The other evening, the idiot box aired a program about Maksim Gelman, also known as Mad Maks or the Butcher of Brighton Beach. Gelman, besides being nuttier than a squirrel turd, gained fame by going on a stabbing spree over two days in February of 2011. The interesting thing about this particular show was that they had interviews with both Maksim as well as his victims. It’s rare that you get to hear from a truly unhinged person, and boy did he love to do some talking . . .
Trying to understand someone who goes on a stabbing rampage in the Safest Big City in America is a mind-bending exercise. Don’t try. But understanding the events that transpired, you can see a series of victims who made it easier on a complete lunatic to attack them. And before someone calls me a victim blamer, I’m not. Maksim bears the ultimate responsibility for the events that transpired. But let Wikipedia give you the synopsis of his spree.
Police reports state that just after 5:00 a.m. on February 11, 2011, Gelman stabbed and killed his mother’s companion Aleksandr Kuznetsov in Brooklyn after an argument with his mother about driving Kuznetsov’s vehicle.His mother was not physically hurt. Gelman then took the vehicle and sped off in it, running over a crossing guard and breaking her leg.
Gelman then went to the house of a female acquaintance named Yelena Bulchenko, where he killed her mother Anna at about 10:30 a.m. He then allegedly left the crime scene and waited several hours for Yelena, who had been staying at a friend’s house, to return home. Once she did, she found Anna dead and called 9-1-1, but Gelman was on his way back to the scene to check if she returned home. Upon arrival at about 4:00 p.m., he spotted her outside on the phone and got out the car, to which she yelled at him. He hid the knife in his pocket and approached her, but she took off running. However, Gelman caught up with her and stabbed her eleven times, killing her, before speeding off in Kuznetsov’s car. Ramming into another car, Gelman stabbed and wounded the driver, Arthur DiCrescento, three times when he confronted him, before carjacking the vehicle. Gelman later ran down 62-year-old pedestrian Stephen Tanenbaum, who subsequently died of his injuries.
Afterwards, Gelman abandoned DiCrescento’s car just before 1:00 a.m. of February 12 and hailed a livery cab before stabbing its driver, Fitz Fullerton. He then approached another car with a couple inside and attacked the driver, Shelden Pottinger, stabbing him multiple times in the hand. He then stole Pottinger’s vehicle and drove off in it. After boarding a northbound 3 train at 34th Street – Penn Station just after 8:00 a.m., he stabbed Joseph Lozito, a ticket seller at Lincoln Center. By this time, passengers recognized him from a newspaper article about his killing spree and notified authorities.
According to some reports, Gelman started banging on the door of a motorman’s cab, demanding to be let in, at which point two police officers assigned to the manhunt arrived and subdued him after a struggle with Lozito’s help. However, other accounts stated that Lozito engaged in a physical confrontation that subdued Gelman, while officers Terrance Howell and Tamara Taylor hid in the motorman’s cab, and did not come out until Lozito had disarmed Gelman and pinned him on the ground.
There are a few lessons to be learned here. First, gun bans don’t stop determined people from killing. At all. Never have. Second, carjackings get exponentially easier when you roll the windows down and leave your doors unlocked. I was reminded of KR Training’s PTS course I took in June of 2012 which dealt specifically with carjackings. The biggest lesson was to lock your doors and keep your windows up. But if somebody does get in the car, point your car at the nearest solid object and accelerate rapidly.
Sheldon Pottinger’s account of the events that transpired indicated that he rolled the window down for Gelman at which point Gelman started stabbing and beating him. Pottinger managed to escape by leaping from the car at speed.
Lastly, the police have no duty to protect you. TTAG has beaten the drum hard on that point, and the Gelman spree further reinforces the point. Joseph Lozito, a ticket seller at Lincoln Center received multiple injuries at Gelman’s hand before he was finally subdued. Lozito ended up suing the city of New York for their officers’ actions during the final moments of Gelman’s spree.
Instead of trying to disprove Lozito’s story, the city successfully argued that the men and women of the NYPD have no duty to protect the city’s citizens.
Lozito says a grand-jury member later told him Howell admitted on the stand that he hid during the attack because he thought Gelman had a gun.
An angry Lozito decided to sue the city for negligence, arguing the cops should have recognized Gelman and prevented, or reacted more quickly to, the assault.
The city routinely settles such litigation but is playing hardball with Lozito, insisting his demand for unspecified money damages be tossed because the police had no “special duty” to protect him or any individual on the train that day.
“Under well-established law, the police are not liable for such incidents,” said city lawyer David Santoro. “That doesn’t detract from the Police Department’s public safety mission — or the fact that New York is the safest big city in America.”
Folks, you’re responsible for yourselves, and we can’t belabor that enough. The police have no duty to protect you, so you must be prepared to do it. In the face of absolute crazy, the only language that is understood is overwhelming and disproportionate violence until the threat is stopped.
If a guy like Gelman manages to get in your car, turn it into a weapon, and run it hard into the nearest solid object. Likely, you’re wearing a seat belt and your attacker is not. Even if you don’t incapacitate your attacker, you’ve probably bought yourself some time to form a second plan of attack. And carry, carry, carry if you can (and Gleman’s New Yorker victims couldn’t – legally). Obviously, this entire spree could be filed under “Should Have Been a DGU” as Gelman could have been stopped multiple times by citizens armed and willing to end the threat.