The duty to intervene

Five years ago I witnessed a car slam into a moped rider in Paris. After the initial sickening crunch of plastic and metal, there was silence. There were plenty of people about enjoying the warm Paris night, walking near the Eiffel Tower, but no-one seemed to be moving. I ran to the man to see if I could help in some way, telling my companion to ring for an ambulance. There wasn’t a lot I could do, he was conscious, breathing and not obviously bleeding. My limited conversational French was struggling to provide any comfort. Thankfully the Police arrived quickly, and I left.

It was probably only a few seconds that people stood and watched, and I’m sure that someone else would have run forward.

Not so in this video, where a elderly man is hit by a car. Motorists drive round the man, and onlookers just, well, sort of mill around and gaze at the man.

Now I’m sure there is lots of cheap shots to be had at the US’s expense, but I’m sure that this fear of getting involved is not confined to the US. Not all of us would choose to intervene in a mugging where our own physical well being was at risk, but I hope those who stood and watched, or who drove by are suitably ashamed, of their behaviour.