Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Darius McCollum For Mayor

Of all the career criminals that are routinely arrested by the police in New York City, Darius McCollum is the one who elicits the greatest amount of sympathy on the part of New Yorkers. He is not a murderer, thief or graffiti artist, but is obsessed with New York’s trains.

His crimes all revolve around New York’s subways and commuter trains. He was arrested for the 26th time yesterday at Penn Station by the MTA Police for impersonating a federal agent and boarding a train. He became famous (or infamous) at the age of 15 when he impersonated a motorman and drove the E train for six stops.

Whenever McCollum is arrested, New Yorkers remark that they wish the MTA would hire him. Here is a man who loves the New York City subways and wants more than anything and is so determined to do a good job for our commuters the he risks almost certain arrest and imprisonment every time he boards a train. McCollum has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a form of autism. He will likely end up in prison again.

He is the exact opposite of what most New Yorkers experience when they take the subways or commuter rail every day. Our trains do not run on time, and those that run them are often overpaid, rude layabouts who have a callous disregard for those dependent on their vigilance. MTA executives have received secret bonuses while claiming the MTA was pleading poverty and demanding fare increases.

While we certainly need to have our trains operated by trained professionals, it is a sad state of affairs when the hardest working person in mass transit is a mentally unbalanced trespasser. His criminal record may keep Darius McCollum from fulfilling his dream of driving a train, but he’s my favorite MTA worker, even if he’ll never be an employee.

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