An acquaintance retold of a recent experience when she was trying to leave a parking space so that another motorist could take it. The other driver misunderstood what she was doing. He was trying to drop off a passenger and in his anger then unloaded the luggage in such a way as to prevent my acquaintance from driving out of the space. He then went into a verbal assault on her and a physical assault of her car. She was terrified and wanted to leave the scene as fast as possible, so did not do what many hearing the story felt she should have done–dial for emergency help (911 in the US) and report the assault. Her instincts were in clear flee mode. Not that surprising.
She was shocked that people nearby, who could see and hear what was going on, did not intervene. Several of us had possible explanations for that, some of which included the general tendency to not intervene, especially in the face of ignorance about what had started the altercation. Many take the view that violent confrontations between people are not where you tread. In the same vein, it’s clear that many people will not get into situations which they fear may turn into confrontations, even if they are facing behaviour that they find annoying at least and highly offensive or insulting at worst. Minding your own business now often means keeping your silence or hiding your displeasure rather than uttering or showing your upset.
The story of the good Samaritan has many modern representations. Has fear of personal injury or worse now come to stand as a main reason for not seeking to help? But, think. If in your own mind you are afraid to help or even see if help is needed, should you be surprised that help is not forthcoming?