posting on Storm Front or their safe space manosphere blogs. Between this and the guy that claimed Hitler was an inspiration for homeless people, Godwin’s law is dead.

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