The Bystander Effect is Saving You From Being Brutally Murdered

At night, the office building I can see from my window goes dark. There are occasionally a few fluorescent lights glowing above cubicles third-shift janitors are vacuuming, but anything more is abnormal.

So, when I see a couple of moving lights sweeping a hallway late one evening, I’m a little bit concerned. Especially when I realize that the lights are moving because they’re flashlights and that the people carrying them are dressed in black.

Maybe they’re part of a really non-invasive cleaning crew, I tell myself. Or maybe they’re ninjas in training and are having a peaceful midnight course on stealth.

I deny the possibility of these ski-mask-wearing men being robbers. Potentially dangerous, Project Mayhem robbers who are going to set the building on fire to make a really ineffective political statement.

I could call 911, but I don’t. These men could use their Mafia connections to track and kill me in the comfort of my own home. They could have grenades in their pockets and Bruno Mars is nowhere nearby to catch ‘em for me.

It’s easier to slip safely downstairs and down the street, pretending like nothing happened.

Published at See Gauge Blog on March 28, 2012.


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