NYT op-ed writer says residents fearful of ‘lunatics’ on subway should seek ‘therapy’ for ‘imaginary monsters’

NYT op-ed writer says residents fearful of ‘lunatics’ on subway should seek ‘therapy’ for ‘imaginary monsters’

Posted For: Layla Godey

By Yael Halon

New York Times op-ed contributing writer Elizabeth Spier was shredded on Twitter Monday after she insisted that New York residents complaining about the crime and “half-naked lunatics” on the subway should seek therapy to address the “imaginary monsters” in their heads.

Spiers, a Democrat pollster and professor at NYU’s Graduate School of Journalism made the comment in response to a tweet by senior National Review writer Dan McLaughlin, who was weighing in on a larger Twitter debate about gun violence, the country’s mental health crisis and the purported differences between a “free” and “polite” society.

The discussion followed the recent death of Jordan Neely, a 30-year-old homeless man who was fatally choked after he was reportedly acting erratically and threatening passengers in a New York City subway car. His death has sparked protests in New York City and condemnations from elected officials.

“If a ‘polite society’ means one where people can safely ride the subway to work or take their children out in public without being accosted & menaced by half-naked lunatics, you might be surprised how many people of all backgrounds would like that,” McLaughlin tweeted.

His tweet seemingly hit a nerve for Spier, who suggested he seek mental health counseling for exaggerating the state of NYC subways, which she attributed to “imaginary monsters” in his head.

“Hi – New Yorker here. I’ve safely ridden the subway for 23 years and my child has never been menaced by a half naked lunatic, but these imaginary monsters in your head are addressable with therapy,” she wrote.

Spier’s words drew a strong reaction online, with some users questioning whether her tweet was “satire” and others dismissing her logic on the issue as “delusional.”

“I worked in Manhattan from 1996-2020,” McLaughlin wrote in a responding tweet. “While the city was safer for many of those years than it is today, if you’ve never encountered an alarming lunatic on the subway or its platforms, I question what city you’ve been traveling in.”


“I assume she lives in extreme privilege, and does not rely on the subway much, or she’s in denial,” podcast host Clifton Duncan agreed. “These people pretend as though mentally disturbed vagrants just don’t exist; inexcusable given that they support policies which ensure more of them end up on the streets.”

“I know someone from Chicago who’s never been shot. It follows that gun violence in that city is imaginary,” Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon weighed in.

“If I thought my 13 year old son could safely and routinely take the subway I’d still live in NYC. It’s almost that simple,” Fox News opinion contributor David Marcus replied.

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