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March 3, 2010

Toronto Transit Commission – TTC Hate Party

Ok Toronto, I hear you: you hate the TTC. I understand; I too am a TTC-rider. Delayed trains, haphazardly-followed schedules, mechanical problems, fare hikes, napping employees … TTC is not always The Better Way. Slower, more frustrating way perhaps.

That said, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes while rading the article in today’s Toronto Star about Lara Brown, the pregnant TTC rider who was mugged of her BlackBerry en route to work Sunday morning. Lara’s BlackBerry was taken by a group of “rowdy 20-somethings” on the southbound train; the rowdy group exited the train at St. Clair West. Here’s where the story gets interesting. Quoting the Toronto Star: “Because she’s pregnant and a mother of a 2-year old, Brown, scared and shocked, just continued to work. Once there, she called her husband and told him what happened.”

Hmm. Ok. Continuing the Star article: “Brown believes TTC Special Constables and the Toronto Police should be more vigilant in patrolling the subway and educating people about what to do should their phones or iPods be stolen. She said the TTC should tell people that if you’re a female and travelling by yourself be careful and vigilant.” The Star article also included a quote from Brown herself, who was moved t write to Adam Giambrone about the incident: “I’m very angry (Giambrone) wants to run for mayor and do good things for Toronto.”

Wow. Let’s take a look at the story here, piece by piece, and see exactly what’s wrong with it. 

  1. “Because she’s pregnant and a mother of a 2-year-old, Brown, scared and shocked, just continued to work. Once there, she called her husband and told him what happened.” Get on a subway. Look above the windows, on the inside of the subway car. You will see a BRIGHT YELLOW HAZARD STRIP. It is to be used for passenger safety issues, vandalism, illness, and other emergencies. It’s there to help passengers in a variety of situations. Press the strip! If Brown herself was unable to press it, someone else in the car could have, assuming her car was not empty. She could also have pressed it after the goons got off at St. Clair West. She could also have gotten off the subway at the next stop and spoken with the employee driving her subway, or any of the employees working in the station.
  2. Calling your spouse instead of the police – don’t crack on the police not being vigilant in protecting citizens if you’re not going to call them when something happens. By the time she got to work, called her husband, and then her husband called the police, the chances of the police finding any of these thugs greatly diminished. Toronto Police are extremely helpful and effective in their roles, when they are permitted to do their jobs. Want the police to help you? Call them – they’re not telepathic. 
  3. In addition, she wants the police to be more vigilant about patrolling stations. There are more than 65 stations in Toronto! Does she want to take police officers off our streets so they can mosey around TTC stations? I agree that perhaps during peak times, at stations shown to statistically have higher incidents of crime, police presence might be a good idea, but overall, it’s not a reasonable idea. TTC Special Constables maybe, but not police officers. They have enough going on in our Thug Haven of a city, without adding TTC stations to their beats. (However, if you CALL them, I’m sure they’ll be happy to help you.) 
  4. Brown claims people need to be educated about what to do when mugged. Really? She wants the City to spend money on an education program, to tell people that if you get mugged, you need to call the police? Please lady, give the people in this city some credit. I’m sure what you went through was traumatic and scary, but to be honest, this isn’t something the City needs to be spending money on. For most people, calling the police after a crime has taken place is an automatic reaction. Let’s save the money (that we don’t have) for something else. 
  5. “The TTC should tell people that if you’re female and travelling by yourself, be vigilant and careful.” Really? Again, this falls into the “obvious” category. Women have always been told to be careful. The TTC offers Request Stop for women bus riders during evening hours, in an effort to help them get home safely. Women are often the target of violence because they tend to be smaller; they are generally easier to manipulate. I guarantee you that no woman who read this story read this quote and said, “Holy cow! I didn’t know that women need to be careful! There should posters!” EVERYONE should be careful, anyway; men get mugged too, though perhaps not as often.  
  6. Adam Giambrone…. Ok, let’s talk about Mr. Giambrone. He’s the TTC Guy, and generally I would say that since he wanted the job, he needs to look after the problems. However, Mr. Giambrone is NOT personally responsible because a group of morons caused a problem on a subway train. Was he there when it happened? Did he sit across the aisle from her and watch her get mugged? Somehow I doubt it. What would she like him to do? Put up signs, “Please don’t be rude and steal from people on the subway trains!” Come on. Blame him for some of the business problems, sure – but this is not his fault. Also, Mr. Giambrone has NOT declared intentions as of yet to run for Mayor of Toronto, just to point that out.  


Bottom Line: What happened to Lara Brown on the subway was too bad. I do genuinely feel sorry for her. No one should have to put up with this kind of behaviour; no one has the right to take your stuff. I think we’re all in agreement there. However, for her to lash out and criticise the TTC, Toronto Police, and Adam Giambrone for what was not their fault, ignores that she herself did not handle the situation very well. Be careful when you travel. If someone is creating a problem, use the hazard strip on the train. Speak to the employee driving the train. Speak to an employee at the next station. CALL THE POLICE. Use common sense.

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1 Comment(s)

  1. Matt | Aug 28, 2010 | Reply

    The reason she was robbed was coz thats what black people do. I don’t have to get the facts, i know black people robbed her. of course the TTC sucks but niggers suck more.

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