New York Subway Death (What it Means for Prepping)

by Tommy Grant

It’s not a mystery that there is an increase in violence in our country. What’s also not a mystery is that everyone is at an increased risk due to increased violence. With that, this article is going to look at the recent tragedy that took place on a New York City subway, along with some of the contributing factors, and what we as preppers can do to minimize the risk to ourselves and our loved ones as we go about our daily lives. 

The Recent New York Subway Death: A Closer Look

Most of you have heard about the tragic May 1, 2023, New York subway incident that involved Jordan Neely, a 30-year-old homeless man, and Daniel Penny, a 24-year-old former Marine Sergeant from Queens, New York. However, here’s a recap for those of you who haven’t.

Daniel Penny has been charged with second-degree manslaughter in the death of Jordan Neely, a 30-year-old homeless man. Neely, while riding the subway, began acting erratically and harassing other passengers. He began acting so erratically that Penny, along with other good samaritan passengers, determined that he was a danger and needed to be restrained. Unfortunately, Penny’s method of restraint, a chokehold, resulted in the death of Jordan Neely.

As a result, the city medical examiner ruled Neely’s death a homicide, noting he died due to “compression of neck.” 

Who was Jordan Neely

Jordan Neely was a mentally troubled, 30-year-old Michael Jackson impersonator with a long history of violent behavior who had been arrested over 40 times before the incident. 

According to Newsweek, “A New York City police spokesperson stated that Neely’s record has 42 prior arrests, dating between 2013 and 2021. They include four for alleged assault, while others involved accusations of transit fraud and criminal trespass. At the time of his death, Neely had one active warrant for an alleged assault in connection with a 2021 incident.” 

That warrant was for punching a 67-year-old woman in the face as she was leaving a subway station. The vicious thug broke her nose, fractured her orbital bone, causing her to fall. Another of his arrests was for the attempted kidnapping of a 7-year-old. 

The System is Failing Us

The tragedy of what’s happening in the United States is putting all of us at risk. It’s impacting the lives of well-meaning good samaritans like former Marine Daniel Penny and a person who led a tragic life like Jordan Neely. If the system was operating in a manner that we all expect of it, in an honorable, caring, and proactive way, none of this should have happened. 

The fact is, across the board, we all are being put at risk due to the corruption and failings of political leaders, the mental health industry, and the mainstream media. 

Politicians are Making Us Unsafe

Yes, for most, if not all of you, this will sound as if I’m playing the part of Captain Obvious, but our politicians are failing us. And with nearly 100% certainty, our politicians are failing us because they put their interests and political well-being ahead of the citizens they are supposed to represent. I say that with so much certainty because if the politicians honestly had the best interest of We the People at heart, our nation would be experiencing the number of problems we are.

For example, if government leaders truly put the well-being of citizens first, they wouldn’t be taking the actions and inactions that lead to making us unsafe. In the case of Daniel Penny, he and the other riders on the New York City subway wouldn’t have been put in the position where they felt the need to subdue a person like Jordan Neely. 

The System is Putting Police Officers in an Impossible Situation

I make no bones about it. I am very hard on police officers. As such, I demand as close to perfection as we get from the only people in our society who are authorized to take another citizen’s life without due process of the law. And yes, I recognize and think it’s a travesty that political leaders have taken the actions they have, which negatively impacts the ability of police officers to remain the highly tuned professionals that they should be. 

In my opinion, it’s unconscionable that:

  • More cops than not work alone in a patrol car. 
  • Cops don’t spend at least one day a week in hyper-realistic, ongoing training. 
  • Each cop isn’t assigned to a mental health professional the day they enter the academy, and who then follows up with them on a monthly or better basis. 
  • Cops have been put into a position where they may be hesitant to get involved in dealing with a criminal. 

Thanks to the actions of politicians and other leaders, law enforcement is struggling to keep people safe. And, in many ways, can we blame them? I wouldn’t want to be a cop today. Many police departments are struggling with dwindling staffing, and many of the officers that are left are fearful that any interaction they have can cost them their career, their home, etc. 

With that, and some probably won’t like this, it’s also my opinion that while it may be improving, cops haven’t done their profession any favors by spending decades hiding behind the blue wall of silence and have, in many cases, been reluctant to hold their fellow officers accountable for screw-ups. And, yes, I know that the bar of perfection I expect from police officers is exceedingly high. It’s an unrealistic expectation on my part because cops are human. However, it’s the bar that all of us, including law enforcement, should shoot for. After all, when, as preppers, we look at our preparedness, our bar for keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe is perfection—that’s what we aim for and should expect. 

I say that as a person who spent decades working for and alongside law enforcement and still has many friends in law enforcement. I’ve responded to cops shooting bad guys and to cops getting shot. Likewise, as a paramedic, I had cops come to my aid. And as a teenager, cops beat me when it was warranted—thank you, L.A.P.D. So, I’ve had a lot of experience with law enforcement, and in the end, I love and respect the fact that there are officers who, day in and day out, are willing to put themselves in between us and the criminals. 

The Degradation of Law Enforcement is Putting Citizens at Risk

With that, police officers genuinely are the thin blue line, a line that, thanks to how the system and our society are being managed, is doing its best to degrade and, in some cases, erase that thin blue line. 

The inconvenient truth that the politicians face is that the defund the police movement, along with the other knee-jerk reactions to how policing works, especially in places like New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and elsewhere, is making you and I, our country’s citizens, less safe. 

After all, it’s no mystery that what is happening in New York is happening all across our nation, and to provide some context, here are some headlines from the past year, many from the past month, highlighting the violence on New York Subways.

New York Subway Violence Headlines: 

We the People Shouldn’t be Put Into Daniel Penny’s Position

Citizens such as Daniel Penny shouldn’t feel that they have no other option than to defend themselves and others. After all, as I just showed, the headlines are full of reports of violent crime happening in the New York subways. Everybody knows it’s happening, and yet, none of the so-called leaders in N.Y.C. are doing anything about it. 

Yes, it may be difficult, but with the level of crime in N.Y.C., there should be a cop or cops on every subway train and platform. With the level of subway crime being reported, there is NO GOOD REASON that a police officer wasn’t on that train and intervening within the eight+ minutes that Daniel Penny spent subduing Jordan Neely. The city of New York has the resources and should have the mandate to figure it out. 

In my opinion, New York City is making excuses for not doing its best to keep the people of its city safe. As a result, its citizens are being forced to defend themselves or suffer harm. And when that happens, which it is, we are on the road to a non-functional society. Instead, we are living in some degree of civil disorder, with civil disorder being a step down the path to mayhem and anarchy. 

The Failed Mental Health Industry Puts Us at Risk

In addition to the system failing to protect its people from crime, it’s also failing to set up citizens for success when it comes to their mental health. I say that because it’s evident that the system failed Jordan Neely. As a mental health advocate, I know firsthand that, for the most part, the system isn’t there to help—as in cure people of their problems. Instead, the system, at best, finger drills and pencil whips its treatment to achieve the appearance of helping. In other words, it checks some ineffective boxes so that the bureaucrats, politicians, and organizations that make money from the system can tell us that they’re working on the problem—just give them more money.  

With that, if the mental health industry were operating in the way they tell everyone that they are, by putting the health and well-being of mentally troubled people first, it would have been there for Jordan Neel when at 14, his mom was strangled by her boyfriend, stuffed in a suitcase, and dumped on the side of the highway. (Source

This isn’t an excuse for his crimes and actions, but seriously, is it any wonder that he was a mental train wreck? What should be a surprise, and unfortunately isn’t, is that the system did nothing productive to help that 14-year-old through his problems.

My Personal Experience

As a person who needed help with my P.T.S., I know the system isn’t there to help. I say that because the only EFFECTIVE support that was made available to me was, through the luck of the draw, being referred to one of the best treatment centers in the U.S. for help with my Post Traumatic Stress. And the only reason I was able to get that help was that I was able to, at $1000 a day, leverage my life savings and go into massive credit card debt to get into a six-week, intensive treatment program, which was the only thing that kept me from airing my head out with a 9mm, 124gr Hydra Shok hollowpoint that I had picked out specifically for the job. 

The system’s option was to check me into a local hospital that would have evaluated me, doped me up on meds so they could say they treated me, and then booted me out after 3 to 5 days. Heck, if the system was so good at taking care of people struggling with mental health, why are 20+ Veterans a day killing themselves? 

Think about it, if it takes Dakota Myer, a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, weeks to get an appointment when his Post Traumatic Stress is flaring up, should we have any expectation that someone like Jordan Neely is going to get the help they need to stop them from becoming a threat on a New York Subway? 

Mental Health Industry Corruption

When it comes to the failings of the mental health industry, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, in an article titled Massive Fraud: Psychiatry’s Corrupt Industry, writes:

Mark Schiller, president of the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons, admitted: “I have frequently seen psychiatrists diagnose patients with a range of psychiatric diagnoses that aren’t justified, to obtain [insurance] reimbursements.”

However, psychiatrist and psychologist membership bodies do not police this criminality. Instead, as former president of the American Psychiatric Association (A.P.A.), Paul Fink, arrogantly admitted: “It is the task of the A.P.A. to protect the earning power of psychiatrists.”

The mental health monopoly has zero accountability and zero liability for its failures. This has allowed psychiatrists and psychologists to commit far more than just financial fraud. The roster of crimes committed by these “professionals” ranges from fraud, drug offenses, rape, and sexual abuse to child molestation, assault, manslaughter, and murder.

A Recipe for Disaster

Together, those two problems, a failed mental health support network compounded by a degradation in policing, are a recipe for disaster. Think about it, the system that we are supposed to rely on to help people failed to get meaningful help to a 14-year-old kid whose mother was strangled to death, stuffed into a suitcase, and dumped on the side of the road. 

Then, that same system, which repeatedly failed to do something about Jordan Neely, was unable to have the police officers in place to protect people from the person Neely became. Now, that same system is using its force not to help other Jordan Neeleys but rather to bear down on Daniel Penny. Rather than using its time, effort, and resources to help those in need, the system is going after the good samaritan, who, along with other good samaritans, stepped up and did what the system failed to do, protected one another. 

In effect, by working on incarcerating former US Marine Sergeant Daniel Penny, the system is working to turn Sgt. Penny into another Jordan Neely. If it weren’t, it would be working to resolve the problems of unsafe subways and the mental health crisis that is contributing to those dangerous subways. 

What This Means for Preparedness

So, what does all of that mean for us as preppers? All of that demands that we, as preppers, are very thoughtful and deliberate in how we go about our lives. The fact is that today’s world is drastically different than that of twenty years ago. Does that mean we need to live in fear? No, we don’t live in fear. Instead, we need to live in a proactive mindset that acknowledges the issues that are happening without dwelling on them. 

By acknowledging the state of our world and the issues that face us, we can, with confidence and strength, face it in a positive way that best protects us and our loved ones. With that, here are some actionable tips that come to mind when thinking about the Jordan Neeley—Daniel Penny incident and situation. 

1. Visualize Your Day

Person thinking while working with laptop

Think about your day before you head into it. Visualizing your day doesn’t have to take a bunch of time. It can be done while prepping your morning coffee, brushing your teeth, or doing another task that you do when operating on autopilot. 

This doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. It’s meant to prime your situational awareness to start your day ahead of the curve. In so doing, you’ll find that your days run smoother, and you get more accomplished by making the most out of your time and effort. 

Where Do You Plan to Go?

Start with running down your list of things you must do and places you must be. Maybe your day is as simple as needing to drive to work with a stop at the grocery store on your way home. Perhaps, when you think of the grocery store, you realize you forgot to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy. So, you remind yourself to pop into the CVS next to the grocery store to get that taken care of. Again, this is about more than just keeping yourself safe. It’s about making your life better! 

How Do You Plan to Get There?

Next, visualize how you’ll get to work, the grocery store, and wherever else. Are you driving? If so, what are you driving? You may be taking public transportation like the New York Subway or decide to walk or ride a bike. It could be a hybrid of different modes of transportation. When I worked in the Washington DC area, I often commuted to the Metro (D.C.s version of the subway) and then rode the train into the city.

If you’re taking the car, run down a quick mental checklist of the car. Is there something that needs to be done with the car—fill up on fuel, air a tire, etc? Maybe there was something that you wanted to remember but forgot, and this jogs your memory. As it does, you’ll be able to prioritize your day and decide how to approach it. Perhaps you tell yourself that you’re not going to have enough time after work, so picking up your prescription will have to wait, or maybe you use your lunch hour to knock it out. Perhaps you tell yourself that you’re tired of picking up your prescriptions, so you look to an online option to free up your day. 

If you have to rely on public transportation, try running over the schedule. Determine when you have to leave to be at your scheduled pickup. After all, how will that impact your day if you miss your bus, a train, or your rideshare? What’s your plan if you do miss your public transportation linkup? Maybe your plan is as simple as waiting until the next scheduled pickup—but you’re going to call your boss to say you might be late. 

The Benefits of Visualizing Your Day

As I mentioned, visualizing your day helps make you and your life more effective by reducing the hiccups. In turn, visualization and front-loading your situational awareness of what to expect during the day builds confidence, which reduces anxiety and stress. That’s because when we have a solid idea of what’s happening, we mitigate the surprises that make our day go haywire. 

As a result, we’re more confident. And, should something arise that makes our day more haywire, we have a solid understanding of our priorities, how things going haywire fits in, and what we can do to make it work. 

What Routes Are You Going to Take?

With your modes of transportation locked in, think about what routes you’re taking. What’s the traffic like? This may be where you hop on an app or tune into the radio to get a quick idea of whether there’s congestion on your primary route. If so, what’s your backup plan—or in the case of P.A.C.E. planning, what’s you’re alternate plan to box around? 

Also, consider whether spots along your route have a higher potential for problems. Are there intersections that present a greater danger? Are there roads that you don’t care for? 

What’s Going to Happen When We Get There?

Now that you have a good idea of where you need to be and how you’ll get there, it’s time to visualize what will happen when you arrive at your destination. 

For example, when you arrive at work, where do you plan to park? Do you have a box of paperwork you are lugging into the office, so you want a spot closer to the door? Are you, like me, driving a stupidly large dually and know you’re going to head to the back of the parking area so you can find a spot to fit your truck? Your trip to the pharmacy may prompt you to want to park in a spot that will allow you to get to CVS the fastest. You may know you’re working late and decide to park in a more well-lit and visible area. 

If you’re taking public transportation, consider where you will stand while waiting on your ride. I always attempted to stand with my back against a pillar or wall to minimize the possibility of someone pushing me into traffic or onto the tracks. Likewise, moving towards one of the end cars on the train/subway helped reduce the number of people (aka, potential threats) I had to wait with. That’s because human’s being mostly lazy and following the path of least resistance, tended to congregate at the cars nearest the entry point. Standing near the ends of the pickup locations also helped me observe the other passengers to identify anyone I thought might be a problem. 

Speaking of problems, think about what you’d do if the next Jordan Neely shows up. How will you handle it? What will you do when someone confronts you? You don’t have to go deep into this but run through some scenarios so that you’re ahead of the game should you be the next Daniel Penny. 

Visualizing Helps Prep Your Day

The point is, before leaving my home, I briefly run through the nuts and bolts of my trip. In turn, I was better prepared for how my day would go. Again, this can be something other than an in-depth plan you spend time anguishing over. You’re not planning the D-Day invasion. Instead, you’re getting an overview of what your day will be like while considering some of the critical factors that make it a safer and more effective day. 

2. Make Your Physical Preps

A man in gray looking at the camera from within a crowd

Next, it’s time to make the physical preps that will help see you through the events you visualize. 

Everyday Carry

First off, let’s start with your everyday carry. When it comes to E.D.C., let’s start with what you need to get through the day. 

Do you have your wallet, purse, I.D., money, and plastic indebtedness cards? Are your keys set and ready to go? While I love the sun, my eyes hate it, so I make sure my sunglasses are ready. Likewise, if you wear glasses to read and see, do you have them ready as well? Do you have your bus or train pass if you’re using public transportation? If you’re married to your phone, do you have it ready? If so, is it charged, and do you have the ability to recharge it?

Next, do you have what you need should the world go sideways? A small light or personal defensive item? At a minimum, and after checking your local and state laws, I recommend everyone consider becoming proficient in using and carrying a quality prepper spray—preferably a good spray such as POM pepper spray. I state spray because pepper spray is faster acting than its gel version. 

Check Your Mindset

With that, if you plan on carrying a firearm, are you in the right mindset to carry it? In other words, are you in a good mood or super ticked off and feel that going with pepper spray today is as far down the rabbit hole of a defensive item as you feel like going? 

I state that as someone who stopped carrying a firearm when my P.T.S. was terrible. In fact, at the time, I got rid of many of my guns because I didn’t feel I was in the right frame of mind to be armed back then. Of course, the right to own and carry firearms is absolute. It does come with responsibility. Part of that responsibility is knowing you’re limitations and using good sense. 

Firearms, Pepper Spray, and Tourniquets

If you carry a firearm, are you likewise carrying the prepper spray that I mentioned earlier, along with a tourniquet? 

Prepper Spray

By carrying pepper spray, you give yourself a less-than-lethal escalation of force option. While some may scoff at that idea, NOT putting holes in someone can save you a lot of legal and personal trouble. Notice I said option. I’m in no way saying that you shouldn’t take whatever action you need to prevent serious and grave danger to yourself and others—when necessary. However, NOT putting yourself in the position to deal with the legal blowback that can come with taking a life, even when justified, is, in my opinion, a much better option. 


I also mentioned carrying a tourniquet if you’re carrying a firearm. I feel this is crucial because if you end up in a shooting match with a bad guy, there is a chance that you, or someone around you, such as a loved one, may end up wounded and in need of the lifesaving intervention a tourniquet provides. Likewise, there’s the chance you’ll put a hole in them or others. 

As such, being able to save your life is a definite bonus. With that, having the ability to save the life of the person you just shot, even if they’re the bad guy that you’ve stopped from doing their bad guy things, may save you from suffering the fate that Daniel Penny is currently experiencing—or worse. 

Be the Gray Man

As preppers, we hear about being the gray man repeatedly. We hear about it so much because it’s an essential aspect of preparedness, especially in today’s increasingly violent world. 

As such, being the gray man applies to how you dress and approach your interactions with others. That’s important because, while all bad guys choose their targets for different reasons, they never-the-less have a reason they choose their prey. With that, the goal of being the gray man and woman is to remove yourself from the gray man targetting lists. Here are some things that may help you avoid being a target. 

Lose the Bling

Be conscious about what your style of dress broadcasts to the world. If you get dressed for work, think about how fashionable you decide. After all, fashion is often conflated with money, which means if you appear more stylish than those around you—you may increase your chances of being a target. Therefore, think about what you’re wearing. Are you putting on a shiny watch, high-end shoes, etc? At the end of the day, bad guys know what they’re looking for, and they see the value associated with what you’re wearing. After all, it’s what they do for a living! 

Think Twice About Open Carry

Yes, I believe in and support everyones right to open carry. However, in most cases, I feel that open carry is TACTICALLY dumb. 

That being said, if you’re in an area where you’re not able to carry concealed because of your age or other local laws, open carrying may be right for you. If you’re a hunter and walking around in the woods, where you’re not concerned that a bear will notice you have a firearm, open carry is warranted. Likewise, if you are an armed security provider, law enforcement, military, etc., who people expect to be armed, then open carry is warranted. 

And on a larger societal scale, I also feel that open carry is an excellent reminder to the public that armed people are walking around. Perhaps in some way, that may help promote Second Amendment Rights. 

With all of that stated, I believe that, in most cases, open carrying puts you at a distinct, tactical disadvantage. 

Open Carrying Makes You a Target

Yes, open carrying makes you a target. If I’m a bad guy looking to do bad things, the first person I will deal with is the person with a gun. After all, that obviously armed person is the most apparent threat to me doing my bad-guy stuff. The downside of this is that not only does open carrying increase the chances of you being a target, but it also increases the chances of those around you getting caught up in the mess.

Costs You the Element of Surprise

Having the luxury of taking action when you feel it’s best is a massive force multiplier. Therefore, having the element of surprise on your side gives you a better option for deciding when and if you need to take action with your firearm. 

Makes You Anything Other Than the Gray Man

The reality is that you cannot both open-carry and consider yourself the gray man. As a non-bad guy, I am hyper-sensitive to notice if a person is carrying a firearm-open or concealed. In my mind, a person with an exposed pistol on their hip has a huge spotlight on them. The same is true for most people. 


Now that you’ve dressed down and have reduced your profile, the next step to being the gray man is deciding how you position yourself throughout the day. Where do you sit? Where do you stand? The trick is to position yourself in ways that provide you with the most safety and security while not attracting undue attention. 

As discussed earlier, avoid standing near the edge of the subway platform with your back to people. Don’t be the loud person. Don’t fight over a parking spot, park where there are fewer cars and the potential for less human interaction. 

3. Be Mindful Throughout Your Day

Now that you’ve mentally gone through your day and prepped yourself to face it, it’s time to get going. So, head into your day with a non-fear-based but practical nature. 

Do things like, before walking blindly out your door, do a quick outside to ensure everything is okay. As you approach your car, do a quick walk around to ensure you don’t have a flat or there aren’t other unforeseen surprises. 

As you’re heading to your destination, try to recognize the underlying energy of the world around you. Are people nervous or apprehensive, or do things feel off? Trust, don’t discount your instincts. 

When you arrive at work, do a drive through the parking lot. Does anything seem off or out of place? Being observant doesn’t mean you’re paranoid. It just means you’re doing what you can to be safe. 

The Bottom Line About the Daniel Penny Incident 

The Daniel Penny situation should serve as a stark reminder that our system is failing us and our ability to lead safe and secure lives. The system is forcing people into the difficult position of taking action to stop the violent crime that is targeting them. Even worse, the system then persecutes the good samaritans that step forward. 

Unfortunately, most preppers fit the mold of a potential good samaritan. Therefore, all of us must do our best to prepare for the crime and violence we may face as we go about our daily lives. And we prepare for that by taking the positive steps that will keep us safe: visualize your day, make your physical preps, and be mindful throughout your day.

What are your thoughts on this? Tell us in the comments below.


Stay safe,

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New York Subway Death (What it Means for Prepping)

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