Daniel Penny, USMC: Unfairly Charged - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Daniel Penny, USMC: Unfairly Charged
Daniel Penny under arrest (Inside Edition/YouTube)

While riding a train in France in August 2015, three American buddies — one a member of the Air Force, one a National Guardsman recently back from Afghanistan, and a third civilian friend — found themselves facing an armed terrorist. When the terrorist’s gun jammed, the three rushed him. One was slashed by the terrorist’s knife before his chokehold rendered the terrorist unconsciousness.

The three were given medals by the president of France, praised as heroes by U.S. generals, and a movie about them starring themselves — The 15:17 to Paris — was made by Clint Eastwood.

Penny did what Marines have been doing since 1775: He dove into the fight to protect his fellow Americans after he perceived that their lives were in danger.

At about 2:30 pm on May 1, on a crowded New York City subway train, Jordan Neely, an apparently mentally ill homeless man with a long record of arrests, began shouting at the other passengers. Neely’s homelessness, his arrest record, and even his mental illness are not relevant to what happened next. (READ MORE: Blame New York’s Bail Reform Scheme for Jordan Neely’s Death)

According to a 66-year-old woman who was a witness, when Neely began threatening to kill other passengers, former Marine Daniel Penny got out of his seat and eventually subdued Neely, using a chokehold that was reportedly sustained for 15 minutes. Two other passengers helped Penny restrain Neely. Neely died, probably as a result of being restrained in a chokehold for too long.

In crime-ridden New York, you might expect Penny to be hailed as a hero for preventing other passengers from being harmed by Neely. Instead, he’s being wrongly accused of vigilantism, racism, and white supremacy.

New York has a city government that is beyond the pale. It has laws that release almost all criminals without cash bail. And it has a Soros-backed district attorney, Alvin Bragg, who reduces or dismisses charges against serious felons while bringing highly questionable charges against former President Donald Trump.

After winning election based on a promise to prosecute Trump, and having been in office only a few days, Bragg told his staff not to prosecute misdemeanors such as marijuana offenses and failures to pay subway fare. Since then, he “has downgraded 52 percent of felonies to misdemeanors” and only wins convictions on about half of the serious felonies he prosecutes.

As you’d expect of such a prosecutor, Bragg has charged Penny with second-degree manslaughter, which can carry a 15-year prison sentence. This despite New York state law that allows a citizen to use reasonable force in self-defense and in the defense of others. The fact that two other passengers needed to help Penny restrain Neely almost proves that the force he and the others used was reasonable. The only missing element is testimony about Neely’s continued struggling for the 15 minutes Penny held him in the chokehold.

Penny has been released on $100,000 bail.

Let’s pull back on the stick and gain some altitude on this case. As a former Marine, Penny knew, I’m sure, at least three or four ways to kill Neely with his bare hands. But he didn’t. He chose to restrain Neely and needed help to do it.

Penny did what Marines have been doing since 1775: He dove into the fight to protect his fellow Americans after he perceived that their lives were in danger. The consensus of public opinion — not necessarily in New York City — is pretty clearly more in favor of Penny than against him. Over $2 million has reportedly been raised for his defense.

We can’t know what was in Penny’s mind when he got up to take on Neely. He didn’t know if Neely was carrying a knife or a gun, but he did what the circumstance demanded of him. Was he acting reflexively as his Marine training demanded? He must have believed that Neely would injure or kill someone if he didn’t intervene.

In a place such as New York, and it can be said of too many other American cities, the rule of law is dead and the streets have been surrendered to criminals. Was Penny thinking that the big city had decayed so much that he, alone, had to act?

When government fails to protect people, they have to protect themselves, their families, and their friends. That’s why gun sales have skyrocketed since Obama was elected in 2008. People, in many towns and cities across the nation have lost faith in their police.

That’s part of a larger picture. People have far less respect for government and its institutions than they had 20 or 30 years ago. Even the military is suffering a loss of respect, which probably has as much to do with the debacle Biden created in his Afghanistan withdrawal and his forcing “wokeness” on the military as much anything else. (RELATED: The Military Is No Joke)

The country is in a mood much like it was in 1979, when Jimmy Carter delivered his infamous “malaise” speech (in which the word “malaise” was never spoken.) That speech did nothing to improve the nation’s mood because Carter had lost the confidence of the people. So has Biden.

There’s no answer to that except for the Republicans who are running for president next year to begin campaigning — hard — right now promising to deal harshly with the rampant crime in America. All of them — Trump, Ron DeSantis, Tim Scott, Nikki Haley, and whoever else may choose to run — should make crime and liberal prosecutors such as Bragg their biggest issue. They should use Daniel Penny as the prime example. People need to be reassured that the next Republican president will return the nation to something like the normalcy we had even during the Trump years.

Prosecuting Daniel Penny for protecting his fellow Americans from the threatened violence of Jordan Neely is a purely political act that should not occur, despite the fact that Neely died. Bragg shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it.

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