Bystanders: Always on standby – never willing to act.
I took this photo just before 5pm today on my way home from work. It is not a fake, those are real people who are not posing for a shot. No one knew I took this photo. I did not get permission from the 2 main subjects or the morons standing around watching them to put this photo on the internet. You can click it to see a larger version. Take a good look at it and try to imagine the gut wrenching pain the girl is feeling, made even worse by the total idiot sat next her who simply will not leave her alone.
The story why I took the photo is simple. It’s about 4.55pm and I’m sat on a bench waiting for the bus and enjoying the afternoon sunshine. Walking along the road are the 2 people in the photo, we’ll call them Mr X and Miss X. They were arguing, well, Miss X was shouting at Mr X to get away from him, to leave her alone. She was crying and trying to push him away. Her voice is loud enough to get my attention. I don’t like bullies and have stood up to more than a few in my life. For the moment I watch them and sup the rest of my Vimto.
Still arguing they walk through the crowd who are waiting for busses and out of my sight. I figure it’s just boyfriend and girlfriend arguing, nothing more. I get up and go in search of a bin for my empty bottle and I hear them – her actually, shouting at Mr X and really sobbing. I watch them carefully as I walk by, Mr X was constantly putting his hand on her knee or leg or trying to hug her. Miss X is sobbing, her eyes are red and she seems exhausted by what I believe to be a very long argument.
I plop my bottle in the bin and stroll back.
Miss X is pushing Mr X away, I hear a few snippets of their argument, she says something like: “I don’t want anything to do with you now I know what you are.” And there is something about a dog: “How could you do that to the dog.” To which Mr X says something like: “I loved that dog too…”
Weird stuff. Clearly a lot of pain and anxiety there. He is quite forceful with the way he touches her, keeps trying to pull her toward him. I’m growing more pissed with each second. It’s about that time I take the photo above. Straight after that I approach them and kindly ask Mr X to back away as it’s obvious that he is causing her distress. He tells me to fuck off.
I step forward closer and repeat what I said, how he should leave her alone or I’ll be forced to call the Police. I didn’t know what else to do. Mr X is young and either very VERY stupid, possibly mentally challenged or he was drunk/stoned or high. 10 years ago I would have physically removed him from the situation and dropped him to the ground as quickly as possible. But times are different, people carry knives for some stupid reason, and it’s not worth my while getting injured.
So I do the best thing I can think of, I call the Police.
Mr X doesn’t care. He shoutes: “Fuck off, she’s my girlfriend.” Like that’s an okay reason for causing so much distress to another human. Fucking wanker. He says he doesn’t give a shit if I call the Police. Here’s the really horrible part: Miss X looks up at me, with red eyes and tear streaked face, lips quivering, physically shaking, and says to me: “Please get him away from. Make him go away.”
I tell Mr X I’m calling the Police if he doesn’t leave her alone. He gets to his feet and sees me for the first time. I’m quite a big guy, easily 2-3 times bigger than him and in a fight he wouldn’t stand a chance. I know, I know, guys always thinking with their fists but it’s the way we’re built. That’s a good thing because whilst he’s looking at me, telling me to fuck off and mind my own business, Miss X is up and away! She runs across the car park. She has a good twenty second head start on Mr X, and they are both still in my sights when the lady at the end of 999 asks what service I want.
I explain the sitation to the Cops; time, location, description of both of them. When the call ends Mr X has chased Miss X behind the car park possibly heading toward Iceland supermarket. I do not pursue them and am told by the 999 lady that police are in fact in the area and on their way. She thanks me for my time and I go and catch my bus.
Okay. Story over.
Simple tale of an out of control argument where someone steps in to try and resolve what could have become more serious. I’m no hero and that wasn’t a heroic act, and should not be viewed as one. However it should be viewed as commonplace, something we all do for each other when we see people who need help.
I decided to write this because of the shocking display of disinterest from the crowd of people standing a few feet from Miss X and her idiot boyfriend Mr X. The photo doesn’t really highlight the crowd but trust me there must have been around 20 people standing there. And no one cared! Before I took that photo I looked around at the crowd and really didn’t like what I saw.
Okay, I understand if the elderly folks didn’t notice or didn’t want to get involved, they wouldn’t risk a beating from some strange boy or even being pushed over is enough to break bones etc. But what about the other people? There were 2 goth types looking in the other direction, but they knew there was a problem. Bastards. And what about the lady in the black jacket and white trousers on her phone? Happily chatting to her mates, uncaring that a girl was in trouble right in front of her!
I’m not sure if I really want to labour this point
…or if I’m starting to sound like I’m preaching to the world just because I did a kind thing. BUT the fact that no one else helped or even looked bothered really made me feel sick. What the hell is wrong with the world where someone in need of help is ignored by everyone around them?
Yes I know that is a problem all around the world, the poor are ignored by the rich, and the rich/poor divide grows and grows. The helpless go unhelped en mass and the world is slowly circling the toilet…blah blah blah. I think part of the problem is the society we live in. Every day there are reports of youths carrying knives and guns, pensioners/kids/mothers/fathers etc being stabbed or shot over the most trivial of things and nothing ever seems to happen does it? EVER!
Someone gets stabbed in rough neighbourhood
…and we watch a 3 minute news clip on the evening news, maybe a local politician says a few words to express his disgust over the attack. Perhaps some kid is arrested and charged, released within weeks despite the serious nature of his crime. In essence this sort of thing is over and done with in the blink of an eye. And the world moves on. No one cares.
And gangs think it’s fine to carry weapons. Young people accept that certain people will carry guns and knives, hey it’s part of society now, right? And that is a huge – H U G E – reason why people will stand idly by and not help a fellow human being in trouble.
I just feel ranting about this kind of absurd behavior until my fingers bleed and my head explodes! How has this kind of attitude crept into our society? Since when has apathy been at the forefront of English society? I reckon at least a few people who read this will shake their heads and state how wrong I am, that stuff like that wouldn’t happen in their neighbourhood…yeah right, and bacon airplanes land on my plate every morning.
Our attitude toward each other has really taken a turn down WhoGivesAShit Alley, right next to I’mASelfishBastard Street.
Seriously. Look around you. People like Miss X are being harassed by Mr X every minute, and vice versa. And it isn’t fair. School kids shout and push their teachers because they know the teachers CAN’T do anything about it. Kids out on the streets act like they own the place, common thugs, spitting and shouting in the faces of old ladies! I’m not joking. I see this kind of behaviour every day and I happen to live in a fairly decent part of the country.
The problem is that the newest generations are being taught that there are no consequences for their actions, and there never will be. There is no deterrent big enough to make them pause for thought before they do something wrong. And that in itself is a very grey area – Right and Wrong used to be well-defined and now the edges have been eroded. Children are having a false sense of achievement instilled in them during their educational years. The smallest step forward is hailed as a huge thing; WOW, you made a finger painting of a brown blob with a bit of blue in it – you deserve a Playstation and a big TV! Well done! You are the best ever!!! Er, no, you made a finger painting, it’s good and I’m proud of your achievement but all the other kids in your classroom make one exactly the same, so to summerise – it’s good, i’m happy, you’re happy, end off.
Kids are fed a diet of instant gratification.
They feast on false hope, false achievement and they leave school believing the world owes them something without any hard work. They assume they will be rich and happy without putting in any hard work. They just expect to get it. Thanks to Big Brother instant gratification is the name of the game.
I’m pretty sure Pres Obama said something recently about hard work and commitment is missing from the work place. The worlds media parades contestants from Big Brother, Pop Idol, Britain’s Got Talent (ha, yeah right) and a multitude of other programs designed to make money out of dim-witted morons doing stupid things on TV. Children grow up knowing that hard work is bad, and the get-rich-quick-n-easy-without-any-effort route is the best and only way to live life.
Gosh! That huge rant came from one single unkind act.
Well it just goes to show that everything really is connected. More than most of us realise. Every so often I can’t help but think that the scales are unbalanced and there’s more bad in the world than good. But then you can’t have one without the other and there are plenty of beautiful things on this planet to be thankful for. I yearn for a time where there is more good than bad, or perhaps at least one good deed for every bad one. I would settle for that.
Posted on June 3, 2010, in Human Behaviour, Human Interaction, Society and tagged Big Brother, Bystander, gangs, get rich quick culture, gun culture, idiot society, knife crime. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.