Elle Purnell of the Federalist challenges a popular narrative surrounding two recent high-profile incidents.

A courageous man, along with his fellow passengers, restrained a mentally disturbed vagrant who was allegedly threatening to kill commuters on a New York City subway. A few weeks later, in the same town, a pregnant hospital worker checked out a Citi Bike to get home from her 12-hour shift and was surrounded by a group of men who falsely accused her of stealing the bike from them, physically harassed her, and then smeared her name on social media.

There is a concerted effort from powerful people in the media, on the internet, and in district attorney’s offices, to paint both incidents, not as a conflict between law-abiding citizens and their aggressors, but as representative of a racial struggle that they accuse everyone in the country of being a part of.

But these two events are not stories about their participants’ race. A thoughtful person who hears the details of each case could see that, from the facts we know, each was a struggle between the helpless and the lawless; in one case, there was someone to intervene on the innocents’ behalf, and in the other, there was none.

The average law-abiding, middle-class man, of any color, who fairly observes the Daniel Penny/Jordan Neely scuffle would see himself reflected more in the subway rider who was threatened by a drug-addled vagrant’s actions than in the vagrant. If he’s spent any time in a metropolitan area, he’s probably been in similar shoes as Penny’s fellow passengers on the train. (For their part, the fellow passengers helped Penny restrain Neely and confirmed to media and in 911 calls that Neely posed a threat.) Few responsible men would look at Neely, a troubled man who was tragically left to self-destruct to the point that he was psychotically threatening innocent passersby, and see themselves represented by his life choices. Those facts are all true regardless of the race of anyone involved.