Thursday, April 29, 2010

Turning From Someone In Crisis

*This young man had a pool of blood come out from under him, I do not think people just assumed he was sleeping there on the sidewalk. He probably made sounds in pain too. Just sad.

Getting Involved is Not a Bad Thing

The Lake Wales News
Palmer Wood, Managing Editor
Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A dying man in one of New York City’s boroughs lay unattended on a sidewalk for one hour and 40 minutes before a rescue team from a fire department arrived to find the man dead.

A homeless 31-year-old man from Guatemala went to the rescue of a woman being mugged and was successful in running off the attacker. The woman, apparently in her fear and confusion, turned and fatally stabbed the Good Samaritan who staggered off and collapsed on the sidewalk.

A security camera captured the entire event including a number of people who walked by and ignored the dying man. One man stopped and took a cell phone photo and walked off. Another stopped and lifted the dying man and dropped him, apparently when he saw a pool of blood under him.

The fact that a man was dying and no one came to help, or even called for help, reminds me of a similar incident in New York City that happened in 1964. A 28-year-old woman was brutally attacked by a knife-wielding assailant who had been stalking her, and in spite of her pleading for help, failed to convince anyone to intervene or even call the police.

It happened at night in a residential neighborhood and less than 58 people heard screaming and witnessed the attack.

Later, all admitted they “didn’t want to get involved.”

Finally one man from a window in an apartment yelled, “Get away from her.” The assailant then walked away, but when no one came to her rescue, returned and stabbed her again until she collapsed.

Several witnesses said they heard the victim call out to a man she apparently knew and saw looking out a window in a nearby apartment, but he responded by quickly ducking from the window and turning off his light.

Records revealed that eventually there was a phone call; a half-hour after the victim lay motionless and the attacker had driven off. Police then were dispatched only to find the victim dead.

When the 58 witnesses were interviewed by the police, the most common answer for their not going out to help her was simply not wanting to get involved and subsequently having to spend time in court.

The attacker later was identified when his license number was reported: That resulted in his arrest. He later admitted he continued to attack her knowing that no one would come to her aid.

The least effort on our part when we encounter a similar situation as described in any of the above situations is to call 911.

A witness from the incident confessed he still is haunted by nightmares, especially when he looks out the same window from which he observed the tragic incident.

When he decided to try and help the girl, he said, his wife blocked the door and said, “We don’t want to get involved.”

The horror stories don’t end there. A woman was observed on a security camera for an hour in a public after-hours-clinic waiting room where she collapsed and rolled off a bench. Medical personal came and went into the waiting room several times without approaching and helping the woman, who lay face down on the floor. She died there on the floor.

Security personnel were on duty at a teenage function and did not intervene when a male teenager began repeatedly beating a teenage girl on the ground.

Again, video cameras recorded the incident and the security men, who stood and observed but did nothing to stop the attack.

Psychologists claim people in a crowd are more reluctant to become involved but I’m sure there have been numerous tragic deaths where people chose to ignore helping someone when there were no witnesses, simply because they didn’t want to be bothered or to get dirty.

We have to mentally indoctrinate ourselves to act in all emergencies, not stand silent while deciding what to do when someone’s in dire need. A few seconds of hesitation can at times mean the difference between life and death.

Years ago I almost let a stranger choke to death in a restaurant because I hesitated to see if she really needed help. Forget about the embarrassment – even if it turns out to be a false alarm.

You never will be criticized for making an effort to help someone who appears to be in need – You may end up saving a life.

But thank goodness there are people who selflessly care, like the foreign tourist who recently jumped off a dock to save a 2-year-old child, and disappeared before anyone got his name.