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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Batsh*t Subway Psy-Op Is Backfiring

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Getty

Anxiety took hold of New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and she took an action that is, quite literally, insane.

“I’m not here today to talk to you about numbers and tell you stats and statistics about what’s going up and what's going down. I’m here to take action,” Hochul said in her surprise announcement on Wednesday deploying 750 heavily armed National Guard members to search riders’ bags before they go through the turnstiles inside of New York City’s 472-station, 665-mile train system used by nearly 2.5 million people a day.

Don’t you love farce? Tom Cotton does! (You may recall a certain New York Times op-ed—penned in summer 2020 by the Arkansas senator—that called for National Guard troops to quell riots caused a bit of a commotion.)

Tom Cotton Says The New York Times Is ‘Run by Woke Mob’ for Slapping Op-Ed With Editors’ Note

Hochul’s public safety anthem is “Send in the Troops,” to the tune of “Send in the Clowns.”

The goal, Hochul explained, is to change the vibes and create a “psychological effect on would-be wrongdoers.”

But her real goal is to create a psychological effect on straphangers, as Hochul explained in a Morning Joe interview Thursday:

“If you feel better walking past someone in a uniform to make sure that someone doesn't bring a knife or a gun on the subway, then that's exactly why I did it,” she said. “I want to change the psychology around crime in New York City because we are the safest big city in America.”

So we’re already safe, she says, but the military is here to keep us feeling safe.

As former Burlington Police Chief Brandon Del Pozo, a 19-year veteran of the NYPD, put it at Vital City, “short of dystopian martial law, we did not think for a moment that the infantry could help us deter pickpockets, mentally ill assailants, fare-beaters and the other everyday criminals and people in crisis who degrade safety and quality of life on the city’s subways.”

No wonder Mayor Eric Adams wasn’t at Hochul’s announcement, and NYPD Chief of Department John Chell tweeted in response to the governor’s plan that “Our transit system is not a ‘war’ zone!’”

What Hochul is doing, however ineptly, is narrative warfare.

That’s not me saying so; the governor is, remarkably, saying the quiet part out loud:

“My job is to protect the people of this state, and I'll do it,” she said on Morning Joe. “And I‘m also going to demonstrate that Democrats fight crime as well. This narrative that Republicans have said and hijacked the story that we're soft on crime, that we defund the police—no.”

Hochul’s plan, I should mention, also involves deploying state police and increasing the number of outreach teams that deal with mentally ill people inside of the subway system.

National Guard to Check Bags on NYC Subways After High-Profile Crime Spree

But she knew what the headlines would be, if maybe not how overwhelmingly skeptical they would be across the ideological spectrum.

I’ve quit posting on social media, but went on Twitter yesterday to check for DMs and the lead item “Happening Now” was an audio stream with the subject line: “Troops Flood NYC Subway Amid Surge of Illegals as Biden Erects Fences Around Capital Ahead of SOTU.”

In a cursed election year where Republicans are going to put a spotlight on every crime committed by an undocumented immigrant, or in a city, the soldiers outside the turnstiles will do little if anything positive in terms of public safety or the perceptions of New Yorkers—who aren’t easily fooled—of their own commutes.

But this Democratic governor’s insane scheme will go a long way to reaffirming a Republican vision of America’s cities as dystopian hellscapes that can only be saved or at least made safer through extraordinary measures.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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