DC’s “Ethics Subway Train Wreck,” A Tragedy In Six Acts

…or, “A Streetcar Named Stupid”…

This is a Nation’s Capital, drama my friends…an ugly ethics mess, in


Eating on a Metro train is a criminal violation in Washington, D.C., but the transit authority seems to think that enforcing laws is icky, or something, so Metro Transit Police Chief Ron Pavlik sent out an order on May 8, telling officers to “cease and desist from issuing criminal citations in the District of Columbia for fare evasion;  eating; drinking; spitting, and playing musical instruments without headphones until further advised.”

Telling officers not to enforce laws is per se incompetent and irresponsible. If you want to repeal the law, fine. An unenforced law, however, is an invitation to chaos. If the directive to ignore it is secret, then the public that sees scofflaws unimpeded assumes that law enforcement isn’t doing its job. If the public knows that the law won’t be enforced as a policy, then it will begin engaging in the conduct the law was made to prevent.

This is idiotic.


Local author Natasha Tynes saw a Metro employee eating on a train,  and reported the woman to transit officials by tweeting a photo of the woman, in uniform, eating on the Red Line. She also tweeted that when she confronted the woman for breaking Metro rules, the woman replied, “Worry about yourself.” “When you’re on your morning commute & see @wmata employee in UNIFORM eating on the train,” Tynes tweeted. “I thought we were not allowed to eat on the train. This is unacceptable.”

She’s right. It’s unacceptable. Telling Metro officials that they should not ticket violators of the law does not mean that Metro employees are free to violate the law. This is a predictable result of Pavlik’s unethical order. Tynes, however, was engaging in responsible citizenship.


In response to the tweet, the head of the MTA workers’ union stated that the employee had “done nothing wrong.”

This is ethics ignorance. There is a law against what the worker did, and the fact that violations (stupidly) weren’t being enforced doesn’t alter the wrongness of the conduct one iota. This is Ethics 101. Teach ethics in school!



Responding to Tynes’s tweet, transit officials asked her for more information and thanked her “for catching this and helping us make sure all Metro employees are held accountable.” Tynes  provided further details, including the time, the train the employee was traveling on and direction that it was headed.

This was the correct and ethical response by both parties.


The Twitter mobs attacked, condemning Tynes for publicly shaming a black woman and trying to get her fired.  This was even worse, she was lectured, because she was “of color” herself. Tynes apologized, saying she was “truly sorry” for the tweet, which she  deleted. By early the next morning, her Twitter account had also been set to private and her website was down.

Ugh. The Twitter mob was wrong, as it often is. Race should have nothing to do with this. Black, white or mauve, the employee should have been pointed out exactly as Tynes did. The  concept that “persons of color” should enable wrongful conduct by other “persons of color” is societal rot,  unethical and indefensible.

Tynes’ grovelling to the bullying mob is also unethical. If you can’t stand up for society, law and civilization when you get pushback from the fools and barbarians, then shut up and let someone with a spine do the job.

This is another example where Nathan Brittles (John Wayne) and Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harman) are right when they say “Never apologize, it’s a sign of weakness.” (Much of the time they are wrong, though.)  Her apology undermines society, represents capitulating to bad ethics and bad logic, is cowardly, and encourages these cyber-thugs to keep up their reign of terror.


And now the worst of all…

Rare Birds Books, the company that was going to distribute her book, announced

“[Tynes] did something truly horrible today in tweeting a picture of a metro worker eating her breakfast on the train this morning and drawing attention to her employer. Black women face a constant barrage of this kind of inappropriate behavior directed toward them and a constant policing of their bodies. We think this is unacceptable and have no desire to be involved with anyone who thinks it’s acceptable to jeopardize a person’s safety and employment in this way.”

There’s a nice warped argument for you: telling black women that they can’t break laws and rules is “policing their bodies.” One can only assume that the publishing company has no problem with requiring white Metro employees not to break their own rules, but believes special waivers are in order when one’s skin is darker. Meanwhile, civic responsibility is “something horrible.”

Next,  the company that was publishing her latest book, “California Coldblood,” announced that it is postponing publication considering what to do, writing:

We do not condone her actions and hope Natasha learns from this experience that black women feel the effects of systematic racism the most and that we have to be allies, not oppressors.”

Expecting black women to follow rules and laws is racism! Reporting black employees who flagrantly violate rules and laws, thus undermining system for all citizens, is racism! “Persons of color” must enable illegal or unethical conduct by other “Persons of color,” or they are oppressors.


(And incidentally, thank you, Barack Obama.)

I metaphorically throw up my hands. I don’t know how such toxic, destructive ideas slithered into our society, and I am at loss as to how to extract them like the societal termites and vermin they are.

I need a drink.


Pointer: Althouse

Facts: Washington Post

24 thoughts on “DC’s “Ethics Subway Train Wreck,” A Tragedy In Six Acts

  1. I’m going to join you in that drink. The publishing company has gone completely off the rails (no pun intended). As has the Head Metro Cop. Oh, hell…let’s make it the whole blinking city of Chicago.

  2. Isn’t DC run by ethics free people? The voters also like ethics free candidates, with that Marion Barry guy. Basically, when you get the “right” people running a city, it’s somewhere between “Death Wish” and “The Warriors” sprinkled with some bits of “Soylent Green”. Heck, let’s also add “Escape from New York”. And if you have a problem with that, you might be racist.

  3. Before we condemn Tynes for apologizing we should consider what beyond commenting on this blog are we doing to support and defend the ethical behavior she demonstrated and the unethical behavior of those that want to bully her into submission.

    I will copy this post and begin sending it via email to the leadership of Metro, public funders of Metro, the publishers and distributors of Tyne’s books. I cannot consider her apology unethical if she alone bears the cost of choosing to act as a good citizen as she stands alone in the face of spineless virtue signalers.

    • I immediately went to see if I could get another book by her, but there’s only this new one listed. As a new author, the book in all formats is probably tied up with the chicken publisher. Amazon does have the book as preorderable for next month release. It looks like a quirky mystery, but the budget is too tight to tie up money on preordering.

  4. But wait. Natasha Tynes is a woman. She may even be a genetic guy who identifies as a woman. Isn’t she a victim of the Patriarchy and immune from most everything? And what about Trump! Isn’t it really his fault? And besides, wasn’t the person of color eating fast food rather than locally sourced, chef prepared fare from a food truck? Isn’t that like totally reprehensible?

    • Make that TWO White Russians…and a flash-mob of Metro riders enjoying a “slob-in” of messy eating and White Russian binge-drinking. All up and down the Red Line.

      • Yup. The comments to the tweet were thoroughly depressing. It maybe that Rare Bird is a left-of-center publisher, but the comments excused the employee’s actions on the basis of race. How is that not George Bush the Younger’s Racism of Low Expectations?

        I am not sure that Twitter shaming he employee was ethical – the message should have been sent to DC Metro to deal with internally. Publicly shaming the employee for eating on the train seems like overkill. However, excusing the employee along race lines establishes that there are two societies: one for people of color (whatever that means) and one for everyone not qualifying as a person of color.


        • I hope that the idea that there are two societies is not just becoming apparent to you. Darker skin color has been an excuse for many kinds of bad behavior for many decades. While large crowds of agitated people take to the streets when a police officer defends his own or someone else’s life by taking that of a criminal, places like Chicago kill dozens of people a week (without police involvement) and the rest of the country barely notices. Criticizing the killers might be seen as racial blaming by some. From law enforcement to school admission and professional licensing, concessions are made every day.

          Racism via low expectations? Without doubt.

  5. The concept that “persons of color” should enable wrongful conduct by other “persons of color” is societal rot, unethical and indefensible.” – from “Act V”

    The concept that “persons of color” should enable wrongful conduct by other “persons of color” is RACISM, unethical and indefensible.

    There. Fixed that for you.
    We must all become even more progressive – all of us.
    Even racists of color.

    Jack, all that you post for “Act VI” validates all I have said above.

    Now…to schedule my next imbibing of a White Russian…

    PS Incidentally, a question: Isn’t it a crime (or, wasn’t it a crime, at some time in the past) to show photographic or video images of the interior of Washington DC Metro rail stations? (from a former long-term resident of the DC area and regular Metro sardi- er, passenger)

    • How can it be a crime to photograph or video anything in a public place? Don’t you in America have the First Amendment or is it not worth the paper it is written on?

      • Washington DC is ruled by progressive socialists who ignore the Constitution when they are not attempting to destroy it outright, Errol. This is true of many Democrat run cities in the US.

        Any questions?

  6. Well, after decades of enabling law breaking, why are we surprised that no one respects the law anymore? Marijuana is the most obvious example. How many people smoked marijuana in college over the last 40 years despite the fact that it was illegal? How many people would not say anything about others smoking marijuana because of the backlash they would get from society? How many state schools with their own police forces had policies to ignore marijuana use and distribution? Then, the Obama administration made a policy that it would not punish marijuana distribution in some states (states that voted for him), but would in others. Why wouldn’t anyone break a law they disliked if they thought they could get away with it?
    Look at looting and riots. How many people get punished for this even when they are videotaped? If the justice system tried to punish them, how many in the press would defend the guilty? Why wouldn’t you think that if there is an emergency, it gives you the right to steal stuff? The news media says so. Anyone who tries to stop looters is portrayed as dangerous and racist. Look what happened to the Oath Keepers.

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