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The Bystander Effect

I was hesitant to first post about this and then I realized if I didn’t, I’d be just like the handful of people that watched, murmured to themselves ‘Wow that’s sad’, and went on with their lives. Not that me writing about it is going to make that drastic of a change, but at the least, I can know I’m one more person saying how wrong it is. That might sound simple, but honestly how many times do we walk by something wrong and simply put our head down. ALL THE TIME. It’s called the Bystander Effect. The greater number of people present, the less amount of responsibility we seem to place on ourselves for helping someone in distress. Another kid could easily have stood up for Jonah but at that age do we really expect them? Truth is – yes we should but unfortunately it’s the sad state of the world we live in. One could say those were just kids doing the standard bullying and teasing that happens all the time in the adolescent years, yet even as adults, we still seem to throw our back shoulder to situations that don’t effect us.

The most telling thing in the video above is that as soon as one person decided to help, someone else came. All it really takes is the first person standing up to what the apparent norm is. The problem is too many people are afraid of being the first person. Unfortunately (or I guess fortunately) in the Jonah Mowry case, he had to be his own first person.

The Bystander Effect is solely a case of people being followers and not leaders. People become uncomfortable stepping outside their comfort level, even if it means doing what’s right. We’re so inundated by the thoughts of others and seem fine with staying within society’s metaphorical ‘box’. Like Charlie Chaplin said in what is truly one of the greatest speeches ever, “We Think Too Much and Feel Too Little”.

3 responses »

  1. This should have been under the ‘WHAT THE HELL IS THIS’ part of your blog. Jonah, its called life, everyone has problems, nobody wants to hear about yours, part of life is dealing with your problems so just do it and if that’s too hard for you then go take a prozac in some dark corner. As for the bystanders, the more followers around, the more opportunities for the leaders to rise higher so not really an issue there either.

    • Sounds like you have some Yogi Berra logic. Not sure if I’d consider someone dying on the side of the road an ‘opportunity for a leader to stand up.’ I’d probably consider it someone dying on the side of the road. It’s like saying lets create a lot of diseases since it means more opportunities for smart scientists to rise higher.

      • You misunderstood me. I meant someone walking by is just an opportunity for you to rise up and be a leader and stop and help.

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