Last night I listened to a programme on Radio 4 on law - "Unreliable Evidence" - which examined the case for establishing a "Good Samaritan" law in England. This law would enable people to be prosecuted if they failed to help someone in distress. It was an interesting discussion and I thought the case for the law was a no brainer, but others thought it unnecessary.
Then the case of the death of a toddler in China was raised and it was the most horrific thing I have ever heard. Caught on CCTV camera a two year old child wanders into the middle of a street in a market place and is run over by a van. As she lies on the ground crying and holding her head passers by ignore her. A second van then drives over her and fails to stop, and still she is ignored. In total 18 people pass by. Eventually a woman street cleaner goes over to the child and drags her to the side - seconds later the distraught mother arrives.
Here is the video. It is HORRIFIC. If you watch it the images will haunt you - you have been warned. No need to watch - the facts speak for themselves. The write up of the incident and what happened is written up in Wiki
So what does this say? Should those people be prosecuted? What happened to harden their hearts to this extent? Are any of us capable of acting in the same way? These are all migrant workers - no sense of community, no commonality, no sense of responsibility to those outside your own sphere. Is there anywhere in the UK where this could happen?
A few years ago I made a programme on the death of Baby P, beaten a tortured to death, no one helped, in fact a lodger helped hide the evidence. Is that so different?
After the horror of the last couple of weeks in Paris and Nigeria - and elsewhere - it is easy to sink into despair. Are we really so callous about our fellow travellers on earth? If so why? Some blame the increasing use of technology that is insidiously turning the world from a place of wonder and potential to a human designed resource that fits exactly our needs and ignores our craving for delight and unpredictability and mystery. When this happens our senses are increasingly numbed. Living in crowded, money driven places where the aim is to amass wealth overrides simple human decency.
I wonder if a law would really help? It may make us feel better after the event that something has happened to the people involved, but would it have stopped it in the first place? Who knows, but this terrible case in China must NEVER happen again.