To help or not to help
I was watching a short documentary on TV last night that had people tell their stories of how they were beaten up, bullied and stabbed and whether by-standers came to their aid or not.
In one story an innocent bystander was punched to the ground and kicked in the head by 2 guys until he was unconscious just for looking at the wrong person. Luckily for him an older couple were crossing the road at the time and intentionally created enough of a scene that the 2 guys strolled off and were never found or convicted. After recovering from his injuries, the victim is so thankful for the people who helped him and believe he wouldnt be a live today if it wasnt for them.
In another story a teenage girl and her friend were confronted by a pack of girls on a bus. One of the hoodlums took a disliking to one of the girls and ended up punching her to the floor and jumping on her face and chest. Despite her screams for help, none of the other passengers came to her aid and in fact was told to be quiet by one of them. This girl still suffers from nightmares and anxiety attacks since the attack, a loss of confidence in herself and others for not helping her.
The 3rd story was about this young guy who decided to help these little kids who were being bullied for money. As he approached the other group who were also quite young and confronted them, he was stabbed in the heart later dying in hospital.
Also only 12 months ago in my own city, a man who tried to help a woman who was being mugged, was stabbed to death while she got off with minor cuts and bruises and most likely some anxieties from the attack.
So where am I going with all this? I guess there is an expectation that if somebody is being attacked then as by-standers we are obliged to come to their aid even if it means risking our own life. Why is this?
Twenty years ago, before I began training in Aikido, this would have been my first impulse. I would have a righteous anger that would motivate me to help the victim and put my own life at risk. Afterall I would want somebody to do the same for me.
But today with my Aikido training I find myself less likely to want to get involved in altercations. I am more concerned with my self preservation like the people on the bus were, than to help somebody in distress. I am a little concerned about this mind set because I once believed that if I knew Aikido I would go to anybodies aid, Im not so sure now.
If you saw somebody pointing a handgun in the face of an innocent by-stander and demanding money would you intervene?