What would you do if you saw a man sprawled across a neighbor’s lawn on a ninety-five degree afternoon?
A. Check on him and obtain assistance if necessary
B. Ignore him
C. Poke him with a stick and continue on when no response is forthcoming
D. Nudge him in the ribs with your boots and laugh, then ignore him
Several passersby selected option B. It was disheartening to observe just how many people walked within two feet of the unconscious man that lolled upon the front lawn of the house across from mine, giving him nothing more than a careless glance, if that. Even more disheartening, though perhaps not that surprising, was seeing a teenage boy go for option C. By the time I witnessed a neighbor choose D I was ready to sell the house, abandon humanity, and live amongst the animals in the forest. M put an end to that notion, at least until the summer of 2012, but I still cannot figure out why, in the forty-five minutes that elapsed from when I first noticed that someone had keeled over directly across the street from my dining room window until emergency personnel arrived, no one but myself actually assisted the man. What do those who do nothing to help others anticipate happening if they should find themselves in need of a stranger’s aid?