How could this happen

Updated: 2014-06-04 08:14

(China Daily)

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A group of people beat a woman to death at a McDonald's outlet in Zhaoyuan, Shandong province, last week after she refused to give her telephone number to them. What's perhaps more tragic than the murder of the innocent woman is the indifference of the onlookers who refused to intervene and save the victim for fear of being targeted by the assailants, says an article in Beijing News. Excerpts:

From videos taken by witnesses, at least five young men were present at the scene of the crime but not one of them intervened to save the woman. The men were seen either wandering in the eatery as if nothing was happening or were hiding behind doors watching the assailants beat the helpless victim. In an indifferent society where onlookers refuse to offer a hand to those in urgent need, people are bound to feel unsafe and insecure.

Some may argue that ordinary people should not risk their lives to stop such violence (or crimes) because it is the job of police officers to arrest criminals and maintain law and order. But instead of being passive onlookers while an innocent is being beaten to death, people can at least try to help the victim. For example, they can intervene as a group, which will greatly increase their strength, to save the victim.

In a civilized society, a person can rely on the law and law enforcement officers, rather that his/her individual strength and bravery, for his/her safety and security. Yet when help from police fails to arrive in time, there is something one could do to help people under fatal threat, instead of standing at the crime scene as an "indifferent onlooker".

Everyone is responsible for the tragedy in Zhaoyuan. Hopefully, the deadly lesson will prompt every member of society to change their thinking and sense of social responsibility, and set a good example for the younger generations to follow.

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