A nation of apathy
If you came across a dying man, would you stop and help or just walk away?
The Bystander Effect can be described as social psychological phenomenon in which someone who witnesses an emergency situation does not offer any help when other people are present, and the larger the crowd of bystanders, the less likely it is the victim will receive help.
It has happened again and again here in America (and I’m sure all over the world). There’s the 15-year-old girl in Richmond, California who was violently raped for over two hours outside her high school after a dance, and a crowd of bystanders did nothing to help her. They watched, jeered, and some even joined in. Then there’s the elderly man in Hartford who was hit by a car in a busy intersection, and people just drove by, swerving to avoid him as he lay bleeding on the pavement. There’s the girl in Seattle who was beaten by her peers as security guards stood by and watched, saying it was “against policy” for them to intervene. And the list goes on and on.
Every time I hear about one of these stories on the news, my heart breaks a little more each time. It breaks for the pain and suffering the victims feel. It breaks for the apathy people feel towards each other. Most of all, it breaks for the loss of humanity.
You know, if I ever saw anyone hurt, I would without a doubt stop and try to help them. If it was a situation where I could get hurt as well, I would call the police. In this day in age, there is absolutely no excuse not to pull your cell phone out of your pocket and dial 9-1-1. No excuse. And I think that anyone who sees a fellow human either hurt or in the process of getting hurt has a social and moral obligation to do something- and if they fail to act, it should be considered criminal. I believe that bystanders who watch a violent act being committed and fail to intervene are just as guilty as the perpetrators because their failure to act is what is allowing the violent crime to continue.
It’s horrible. I just cannot imagine ever being in a situation where I see someone needs help and refusing to help them.
Do people just not have souls anymore? Are we all dying inside?
One of the few things that has prevented me from completely losing all hope in other humans is how everyone bands together in the aftermath of natural disasters. During this time, when a large group of people become victims, people will reach out to one another and lend a helping hand. It’s so sad that it takes a disaster of nearly epic proportions to get people to help each other, though.