Bystander Paper

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Jacob Kaye
Ms. Beder
English 38806
4 September 2012

Struggling in the fight against guilt, can be heavily taxing and near impossible to over come. In “The Curse” by Andre Dubus, protagonist Mitchell Hayes finds himself in a dispute of this sort. Upon last call, five “ punks” (Dubus) remained in Mitchell’s bar; a young lady not far behind, destined to fall victim to their intoxicated plot. The Cowardly bartender became bystander of a horrific gang rape. A bystander is all Mitchell was that dark evening, an infinitely haunting decision.

The question of “what if…” (Dubus) commonly follows Mitchell as he considers his lack of attempt to prevent the assault, in a five to one blood bath! Considering “Thirty-Eight Who Saw Murder Didn’t Call Police” by Martin Gansberg, Mitchell’s behavior does not exactly qualify as pioneer-like action. “For more than half an hour 38 respectable, law-abiding citizens in Queens watched a killer stalk and stab a woman in three separate attacks in Kew Gardens.” (Gansberg) Such a predicament causes Mitchell’s scenario to seem benign and reasonable. When properly analyzed, the way Mitchell views it, there is no justifiable reasoning to be found. Taking a look at the risk-reward ratio may lead to congruent theory. The risk for Mitchell consists of severe, yet temporary injury. The reward is eternal, personal and public appreciation, whether he was successful or not! The mentally scared Mitchell would sacrifice anything to re-live the event, and act out differently.

Being placed in Mitchell’s helpless position is very much inevitable. Preventing such an experience is easy with proper aid material. For example, a firearm would have done justice! If Mitchell were armed that evening, retaliation would be effortless. A brief flash of the lethal weapon could have been sufficient in impeding their vicious attack. It was Irresponsible for Mitchell to be so unprepared, putting innocent lives in jeopardy.

The once serene and peaceful...
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