Swine Flu: The Violence Begins

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Photo: Lawrence Delevingne

Riding the subway in the age of the dread swine flu is a tense experience. Never have you been more aware of the hot, possibly infectious breath of the gentleman behind you, or the geyser of snot running down the nose of the child in front of you. If the subway pole you grasp out of panic is warm, you suspect that's probably because it's coated in saliva bursting with H1N1 particles, waiting to burst inside your body like so many flavor crystals. If someone near you coughs, you want to strangle the life from their body, just to keep them from breathing any more of their germs on you. It was only a matter of time before paranoia erupted into violence, and this morning, the Business Insider's Lawrence Delevingne brings us the first reported incidence of swine-flu-related subway brawling, which occurred when a woman on the D train coughed and failed to cover her mouth.


Another woman, roughly 5'2", stocky, with her blond hair in a slicked-back bun, was nearby, clearly displeased. She made a curt comment to the first woman, something to the effect of "you need to cover your mouth — I don't want swine flu." The second woman continued to yell at the cougher, berating her until she reacted, beginning to curse back. It escalated, and the accosting woman yelled "get the conductor!"

No one got the conductor — it just seemed like a shouting match — but as the train pulled into 42nd Street, the coughing woman spit on the other, provoking what sounded like [a] punch from the reaction of the crowd (we didn't directly see it). Then the cougher attempted to exit the train as the doors were open, but the second woman grabbed her by the back of the hair, violently yanking her down to the floor.

If the flu doesn't get us, we may tear each other limb from limb. God help us all.

Swine Flu Causes Brawl On NYC Subway [Business Insider]