I would like to see some enterprising media type interview each of the bystanders at this slaughter, and probe them one by one as to their thoughts as they watched this go down.
Steyn is right. I will bet that a large number of them thought that the police would be there any minute to get this guy -- and they never came.
The thing that plays into this, I think is something that the military has always been aware of , but you rarely here it spoken of amongst civilians. A soldier (and similarly, a citizen), when faced with overwhelming violence, has to be taught to defend himself. It is rare to find an individual who instinctively strikes back. Especially if he is in a crowd, the individual watching violence approach instinctively freezes , and assumes a posture least likely to call attention to itself. It is the instinct of prey, and it happens so often on the battlefield amongst undertrained and underled troops that it is a truism.
Sentient reporters would recognize this as the behavior of the bystanders at that mall, and in seeking to understand it and explain it, would go a long way toward teaching us something about human nature.
posted on 09/12/2003 8:50:03 PM PDT
It seems to me that people are generally less willing to get involved, even if the situation doesn't involve violence. As an example, this summer I was at the beach with my kids and mother. We were chatting with some other folks when we noticed that a swimmer was removing a buoy that marked the safe swimming area. The swimmer carried the buoy off to his nearby car. Two of us followed the fellow, made note of his car tag number, and asked him what he was doing. As it turns out, he had a marked municipal car and was removing the buoy for repairs. He appreciated being stopped by concerned citizens. He told us that he'd removed at least a dozen buoys over the summer from nearby beaches and that this was the only time he'd been questioned. Had he been a common thief, his action would have cost taxpayers hundreds of dollars, and perhaps compromised swimmer safety.
I don't understand why people are so reluctant to get involved, but we see it on a lot of levels. Not a healthy phenomenon.
Aye, insightful comments. This is the exact same phenomenom that took place on the first three planes on 9/11. There have been classic studies done on this in the past. If I recall, one interesting note from the studies was that someone from a rural background was more likely to intervene than someone from a city background. Perhaps this correlates to the Kurdish woman's sentiments?
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