Sunday, May 03, 2009

A crisis of conscience

I've pondered the question many times. If someone were in trouble, and if I was in a position to help, would I do it? After many hypotheticals and deep contemplation, I always ended up tabling a response. Too many factors come into play. The situation is generic, but many different micro-situations surrounding it are unpredictable.
Questions come up like, if I helped the person, would I put more people at risk? What is the risk to me? What is the possibility that my help actually does any good, after all, to quote George Bernard Shaw, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions".

Well, today was the first time I was tested on whether or not what choice I would make.
I was driving down Buswell Street today in Richmond heading north towards Saba Road. There was an old person opening his car on the other side of the street. There was a younger person beside/behind him no more than 30 years old. Suddenly, the younger guy swung a white plastic bag at the older man. The bag broke and cans and other things spewed onto the pavement.
At this point, I was just passing them. I looked into my side view mirrors and then I saw the younger guy looking down and punching him from above.

I contemplated about pulling over and coming out to help. I was driving the car with my mom and my nephew in the back, and decided against it.
I feel bad because I could have gone down to help him. I saw him take the first blow and I was literally only a couple feet away when it happened.
I always thought I was the kind of person who would stop to help, but my mind decided that on the factors at hand, I shouldn't.

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