F train choker Daniel Penny didn’t exactly act heroically on 5.1.23, but he did, I think, act bravely and selflessly in deciding to restrain the belligerent Jordan Neely. What’s in dispute is whether or not the amount of force he used was needlessly excessive.

All along I’ve felt that Penny should have shown more caution in trying to restrain Neely. I don’t think he intended to kill this allegedly threatening, mentally unstable guy. I think the situation just got away from Penny, and before he knew it (five minutes — three minutes captured on video) Neely was dead.

It’s very easy to make Monday morning armchair judgments, and it’s a different thing altogether when you’re in a tough situation in the heat of the moment. Neely was, by all accounts, sounding and acting like a dangerous asshole, and if I had been in that subway car a voice is telling me I wouldn’t have had any objection to Penny holding him down.

There are people, of course, who will accuse me of coming from a racist place — me and and others holding a similar opinion. I don’t agree, of course. If you start shit by scaring people and acting like a dangerous asshole, you’re obviously asking for trouble. What happened wasn’t entirely Neely’s fault but it was mostly his.

That said, Penny should have shown more caution as Neely didn’t deserve to die. Then again it’s very easy to say whatever from the comfort of a home or an office.