Friday May 30, 2008
Elderly man bounces off a dark Honda that is apparently chasing a light Toyota. Both cars take off down a side street, leaving the man motionless and bleeding in the street next to his emptying milk carton.
Pedestrians stop and stare, but do nothing. Cars swerve around the obstacle in the street trying to get to their appointed locations. One man stops briefly, pausing to look out the window, before pulling back into traffic. Another man circles the victim on his scooter before driving away.
Some approach but stay at a distance. Most of the observers stay to watch. A cruiser responding to an unrelated call finally stops. Perhaps it was fate that led him down this street. The hit-and-run victim is now in the hospital fighting for his life.
Later, a store owner says, "Nobody did nothin". The graphic surveillance video backs her statement.
The police chief says "we no longer have a moral compass". Once upon a time, if somebody fell down, somebody else would reach down a hand to lift him up. The apparent callousness of the bystanders was disheartening to see when that surveillance tape was played on the news. Is this what we have come to?
Though perhaps I am too harsh. It is probably not so much that we have become callous, but more that we have switched from offering a helping hand to waiting for someone else to step up and do it. Perhaps there is so much violence that we are becoming desensitized. The herd mentality kicks in, waiting for a leader to take control.
I hope that somebody called 911. I hope that that news report was just sensationalized to shock the viewers. I refuse to believe that nobody at least called. But I am still disheartened that nobody went out to that man to sit with him, to tell him help was on the way and to direct traffic away from him. All they would do was stand back and watch. This disturbs me.
(postnote: Four people placed a call to 911. At least this was something. However, this does not change the inaction of the people who drove around the man nor the people on the sidewalk who did not go out to the man. I find this unacceptable. I am still disturbed.)