The bystander effect

This is a discussion on The bystander effect within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I happened to read this information and I copied it here FWIW. In 1964, a woman named Kitty Genovese was beaten and killed in an ...

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Thread: The bystander effect

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    The bystander effect

    I happened to read this information and I copied it here FWIW.


    In 1964, a woman named Kitty Genovese was beaten and killed in an attack witnessed by dozens of people, none of whom intervened. In studies to understand this phenomenon, psychologists discovered the “bystander effect” (sometimes called the “Genovese effect” after the victim), which says that the more bystanders witness an attack, the less likely it is that any individual will intervene. Each individual witness believes that someone else will intervene, and that their action is therefore not needed.

    In a follow-up study to explore the effect of race in this equation, psychologists found that if a lone individual witnessed an attack by a white person on a black person, they were more likely to intervene than when they witnessed a white-on-white attack. When confronted with a racialized situation, most people feel compelled to intervene because not to intervene would make them feel like racists. In cases where other witnesses were present, the subjects were actually less likely to intervene in a white-on-black attack than similar subjects witnessing a white-on-white attack. In these instances, the presence of other potential interveners allows the subject to avoid the self-accusation of racism — they can tell themselves that they’re staying out of it because someone else will intervene, not because they’re racist.
    Turn the election's in 2014 to a "2A Revolution". It will serve as a 1994 refresher not to "infringe" on our Second Amendment. We know who they are now.........SEND 'EM HOME. Our success in this will be proportional to how hard we work to make it happen.

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    DISCOVERED the bystander effect? Pretty simple, there have always been cowards in the world (although a large portion of them moved to France, years ago)...and there always will be!

    I wonder how much money the government spent to figures this out?
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    Member Array svinfinity45's Avatar
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    There was a story more recently I remember. It was that video at the gas station of a guy getting shot at the pump, and the other costomers just stood there while he fell on the ground, and I think a few even left. After being interviewed I think some of them said they were "afraid to help"
    Last edited by Bumper; October 11th, 2008 at 03:03 AM. Reason: language edited

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    This is real....it's all around us. You can only depend on yourself. For the life of me, I cannot understand anyone who would ultimately depend on others when their life is at stake. It's simply impossible. Most of the public are willing to turn their heads. What does it mean in the end? Too many are willing and accepting evil in their hearts. This is the only answer.

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    Real, and sad. :(

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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinfinity45 View Post
    Real, and sad. :(
    Real for sure. Sad? Yes, that too for most. But when one fully realizes what human beings are capable of, it's not surprising.

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    Ever watched a herd of animals being hunted by a predator in the wild? When one is brought down, the others do not go rushing to thier aid.(with one exception that I will get to) they typically stand there with a "Glad that was not me, sucks to be you, where is the grass" type demeanor...much like the folks that watch others being harmed.

    Humans are animals with many of the same traits as other herd animals. We have a desire to self-preserve as that increases our odds to move our genes on down the line.


    Now, the exception. Children. Animals in the wild will put themselves in harms way in order to protect offspring, often times even if it is not their own. This too increases the odds of passing ones genes into the future. Call is altruism if you will.

    And yes, as an evolutionary biologist, I have actually watched and tested this type of event.... I will freely admit I am a geek.




    In my life, I have a pretty strict order of priority for who I will protect even if it means I may be harmed (because my number one job is to go home to my family at night).
    1. My son
    2. My wife
    3. My family
    4. My self
    5. Close friends

    6. complete strangers.... ? more than likely you are own your own. again, My job is to go home to my family.



    What i do not get is the idea that I often feel like I see where the fact that someone is carrying makes them feel like they are supposed to "save the day"...Its almost a pseudo-hero complex to a small degree.

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    Sad fact for sure, I often wonder how people feel abou tthemselves after the fact. Do they ever wake up at night, hearing the pleas for help, and think "why didn't I try?"

    I also wonder what the BG thought of when he heard the woman he beat's last name was "Genovese", do you think he had to change his shorts?
    "Don't hit a man if you can possibly avoid it; but if you do hit him, put him to sleep." - Theodore Roosevelt

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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paco View Post
    Sad fact for sure, I often wonder how people feel about themselves after the fact. Do they ever wake up at night, hearing the pleas for help, and think "why didn't I try?"
    To heck with them. Their choice has already been made long before it happened. Those who's names are not written in the book of life. They will be repaid ten-fold for their worth.
    Last edited by Ram Rod; October 9th, 2008 at 04:21 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paco View Post
    Sad fact for sure, I often wonder how people feel abou tthemselves after the fact. Do they ever wake up at night, hearing the pleas for help, and think "why didn't I try?"

    I also wonder what the BG thought of when he heard the woman he beat's last name was "Genovese", do you think he had to change his shorts?
    I would imagine that there is a degree of PTSD or "survivors guilt" that one would go through, but keep in mind you have to be alive to experience either one. Also, humans have an amazing ability to re-think a situation to convince themselves that actions that they took (or didn't) were the right ones.


    We all see things everyday that we generally choose to ignore.

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    Member Array svinfinity45's Avatar
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    There's a post on here right about if you even could have done something but didn't and how you felt about it. I've had a few of those experiences, and in the times I DID help...EVERY TIME (well twice), I actually got yelled at by the responding LEO with something along the lines of "nobody likes a dead hero, you should have just called us and waited". Note that both times I wasn't carrying, this was before I was of permit-age. Both times it was trying to help a male vs female altercation.

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    I think that's pride and arrogance talking - no one but them could have handled the situation. I saw a paramedic helping a car accident victim and my uncle, an ER doc, was about 4 blocks away. I asked if he wanted me to go get him. He got real nasty, and said "No, I've got it under control". Real jerk.

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    I can only wonder those that don't help, have held back because of stories they have read or heard of someone trying to stop a fight or a situation and the good Samaritan gets killed due to the big heart they had in helping the victim.
    Read my story.

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    I think most people don't react because they have never even considered "waht they would do if..."

    Just a trite example of this: I was on a Whitewater rafting excursion at the US national whitewater training ceneter the other day and while surfing a class 3 hydraulic (where the wave action holds the boat in one place "against the current"), the boat shifted and I went sailing over the side, but still had my foot hooked in. With a big grunt, I managed to do a monster sit-up and get back onto the boat.

    Before I could get low in the boat, another wave threw back out, again with my foot hooked in. This time I could not get back in, was laid out backwards with my entire upper body flopping on and under the water. As lay there getting water up my nose, I reached out with my arm for help - NO ONE in the boat would reach out, grab my hand and help me back in. Why?

    As they said once I managed to get back in the boat "it all just seemed to happen so fast," and "I couldn't believe it, even as I watched it."

    No wonder chance favors the prepared mind.

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    Have you guys seen the video of the old man getting hit by two cars and for minutes people drive by and look at him or walk by and point and talk about it, but noone goes to his aid. After lying there for a few, he picks himself up, and that is when 1 person goes to help him...

    I've been involved in a few incidents where the bystander effect got me. One was a bar fight where 2 guys were smacking a smaller guy around over a seat. I was 2 bar stools away from them, and just arrived at the bar (so I was sober) but as everyone gawked, so did I. Finally the bartender threw a napkin holder at one of the jerks to break it up. The smaller guy turned and thanked everyone for their help as it ended, and thats when people reacted.

    In Germany, if you witness a vehicle accident you have to stop to help. I was in country for about 2 months and decided to go on a USO tour to see some castles. While in the tour bus on the way to the first castle, we rolled up to a multi-car pile up. The bus driver called for ambulances and we all sat there. 35 soldiers and spouses "combat trained" sat there. One of the soldiers was a medic and he jumped up and grabbed his medic bag as he ran by me, it woke me out of my daze. 5 of us ran to help and as the ambulances pulled up. Still sticks with me when someone trapped in a car is told by the medics that they aren't going to make it...

    In a violent situation, like a fight at a club, I would rather everyone stand around then more people join in. Bystander effect over mob mentality...
    "carrying a gun is a lot lighter than carrying a cop in your pocket" -MrTwice99

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