Wednesday, July 16, 2008

How Good Are We?

On a similar topic as yesterday, this article in the Washington Post today examines several news stories of people in great peril - where bystanders did nothing.

I have great stories in my life of times when strangers helped me. Or helped my friends. I shudder to think of some of the things that could have happened if there weren't people there at the right moment who were willing to help.

This general apathy has really be concerning me for some time now. Some of you might remember my "Who's Job is it to Care" moment from a year or so ago. I worry about it even more now that city life is desensitizing me to extreme poverty, to homelessness, and to crime.

About six months ago I watched a man punch a woman in the face outside a train station. I was sitting on a bus. I didn't know what to do. I did nothing.

About four or five days ago, I walked by a young woman lying on the street. She looked normal but was asleep with a star-patterned notebook in her hand. I wanted to wake her up and make sure she was okay, but I was alone. Instead, I did nothing.

I already told the story of the little baby at the coffee shop. Again, I did nothing.

I think its important for me to find a safe way to reconnect to the work I used to do. A safe and productive way to help people in need. And I simply cannot continue to do nothing. I need to find a way to say something. A way to do something. A way to interact with all those people that need help - without compromising my safety. I don't quite know how to do that, but I need to try.

(We all do.)

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