Saturday, January 26, 2013

Failure to act is still an act

Why does there apparently have to be a new Kitty Genovese incident to shock the nation every generation? Why don't we teach even the most basic levels of civic involvement? Why did I have to be in a college psych class before someone in an academic setting brought up the concept of diffusion of responsibility?


The Kitty Genovese attack was a travesty, I don't condone the inaction but I at least understand the idea of fearing to walk into the darkness from the safety of your Queens apartment toward screaming and violence, or assuming that someone else has already taken steps.

But on August 11 in Steubenville three parties worth of teenagers just sat back and watched as a girl was used and degraded in front of their eyes.

These teenagers looked at all of the people around and saw with their naked eyes that no one was lifting a finger. They left their expensive-world literally at your fingertips-phones in their pockets instead of dialing the police or parents to tell the story of what they were seeing. That is, the ones that were not using these phones to memorialize the scene.

They listened later as her attackers bragged, and they certainly learned as her supposed protectors failed her.

I hope that this eats at the voyeuristic and impotent men and women of Steubenville for the rest of their lives. I hope that they know with a burning sickness in the pit of their stomachs that by participating (yes participating) in a scenario which allowed a girl to be treated as if she was an object, a toy, as so much less than human that she was literally turned into a urinal, that they effectively abdicated their OWN humanity.

I hope that they have long lucid lives in which to contemplate their complicit participation in rape.