Where have all the empathetic people gone?
That’s a serious question, because there seems to be a huge decline in caring, giving and helpful individuals these days. Many of them have been replaced with WorldStar stans and self-absorbed people doing everything for shock value and attention.
If you live in NYC, I’m sure you’ve heard in the news today that a 58-year-old man was thrown onto train tracks at a subway station yesterday after getting into an argument with a black man deemed “emotionally disturbed.” The victim, Ki-Suck Han, wound up getting hit by an oncoming train as he tried to get up and get back onto the platform. The man who pushed him fled the scene, and as you can see from the controversial New York Post cover, the man died a gruesome death. He was left in critical condition after being trapped between the train and the platform and died at a nearby hospital.
When I heard this horrific story, not only did I feel terrible for Han and his family, but I had to ask myself a serious question after seeing the New York Post cover: How the hell is it that someone had time to take a picture but not enough time to help save this man’s life? I’m not saying jump down and risk your own life, but offer your hand to pull him up. Any attempt is better than none at all. Allegedly the person said they took photos of the scene to alert the oncoming train that a man was on the tracks (but why did you sell the photo later?), but the time used to do that could have actually been used to get him off the track. And there were more than enough people who could have done so. Video of the altercation shows the man yelling and cursing in the face of Suck, and in the video you can see a wealth of people, healthy, tall and presumably strong men and women, standing in the cut, being nosey. Where all these people were when he got thrown off the platform, I’m not sure.
And this happens a lot more often than it should these days. You might remember the post we did not too long ago about a man who was caught on a subway in New York late at night trying to put his hand up the skirt of the woman who was asleep sitting next to him. Instead of immediately coming for the creep, a man sitting across from the two decided to videotape the touchy-feely fest for a good few minutes before saying anything. When asked by pretty much everybody why he didn’t stop the man immediately, he claimed he wanted to have “video evidence” to show MTA officials. However, it seemed he videotaped the mess to show people online, get clicks, and feel important. And of course, that “video evidence” didn’t help, because the man got away.
When I think about stories like this, I often think of a short story by David Sedaris from his book, Me Talk Pretty One Day called “I Almost Saw This Girl Get Killed.” If you know anything about David Sedaris, a very funny author, his stories are outlandish but meant to make you laugh–and think. The story actually chronicles a day Sedaris went to a fair in France and was bored out of his mind, until he spotted a woman looking like she was about to fall out of a broken ride to her death. Instead of being focused on her well-being, he was thinking about the story he would be able to tell and share, to make himself look better in front of friends, if she did indeed fall:
“The crowd moved closer,” he continues, “and if the other three to four hundred people were anything like me, they watched the young woman and thought of the gruesome story they’d eventually relate to friends over drinks or dinner. In the not-too-distant future, whenever the conversation turned to the subject of fairs or amusement parks, I’d wait until my companions had finished their mediocre anecdotes and then, at just the right moment, almost as an afterthought, I’d say, ‘I once saw a girl fall to her death from one of those rides.’“I estimated the hush that might follow my opening sentence and felt my future listeners leaning forward, just slightly, in their seats.”