Wednesday, 20 January 2016

The only thing for Evil to Triumph....

Last night I witnessed a minor instance of 'bystander effect' in a fantastic park in our area. There was a boy, probably around 16, riding his bike quite aggresively up to and around very young kids on the path, and braking hard just in time to stop hitting them. It was clearly harassment. There were lots of families around, but none of them (including many dads) said or did anything to stop this. My blood was boiling, but I felt a bit helpless. He had several friends near by, and I wondered how I could effectively stand my ground to set a good example for my kids, but in such a way as to not get him angry.

My eldest who was also seeing this, was getting both upset that he could hit our youngest child, and angry that he was trying to spoil the fun that other kids were having in the park.

So my dog and I stood in the middle of the path while my kids were playing nearby and he rode right up to me and was forced to stop because we were blocking his path. We eyeballed each other, I stood my ground and didn't say anything, before he rode up to another area of the park where bikes are allowed.

I find the bystander effect both fascinating and upsetting. I was saddened that noone else did anything - even those parents whose kids were almost hit. Angry that he thought that kind of behaviour was ok. 

I posted about this incident shortly after on Facebook, and I received a lot of supportive comments from my friends for standing up, which was lovely. But really - is this what society is becoming? Are we setting new standards for normal, so that rude behaviour is tolerated and someone who actually comments on it is applauded? Surely this can't be a good path that we're on if that's the case.

It's a minor version of "The only thing for Evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing".

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