Heartless in Hartford?

Wow.  This is the creepiest video.  A surveillance camera caught video of a man being hit by a hit and run driver while crossing the street in Hartford, CN.  The man is left laying in the middle of the street and no one rushes over to help him.  He lays there until a police car shows up about a minute and a half later (if that doesn’t sound like a long time, watch the video.  It’s a long time.)  Apparently, several calls were put into 911 within a minute of the hit and run.  But no one actually approached the man to see if he was alive or offer comfort or whatever.  Here’s the video:

Argh!  The video won’t upload.  Oh well, here’s a link to the video.  I’ll try to get it loaded again later.

Can you imagine?  It always boggles my mind when something like this happens.  You wonder what is going through people’s heads.  A lot of people think it reflects a disregard for others.  There’s probably some of that.  However, it seems to me that a lot of these sorts of things come from people not knowing how to act.  We don’t raise people with a set of guidelines for how to act.  Everyone’s kind of winging it all the time.  And we’ve internalized a hyper-independent ethos which abolishes any sense of looking out for each other. In many cases, anyone who would try to get involved in something going on outside their immediate family is judged quite harshly.  I think people may have a hard time making snap judgements about when to turn off that ingrained laise faire attitude to step in to help another.

Of course, people don’t always respond like this.  A few weeks ago my husband was hit by a car while crossing the street in downtown Minneapolis.  He said people immediately reacted and came over to see if he was OK.  Others ran in the direction of the car which hit him.  Fortunately, he got away with a slight concussion and is fine.  A near-by cop saw the whole thing and pulled over the driver as he tried to turn onto a side street.  I can’t, however, imagine everyone mulling around with their hands in their pockets while he lay in the middle of the street.  Maybe it’s an East Coast thing.  I dunno.

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3 thoughts on “Heartless in Hartford?

  1. Pingback: Urban Compass | Blog Archive | Apathy is Merely the Absence of Good Deeds

  2. I remember hearing recently that sociologists can make pretty accurate predictions about who will help based on circumstances. One factor is how many people are around and what are they doing. The more potential “helpers” there are, the less likely anyone will offer help because everyone assumes someone else is better suited to help than they are. However, even in a crowed area, if one or two people move to help, others often will join in. It’s not cruelty or callousness. People genuinely feel confused about what the right action is, and confusion breeds indecision which leads to inaction. Probably most of those very same people who did nothing (or who called 911 but did nothing else) would have rushed to his aid if they saw it happen on a rural road and they were the only witness. Weird huh?

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  3. It kind of separates the heroes from the gawkers.

    I see this kind of phenomenon a lot in my daily commute: People in need of need help while the world passes them by. (Parable, anyone?)

    A while back, I pondered my “duty” to those, obviously in need, and came to this conclusion: If there is a woman, stranded, I should stop and offer help, always, without a second thought.

    Men stranded, require a different approach. One has to be fairly “tuned in” to the leading of the Spirit and common sense reasoning – speaking strictly from this woman’s perspective.

    This is slightly off-topic, I know. A person hit by a car is in a desperate situation, regardless of gender and requires immediate help, at all times.

    Such is the “risk” of Christian living.

    And yes, an imprudent move can lead to death.

    So be it.

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