Forty-nine years ago Kitty, Genovese was stabbed to death outside her apartment. Her death brought New York to the attention of the world as a city that doesn’t care. Thirty-eight people heard the young woman screaming, and chose to ignore her. One man when questioned, he commented “I didn’t want to get involved.” One neighbor called other neighbors to ask what he should do. If he had called 911, her life may have been saved. Kitty Genovese is the icon of the callousness of her fellow man.
Over the years, movies, short stories, novels, and songs have written talking about the crime and the cold heartedness of the people ignoring it. This is an excerpt from Pete Ochs song:
Oh, look outside the window
There's a woman being grabbed
They've dragged her to the bushes
And now she's being stabbed
Maybe we should call the cops
And try to stop the pain
But Monopoly is so much fun
I'd hate to blow the game
And ...view middle of the document...
Contusion, blood blisters, and hematomas covered much of his body.
Kevin Carter took a photograph showing a Sudanese toddler, alone attempting to crawl to an aid station for food. Behind her is a vulture waiting for her to die so it can eat her. He related that he had waited 20 minutes hoping the vulture would spread it wings to make a better picture. During that time this poor little baby was resting so she could continue her trip. He did nothing to help her. Finally he got his shot, and left doing nothing to help. He claimed he just “didn’t want to get involved.” He won a Pulitzer for the photograph. Carter was criticized for not helping the baby, it would have taken just a few minutes of his time to pick up her up and carry her to the aid station.
Sometimes the situation may be frightening, but if the entire population ignores the violence, the world will become just one big bloody hell. It may be wrong to judge the “bystander effect,” but often times all that is required to help out is a simple phone call. I personally have not been confronted with any life-threatening situations, but I always stop to offer aid when I encounter any occasion when it appears someone is having trouble.
Passing laws to require people to be good samaratins are probably not going to change anything but may clog the court systems even more. One place where it may be of benefit is in the case of drug overdoses.
Overdose deaths are now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, higher than motor vehicle accidents in the 25-64 age group. Many of these deaths are preventable when emergency medical assistance is called. People fear arrest if they call 911, even in cases when it is for a friend or family member at the scene of a suspected overdose. The law would exempt them from minor drug and alcohol law violations. This approach would be called Good Samaritan 911.
Precautions should always be taken by participants in emergency cases to not go beyond their skills. First step should be always call for help, then proceed to assist as your skills and strengths allow.