Selfish or Selfless
On March 13, 1964, a young woman was murdered outside her residence in Queens, New York. Catherine (Kitty) Genovese was stalked and attacked on three separate occasions while thirty-eight eye witnesses, one of whom called the police, looked on. “If we had been called when he first attacked, the woman might not be dead,” said Assistant Chief Inspector Frederick M. Lussen. This incident drove investigators to research the psychological phenomenon now known as the bystander effect and the diffusion of responsibility. There are people who are exceptions to these socially unacceptable phenomenons, such as Wesley Autrey, who jumped in after a young man who had fallen onto New York City's subway tracks just before a train screeched into the station. Some individuals choose to put themselves in harms way while others would rather not get involved as long as it does not affect them. There are heroic individuals that will risk their lives for complete strangers and rescue the one in need of assistance. While on his way to class on January 7, 2007, Cameron Hollopeter appeared to become disoriented after an apparent seizure, and he collapsed on the tracks of a Harlem subway stop. That’s when Wesley Autrey attempted to remove Cameron from the tracks but realized there was not enough time because there was an oncoming train approaching them, so he pinned the two of them in the drainage rut between the rails and waited for the train to pass over them. There are various reasons why certain people would endanger themselves to assist someone in need of aid. Some choose to act because if the roles were reversed, they would hope someone would help them. Others simply believe it is the right thing to do under any circumstance. "I just saw someone who needed help," Autrey told The New York Times. "I did what I felt was right." The bystander effect, individuals choosing not to act when others are around, is the exact opposite of the heroism some people exhibit....
Cited: Martin Gansberg. "37 Who Saw Murder Didn 't Call the Police: Apathy at Stabbing of
Queens Woman Shocks Inspector 37 SAW MURDER BUT DIDN 'T CALL Path of
Victim: Stabber 's Third Attack Was Fatal. ”New York Times (1923-Current file) 27 Mar. 1964, ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 -
2006), ProQuest. Web. 17 Mar. 2010.
Cara Buckley. "A Man Down, a Train Arriving, And a Stranger Makes a Choice.” New
York Times 3 Jan. 2007, Late Edition (East Coast): New York Times, ProQuest. Web. 17 Mar. 2010.
ABC News: Hidden Camera Experiment: What Would You Do? ABC News. November 22, 2005.
Web. 17 Mar. 2010.
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