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With All the AIG Outrage, Will Anyone Care About This? « The Washington Independent

It’s a story that also appeared on the front page of The New York Times today, about a staggeringly high number of elevator accidents in public housing complexes in New York City, injuring some 300 residents, employees and visitors since 2001.

From The Times:

A home health aide watched in horror as her middle finger was cut off at the tip. A firefighter lost part of his finger, too. A woman bumped her head as she was knocked to the floor. A man was left with a swollen hand and broken eyeglasses, someone else a broken nose, someone else two missing toes.

Tenants who live in New York City public housing have long complained about daily inconveniences from malfunctioning elevators: canceling medical appointments, missing school buses, climbing flights of stairs. But the elevators have also taken a widespread physical toll on people who live in, work in or visit the city’s 343 public housing complexes.

But they’re not important people, and they’re not powerful. So the ordeal for the mother whose four year old nearly was crushed by elevator doors that constantly close too quickly won’t get much attention from television commentators and in the blogosphere. If ever there were a proper source for populist outrage, the mistreatment and neglect of a city’s most vulnerable residents — and those who try to help them — would be it. Even something as basic as an elevator isn’t safe or decent, in their world.

But that’s not the world many of us live in. So we climb on the AIG bandwagon instead, and announce our disdain for the unethical ways of Wall Street, and the fleecing of the little guy. We feel like we’re taking a stand, facing off against powerful financial interests. But clearly we pick our battles, and as the public housing elevator scandal will no doubt prove, those whose lives are unseen by the rest of us won’t merit a revolt.

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