The Bystander Effect – Would you help?
The Fall of Icarus – Bruegel
Icarus succeeded in flying. with wings made by his father Daedalus, using feathers secured with wax. Ignoring his father’s warnings, Icarus chose to fly too close to the sun, melting the wax, and fell into the sea and drowned.
‘In Brueghel’s Icarus, for instance; how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the plowman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.’
(from ‘Musee des Beaux Arts’ by W.H. Auden)
The Murder of Catherine Genovese
Catherine Genovese was just getting home from work at 3:15 AM in the Kew Gardens suburb of Queens, NY, back in March 1964. As she entered her apartment building, Winston Moseley stabbed her twice in the back. Just before collapsing to the ground, she screamed out for help “Oh my god, he stabbed me, help me!” which was heard by several neighbors who chalked it up to a lover’s spat.
Moseley was temporarily scared off by one neighbor yelling out his window “let that girl alone!” but returned ten minutes later to finish what he started. He found Catherine at the rear of her apartment building, unable to get in the locked door. Moseley stabbed Catherine multiple times and proceeded to rape her toward the end after she stopped fighting. When he was done, he stole what little cash she had and left the scene.
According to reports, there were approximately twelve witnesses who heard the first attack who later said the reason they “just didn’t want to get involved.” They all assumed someone else would call the police.