Stand 'up' and not 'by'

What would you do?

Author: John Turchin, Crime Specialist, jturchin@local10.com
Published On: Mar 05 2012 08:53:12 AM EST   Updated On: Mar 05 2012 01:54:13 PM EST
MIAMI -

It is a predicament I suspect many of us have faced at least once in our lifetime: jump in and help a victim of a crime or someone in trouble - or stand idly by.

Lately, I have been extremely impressed by the actions of a handful of Good Samaritans who sprang into action - deciding to help someone in trouble - thinking of others before themselves. GREAT JOB!

There was the thug who was grabbed and physically thrown off a Broward bus by a handful of passengers after he punched the driver in the face. Then, there were the bystanders who came to the aid of a 79-year-old woman who was ambushed and thrown to the pavement as she withdrew money from an ATM. There are so many more examples. One can only speculate as to what might have happened had none of these people intervened.

If you're like me, you're probably thinking 'I would have done the same thing.'

Would you?

I understand not wanting to get involved in a difficult predicament. By stepping out of your way to help someone else you risk endangering yourself and experiencing other possible unforeseen consequences. Many people don’t want to get involved today because of the possibility of litigation.

However, I’m a firm believer that the witness of a crime or act of violence definitely has the obligation to at least do something to try to stop it – no matter what!

I can understand how 'saying' something is easier than actually 'performing' the action when put in the situation. We aren’t perfect so we can’t help but have bias opinions and unconscious decisions factor into how we handle a situation.

Here's my take: If you're ever faced with a decision to help someone in need - or not -- keep something in mind: When you are a bystander you are allowing the crime to happen, and therefore you are just as guilty. Being a bystander is just as bad as being the perpetrator.

While some might say the Good Samaritan is an endangered species today, I say bull!

Just take a look in the mirror -- another is born every day. Right?