The title describes the public transit riders who watched this disturbing scene unfold on a Philadelphia bus, and did nothing:
2014 is the 50th anniversary of the infamous Kitty Genovese case, and dueling books on the incident either recount the accepted version that 38 people in an apartment building heard the 28 year-old woman’s screams as she was being stabbed to death but “didn’t want to be involved” and let her die, or adopt the revisionist theory that the apathy of bystanders was unfairly and inaccurately hyped by the news media. The incident on the Philadelphia bus tells me that the revisionists have a burden of proof that will be hard to meet. There was plenty of evidence already, like here, or here, or here, or here, or more recently here, that Kitty Genovese might not fare any better today.
Did no one on the bus see a young woman who might have been dying of a drug overdoes? Was there no one present who had been raised to care about his or her fellow human beings, strangers or not? How many Philadelphians who cheer Hillary Clinton’s collectivist “it takes a village to raise a child” philosophy couldn’t bother to take action as they saw a young child in the care of an irresponsible mother, when living by Hillary’s hook title required more than lip service and polite applause? Not one hero? Not one citizen who sees a possible tragedy unfolding and takes the initiative to mitigate or stop it?
When the drug legalization rationalizers get through opening our society to unfettered addictions of every kind, buses will have many similar scenes, and, presumably, even more apathy. Americans are being slowly conditioned to regard caring for others in danger or peril as a government job, not a basic, mandatory duty of belonging to the species.
What heartless, soul-dead, useless, ethically-inert individual made this video, for example? Was he thinking about its potential for viral internet fame? He certainly wasn’t thinking about the child, or the Golden Rule, or his obligations as a citizen. I want to know this Philadelphians name, so we can have a book-end to the Kitty Genovese memorial collection of citizen abdication of the duty to care, to give a damn, to stop something bad from happening that is within our power to stop. How many riders were texting, or had headphones on, or were playing Candy Crush…or were too drunk or stoned to function themselves?
I will say this without hesitation: I would have intervened. Talked to the mother, talked to the child, spoken to the driver. That shouldn’t make me special; that should make me normal. If, in the not-too-distant future, ethics-free hell that is slowly being engineered for us, every single American is like those bus passengers, and only one lonely, half-mad hermit, living in a shack in Wyoming and making rustic furniture still believes in the human duty to intervene and take action when strangers are in danger, he will still be the normal one.
The rest, like the Philadelphia bus passengers, will be aberrations and mutations of the human imperative to help one another and do good, rather than just make speeches about it. Or perhaps none of them drew their red lines at child neglect taking place right in front of their faces.
From the mother nodding off, to her fellow Americans who didn’t care enough to pay attention, to the self-absorbed cell-phone amateur reporter, that bus is a microcosm of what American society could become.
If it hasn’t become so already.
Pointer: Huffington Post