How the Morlocks Seized New York
If, in 1984, an inventive New Yorker set his time travel machine to the year 2023, the city in which he arrived would confound him. Although the New York City of today looks much like that of 1984, our time traveler would have a hard time understanding the people, almost as hard a time as H.G. Wells's "Time Traveler" did when his machine arrived in the year 802,701.
The public response of the average New Yorker to the arrest of former Marine sergeant Daniel Penny calls to mind the "Eloi" response to Wells's Traveler. The Eloi were the little, pretty people of the future whom the Time Traveler encountered. "Once the favored aristocracy" says the Traveler, "the Eloi, like the Carolingian kings, had decayed to a mere beautiful futility."
The passivity of the Eloi allowed the subterranean Morlocks, once their servants, to become their masters. "Already the Eloi had begun to learn one old lesson anew," says the Traveler. "They were becoming reacquainted with Fear." Unfortunately for their future, the Eloi had lost their spines. Eloi males no longer had even the instinct to rescue one of their own from peril or to defend themselves from the creeping cannibalism of the Morlocks.
Enter the Time Traveler. Writing The Time Machine in 1895, Wells endowed his protagonist with those many virtues expected of an Englishman in the age of Victoria and Kipling. Tempted to leave behind the chaos he found in the future, the Traveler feels honor-bound to intervene; to save the Eloi from extinction; and, in the process, to show them how to save themselves.
After serving four years in the Marines, the 24-year-old Daniel Penny arrived in New York City almost as innocent as Wells's hero and likely as brave. "I have always been inspired by the ambition and grit," he posted on social media. "After high school and unsure of my future, I enlisted in the Marine Corps in search of adventure." In the Marines, Sergeant Penny served as squad leader on two deployments.
Unlike most young men of this era, Penny pulled his inspiration from Cervantes's Don Quixote, a novel that at its most literal interpretation would have reinforced his Marine Corps values. As Penny learned during this past week, if not before, his values and those of his fellow New Yorkers were as out of sync as those of Wells's hero and the Eloi.
In subterranean New York, Penny came face to face with a modern Morlock, Jordan Neely by name. Neely had been arrested 42 times in the past 10 years and had a well documented mental health history. The NYPD knew he was dangerous. They had arrested Neely most recently in November 2021 on felony assault charges after he punched a 67-year-old female stranger in the face.
Two years later, Neely was roaming free. After 20 years of good governance, the left took over New York's City Hall with the installation of Bill de Blasio in 2014. Since then, the Morlocks of New York, armies of them, have been emboldened to terrorize the Eloi on the streets and on the subways. Hardly a day passes without some new video surfacing of a Morlock striking or threatening an Eloi while the other Eloi pretend not to see.
It seems somehow appropriate that Neely died on May 1, the ultimate feast day on the revolutionary calendar. Eleven days later, the Morlocks' enablers got their way. Manhattan's district attorney, Alvin Bragg, feeling the need to sacrifice a white man to the woke gods, charged Penny with manslaughter.
Penny clearly did not intend to kill Neely. He expected to restrain him until the police arrived. I suspect that from what he learned in the Marines and in the books he read, Penny had been trained to intervene when a madman threatens to kill the innocent people around him.
Penny's response was measured. According to witnesses, he did not leap into action until after Neely started issuing death threats. "I would kill a m-----------," said Neely. "I don't care. I'll take a bullet. I'll go to jail." However unintentionally, Penny helped Neely fulfill his death wish.
Penny certainly did not expect to be called a murderer, but he misjudged New York circa 2023. "Jordan Neely was murdered," tweeted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. "While many in power demonize the poor, the murderer gets protected w/ passive headlines + no charges. It's disgusting."
This was not the New York of 1984. That was the year that the nerdy Bernard Goetz shot four teenage thugs on a New York City subway car. In watching news from that era, I am reminded of just how shabby New York City had become before the 20-year renaissance overseen by Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg. I am reminded too of just how much New Yorkers have changed over the past 40 years.
Unlike the soft and spineless New Yorkers of today, everyday New Yorkers of 1984 were often bold and outspoken. I would encourage readers to search YouTube for "Bernie Goetz" and watch the news clips from that era. Although the white Goetz shot four black teenagers, New Yorkers, black and white, were not afraid to speak out in Goetz's defense. These were real New Yorkers, toughened by a life riding subways. They cared more about justice than race.
In 2023, radicals have no hesitance about speaking out, but everyday New Yorkers certainly do. Beaten down by years of oppressive political correctness, they come off as feckless as their Wellsian counterparts. That said, I suspect that the great majority of them, certainly the subway riders, are pulling quietly for Penny.
Like the Eloi, they are "becoming reacquainted with Fear." If that fear does not motivate them to champion Daniel Penny and acquit him, the Morlocks will own the city until it dies.
Jack Cashill's Untenable: The True Story of White Ethnic Flight from America's Cities is available for pre-order in all formats.