Why Don't People Help in a Crisis?

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Randy Christopher V. Revita
8/29/12
Ms. Coronado
6th Period

“Help! Help! I’m dying..!” Those were the last words Kitty Genovese had said before meeting her demise. In the reading titled “Why Don’t People Help in a Crisis” by John Darley and Bibb Latane, they claim that all witnesses in a situation are indifferent. One of their examples include the famous murder of Kitty Genovese in which thirty-eight witnesses looked at the scene more than once and did nothing about it. “They continued to stare out their windows, caught, fascinated, distressed, unwilling to act but unable to turn away,” says Darley and Latane. Even though people may disagree and say, “Well, if I was a witness I would have done something about the situation,” they can’t deny the fact that Darley and Latane made a very valid point about bystanders. Darley and Latane state that we tend to follow the crowd. The thirty-eight witnesses of the Kitty Genovese case attests to this. It’s in my understanding that the thirty-eight witnesses of the murder saw the situation as a lover’s quarrel. Now, that’s understandable, but even after she continuously screamed for help? Isn’t that reason enough to jump in and assist the lady in her time of distress? With roughly sixteen witnesses spread out on the upper level and sixteen on the bottom, someone should have done something! Darley and Latane state that in situations or emergencies people may be too shocked to do anything, but I completely oppose that idea because even in shock you need to realize that if you let a person die or get hurt then you’ll have a guilty conscience. And just because you’re afraid of losing your own life, it doesn’t give you the right to let someone else’s life end as well because it’s inhumane. You can think of it as yourself killing that person. It’s completely wrong for a person to watch in anticipation as to what may happen next in a situation such as Kitty Genovese’s. Also, one man said during the investigation and...
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