Confronting bad CTA behavior: What would you do?

In the past couple of weeks I have witnessed a couple incidents of bad behavior on the CTA. And actually, it was illegal, prohibited behavior.

On Dec. 3, I witnessed someone trying to get passengers to play the shell game. I called the motorman on the speaker in the same car and told him. He made the announcement that gambling was prohibited, and told him to stop. He did, but not before threatening me as he exited the car: "You're a snitch. Don't you know what happens to snitches?"

And last week, I smelled cigarette smoke on a Red Line car, and saw a man smoking. I walked up to him and said, "Smoking is not allowed on the CTA. You have to put out that cigarette."

He stared at me with a blank look, but did put out the cigarette. He appeared to be mentally ill.

Finally, someone was doing something that was not illegal, but just very rude. He was taking up two seats with bags on the seat next to him. I said, "Excuse me, may I sit down."

He got all all huffy, and made a big show of moving his stuff. But he did, and I sat down.

I've done this many times before: Asked rude people to move their bags or coat so I could sit down.

And what about you? Would you confront a passenger to sit down? Or ask him to stop smoking?

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  • fb_avatar

    To stop smoking, definitely! But if he's taking up a seat with his bag, I would just stand or seek out somewhere else.

  • In reply to Kenneth Byrd:

    Kenneth, I understand the reluctance to not confront on the big issue. But I think if we all confronted these rude people, we could perhaps stop or reduce such behavior.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    True. It's not always that easy though. Sometimes all it takes is your simple question to infuriate a mentally ill person and they go ballistic. It could easily turn a simple question into an assault. No one(well normal people) want to get into that on the CTA.

    Thank you for confronting people though. It's appreciated.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Kenneth Byrd:

    Makes sense Kenneth -- that's the route I choose.

  • I totally think a person should confront the issues. Not enough people do anything and the rude behavior becomes acceptable and it is not!!!. I always ask the teens to get up for me, a senior , out of the front senior seats.

  • The answer is that this and a lot of other more freaky stuff is inherent on the L. Nobody made me the cop, nor you.

    The Mayor wants you to take Uber or ride a bike. If his son can't effectively play cop on his own block, nobody else should either. I'm surprised that the real police haven't traced Zach's cell phone.

  • In reply to jack:

    "The answer is that this and a lot of other more freaky stuff is inherent on the L."

    That's partly because no one says anything. I agree that there are some crazy people on the train, but if you pick your spots and ask nicely, you may make the world a slightly better place. Some people just need to be loudly shamed a few times. Mustn't let the sociopaths behave badly ...

  • In reply to Blue:

    Do you think the shell game guys, the deaf pen guys when they were there, etc. feel any shame? That's about as believable as someone with an Internet phone connection feeling shame because you thought he was from the IRS and sent him a debit card to settle your tax debt, or was from Windows Tech Support and you let him install malware.

    Maybe Zach should have lectured his muggers, or even said he was going to call Daddy's police force.

  • I would definitely confront people who are rude or do illegal things. It really annoys me when people use seats for their bags and coats, especially when the trains are crowded. Common courtesy is to be expected.

  • In reply to Leslie Kahn:

    Even if they have a knife, or violate the concealed carry ban? You have a lot of foolish bravado.

  • In reply to jack:

    "Even if they have a knife, or violate the concealed carry ban?"

    Jack, how many times in the last five years has someone been shot/stabbed on a train after confronting someone about their bag on a seat? Hyperbole much?

  • In reply to Blue:

    I don't think so. There were attacks on the Orange Line near Roosevelt, for instance.

    I guess you won't know though, because by the time you find out, you will be dead and a story in the Sun-Times (assuming it still exists).

  • In reply to jack:

    Yup, and thanks to the No Carry policy on the CTA, the perps were basically guaranteed that their victims were unarmed.

    Of course, the robbers didn't think twice about arming themselves on the CTA. Imagine that. Criminals who don't follow the law. I believe they caught the idiots. I wonder if they were charged with carrying a firearm on the CTA.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack, here's what I wrote: "Jack, how many times in the last five years has someone been shot/stabbed on a train after confronting someone about their bag on a seat?"

    I didn't ask for a total; I asked specifically whether a shooting / stabbing has occurred over a seat argument.

  • In reply to Blue:

    Do you think I look like the statistics department at the Chicago Police Department? If you want to know, ask there.

  • In reply to jack:

    I said: "Jack, how many times in the last five years has someone been shot/stabbed on a train after confronting someone about their bag on a seat?"

    You said: "There were attacks on the Orange Line near Roosevelt, for instance." (I asked about a specific type of attack and you basically said "There were attacks" without any qualifier. You didn't counter my point.) By the way, the Orange Line "attacks" were simple robberies. Nowhere in the account did it say the robbers were provoked by an argument over a seat.)

    I said (after repeating the original question for your convenience): "I didn't ask for a total; I asked specifically whether a shooting / stabbing has occurred over a seat argument."

    You said: "Do you think I look like the statistics department at the Chicago Police Department?"

    Again, you didn't counter my original point.

  • In reply to Blue:

    I don't have the burden of proof on your question. If you really cared, you would use the information sources available. So, I'm done with this. Disturb the next sociopath at your own risk.

  • fb_avatar

    Speaking kindly and with respect to people actually goes a long way. Wheater you are 6'3 and 260 lb like me of some little guy. Don't sneer or be disgusted when you ask someone to do something. Face and body language says alot. I have interceded on the L people have been angered. A smile and clamness sometimes can do wonders.

  • "You're a snitch. Don't you know what happens to snitches?"

    Kevin, thanks very much for confronting that person. You should have responded "Do you know what happens to cultures that make stupid remarks about 'snitches?'"

    - - -

    I had a "manspreading" incident on the Red Line several weeks ago. This was a big person to whom I'd give a break on a crowded train (where he could not have been expected to "hold it in"), but in this case he was sitting next to a "bag on the seat" person. He could have easily let his big backside ooze into that seat to give me some space. After failing to take several non-verbal hints, he got all pi$$y when I finally asked him to move over. Egad.

  • There was a NY Times article this weekend about the MTA and its new campaign against manspreading.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/21/nyregion/a-scourge-is-spreading-mtas-cure-dude-close-your-legs.html?_r=0

  • In reply to chris:

    Tribune just picked up on that, but couldn't get information from the CTA. So author Ho* relied on anecdotes about this and other "bothers" on the CTA. Somehow, it is worse in Brazil.

    *Let the season dictate the reaction to that.

  • In reply to chris:

    BTW, as Geoff Peterson would have asked before being taken off the air, is the phrase in the article, "Ma'am, can you put away your Flaming Hot Cheetos?" code for a sex thing?

  • In reply to chris:

    "Man-spreading"--wow, is that what they call it? This is why I don't like guys sitting next to me on the bus or train. They can't seem to keep their damn legs closed. Not cool to be rubbing your legs against me. And no, I don't cross my legs either, because when ladies do this, its just as bad. I always like to purposely bump them when I go by so they get the hint to move. Sometimes they do. I also don't like when folks sit too close--they don't understand the concept of leaving the person sitting next to you some "personal space".

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to mulder42:

    Agree 100%

  • I think people who fall in the normal range but are behaving obliviously or selfishly should be asked/reminded more or less politely to alter the specific behavior that is a problem. They will get (even if grudgingly) that you're speaking not for yourself, or against them personally, but on behalf of civilized social norms. This will strengthen the norms.

    There are others (crazy, violently predisposed) who don't accept any norms and might act out, and it would be better to notify the authorities. One has to read the situation carefully. Some are obvious but others may not be.

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    You make more sense than Blue.

  • In reply to jack:

    How does his post fundamentally differ from mine?

    Portion thereof:

    "I agree that there are some crazy people on the train, but if you pick your spots and ask nicely, you may make the world a slightly better place. Some people just need to be loudly shamed a few times."

  • In reply to Blue:

    You might have said "pick your spots," but you didn't define what your spots were. At least CCWriter claimed to stay away from the sociopaths. Maybe I think there are more sociopaths than you do. But, as far as your comment about "shaming them into behaving," I made it quite clear that the odds of that happening are very low, just as the odds are very low that Rachael from Card Services will stop autodialing my phone. There is also a police department to deal with the deviant behavior.

    As I indicated above (and you tried to corner me about) it takes only one sociopath with a gun to make sure that you permanently cease to be a snitch. Apparently, you want statistics to play the odds, though.

    Good luck.

  • In reply to jack:

    Agreed, CCWriter provided more detail in his response.

    As far as shaming is concerned, it's not a favorite tactic of mine (say, with kids), but it clearly does occasionally work. I've seen several cases where someone, with prompting, gave up a seat to someone else who was elderly/pregnant. (It works better when the request is delivered gracefully.)

    You wrote: "As I indicated above (and you tried to corner me about) it takes only one sociopath with a gun to make sure that you permanently cease to be a snitch."

    Where did I say that there's zero risk of a sociopath using a gun?

  • I would never sit where I'm not wanted.

  • In reply to ibilldavis:

    Does the person occupying a second seat they didn't pay for speak for that seat?

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    You hardly have any assurance they paid for one seat.

  • And what about the sleeping bums?

  • In reply to chris:

    As Fred Basset would say "let sleeping bums lie."

  • Another story of what happens when one only partially accedes to CTA sociopaths. You want to confront these guys?

  • In reply to jack:

    Also as some of the commenters there point out, "Ok, this happened on the 7th and we're first hearing about it on the 26th? Really?"

    And it looks like the security cams got good pictures of them, but they are still "working" almost 3 weeks later.

  • fb_avatar

    Waste of time. I saw a gun pulled on the Blue Line when someone wanted his money back from the shell game guys. Smoking on CTA is the same thing -- get the wrong guy and your'e in deep trouble. Then what do you do when a woman is applying her makeup or someone has those tasty McDonald's morsels out on the commute? Or the guys sleeping on the train. Not my job to police the train. As for taking up two seats: why bother when you are just going to be wedged in between two people. I would prefer to stand. Best bet is call the motorman.

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