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Letter: A teen's killing and those who saw it

Candles and flowers are left at the scene

Candles and flowers are left at the scene where Khaseen Morris who was fatally stabbed on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019 in Oceanside. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The killing of Khaseen Morris in Oceanside and subsequent news coverage have parallels to the supposed citizen apathy in 1964 during the stabbing death of 28-year-old Kitty Genovese in Kew Gardens. She screamed for help on a Queens street as she was attacked.

The New York Times reported then that dozens listened or watched from apartment windows and did nothing. An entire community was condemned, but years later, the Times admitted that its reporting was flawed and exaggerated the number of people who did not respond.

In the Morris case, police initially estimated that 50 to 70 young people witnessed the fight, and a homicide detective said, “Kids stood here and didn’t help Khaseen. They’d rather video.”

However, police later estimated the number of witnesses at around 20, and said 14 calls were received by Nassau County’s 911 center.

In both cases, initial reports turned out to be grossly exaggerated. There is bad in the world, but lots of good, too.

John Schreiber, Freeport

As a life coach with an education in psychology and trauma recovery, I am appalled to read insensitive criticisms of teens who only stood by or used video recorders instead of intervening to stop the stabbing death of Oceanside teen Khaseen Morris. Others criticize students who heard about plans for the fight and failed to tell parents, teachers or police [“Teens should have told about fight plan,” Letters, Sept. 24].

Such opinions reflect ignorance about human reactions to traumatic events or failure to understand that students feel pressure to keep quiet for fear of being accused of betraying peers or being labeled tattletales. Sure, we’re aware of people who have pushed through fears and their instinct for self preservation to help potential victims. But these are exceptions. That’s why we call them heroes.

Heaping guilt on fragile teens who had the misfortune to witness a brutal killing is unconscionable.

The killing of Morris is yet another senseless violent crime. I’m sure that a solution involves understanding the reasons behind growing epidemics of loneliness, hatred and mental illness. I believe there is an overreliance on heroes to save the day, and it misses the mark to blame unfortunate bystanders. Rather, the responsibility is all of ours!

Burton M. Fischler, Oceanside

The LIE inflicts a bone-rattling ride

If Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo worried less about fixing the signs leading to the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge [“How much to fix signs at Cuomo Bridge?,” Just Sayin’, Aug. 24] and concentrated on fixing the roads in this state, we all would be better off.

The Long Island Expressway, starting around Exit 64 westbound, is terrible. It makes my bones rattle. Potholes, gouged-out concrete, and speed bumps from where workers seem to have just thrown down asphalt and patted it with a shovel, is not my idea of fixing the roads.

What they did put down will come up easily with snowplows. I realize it isn’t easy to close lanes and fix the highway, but do it late at night, and get it done once and for all.

Diane Duguid, Deer Park

Blame MTA for Oyster Bay parking woes

It’s unacceptable that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has failed to provide Town of Oyster Bay commuters with proper parking [“Parking woes,” News, Sept. 30].

It’s the MTA’s responsibility to provide parking for customers; however, the town has formed a parking committee to help, and the new administration is creating 148 commuter spots townwide:

  • Hicksville: 30 short-term spots converted into commuter spots.
  • Massapequa: 54 short-term spots converted to commuter spots.
  • Locust Valley: 39 spots being added.
  • Bethpage: 25 short-term spots being converted into commuter spots.

In addition, Syosset is under review, with new spots coming.

At this point, the committee can only juggle spots between commuters and shoppers due to limited land. The long-term solution rests with state legislative leaders, who must deliver our fair share of MTA capital funds.

The MTA is paying for new garages in Mineola and Westbury as part of the third-track project on the Main Line. Now it must do the same in Hicksville, Long Island’s busiest railroad station.

Thomas P. Hand, Oyster Bay

Editor’s note:The writer is a town councilman.

Next big project? LI Sound crossing

I read with interest the report of the recent Long Island Association meeting, which detailed how Long Islanders pulled together to build a third track on the Long Island Rail Road’s Main Line [“Report: Effort finally got rail project on right track,” News, Sept. 28].

In my opinion, the most important next step for Long Island is construction of a bridge or tunnel between Oyster Bay and Rye. Think how much traffic and exhaust fumes would be reduced by this shortcut to Westchester County and Connecticut. This should be a top priority!

David Morrison, Plainview


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