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Monday, April 4, 2016

Uncaring

I recently wrote a post that I called Two Neighbors in which I talked about taking a fall outside and having one neighbor act like he couldn't see me while another helped me out. The fall had me down and out both physically and emotionally; I was unable to get up without any help and I was devastated that someone would ignore another person who was obviously in trouble.

A few days ago we went to visit our friend and optician, Melissa. While she took care of the minor adjustments we needed on our eyeglasses, we caught up on what was going on in our lives. It seems that time slips away so quickly, and so we had a thing or two to catch up on. I told Melissa about my fall on the day after the blizzard and how I still couldn't understand how someone just wouldn't offer some sort of help. If they weren't physically able to help me up, they could have acknowledged my situation and gotten someone else who could help me, I told her.

Melissa said that she was sad to say that it didn't surprise her to hear that I was left to fend for myself. Her daughter (D) and her daughter's boyfriend (DB) had an experience that made her understand how bad the problem can be. D, DB and DB's sister and her boyfriend had arranged to have a double date on New Year's night. D and DB arrived at the wing restaurant early and decided to get themselves on the list for a table since it was a busy night. The restaurant is in one of those little strip malls you see all over the place and the front of the building has windows all the way across, just so you know.

When they headed toward the door, three men wearing scarves over their faces jumped out of some bushes and demanded their wallets. DB told them to forget it, or something like that. They grabbed the cell phone out of his hand and D got as angry as she was scared. She jumped in and told the men to give the cell phone back. That's when they threw the cell phone aside and pulled out their knives. With D fighting them off as best as she could, the men began trying to kill her boyfriend. They attempted to cut his throat on the front, and his arteries on the sides of the neck. They also stabbed him in the back of the head.

Now here's the most horrible part of the story. Not only was this in front of a bunch of plate glass windows, but there were people who walked right by the attack in progress. I would never expect someone to risk their life for a stranger, but just about everyone has a cell phone these days. And the restaurant has a phone as well. Even though they were in clear view of a packed restaurant and no less than four people walked by during the attack, not a single one of them called 911 to help this young couple.

Luckily, DB's sister and her boyfriend showed up just in time to prevent the worst possible ending to the story. A call was placed to 911 and DB was treated for his injuries rather than taken to the morgue. The attackers were not caught. Everyone was eventually all right physically. I have no doubt that the mental and emotional scars will take longer to heal.

Trent and I were once again left to wonder about whether humans are humane any more. Were the people who refused to do so much as make a phone call any better than the attackers themselves? Granted, they didn't wield any weapons or try to take anything that wasn't theirs. But they showed no mercy nonetheless. I simply can't comprehend it.

I have always been a very protective person by nature. On more than one occasion, I have put myself in front of danger in order to preserve another's safety. I have stepped in front of a man almost a foot taller than me who was going to beat up another man who was shorter than me. I didn't know until later that he was possibly on the verge of a violent psychotic break. All I knew was that someone needed help. And when someone made the mistake of letting a disgruntled customer into our secure, restricted-access department, it was me who boldly approached him and told him that he had to leave. Thank goodness it didn't end up being one of those dreadful stories you hear as a lead-in on the evening news. In both cases I may have taken risks that were unwise, but at the time they seemed necessary. I had to make sure that my fellow humans were safe.

And that's what this is all about after all, isn't it? If we have the chance to possibly save lives by taking a minute or two to simply make a phone call, why wouldn't we? And who knows, there may be a time when the life that a call saves may be our own.




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