At Jamaica station I was unable to read the electronic sign for my train after a group of 3 males (different from my own ethnic group) noticed me and stepped in front of the sign with a certain menace which surprised me.
I said "You need to step away from the sign so I can read it."
The Biggest one of them stepped to me and said "You should walk on; We're army."
I said "I was in the Air Force. You need to step away from the sign."
The leader rephrased:
"You were in the service 10 years ago!" "We're Army and we've been to Afghanistan."
(I was actually 1977-1981 Active Air Force Enlisted and 1983-84 NJ Air Reserve. (29 & 27 years ago respectively.)
I said: "It doesn't matter". And, for emphasis I looked him in the eye and said "You shouldn't be blocking the sign. What your doing here is ungodly." (This is my short hand for "Grow up and be your own gods.") The leader's jaw dropped and then he denied he was acting in discord to godly (sock puppet) lore and comportment. I repeated the accusation.
Just then, an individual fully 3 times as wide as me stepped up behind me and said "Just let it go..., they are on something- can't you see? Just let it go." I having finally succeeded in reading the sign I needed to select my train- heeded this reasonable advise. For me, reasonable advise is actionable, whomever it comes from. As I went down the stairs to the train platform, I heard the "double big man" voice a direct exchange with the leader of the military trio as he attempted to shout after me to "walk on!" The Guy who's advice I'd heeded cut in with a firm: "You need to shut up because you're messed up!" I overheard some petty grumbling and then silence as I reached my train platform.
I always suspected and now believe there is good security in Jamaica terminal, for all who pass through this busy station. Also, I'm always happy to receive reasoned advice. Although, herein lies a warning: I am not the first civilian that returning military service members have conflated with the enemy. Given the political popularity of wars, I certainly won't be the last.
It was 06: 25 in the morning Sunday 9-5-10