We all know that humans are capable of committing vile crimes. However, sometimes it isn’t what we do that’s so shocking, but what we don’t do. As an incident that recently occurred in Chicago reveals, people in general have a bad habit of looking the other way when other people are in danger.
Police in Chicago recently reported that 15-year-old Deahvion Austin was sexually assaulted on Facebook live by five or six teenage boys. 40 people watched the incident from behind their screens, and not a single person thought to call the police. In fact, the police didn’t become aware of the incident until Deahvion’s mother told them that her daughter was missing, and showed them screenshots of the assault. She found out about the incident after Deahvion’s uncle stumbled on the video after the assault took place.
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson had his detectives find the girl, and they managed to have her reunited with her family. Johnson told WGN news that “What’s even more disturbing – more than the fact that they did this – (is that) there were so many people that saw this and they didn’t pick up the phone and dial 911.”
So how could something like this happen? The bystander effect could be responsible. That’s when people ignore victims of accidents and crime when other people are present. So say you saw someone passed out on the sidewalk and no one else was around, you’d be more likely to help that person. But if there were hundreds of other people walking around, you’d be more likely to completely ignore that passed out individual.
Social media is the perfect incubator for the bystander effect. People can go online and show their crimes and suicide attempts to the whole world, and since everyone is watching, and everyone knows that everyone else is watching, there’s a good chance that no one will report it. So as our lives become more consumed by social media, you can expect these kinds of incidents to occur more often.
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Contributed by Daniel Lang of The Daily Sheeple.
Daniel Lang is a researcher and staff writer for The Daily Sheeple – Wake The Flock Up!