In This Episode
- A mass shooting took place on a New York City subway train, Tuesday morning. According to New York’s Fire Department, 10 people were shot and, miraculously, no one died. We recap what we know and what we don’t know about the shooting.
- And in headlines: Ukrainian fighters in Mariupol accused Russia of using chemical weapons, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed a bill that outlaws performing an abortion in the state, and New York Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin resigned.
- Center for Family Life – https://centerforfamilylife.org
- Worker’s Justice Project – http://workersjustice.org
- South BK Mutual Aid – https://southbkmutualaid.com
Follow us on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/whataday/
Gideon Resnick: It’s Wednesday, April 13th. I’m Gideon Resnick.
Priyanka Aribindi: And I’m Priyanka Aribindi, and this is What A Day. Let’s get right into the news.
Gideon Resnick: On today’s show, inflation hit another 40-year high. Plus, Oklahoma’s governor signed into law a near-total ban on abortion.
Priyanka Aribindi: But first, what we know and what we still don’t know about the mass shooting that took place on a New York City subway train yesterday, the worst shooting in the subways entire history. We’re recording this at 9:30 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday night, so you may very well learn more today. You may already know more. But we wanted to give you the full background on how yesterday unfolded, so you have the necessary context. Gideon, you were there in Brooklyn now. You’ve been keeping track of everything. First off, what do we know about the shooter right now?
Gideon Resnick: The main thing that we learned last night, police said that he was still on the loose. That some 12 hours or so after the shooting, but they also said they were looking for a quote, “person of interest.” That came after they apparently found a key to a U-Haul van at the scene of the shooting. So that van, they claimed was rented to a man named Frank James, who they said rented it in Philadelphia. However, there is still no one in custody at this particular moment, and his connection to the shooting has not been made totally clear at this time. Police also said that they had recovered a handgun, magazines, two unused smoke grenades, among other things, at the scene. So a lot of information quickly.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, OK, now that we know this, can you rewind a little bit and tell us more about how all of this unfolded yesterday morning?
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, I’ll try. I’m still sort of wrapping my own head around it. So, our listeners may have seen pieces of this developing throughout the day, but this all really began a little before 8:30 a.m., part of the busiest stretch of the morning commute.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah!
Gideon Resnick: This happened at the 36th Street Subway Station, which is in Sunset Park in Brooklyn. Here is New York Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell kind of walking through the basics:
[clip of Comm. Keechant Sewell] Just before 8:24 this morning, as a Manhattan-bound N train waited to enter the 36th Street station, an individual on that train donned what appeared to be a gas mask. He then took a canister out of his bag and opened it. The train at that time began to fill with smoke. He then opened fire, striking multiple people on the subway and in the platform.
Priyanka Aribindi: That’s terrifying.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah. I mean, before I heard that we didn’t really know much else. You know, like we were seeing that something was happening. This is relatively close to me, so I knew people that were going into work. I was trying to figure out on what trains, even had the kind of stupid exchange of like is your train delayed, as all of this is happening. I know a lot of kids that live in the area that go to the school where my girlfriend works. This feels like a lot more kind of in my vicinity than, say, a Times Square or something like that.
Priyanka Aribindi: Right.
Gideon Resnick: Felt close, for sure. Pretty chaotic and horrifying, particularly when we were just starting to see those first videos and images that were going around of, you know, blood and smoke and people on the ground. Just really hard to process when you look at it.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. What do we know about the victims of this event?
Gideon Resnick: According to the first deputy commissioner for New York’s fire department, ten people were shot. Miraculously, no one has died—that’s kind of the thing I’m holding on to if there is anything to hold on to from the day. The AP reported that five of those people are in critical condition, but are expected to survive as well. In total, at least 29 were treated at area hospitals for gunshot wounds, some smoke inhalation from actually being on that train, or the rush to get out of the station to leave that situation.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, and let’s talk about the people who were around as this situation was unfolding. What did they have to say about what they experienced?
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, I mean, their accounts were just harrowing. Totally, totally harrowing. So here’s one example. Juliana Fonda, a broadcast engineer for local public radio station WNYC. She spoke to the outlet about her experience actually being on the N train when she heard gunshots from the neighboring subway car.
[clip of Juliana Fonda] The reaction of the passengers was terrifying because they were trying to get into our car away from something that was happening in the back of the train. None of us in the front of the train knew what was going on, but people were pounding and looking behind them, running and trying to get onto the train. The door locked between cars and the people behind us, there was a lot of loud pops, and there was smoke in the other car, and people were trying to get in and they couldn’t. They were pounding on the door to get into our car. Once we got to 36th Street, they were herding us into the R train. People didn’t know what was going on and there was smoke throughout the platform. I did see people laying on the ground on the platform at 36 Street. There are people in the front of the car of the R train we were shuffled into that were laying on the ground that had obviously been shot. They brought some of these people out and they are on the street at 4th and 25th.
Gideon Resnick: It was really horrific all around.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, and it is such as part of your daily routine if you live in New York, so just really terrifying that something like this happened. Obviously, it’s still really early, but what sort of responses have we started to hear from, you know, leadership?
Gideon Resnick: Well, Mayor Eric Adams initially said they were going to double the number of officers in the subway system through last night, which led some people to say that could inevitably just result in more enforcement against unhoused people and ticketing turnstile jumpers, things of that nature.
Priyanka Aribindi: Right.
Gideon Resnick: Especially because there are questions about what law enforcement was and was not doing as this individual was leaving the station, I guess. There were even some people asking Adams about possible metal detectors in the trains, which many others pointed out, as you have alluded to, being wildly impractical because of the huge numbers of people who use the subway every day.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah!
Gideon Resnick: Numerically you were talking about a system that before the pandemic had more daily riders than all commercial U.S. airline flights. It’s a lot of people coming and going.
Priyanka Aribindi: That is wild. That is just a huge number of people.
Gideon Resnick: It’s really crazy. And it got to a point that a spokesperson had to issue a clarification saying that Adams was interested in quote, “innovative technology” and not quote, “airport-style metal detectors.” I”m sure, I guess we’ll find out more.
Priyanka Aribindi: That feels like such a dig at metal detectors, but great. Yes, I hope that we have more information as we move forward.
Gideon Resnick: But one other thing: as officials were trying to identify a possible suspect, one of the things that kept coming up a little incredulously is how security cameras did not appear to capture the person.
Priyanka Aribindi: Right!
Gideon Resnick: Eric Adams later said that there was, quote, “some sort of malfunction” with the camera system at the station. Luckily I suppose, authorities say they were able to get an image of the suspect from an eyewitness’s cell phone video. So that’s a little bit of where things stand. We’re definitely got to find out more about this attack in the days to come. We’ll include some links to community organizations in wonderful Sunset Park as well in our show notes, but that is the latest for now. Let’s get to some headlines.
Gideon Resnick: Russian President Vladimir Putin said that peace talks are at a quote, “dead end” and that the offensive against Ukraine will continue. Speaking at a news conference yesterday, he also claimed that the U.S. and U.K. were conspiring to help Ukraine fake claims of Russian war crimes. Meanwhile, at an event in Iowa while speaking about rising fuel costs, President Biden said for the first time that Putin is committing genocide.
[clip of President Biden] None of it should hinge on whether a dictator declares war and commits genocide a half a world away.
Gideon Resnick: On the ground in Ukraine itself, fighters in the southern port city of Mariupol accused Russia of using chemical weapons on Monday. In an unverified social media post, they said Russia deployed a drone that spread quote, “a poisonous substance of unknown origin” and that people started to suffer respiratory and neurological problems. It is a war crime to use chemical weapons, according to the Geneva Protocol. However, Ukraine and Western powers are trying to confirm the claims made in the post. Here is Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby yesterday:
[clip of John Kirby] We’re obviously taking it seriously and we’re monitoring it. We’re trying to do the best we can to figure out what, if anything happened, but we’re not in a position to confirm it right now.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, but it would be a very serious situation if the claims are true, with one Australian officials saying it would be a quote, “wholesale breach of international law.”
Priyanka Aribindi: Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed a bill yesterday that made performing an abortion in the state of Oklahoma illegal. The bill makes performing an abortion a felony, and anyone convicted could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $100,000. The only exception is if the life of the pregnant person is in danger. There are no exceptions for rape or for incest. The bill is set to go into effect this summer unless it is blocked by the courts. It is certain to face legal challenges. And if it seems like you’ve been hearing a bunch of headlines like this recently, you are not wrong. Republican-led states across the country are rushing to restrict abortion access in the run up to the Supreme Court’s ruling on the fate of Roe v. Wade this summer when they decide on Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban. But this is one of the country’s most extreme anti-abortion bills. Aside from infringing on the rights of the people of Oklahoma, this bill also impacts people from Texas, many of whom have been traveling to Oklahoma for abortion care since their state’s six-week abortion ban went into effect last September. Without abortion access in Oklahoma and in Texas, people in these states seeking abortion care may have to travel as far as Arkansas, Kansas or New Mexico, where appointments are already booked out several weeks in advance.
Gideon Resnick: Ooooh, OK. The American dollar once again looked in the mirror and felt ashamed of the bill that it had become yesterday, when new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed inflation at a 40-year high. For the 12 months ending in March, the consumer price index rose 8 1/2%, mostly driven by increased gasoline and food prices. Gas prices alone surged by 48% over this period. Some of the price increases stemmed from Russia’s war in Ukraine, but the overarching cause is that the economy picked back up faster than anyone expected after slowing down in spring 2020—did anything happen around then?—and businesses have been struggling ever since to meet the demand. To tackle inflation, the federal bank has been trying to carefully slow the economy by raising interest rates, which were brought way down when the economy crashed following the onset of the pandemic. But high inflation does not appear to be going anywhere soon, with economists expecting that it will persist well into next year.
Priyanka Aribindi: Ew.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah. Also yesterday, President Biden announced plans to attack inflation by attacking this big blue marble that we call Earth. His Environmental Protection Agency will issue a waiver allowing the sale of high-ethanol content gas, or E15, to be sold in the summer. That means overriding a seasonal ban on these fuels, which is meant to cut down on smog since E15 is considered to be dirtier than traditional gas. Oy. E15 is about 10 cents cheaper per gallon so Biden is framing this as a win for consumers at the pump. But E15 isn’t all that popular, either. With only 2,300 gas stations selling it in the U.S., so the impact of this move could be limited. 2,300 seems small.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, there’s also objectively saves you like a dollar or so total on like a gas fill up if you’re driving like a normal sized car. Like, love ya, but like, there’s got to be a better plan here. This doesn’t seem like it’s worth it. No offense.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, not for smog city.
Priyanka Aribindi: Mm mm. Undergoing what’s becoming a rite of passage for someone whose title includes the words New York Governor, New York Lt. Governor Brian Benjamin resigned yesterday. His decision to step down came after federal authorities arrested him for allegedly committing bribery and fraud to enrich his political career. Authorities say that when Benjamin was a state senator, he directed $50,000 to a Harlem real estate developer’s charity and in exchange, the developer funneled illegal donations into his 2020 U.S. Senate and 2021 NYC controller campaigns. Benjamin is also accused of falsifying records, specifically on his background check to be the lieutenant governor—doesn’t seem like the place to really be lying, but—
Gideon Resnick: Nope.
Priyanka Aribindi: According to court documents, he pleaded not guilty and is out on a $250,000 bond. Benjamin was second in command to Governor Kathy Hochul and just a few days ago with her running mate for reelection. But after yesterday’s news, Hochul released a statement saying quote, “I have accepted Brian Benjamin’s resignation effective immediately.”—I believe this went on to include the words I do not know her.
Gideon Resnick: I wish.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, he didn’t have a job for long. Hochul appointed Benjamin to replace her last summer after she took over for former Governor Andrew Cuomo. For now, Benjamin’s duties will be taken on by New York Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins—praying as she does not have any giant skeletons in her closet.
Gideon Resnick: It seems like anybody that goes in a 20-mile vicinity of Albany is going to have something of this nature blow up. It’s frequent. It’s quite frequent.
Priyanka Aribindi: Listen, something is deeply wrong with you if you even want that job, so it makes sense.
Gideon Resnick: That’s true. It’s not attracting the best and brightest. And those are the headlines. We’ll be back after some ads with financial insights related to Elon Musk’s new Texas-sized stake in Twitter.
Priyanka Aribindi: It’s Wednesday, WAD squad, and today we’re doing a new segment called Waad Money—yes, it is pronounced that way for rhyming with Mad Money purposes. In this segment, we use our extensive financial expertise as two Millennials who lost our passwords and got locked out of the Peter Pan app to advise you on all investments. Listen up, everybody. So today we are returning to the story of the shit poster who bought the keys to the toilet: Twitter’s largest stakeholder and Tesla founder, Elon Musk.
Gideon Resnick: Of course.
Priyanka Aribindi: Over the past week, we’ve seen a lot of updates on Musk’s relationship to Twitter. It began when the world found out he bought over 9% of the company last Monday— can you believe it has been like this short amount of time?
Gideon Resnick: No, I cannot.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, me neither. Then-Twitter CEO Parag Argrawal announced Musk would be added to the board of directors. Days later, this past Sunday, Argrawal tweeted that Musk had declined to join. Twitter insiders had feared what Musk would do with a board seat given his inflammatory views about free speech and censorship, but they soon discovered that an unseated Musk could be even more powerful—and, dare I say, dangerous. As he wrote on Monday in a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Musk can now buy as much of Twitter as he wants, instead of being limited to 14.9%. He can also freely express his views about the company on social media and isn’t required to act in Twitter’s best interest.
Gideon Resnick: And he won’t.
Priyanka Aribindi: Believe me, he will not. If Musk’s behavior over the weekend is any indication, he will take full advantage of his freedom. For a man holding about $3 billion of Twitter, he unleashed some truly chaotic posts, including now-deleted tweets that questioned whether Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters should be turned into a homeless shelter since much of the staff is now remote. And another tweet polling his fans on whether to delete the W in Twitter—the world’s richest man is also the world’s richest 11-year old, it appears. Twitter stock price shot up 27% when Elon’s big purchase of Twitter stock was first announced, then climbed even higher when it seemed like he’d join the board. But it has slid a bit since then. It fell 5% yesterday. So Gideon, based on this big description here and your extensive expertise, do you rate Twitter as a buy, sell, hold, strong buy, or strong sell? I’d love to hear your justification here.
Gideon Resnick: Well, I would say strong buy. And here’s why:
Priyanka Aribindi: Oh, wow, OK.
Gideon Resnick: I think that nothing makes any sense, and we look at these situations logically as financial experts and say, Chaos is not the best. But it seems to have worked for all of the people involved here, to some degree. And I think that at this point, my financial expertise is overridden by the facts that I have seen which tell me to strong buy because the world is absolute chaos and I guess leaning into the chaos works. But same question for you.
Priyanka Aribindi: You make a point. Yeah, I think this is going to be a very interesting segment for the listeners, you know, looking for advice, because I’m going to say the exact opposite. I’m saying strong sell.
Gideon Resnick: Ooooh. OK, OK.
Priyanka Aribindi: I’m saying, but this is also really specific, I’m thinking, if you already have this, if you’re in a position to strong sell, because not everyone will, you will have already made the money. You already got the boom from him joining. So why don’t you just sell right now? Get out. You made some money. Great. You can wash your hands of this and act like it never happened.
Gideon Resnick: You could do that or . . .
Priyanka Aribindi: Go for the ride, I guess.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, you could risk feeling very silly in the future, when somehow this is worth even more, because, I don’t know, they get some other maniac to be involved in this process and makes the stock price rise even more. I don’t know.
Priyanka Aribindi: That was Waad Money. For legal purposes, we do have to say that all of our stock trading advice is bad. Hopefully, you got some entertainment, though.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, that’s what we’re shooting for.
Priyanka Aribindi: I’ll be waiting for our CNBC contracts coming through any day now.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, please. Thank you. That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review, don’t follow our financial advice, and tell your friends to listen.
Priyanka Aribindi: And if you’re into reading, and not just reasonable prices on receipts from days gone by like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Priyanka Aribindi.
Gideon Resnick: I’m Gideon Resnick.
[together] And control yourself, Mr. Musk.
Gideon Resnick: That’ll make him lean into it even more. It’s a reverse psychology thing. [sigh] He’ll, he’ll never stop.
Priyanka Aribindi: He will never stop.
Gideon Resnick: That’s life.
Priyanka Aribindi: Can’t tell you what’s going to happen to your stock. But yeah . . .
Gideon Resnick: I feel confident. Yeah. It’s bad. What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Jazzi Marine and Raven Yamamoto are our associate producers. Our head writer is Jon Millstein, and our executive producers are Leo Duran and me, Gideon Resnick. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.