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Bad Samaritans: Witnesses Stand By as Elderly Man Hit by Car

A graphic and shocking surveillance video shows a 78-year-old man struck by a hit-and-run driver in Hartford, Connecticut. In the minute and a half that followed, before the police passed by, witnesses refused to come to the man's aid.

The video shows cars passing, and dodging the motionless body. A scooter circles the body, and then drives off. Those on the sidewalk continue about their business, or eventually join a circle of gawkers, standing feet from the man but refusing to do anything but stare. Officials did say that four people called 911.

Other countries, aware that common decency is apparently not enough to help a fellow human in need, impose criminal penalties for failing to reasonably help a person in danger.

How would you react in this situation? Should the United States adopt a duty to rescue, holding uninvolved by-passers liable for not helping a person in danger if they are not at risk themselves? Or do citizens have a right to be a Good Samaritan only if they want to? Does dialing 911 count?


Join The Conversation
bengalspice bengalspice 9 years
I remember when I was a little kid and I fainted on the playground because of sunstroke ... and when I came through there were kids kicking sand on me and nudging me with their feet to get up. No one bothered to call one of the playground supervisors to say I had fainted. Thus, I have no faith in people actually doing anything to help people who are injured or sick unless they get something out of it, like being on the front page for being a "Good Samaritan".
milosmommy milosmommy 9 years
I'm sorry but I don't care if someone sues me. I'm helping. I'd rather be sued for trying to help than do nothing at all. I'm actually really glad that the videos don't work on my computer at work. I'm truly sickened.
ohbaby7 ohbaby7 9 years
Also, I really hope the people in that video are getting flack from neighbors and everyone for the lack of action. They should not get away with this either.
ohbaby7 ohbaby7 9 years
it may not be the law, but it disgusting that as a human you could just watch someone die, never even trying to assist them. With the amount of witnesses present, effort could have been made to AT LEAST check if he was breathing.
shanimalcracker shanimalcracker 9 years
Collegegirl, it's because everyone has the mindset that someone else will call or someone else will help. The problem with this though is that if truly everyone has this belief, no one will get help. :(
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 9 years
And it will only get worse, I'm afraid. With the fast paced, manic lifestyle we are all expected to have. With my cancer I have a whole new lease on life. I am going to smell the roses damn it. I am going to just stare at my child as she colors in her coloring books. I am going to be the silly mom who does anything to make her kids laugh. I am going to instill in her that nothing comes above kindness and love.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
It's a shame that we have become so unidentifiable. We don't really know our neighbors, we don't try to meet people in the streets. We are so self-absorbed that we can now say to things like this: "This isn't my problem." It's stinks to be without the internet at church functions...
CollegeGirl CollegeGirl 9 years
What is wrong with people? I can understand not wanting to move someone for fear of worsening their injuries, but the least you can do is call 911 and direct traffic around the man. How can you tell if he's even breathing from across the street? It's absolutely deplorable that out of a crowd that size, only four people called 911.
Kkkkkkkkkkk Kkkkkkkkkkk 9 years
Gosh, i have to agree with everyone else, so, so shocking and sad. I would have assumed that seeing something like that happen in front of you would indeed go into shock, but that the shock would manifest itself in quite the opposite way, ie, you would instinctively run to the person without a moments thought for your own safety or the possible future repercussions of your actions. As everyone else has pointed out, after such a serious accident most people would know better than to try and administer any kind of first aid, but you would at least hold his hand and talk to him to keep him conscious. Everyone knows how important that is!! As Bluesara said, I wouldn't leave an animal in that state (and I have a beautiful three-legged kitty who will attest to that)
janneth janneth 9 years
Just stop the darn traffic! And that scooter! Drove right up to look at the guy! The poor victim could have been run over several times.
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 9 years
10 cars and a scooter passed till the police officer came, i counted. so sad
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 9 years
I'm not gonna lie i'd be shocked for like 2 seconds but then i would go out and help or at least call someone!!
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 9 years
hit and runs are not cool and they way the cars and scooters kept driving is truly sad. i can't believe the society we live in, makes me scared to have children.
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 9 years
i learned about the bystander effect in psychology. everybody thinks that somebody else will call! when i got hit by a car everybody stopped on both sides of the road and the driver was going slooww as hell. i was luckly a person collected my psp and my sandals, idk i felt so loved!! sad i know.
shanimalcracker shanimalcracker 9 years
Terryt18, the story of Kitty Genovese is indeed EXTREMELY upsetting. It makes me sad to know that people will just watch, but oftentimes it is true that masses of people will think that someone has already taken care of the situation, that help is on the way, or that someone more better prepared will help. Of course, this does not justify people's actions, but it does rationalize what's in the minds of people. And to be quite frank, how many of us have passed a car accident on the highway just to rubberneck and then move on? One good article that I read about recently was s pseudo-Psychology experiment in which the doors of a mall had Missing Child signs taped on them. Right beyond the doors was the "missing girl" (who was actually planted there). What the study sought to learn was how many people would: a) notice the little girl and then b) do something about it. Through the time the study was conducted, only TWO people came up to the little girl to ask if she was okay. Many people saw the signs and her, but then just walked away. How's that for the bystander effect in a situation where there isn't even a high possibility of being sued for accidentally physically injuring the victim?! I wish that we as a society were more in tune with helping others, but we have become desensitized and put millions of reasons in our mind for why our helping is not a bad thing. :(
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 9 years
I saw this video on channel 12 news the other night; I was disgusted at how people just looked at the man and walked away. I could NEVER do that to a being, I would be the first one calling for help. This angered me so badly; it shows how humans are losing their morals.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
That video really shocks me. And in some ways it doesn't. I wouldn't be able to just stand the very LEAST hold his hand while you wait for paramedics to get there. It's a very lonely feeling to be injured and have absolutely NO ONE there to comfort you. I saw a video a while back from another country...a man was hit on his motorcycle and killed in an intersection. NOT ONE person stopped, and he was hit multiple times. They treated his body like trash in the street. I just don't understand how that's even possible. I see an injured animal and I'll stop.
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
This is just so sad. I would like to believe that if even one person stepped forward to help, other people would have fallen in and helped too. That's the thing about the bystander effect - people actually want to help and will follow instructions and a clear leader, but don't know what to do on their own. I can't really wrap my brain around that, though. How does it not occur to even one person to go out there and protect him from traffic...?
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Well no one said they had to move him but seriously you could have made sure no other car hit him, could have called the police, and even talked to him calmly until help arrive. It might have helped him to hear someone. I was once walking in Chicago and a witness a drive by and a lady didn't know that it was gun fire. I dragged her with me as I hit the ground. I don't care what they say about lawsuits - how can you just stand there and stare and gawk. You could at least call the police or even talked to the guy. Things are going to happen but I would feel even bad if I stood there and did nothing but look. You can't even be a good witness what will your answer be - I was looking at him and I didn't see anything. This is what saddens me about our world. On a side note it seems the car was trying to pass another one. I can't believe the cars just kept going, I wonder if anyone could have tried to follow the guy.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Well first of all it is not a good idea to physically move someone after a trauma such as this. It is right to wait for the medics to arrive. However, there is no excuse for not one person to go out there and comfort the man until help arrived. I can see that if one person was there talking to the man and comforting him already that everyone else might not bother, but no one bothered and that is truly sad. People have said after this tragedy that it's small town mentality where everyone knows or knows of each other vs. big city where every one is just a number. I say you don't need to be in a small town to feel community. Start by having dinner around the table with your family, by doing volunteer work, team sports, saying hello to your neighbors all of this builds a sense of community.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 9 years
This is where lawyers and judges need to be held accountable too. Juries as well. Settlements have gotten out of hand and unbelievable amounts of money are awarded for the most incongruous incidents. Stories like these always upset me because I seem to happen upon or be a part of accidents more than anyone else I know. First time I came across a person in the street I was only 17. The last a couple months ago in the form of a dead homeless person. All in total 8. I actually carry a roper's knife in my purse because I have actually had to use it to cut a driver out of their seat belt has his truck burned. I don't know why I come across these things, but I have over the years resigned myself to always be prepared and always do all I can do. So I know the ease with which we can help our fellow man, so these people sicken me. They better pray they never need help in that town.
Jazz-Z Jazz-Z 9 years
The video was sadly depressing and shocking and I agree with freegrace that it is fairly indicative "of a society populated by individuals that are growing more selfish and less concerned for their fellow man...." I think it may be a bit financially prejudice as well. I wonder if they would have directed traffic if it had been a George Clooney and his girlfriend. And, there are laws protecting the good samaratan. "Good Samaritan laws (acts) in the United States and Canada are laws/acts protecting from blame those who choose to aid others who are injured or ill. They are intended to reduce bystanders' hesitation to assist, for fear of being sued or prosecuted for unintentional injury or wrongful death." The caveat is the law only applies if you help as a good samaritan and don't take payment for helping.
terryt18 terryt18 9 years
There are plenty of examples of the bystander effect, this being the latest one. I remember from psych class that woman who was raped and stabbed by a murderer and dozens of witnesses heard her cries, yet no one helped. Everyone assumes someone else will help. In this situation, however, it was apparent no one was helping. It would be nice to think that at least one lone human would summon the compassion to jump in to action immediately, instead of milling about and taking time in approaching apprehensively. As for the lawsuit argument, I hope that wouldn't even cross my mind if I were in such a similar situation and a fellow human needed my help.
wakeupandora wakeupandora 9 years
I hope that damn driver is caught - holy crap. But we do live in a lawsuit-happy country, so I can see briefly thinking twice about what to do but come ON!!! At least make the 911 call, scream "HELP" and divert another car from hitting the poor man! You wouldn't be sued for that? This video is horrible. Everyone in it should be ashamed.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
How hard is it to make a cell phone call? I think they should be arrested for criminal neglect.
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