Bernie Goetz

Editors Note: We're blogging through We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel.

Bernhard Goetz was born in New York City in November of 1947. He is known as the ‘Subway Vigilante’.

After being assaulted in 1981, Goetz bought a gun and carried it with him for protection. Three years later, four teenagers asked him for five dollars, but Goetz refused. One of the boys demanded that he give them his money, but he shot all of them and paralyzed one.

Goetz fled New York when the train stopped and he made to Concord, NH before turning himself into the police.

When Goetz returned to New York City, everyone treated him like a celebrity, making and selling T-shirts with his picture on it and offering to pay for his bail money. But Goetz payed his own bail and told a reporter that he hated all the celebrity stuff.

Goetz served less than a year, not for attempted murder, but for carrying illegal firearms.

Even though Goetz didn’t like being an icon, he did use his status, telling everyone they should carry a weapon of some kind while in New York, pushing for the legalization of marijuana, and even running for mayor.

Goetz was also a strong vegetarian.

With my time in the limelight, I regret that I didn’t use it more to push vegetarianism. I support vegetarian options in the school lunch program.Bernie Goetz

I have my values. I do things that I think are right. I think it is crucial for mankind to go vegetarian. In fact, I think if the United States and one other major power becomes basically vegetarian, the whole world will become vegetarian, eventually.Bernie Goetz

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India is mostly vegetarian, and I think that will be crucial to changing the world. I think the United States is lost.Bernie Goetz

In 2013, Goetz was arrested for selling marijuana to a police officer. But by 2014, he still had not gone to court, and the charges were dismissed.


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