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A Psychologist's Thoughts on Clinical Practice, Behavior, and Life

Murder Threats on the New York City Subway

1. On a moving train, a man stood above a well-dressed passenger who was seated and reading. The man said loudly, “I’m going to kill you.” The seated passenger and others nearby sat frozen. Sensing that the man was disturbed but not dangerous, a woman left her seat, went over, and spoke to him. She said, softly, that he was upset and didn’t want to harm anyone. He calmed down and the woman returned to her seat. A minute later, the man repeated his threat and the woman again spoke calmingly to him as the train pulled into the station.
2. There were eight people on a Times Square shuttle train very early one morning. At one end of the car stood a couple, a seated man, and a standing man. The standing man spoke loudly: “They won’t stop me from killing until I’m dead but not today.” Then he pointed to the three people near him: “You’re safe, and you’re safe, and you’re safe!" A minute later the train entered the station. Everyone left the car and quickly disappeared down the many passageways.
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