Since I started this blog last summer, pretty much all of my posts have been somewhat serious. That was never really my intention. I don't want people to have the false impression that I walk around all day thinking about things of significance. For the most part, I spend all my time thinking about what's for lunch or how many clean shirts I have left or how the Reds kind of suck. And so, even though the topic of this blog is deathly serious, it may not be all that significant, and you may read it and think, "Wow, that was a really big waste of two minutes of my life." But if you didn't read this, would you really be more productive? Or would you just be playing tetris on your computer?
In my psychology class last week, we learned about the bystander effect. Basically what this means is that a person is more likely to help another if they are the only person around to help. If there are a group of people surrounding the person in need, everyone kind of assumes that "someone else will do it," and so it ends up that no one does anything. The classic example of this is the story about Kitty Genovese in the 1960's, who was attacked and murdered near her apartment in New York City. The attack lasted about thirty minutes. Thirty-eight of Kitty's neighbors watched the attack from their windows, but absolutely no one did anything to help. No one called the police. No one ran down to confront the attacker. They all just thought that, since there were so many people around, surely someone else would take some initiative and do something about the situation. And so, no one did anything, and Genovese's screams for help rang out unanswered.
Tom and I were talking about this last night, and we discovered a way that the bystander effect has an impact in my own life. For whatever reason, there is a group of girls here at Ozark that have this hypothesis that I am going to marry the most beautiful in the world. At least a couple times a week, I hear, "Oh David, you're going to marry a supermodel. We all know it!" And herein lies the problem. All of these girls come up to me and tell me that I'm going to end up with some gorgeous woman, but none of them want to step up and be that woman. They all assume that someone else will do it, I suppose. If every girl I ever meet tells me that I'm going to marry some other girl, then I end up with no girl at all! I am the unfortunate victim of the bystander effect.
So don't let innocent girls get mugged in the street. Do something about it. And don't let awkward, socially inept guys walk around alone. Don't be a bystander. Be a hero.