MasterPo says: This blog is about topics and issues that are of importance to me. I am not one of the countless blogging lemmings that are tripping over each other scurrying down the hill and off the cliff of blogging oblivion trying to write the greatest blog on the latest topic de'jour. Your comments are welcome.

September 5, 2011

Courage: An Open Response to Glenn Beck

“Courage” has been a reoccurring theme of Beck’s for several months now. The courage to take a stand and do the right thing because it is the right thing even when the people around you (or the rest of the world) isn’t. The courage to do what is right even if you personal may pay a price for it (whether it be lose face in front of friends or co-workers, lose your job, lose something of value to you, etc).

During his TV show on Wednesday April 27th Beck showed three disturbingly gruesome videos:

1. A fight between patrons in a diner style restaurant (looks like a Waffle House or an IHOP but didn’t say) over syrup.

2. The beating of a woman in a McDonalds, reportedly because she gave another woman’s boyfriend a look the other woman didn’t like, to the point the victim lays on the floor having convulsions.

3. A man standing on the street outside a store in NYC, someone runs up to him holding a large revolver and shoots him twice point-blank.

Beck’s point is that no one out of all the people watching stepped up and came to the aid of the people involved.

1. In the syrup video patrons continue don with their meals as the melee ensues around them. A few people (employees?) eventually try to break up the fight but only half heartedly even though one of the fighters is clearly having the advantage over the other fighter (not to mention there are children around).

2. In the McDonalds video an employee tries tepidly to break up the fight but doesn’t succeed. When the victim is on the floor quivering with convulsions apparently brought on by the attack (whether the beating caused the seizure or she had an underlying condition already is unknown) no one comes to her help. Though there isn’t much you can do for someone having a seizure at least being there is a comfort.

3. After the man was shot (it was reported as a gang attack but mistaken identity (the wrong person) ) he is seen on the ground trying to get up but can’t. Then stops moving altogether.

Meanwhile people come out of the store to see what happened, see the man on the floor, and just stand around. No one tries to help the victim.

These aren’t entirely new scenarios. Events of people being hurt or victims of crime and no one help have been occurring in America since at least the late 60’s. There was the now famous (if that’s the right word) case of a woman being beaten and stabbed repeatedly over the course of several hours on the streets of a very middle class New York City neighborhood. She cried for help throughout the entire ordeal. Residence heard her cries but just closed their windows. That is considered a turning point.

There is also the famous case in the 70’s of a local news crew who stood by and filmed a man set himself on fire in a street corner in Atlanta yet did nothing. Finally someone came running over with a blanket to smother the flames.

MasterPo agrees with Glenn Beck that “humanity” is being lost in America today. And the trend has clearly accelerated of late.

But there is a reality that Beck needs to accept.

One word: Liability.

We have seen time and time again people trying to help, being Good Samaritans, and in fact helping people and saving lives but then getting arrested themselves! Or at a minimum later being sued for millions$$ by the very person (and/or their family) they tried to help.

In the videos he showed in each case yes someone could and should have stepped up to help. But there is great personal risk, not just of becoming a victim yourself, but of the liability. In the McDonalds video if someone had tried to help the convulsing woman that may have caused additional injuries. In the shooting video, suppose one of the bullets had punctured the man’s spine; If you rolled him over try clear his air way and try to put pressure on the wounds you may injure his spinal cord leading to permanent paralysis. In both cases you may have saved the victim’s life but can now be sued for injuries! “Good Samaritan” laws are only a defense, not a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card.

MasterPo acknowledges that is the point of Beck’s argument: To do the right thing even at the risk of personal loss because if we don’t help each other we fall apart as a nation and society.

Nevertheless, when the rubber meets the road it takes a great leap of courage in today’s society to risk all that for someone you don’t know.

Perhaps MasterPo has become the jaded, detached person Beck is railing about.

In MasterPo’s own defense there was one circumstance 10 years ago where MasterPo was present at meeting where high level people in the company were talking ‘smack’ about a co-worker who was killed in the Twin Towers on 9/11. MasterPo was disgusted and outraged! But kept quiet for fear of losing the job. It is a badge of shame MasterPo carries to this day.

To that extent, MasterPo will never be silent again.


Grace. said...

What I find interesting are the studies that show that if you, as a single individual, witness any of the scenes you describe, you are more likely to act and to intervene. But if you are in a crowd, as were most of the observers in all three situations, you are less likely to act.

MasterPo said...

That's "group think" or "herd mentality". People feel safer acting in a group than individually.

And for something very big like that, something that will probably be seen as outside the norm, they want the support of at least some members of the community.

It takes a lot of courage to stand alone against the full weight of public opinion. Very few have that courage.