Friday, July 25, 2014


Americans are obsessed with violence and are more and more seeing it as a form of entertainment. Contact sports is a prime example; the bloodier the better. There's nothing that pumps them up more than witnessing over sized kids pummel each other mindless just to entertain themselves.

It's gotten so bad in fact that parents are willing to sacrifice their kids to the "game"claiming it builds character and being completely mindless about the potential and very real danger they subject their children to.

It also plays out in the streets when a recent incident in front of a nightclub in which a woman was literally pummeled to death by 2 other women while a cadre' of pumped up gawkers grabbed their cell phones; not to call 911 but to record the action. 

The bystander effect
is an inherent trend among people, however, in recent years and with the aid of technology, an entirely new social phenomenon has been born. One that takes the bystander effect a step further. With desensitization that has become a natural byproduct of the Internet and the media, as well as the social media craze that has enticed a generation to capture everything they see, the notion to pull out a camera in the most inappropriate of times has become as monotonous and predictable as the workings of an assembly line.

In the case of Kim, she was knocked unconscious before her attackers continued to beat her. Not surprisingly, there is video footage of the event, with bystanders crowded around, cell phones in hand.

Bystanders are not just avoiding involvement as in the case of Kitty, they are, in fact, directly involving themselves in the incident, but not doing anything to stop it. Yes, film has helped authorities make arrests, but it doesn't save lives.

It’s discouraging to think that we have become a culture that is more likely to record an incident, such as the beating of Kim Pham, rather than make any effort to prevent the worst possible outcome. But after all, we are a generation that chooses to stare emotionless through a screen. If the person next to you started dancing, you would probably instinctively reach for your phone.

If you turned around to notice a beautiful sunset, your hand would probably find it’s way to your pocket while you fumbled for the camera icon. And if a 23-year-old were being mercilessly beaten on the street, too many of us would once again reach for our phones, perhaps excited by the thought of uploading it online later on, or texting it to a friend.