Overruling Greed: The Case of Wang Yue

Posted: October 21, 2011 by jerkmag in VAULT -- archives
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[[Editor’s Note: Since the writing of this post, Yue has succumbed to her injuries and passed away early Friday morning in China.]]

Two-year-old Wang Yue was critically injured after being hit by two vehicles within a span of several minutes in Foshan, China on Oct. 13. No one stopped to help her, though it is visible in footage from nearby surveillance cameras that several people walked by her between and after the two incidents.

Passers-by were criticized heavily for not stopping to help. I think instead of criticizing them automatically, it’s much more effective to question why they acted in that way. Basic human nature would seem to be more likely to drive us to help others, but I may be wrong about that premise.

Historically, there have been cases like the infamous murder of Kitty Genovese in March 1964, in which people stood by as a despicable crime happened. In the case of Kitty Genovese, that reaction has become known as the bystander effect. However, I don’t think that’s applicable in the case of this two-year-old. It seems more likely that no one stopped to help this little girl because they were afraid it was a scam or they feared being accused of contributing to her injuries and thus incurring partial liability.

If that’s true, then we should ask ourselves: Is this what our world has come to? That we are so entrenched in our own greed that we punish people for acts of kindness. It’s no wonder that more often than not, people won’t stop to help each other, even in times of crisis, for fear of being blamed. It is truly sad that we have become so scared (with reason) of being sued for our actions—whether well intentioned or not—that we now hesitate to help others in dire need.

Unfortunately, I don’t see that changing any time soon, if ever.

-Erin Elzo

  1. […] you’re not of Chinese descent, it’s doubtful  that you even know anything about the Chinese culture whatsoever. Why is it that we still live in a world where different Asians don’t seem […]

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