Socialization

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  • Topic: Bystander effect, Kitty Genovese, Diffusion of responsibility
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38 Who Saw Murder Didn’t Call the Police Summary
Chris Teeters

College Writing
Professor O’ Hearn
May 19, 2009

Millions of murders are committed in the United States every year. We see these stories on the news, in newspapers, and sometimes in our own neighborhoods. Sadly there are people who go into the world and kill their fellow man and sometimes without remorse. The only way that we can prevent these events from happening again or at all is to bring these criminals to justice. In most cases there are witnesses who see the crime or have some leads that help solve the crimes. Usually witnesses call the police and try to help the person in trouble, but this case is different. In the murder of Catherine Genovese, there were thirty-eight witnesses who did nothing to save her.

Many people see someone in need of help and sadly do nothing about it; this is called the bystander effect. The bystander effect is most common when people are in groups. When there is a group of people, they usually do not act out, since the rest of the group is not doing anything. While on the other hand those who are alone tend to help the person in need, because he or she feels it is his or her responsibility.

Another reason people do not help others is because they are afraid. There is much crime in our world today and we are very careful when it involves helping people we do not know. Many people are afraid it could be a predator who is feeding off of the good nature of their possible victims to bait or to do them harm. People are also afraid that if they get involved they to will be harmed for trying to help out, just like the people who witnessed the murder. Those thirty-eight people may be afraid of what could have happened to them and told themselves it was not their place to do something.

Catherine Genovese’s sad story tells us one thing: that we should be willing the help others in need. It does not mean that you have to fight to protect the victim, there are many other alternatives. You could simply call the police if you are afraid of getting involved. That way you can help the person with out having to put yourself in danger.

Sadly murder happens in our world. The only way that we can prevent these events from happening is to look out for each other. If someone is being attacked we as citizens must call the police or do something else to help the person being attacked. Even though there are people who can go kill, there are still many people who will be willing to help others in one way or another.

    What is a law-abiding citizen? Is it as simple as someone who doesn’t murder, steal, commit assault, or perjury? Martin Gansberg’s “37 Who Saw Murder Didn’t Call the Police” is defining a good samaritan clause, something I believe is inside everyone, but the range of action by the individuals differ.     Almost thirty with many good years yet to live, Catherine Genovese was murdered. This was no split-second hit and run attack, but multiple stabbings on three occurrences over a thirty-five minute span. With many witnesses watching in an apartment building for the duration of the attack, it is baffling that no one called the police. It wasn’t until too late that police were summoned to the murder site after it was clear that the assailant was no longer a threat to the rest of the building. Questions by the police were met with the witnesses pleading ignorance and answering “I don’t know” while they were questioning themselves if they made the right choice. I could sympathize with the witnesses if they were in immediate danger to themselves or their family, but I feel they were not a good samaritan in which they should have phoned authorties and maybe a life would have been saved.     Many people may feel secure being a good person by not committing crimes. What about the good person becoming a victim and no one jumps at an opportunity to aid them? So what is a law-abiding...
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