It might be late, but the street is busy. It might be dark It wasnt rigged you’re just a loser shirt, but there is sufficient street lighting to see. Despite the brutal assault lasting a few minutes, nobody makes any attempt to stop the man. The bystander first notices the situation, correctly labels this as an emergency, assumes responsibility for helping, decides how to help, and implements the decision to help – at least, that is how most people would react on their own. When alone, defining a situation is straightforward because we use our own judgment, whereas in a group of strangers, a process known as ‘social comparison’ takes place where everyone looks to other’s reactions to define the situation. If others lack worry or do nothing, the likelihood of the victim being helped is significantly reduced.
Enlist the help of other bystanders. Tell them what to do – it is in our nature to respond to direct requests. Check they understand what you are asking, even if it is a simple request, getting a ‘yes’ reinforces the request and makes people more likely to stick to the plan. Ask others to keep an eye out for trouble or police or ambulance. People need a purpose, even if it is doing nothing. I haven’t seen this subject covered yet. I’m not sure how common this misconception is but it’s common enough that it happened at least twice back in my EMT days. The worst part is the party that acted poorly were immediate family members of the original patient and should have known better. I use the word poorly because I think calling them dumb or stupid may be too harsh. Stay with me. We get a call of a male adult having a grand mal seizure. My partner and I arrive at the house and immediately recognize the house because we’ve been there before for this same reason.