Dressed in a dark business suit, wearing a tie and a brand-new trenchcoat, Troy Canty was led manacled in front of New York State Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Crane. His head clean-shaven, Canty looked sullenly at TV cameras, out in force to register the latest twist in the Bernhard H. Goetz case.

On December 22, 1984, dressed somewhat differently, Troy Canty was riding the graffiti-decorated New York subway, together with James Ramseur, Barry Allen, and Darrell Cabey. “Hey Troy,” James Ramseur told his friend, lying on the subway car bench, “why’s that white guy looking at you?”

Turning towards the “white guy,” Bernhard Goetz, Troy Canty said, “How are you?” Then he got up and, together with Ramseur, Cabey, and Allen, approached Goetz. “Give me $5.00,” he said. Turning around so his four unwelcome new acquaintances would not see what he was doing, Bernhard Goetz pulled a gun and shot each of them once. Darrell Cabey he shot twice, severing his spine and leaving him invalid.

Then Bernhard Goetz left the car and walked away into one of the tunnels, not to be heard of until a week later, when he went to the Concord, New Hampshire, police station and confessed what he did into a tape recorder. Asked whether he wanted a lawyer present, Goetz answered, “And what . . . a lawyer would do . . . is to tell me what not to say. . . . You get off on technicalities and that just makes me sick . . . you should be judged . . . on the truth, and what is right and wrong.”

Unlike career thug Danny Escobedo, whose murder conviction was reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1964, because his confession had been obtained in the absence of a lawyer, Bernhard Goetz was concerned with “right and wrong.” Unlike convicted felon Troy Canty, Coetz was also concerned with the “truth,” which Canty presented differently at each of his public appearances. Whether Judge Crane, who ruled as inadmissible evidence an interview Canty gave to ABC’s 20/20, has the same concerns, may be open to doubt.

Unlike James Ramseur, brought in to tell the truth from a prison where he is doing eight and a half years for rape and sodomy of a pregnant woman, Bernhard Goetz so far has not refused to testify. His lawyer, Bary 1. Slotnick, unlike Barry Allen’s lawyer, who advised his client not to take the witness stand, has been given ample coverage in the newspapers which depict him as a Mafia confidant and a glory seeker.

Although he is the only one of Goetz’s assailants not given immunity, Barry Allen’s refusal to talk has been withheld from the jury by Judge Crane. Just what it is that Mr. Allen is afraid of, the judge has not disclosed.

On the other hand, Judge Crane has labeled “hearsay” the evidence of Ms. Arnetha Gilbert that the youths had run out of the subway shouting, “He shot me for nothing. . . . I just asked for $5.00,” because, according to the New York Times, the youths were apparently alert and “coherent,” “so their statements could have been calculated to absolve themselves.” As a proper guardian, the judge has repeatedly ordered the jurors to disregard Mr. Slotnick’s defense, taking care that they form no opinion the bench does not have in mind for them.

Whatever the outcome of the latest trial, despite all the Constitutional safeguards against double jeopardy, it is apparent that Bernhard Goetz is facing overpowering odds. The entire structure of the managerial state requires the existence of an occasionally troublesome welfare class, and like a good feudal seigneur the state of New York is determined to defend its retainers, whatever they might have done. Bernhard Goetz’s revolt against the state-condoned terror and the humiliation of the New York subways—quite rightly—has been perceived as a threat against a corrupt despotic system.

The questions raised by the Goetz case boil down to this: Can the state, which refuses to protect citizens from violence, at the same time prevent decent people from arming themselves in self-defense? “The issue,” said Bernhard Goetz in his taped confession, “isn’t the $5.00 or something like that, that’s unimportant, you know . . . it was they wanted to play with me. . . . In New York, I feel, and a lot of people feel, you have to have a gun, but they don’t let you, to them that is a big crime, they have you, also they have you trapped . . . you’re in a situation where you must carry a gun and the reality, the reality they are so ugly that, so, you see . . .

In a crazy dance of technicalities (who stood where, doing and saying what when the shooting occurred), Bernhard Goetz stands an excellent chance of losing, unless the jury performs as well as the two previous New York juries who acquitted him. Whatever the outcome of his trial, the state of New York’s attack on the right of self-defense will inspire contempt and outrage in most of the U.S. Unfortunately, a courtroom is not a two-way mirror, and Bernhard Goetz cannot reverse his position. Judge Crane and Assistant Attorney Waples are secure in their indignation.