By Zeinab Saib
This is a story about an experience I had taking the light rail here in Newark. I can’t remember exactly which semester it was, but I do remember wearing a coat, so it must’ve been last spring. I was waiting for the light rail on Washington Street, my destination was Penn Station. That day the station was a bit more crowded than I would’ve liked.
A young man wearing a semi-puffy blue jacket came and sat beside me. He was breathing quite heavily, which wasn’t too abnormal for someone that was running late trying to catch the train…people are always in such a rush these days.
Suddenly the man got up and started pacing, he seemed nervous about something, but it’s in my character to give people the benefit of the doubt. The pressures of college life and life in general have taught me to empathize. But in this case I did feel a bit uncomfortable.
As the man was pacing around the platform a cop that appeared on the other side of the tracks started yelling to get away from him. No one knew if the young man was armed but from the way the officer was acting one assumed that he was.
Time slowed down. People got up and started running out onto the street. It was chaos. But I didn’t run out, I walked. We were all expecting backup to come and they did, but none of the cops came onto the right side of the tracks.
The man was face down on the ground with his hands hands behind his back, the cop holding him down. Yet all the other cops just passed by the crowd of people waiting for the boy to be taken away.
Around three cop cars arrived, and they seemed confused. Why would you go onto the wrong track, what if the kid had a gun? What if the cop couldn’t hold him down? Something could have happened to the people waiting on the street level.
I’m not a pessimist, but the “what if’s” play a large role in dangerous situations like this. What if the young man was armed? What if there had been more security at the station? It gets scary at night and now during the day, and I get annoyed by the fact that public figures preach about safety yet there are never cops or security guards down on the tracks with us making sure everything is okay.
To top things off, I waited for Rutgers to send a crime alert, and we never received one. Though there was no one robbed or hurt at the station during the young man’s arrest, I would still like to know when there is danger in the area I’m commuting. Rutgers students, staff and faculty included, commute daily. Newark Public Safety and Rutgers Security need to step it up. Most of your students commute, and we are paying for an education not for hospital bills.