I think your jaded view of humanity is coming from watching all that reality TV while you’re on the treadmill. Turn it off and watch a movie, or cartoons for heaven’s sake. “Reality” TV isn’t my reality. I don’t know who those people are and I’m not poisoning my mind by watching their idiotic lives.
Personal anecdote: a couple years ago I encountered a woman slumped over her grocery cart. I immediately was at her side, before I had even realized what I was doing. My now-husband was instructed to call 911. I and another bystander judged her condition to be that of a diabetic with low blood sugar* (she had diabetic relatives; I am a former EMT). Numerous people stopped by to see if they could help. I dispatched one for orange juice.
(* this was indeed the case, as we learned when the ambulance arrived)
So for every example when a tragedy occurs, there are doubtlessly many others when people render aid. For years I’ve consciously counteracted the “bystander effect” and immediately offered or called for help when it seemed warranted. I’m not the only one, either.
Recently I witnessed an accident between a motorcycle and a minivan (guess who won that one). In the time it took me to jump in to my car, grab my phone, dial 911, and get back out of my car, there were already 5 people kneeling by the motorcycle rider and 10 more running in that direction.
Therefore, I say, This nation and its’ [sic] citizens have found their will! Lots of people have the courage to take the lead. Lots of people stand up and say YES! I WILL HELP!
It’s all well and good to say that if you were in that situation you would have gone right over to the guy and rendered aid, and so would your relatives, and therefore the entire citizenry of Hartford is a bunch of morally bankrupt zombies who have been brainwashed by MTV.
Actually, it’s not all well and good to say that. You weren’t there. It’s far too easy to sit in the comfort of your home or office and claim that you would have taken action than it is to actually have been there at the time and actually taken action.
I’ve been in a small handful of situations like that and I’ve sometimes surprised myself at how little immediate action I’d taken. The bystander effect that Airman Doors mentioned is very real, and is in no way a reflection of the moral decay of society.
On March 13, 1964, twenty-three people (as I recall - the number may be off) listened as Kitty Genovese was stabbed, screamed for help, and ultimately died. The murderer actually left, and came back ten minutes later to follow her staggering trail and rape her, rob her, and finish her off. No one helped her and very few even called the cops.
I’m not picking apart your view. I’m offering an alternative view. You can feel free to be outraged based on the evidence of that video, and I can continue to withhold judgement. It’s not something we have to debate- I’m not condoning the bystanders, I’m just not condemning them.
And yes, I’m not sure how physical proximity impacts my moral obligation to help, unless I’m the only one there. Consider the converse: At what viewing distance am I absolved of doing nothing? Do you empty your bank account and mail it to Sally Struthers everytime you see a starving African commercial?
Maybe the thoughts that go through your head, that allow you to deal with ignoring those starving, disease-ridden children are not all that different than the thoughts of those bystanders during that ONE MINUTE (once initial denial/panic OMG OMG OMG even allowed for thought):
“Someone closer, someone better qualified, someone more obligated, someone better suited SURELY will help, and therefore I don’t need to.”
The fact that those kids aren’t sitting on your street, presenting you VISUALLY (by their physical proximity) with the need to make the decision NOT to help them every time you drive by allows you to maintain your status as a (hypothetical) good samaritan. Convenient.
First of all, what’s this “we” shit, kemosabe? Who exactly are “we”? Did I miss a Golden Age where all Americans (who are, as indicated in the OP, vastly superiour to mere humans) agreed on what was right, and behaved accordingly?
Secondly, turn off your television, it’s rotting your brain. Not *everyone’s * brains. Just yours.
One article I read on the subject said that (IIRC) some thought they were just hearing a lovers’ quarrel, and that others only saw so little of what was going on that they didn’t or couldn’t know the real situation.
Uh-oh. I watch both Flavor of Love and A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila!
If I ever witness some horrible event like the one in question, I hope somebody has the presence of mind to shoo me away with a stick before I can tear out the victim’s still-beating heart and feast upon his precious, untainted blood.
So THAT’S the video that all this outrage is about? I must say, based on that, that the OP is an absurd overreaction.
It looks to me like most of the people in that video who were aware of what had happened were concerned, but weren’t sure of exactly how to help. Some people were moving out into the street to help within 20-30 seconds. That doesn’t seem that long to me after witnessing a shocking event. And they may have been right not to try to touch him before EMS and the police arrived. Unless they were trained in giving emergency aid, they could have done more harm than good. And with the prevalence of cell phones, most people would have figured that trained help would have been there almost immediately (as it was, though evidently fortuitously in this case).
Seeing such a violent event can be disorienting. It’s not surprising that people might have taken a full half a minute to make a move. While a minute can be a long time if you are laying there injured, it can be a very short time if you are confused about the best thing to do.
While a few people may have been guilty of ignoring the guy, most didn’t. That video is hardly evidence of the massive breakdown of society.
Of course I don’t know for sure what I’d do until it happened, but based on what went through my head while watching the video, I think I’d have run out into the street to stop traffic to keep other cars from hitting him, and I would have called 911. I wouldn’t necessarily be at his side, but I’d be helping in the best way I could.
Oh believe me, I don’t watch any of these crapfests, this is just information I’ve gleaned from the ads between videos. But your experience is that of a person in the business; that is, you were/are a part of the thin (reb/blue/green) line between people and what awaits them. My jaded view of humanity comes from dealing with humanity. Problem is, one never sees or hears about the many others that are out there, like you and I, who are doing our best to defend against the bystander effect.
Leave it to this bunch to deflate a big, fat balloon of outrage with all of your damnable reason.
It’s been one of those weeks.
I know humanity’s not falling apart, but sometimes it just feels like the whole thing has slid off the rails and we’re just waiting for the crash. I know, horrible shit has been happening for thousands of years, but it seems to me that as far along as we are with technology and science and art, that we should be a lot farther along as people by now. Not just Americans, (I’m partial, sue me) but everybody. I used to think that people were basically good, honest and hard working, but I’ll tell you what, the more people I meet the less I believe that. I think on some level people, including me, are just another level of animal (which I suppose is true, but that’s not how I mean it) who just lets the law of the jungle apply and ignores everything but the benefits of society.
No, DianaG I’m not always this ‘nuts’ and TV’s not doing me much harm because I don’t watch anything but news, a BBC chat show and the occasional drama anymore. I’ve never watched the crap I mentioned, I’m just stuck watching ads for it because I dig music videos.
Anyway, I’m gonna go take a nice long motorcycle ride and forget everything but the road.