Short Take: When The Punch Doesn’t Fit

A 73-year-old woman was punched on a subway platform in the Bronx. This didn’t catch much interest for lack of a video, but assuming it happened, it doesn’t fit the narrative.

A 73-year-old woman was punched in the face by a stranger on Wednesday night while standing on a subway platform in the Bronx, sources said.

The Queens woman was on the platform of the D line at the 174 street station at about 7:20 p.m. when a man attacked her before fleeing the scene, according to law enforcement sources.

The victim was taken to Bronx care hospital with pain to her face. The suspect was described as a man in his 20s.

But when 31-year-old Rashid Brimmage allegedly punched a 92-year-old woman walking on 16th Street near Gramercy Park at 3:30 in the afternoon, it was caught on video.

What sort of person does such a thing?

He’s schizophrenic, has 103 arrests to his name and there’s no evidence the city’s mental-health apparatus has helped him. Now the “career criminal” charged with shoving a 92-year-old woman onto the ground and into a fire hydrant is finally off the streets and being held on bail as he faces prison.

Could he have been saved with better mental health services? Maybe, but you can’t make someone take their meds and we no longer force people into asylums against their will unless they pose a serious risk of harm to themselves or others. All the services in the world only work to the extent people want them to work. Much of the time, they don’t.

Part of the problem is that people who are mentally ill don’t make the wisest choices for themselves. Or the wisest choices when dealing with others, such as randomly punching an elderly woman while walking down the street.

The narrative, that we don’t need cops because cops can’t be trusted not to escalate, shoot and kill, has its merits, as reflected in hundreds of videos showing police behaving no better, and often worse, than these punchers. But it’s unsustainable to ignore that things like this happen, that some people are going to do harm to others, and the victims of their actions are no less worthy of some protection and someone to arrest the perpetrator.

Human behavior doesn’t fall neatly into ideological paradigms, with facile solutions caught between one side or the other. Geraldine, the 92-year-old woman, didn’t do anything to deserve being punched. No social justice lecture changes the fact that this guy punched her, and no fantasy that showing empathy to the marginalized will prevent some random guy from punching a 73-year-old woman on a subway platform in the Bronx.

Bad things happen. Pretending otherwise is not an answer.

12 thoughts on “Short Take: When The Punch Doesn’t Fit

  1. Jay

    That was a startling amount of incorrect information about how we deal with the mentally ill. Guessing you don’t have many clients that have schizophrenia. Maybe just shut up about things you don’t understand.

    1. KP

      Not interested in learning about it either.
      The line should have been drawn long before- ” has 103 arrests to his name ” and he shouldn’t have been walking the streets again.
      Its not that schizoids are normal people with periods of mental illness, they are mentally ill people with periods of normalness. These days we seem to have that around the wrong way.

      1. SHG Post author

        It’s not as if Jay imparted any wisdom. It might have been useful if he explained what he thought was missing from our understanding, though unlikely, but instead, he was good ol’ Jay, offering nothing of use.

  2. Jake

    OMG, you’re right! How could I have been so blind? More cops are definitely the answer. If there was a cop standing every 5′ on the street that day, this assault might have been prevented!

    Somebody think of the grandmas!

  3. Tom

    Are we sure this is real? It may be Computer generated. I,ve searched the CBS, NBC, ABC and MSNBC websites and they don’t show it.

    1. Brian Cowles

      Serious answer: CGI is expensive. You’re suggesting that someone spent thousands of dollars to create that video and then failed to distribute it. I suggest that it’s far more likely that the video is real but the sites you listed are too lazy (or unmotivated) to go find it.

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