Do Americans Still Have the Right to Defend Themselves? Curtis Silwa Voices Alarm in Crossroads Interview

The safety patrol chief claims it is increasingly difficult for citizens to protect themselves in cities like New York amid a contorted legal system

Do Americans Still Have the Right to Defend Themselves? Curtis Silwa Voices Alarm in Crossroads Interview
Daniel Penny (C) is walked by New York Police Department detectives detectives out of the 5th Precinct in New York on May 12, 2023. (Jeenah Moon/AP Photo)
Joshua Philipp
Naveen Athrappully

States like New York are compromising an individual’s right to defend themselves, the founder of nonprofit safety patrol group “Guardian Angels” Curtis Silwa, said in a recent interview while discussing the Neely murder case.

On May 1, Jordan Neely, a homeless man with a history of mental illness, was reportedly threatening passengers on a New York subway. Daniel Penny, a 24-year-old former marine, approached Neely from behind and put him in a chokehold, with two other individuals joining in to restrain Neely. The move ended up killing Neely. Penny is now facing charges of second-degree manslaughter and could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted. In a May 24 EpochTV interview with Joshua Philipp, Silwa was asked about the right course of action in this situation.

“Exactly what these three men chose to do,” Silwa replied.

“They didn't allow their fear to motivate them to flee, which happens with a lot of people. They didn't follow the acronym, which is very common in the subways and streets of New York City and other major urban areas around America, to MYOB [meaning] mind your own business. They didn't just take this cell phone and film it so that it would be Live at Five on the evening news. They took proactive measures.”

Sliwa then pointed out that self-defense or protecting fellow citizens is now seen as a crime in New York. Many people are “fleeing to Florida where all the sheriffs who are elected and all the counties will tell you, ‘We don't have enough deputy sheriffs. We advise you to get a gun. We'll train you. If somebody invades your home, shoot them. We encourage that.’”

“What a difference in New York—you take any kind of proactive measures to protect yourself or anyone else, and you're the one in jeopardy,” he said.

“Up north in these northern cities, you have a phalanx of lawyers, and all they do all day is practice their martial law … And they threaten to sue you for every nickel, dime, and penny you have, which has paralyzed people to the point where they won't get involved.”

“So I would say the Florida reaction to crime, the encouragement of citizens to get involved, makes you overall much safer in your home, in your community.”

Silwa’s observation that people are “fleeing” to Florida is backed by data from the Census Bureau. According to a December 2022 report from the agency, the top two states that lost population in 2022 were California and New York, both of which are controlled by Democrats. The two states which saw a rise in population were Florida and Texas, both of which lean Republican.

An April 26 report by WalletHub found that Democrat cities saw a higher increase in homicide rates between 2021 and 2023 compared to Republican cities.
The top five cities that saw the greatest increase in per capita homicide are Richmond, Virginia; Memphis, Tennessee; Durham, North Carolina; Garland, Texas; and Washington, D.C. Except for Garland, where Mayor Scott LeMay is a Republican, the remaining four cities have mayors affiliated with the Democratic Party.

Poor Handling of Crime

Silwa also criticized New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat, for mishandling the city’s crime situation. “Eric Adams wants to be everything to everybody, which means you end up being nobody to no one. And the reality is he wants them taking lists of the most predicate offenders,” he said.

Silwa pointed out that Neely was on a list of the “fifty most emotionally distraught people” living in New York’s subway system. According to reports, Neely carried a lengthy criminal record that included over 40 prior arrests on charges ranging from disorderly conduct to assault. He also had an active warrant out for his arrest from a felony assault.

“We should be removing these people and give them the help that they need. And if they commit crime, and they're sane and sober and [in] control of their mental faculties, they should do the time for committing the crime,” he said.

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee blame the rising crime in America on “soft-on-crime” policies pushed by Democratic district attorneys funded by George Soros.

A June 2022 report by the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund revealed that at least 75 district attorneys in the country had been elected with the backing of the progressive billionaire.

“Huge amounts of money from George Soros go to a PAC, which then goes to fund these very left-wing DAs that quite normally would never win,” said Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J.). “And that’s the issue. The issue is that they’re taking the prosecutor’s office and making it purely political.”

“Even worse than that, they’re making the prosecutor’s office an office that doesn’t protect, fight for, or stand up for American victims and victims in the city of New York, San Francisco, New Orleans, and many other places. It’s wrong—it’s actually evil. Bad people should be in jail.”

Joshua Philipp is an award-winning investigative reporter with The Epoch Times and host of EpochTV's "Crossroads" program. He is a recognized expert on unrestricted warfare, asymmetrical hybrid warfare, subversion, and historical perspectives on today’s issues. His 10-plus years of research and investigations on the Chinese Communist Party, subversion, and related topics give him unique insight into the global threat and political landscape.