I was 17 years old in 1964 when Queens, New York resident Kitty Genovese was stabbed to death. Her killer stabbed her twice and then came back half an hour later to finish the job. She was nearly home when it happened, and portions of the attack were witnessed by at least a dozen people, who did not intervene. One man called out, "Leave her alone!" Another man called the police. The rest did nothing.
The public's reaction to the neighbors' apathy that night of the murder was both horrified and introspective. There was much discussion of the Bystander Effect, a psychological phenomen in which a person is less likely to interfere in an emergency if there are other people standing by who could also help but don't. Yet the same person, if alone, might help.
Is that what happened in Hartford, CT last Friday, when a 78 year old man was the victim of a hit and run and no one came to his rescue? The whole sorry incident was caught on video and if you want to know how long 50 seconds is-- that's how long it took for someone even to step into the street although that person still did not approach Mr. Torres, or take any particular role in trying to stop the cars headed straight toward Mr. Torres.
This hit and run came on top of another sad story earlier this week on Monday when former Deputy Mayor Nicholas Carbone was robbed and beaten so severely that he remains hospitalized in fair condition. Mr. Torres is in critical condition.
The Hartford Courant is covering the soul-searching the city is experiencing right now about the level of violence in Hartford, which is not unlike what Springfield MA has been going through since the death of Mario Hornsby Jr. Digging to the roots of violence is hard work andI can only wish all of us well