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Moral Obligation

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You see a woman being stabbed to death in the street. Do you step in to stop it, or do you call the police? Residents in Kew Gardens did neither.
The article “38 Who Saw Murder Didn’t Call the Police” is about a neighborhood in Queens that watched a woman get impaled repeatedly by an attacker in the middle of a dark street. They gazed down at this lurid act from the comfort of their domiciles. The only deterrent for the attacker was a man who shouted from his window at the start of the attack, and the flickering of lights as people woke to the noise of the disturbance. The assailant was scared off twice, but came back sporadically to finish his task. As 35 minutes of brutality elapsed, not a single call was made to the police.
So why not call the police? Why didn’t one of those “respectable citizens” do something? The police were finally notified when the attack was over. They arrived at the scene in two minutes. Two minutes! The woman was attacked for more than half an hour. One conjecture is that the witnesses didn’t want to be rash and get involved. A man called a friend to ask for advice then asked a neighbor to call the police. That’s stupidity. One couple who witnessed the attack turned the lights off in their apartment so they could see the murder better. That is more revolting than the crime itself. Any one of those people could have saved that lady’s life. Instead, their apathy was her condemnation.
This situation is incomprehensible. Why would someone not want to prevent a murder? It is not bad to help a dying woman. It is a moral obligation.



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