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    Default Bystander behaviour and social conscience

    BBC - BBC Radio 4 Programmes - Walk On By

    I've posted this in my socialism group too because it has a lot of content which I associate with socialism as I understand it but I'm unsure about it because it seems to be spinning positively for the present Conservative politicians in the UK.

    I thought I'd post it here for interest and discussion because not everyone is likely to see it in the socialism group area, I really like the piece on the willingness of people to act as witnesses, I've been in situations where it would have been absolutely suicide to directly intervene but being the person who was able to provide really detailed reports afterwards counted.

    I'm unsure though that the idea of trying to increase voluntarism will be sufficient to combat crime etc. not everyone has the same skills or capacity or even money, it would lead to very haphazard and uneven coverage in any community.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    BBC - BBC Radio 4 Programmes - Walk On By

    I've posted this in my socialism group too because it has a lot of content which I associate with socialism as I understand it but I'm unsure about it because it seems to be spinning positively for the present Conservative politicians in the UK.

    I thought I'd post it here for interest and discussion because not everyone is likely to see it in the socialism group area, I really like the piece on the willingness of people to act as witnesses, I've been in situations where it would have been absolutely suicide to directly intervene but being the person who was able to provide really detailed reports afterwards counted.

    I'm unsure though that the idea of trying to increase voluntarism will be sufficient to combat crime etc. not everyone has the same skills or capacity or even money, it would lead to very haphazard and uneven coverage in any community.
    Video wasn't working for me. What is the content you associate with socialism, exactly?
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    Senior Member Pixelholic's Avatar
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    Isn't this sort of the thinking behind things like neighborhood watch?

    From experience, I've seen some really good things come out of a neighborhood sort of banding together to get rid of criminal elements. A lot of the really crappy neighborhoods in KC were doing this by getting liquor stores to close and setting up community rec centers for kids so that they aren't on the street. It seemed to be making a difference too.

    There's a case study that has documented this witness effect where a number of people will see a crime and no one will do anything about it. One of the more famous cases was a woman who was murdered pretty much in public and at least a hundred people saw it and no one did anything.

    I always assumed it was a fairly American thing since we're sort of indoctrinated to be selfish and untrustworthy of others.

    I mean if you know your neighbors and the people in your neighborhood, then if shit happens you're probably less likely to think it's "not your problem" or something, I would assume.
    “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” -Nietzsche

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pixelholic View Post
    Isn't this sort of the thinking behind things like neighborhood watch?

    From experience, I've seen some really good things come out of a neighborhood sort of banding together to get rid of criminal elements. A lot of the really crappy neighborhoods in KC were doing this by getting liquor stores to close and setting up community rec centers for kids so that they aren't on the street. It seemed to be making a difference too.
    Getting liquor stores to close seems more like annoying businesspeople than helping the community.


    There's a case study that has documented this witness effect where a number of people will see a crime and no one will do anything about it. One of the more famous cases was a woman who was murdered pretty much in public and at least a hundred people saw it and no one did anything.

    I always assumed it was a fairly American thing since we're sort of indoctrinated to be selfish and untrustworthy of others.
    Bad assumption. In the United States (in most places), people have no legal responsibility to intervene or even to call the police if they see a crime or emergency, unless they are in a "helping occupation" or have a duty to act (like being a family member). If you read up on this, people in wealthier countries in general are less likely to "help," so the United States, Canada, Western Europe, etc. would fall into this category. A bigger factor is urban vs. rural setting. Rural people (or people who go to rural areas) are more likely to help. It makes sense psychologically; you seem someone in the city with a flat tire, you expect someone else to intervene. You see someone at the side of the highway in the middle of nowhere, and you empathize more because they could be alone and unprotected for a long time.


    I mean if you know your neighbors and the people in your neighborhood, then if shit happens you're probably less likely to think it's "not your problem" or something, I would assume.
    Pretty much. That's why they tell women to yell "FIRE!" instead of "RAPE!" if they're being attacked. It's fucked up, but it's human nature: if people think they may be threatened, even indirectly, they respond.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pixelholic View Post
    There's a case study that has documented this witness effect where a number of people will see a crime and no one will do anything about it. One of the more famous cases was a woman who was murdered pretty much in public and at least a hundred people saw it and no one did anything.
    Well, that's the urban myth version of Kitty Genovese.

    The nuances are described here:
    Kitty Genovese - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    For a few qualifiers:
    - The attack started at 3:15am... many people were asleep.
    - The guy left, then came back twice; meaning it wasn't clear when the attack was over.
    - She crawled out of view so people thought she had gotten away.

    Most importantly:
    Only one witness, Joseph Fink, was aware she was stabbed in the first attack, and only Karl Ross was aware of it in the second attack. Many were entirely unaware that an assault or homicide was in progress; some thought that what they saw or heard was a lovers' quarrel or a drunken brawl or a group of friends leaving the bar when Moseley first approached Genovese.
    But you can read it in detail. It's pretty much more a parable nowadays than a historical retelling of the murder.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Getting liquor stores to close seems more like annoying businesspeople than helping the community.
    Liquor stores attract crime in inner cities and drive property values down. There were already four other liquor stores in the neighborhood. When the store was gone and a rec center was in place crime dropped substantially. The point of it was that the community saw the store as causing a problem and acted to get it removed, they've been trying to turn their inner city ghetto into a thriving neighborhood. They aren't necessarily anti business either. One of the things they were doing right before the housing collapse was trying to get a supermarket to build a store there so that the neighborhood would have access to better food and there would be jobs available for the kids growing up there.



    Bad assumption. In the United States (in most places), people have no legal responsibility to intervene or even to call the police if they see a crime emergency, unless they are in a "helping occupation" or have a duty to act (like being a family member). If you read up on this, people in wealthier countries in general are less likely to "help," so the United States, Canada, Western Europe, etc. would fall into this category. A bigger factor is urban vs. rural setting. Rural people (or people who go to rural areas) are more likely to help. It makes sense psychologically; you seem someone in the city with a flat tire, you expect someone else to intervene. You see someone at the side of the highway in the middle of nowhere, and you empathize more because they could be alone and unprotected for a long time.
    This is purely my experience, but I've had more friendly encounters in a city than in the country, by far.

    I agree with the top part, we're a country of whiny selfish self-entitled pricks. A shame really.

    Pretty much. That's why they tell women to yell "FIRE!" instead of "RAPE!" if they're being attacked. It's fucked up, but it's human nature: if people think they may be threatened, even indirectly, they respond.
    This is true.

    Jennifer, I didn't know the details about the parable. My bad for not looking it up first.
    “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” -Nietzsche

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    Pretty much. That's why they tell women to yell "FIRE!" instead of "RAPE!" if they're being attacked. It's fucked up, but it's human nature: if people think they may be threatened, even indirectly, they respond.
    Yeah, that's what I've heard too. "Fire" is actually one of the best ways to get attention, since it insinuates direct danger to anyone within earshot. They can't afford to ignore it.

    It's one thing kids are taught to yell, too, if someone tries to grab them.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pixelholic View Post
    Liquor stores attract crime in inner cities and drive property values down. There were already four other liquor stores in the neighborhood. When the store was gone and a rec center was in place crime dropped substantially. The point of it was that the community saw the store as causing a problem and acted to get it removed, they've been trying to turn their inner city ghetto into a thriving neighborhood. They aren't necessarily anti business either. One of the things they were doing right before the housing collapse was trying to get a supermarket to build a store there so that the neighborhood would have access to better food and there would be jobs available for the kids growing up there.
    How did they get them to close? And how did they try to get the supermarket built? Tactics are important. Sadly, there is a higher demand for booze than for fresh fruit in many parts of the country. "acted to get it removed" doesn't sound like a passive boycott to me.


    This is purely my experience, but I've had more friendly encounters in a city than in the country, by far.
    I haven't spent much time in the country, but it's usually been a positive experience.


    I agree with the top part, we're a country of whiny selfish self-entitled pricks. A shame really.
    Not what I was saying at all. Americans are friendlier and more helpful, on average, than residents of many other industrialized nations. You think Europe isn't full of whiny pricks?


    This is true.
    Self-preservation is a strong instinct. Plus, people get mixed messages. The media tells them NOT to get involved, call the authorities, etc. It's difficult to encourage Good Samaritans without also encouraging vigilantes/cowboys.
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    Senior Member Pixelholic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    How did they get them to close? And how did they try to get the supermarket built? Tactics are important. Sadly, there is a higher demand for booze than for fresh fruit in many parts of the country. "acted to get it removed" doesn't sound like a passive boycott to me.
    I don't know the exact details, I was involved with community outreach and documentation but I know they worked with the local municipalities and were able to prove that the store in question was involved in something illegal or some such, I didn't know the details. The supermarket thing they were actively meeting with the management of one of the local grocery chains that has a lot of city involvement and trying to convince them of the benefits of building there. From what I knew they were close to landing a deal and then the housing crisis froze everything. Basically the community orginization had formed a non profit and was working with other non profits in the city to try and make the community better, there weren't any underhanded tactics or anything like that.




    I haven't spent much time in the country, but it's usually been a positive experience.
    Well like I said it was a personal experience, I didn't grow up in teh friendliest of rural environments and I found the rumors of the city to be greatly overblown.



    Not what I was saying at all. Americans are friendlier and more helpful, on average, than residents of many other industrialized nations. You think Europe isn't full of whiny pricks?
    I'm sure it is, I think the idea of entitlement of one of the major issues.

    Self-preservation is a strong instinct. Plus, people get mixed messages. The media tells them NOT to get involved, call the authorities, etc. It's difficult to encourage Good Samaritans without also encouraging vigilantes/cowboys.
    True, I think we've grown up in a culture of "be afraid!" too much. Not healthy when everyone is a stranger and you're taught that all strangers are evil rapist murderers.
    “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” -Nietzsche

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pixelholic View Post
    I don't know the exact details, I was involved with community outreach and documentation but I know they worked with the local municipalities and were able to prove that the store in question was involved in something illegal or some such, I didn't know the details. The supermarket thing they were actively meeting with the management of one of the local grocery chains that has a lot of city involvement and trying to convince them of the benefits of building there. From what I knew they were close to landing a deal and then the housing crisis froze everything. Basically the community orginization had formed a non profit and was working with other non profits in the city to try and make the community better, there weren't any underhanded tactics or anything like that.
    Depends on what your definition of "underhanded" is. Boycotting is fine. Bringing pressure from government is more problematic. I don't know the details of this, so I won't comment as to the legitimacy. For a long time, supermarkets didn't want to move into high-crime areas because of the the higher cost of doing business from theft. It's a shame, but poorer inner-city people end up paying upwards of 20% more for common food items because of the extra costs of doing business associated with their areas, even when the vast majority of customers are law-abiding citizens. I worked in an inner-city supermarket for a while. It was at the edge of my old college campus, on the border of a gentrified area and a working-class African-American neighborhood.


    Well like I said it was a personal experience, I didn't grow up in teh friendliest of rural environments and I found the rumors of the city to be greatly overblown.
    I agree, cities aren't monolithic, and it could always be worse.


    I'm sure it is, I think the idea of entitlement of one of the major issues.
    How do you mean exactly?


    True, I think we've grown up in a culture of "be afraid!" too much. Not healthy when everyone is a stranger and you're taught that all strangers are evil rapist murderers.
    The best thing I've found is to be approachable myself. I've been in bad neighborhoods at night often in Philadelphia. One of the best lessons in life (in almost any situation) is "act like you're supposed to be there." It works on yachts with millionaires and in ghettos with crackheads.
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