Ki Suk Han Subway Death: A Tragic Death Hits Close to Home

Stepping on the yellow bumps that urge caution as we try and shimmy by each other down a crowded platform. We New Yorkers do it everyday.

Ki Suk Han’s death is a tragedy and our collective hearts go out to his family and friends and are a little bit heavier knowing that something like this happens in our world. But it remains the exception to our daily experience.

We put our lives in the hands of complete strangers multiple times every day without thinking twice about it. Over millions of interactions, possible moments for terror to strike, nothing does. Instead, we fit. We open the door for each other. We make room. The human mind gravitates towards cooperation and peaceful resolutions under the majority of cases.

There’s been a lot of talk over whether the photographer that took the now-famous picture of Suk Han before his death should have instead helped the man up. He claims that he couldn’t have done anything about it and he’s probably right. A lot of people were close to him, some shocked it sounds like, others took photos of his body as people tried to do CPR, according to the photographer’s statements. But those sound like normal reactions to an event we aren’t used to seeing or coping with because it’s so out of the ordinary and taking place in the span of seconds.

“What’s done is done. The thought of someone helping him up in a matter of seconds would have been great,” said Ashley Han, Mr. Han’s daughter, at a press conference.

The man who pushed Suk Han, Naeem Davis, 30, is reportedly a homeless man that implicated himself in the crime and said that he did not mean to kill Suk Han.  

There is a lot to be sad about on this. But we should take a moment to be happy as well, to be thankful for all those strangers that we stand next to at the curb, or on the subway platform, or let drive us in a taxi, for all the people in these dense cities of ours that cooperate everyday to make our part of the world work. Thank you to them, for making this the norm.

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Michael McCutcheon

Michael was formerly special projects editor at Mic. Prior to that, he worked at the Open Society Foundations on electoral reform. A native Seattleite, he's still mad about the SuperSonics.

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