In recent years, Nigeria has experienced a series of mob lynching, public murders tagged “jungle justice,” and people whipping out their phones at accident sites to film instead of helping injured victims. This is referred to as “Bystander Apathy.” It is a psychological reaction that defies all logic and the sad part is, the larger the crowd, the less likely a victim is to get help.
Bystander apathy stems from dissociation from the ongoing reality. The first witness to arrive the scene may wonder, what is going on? And then the next show up and thinks, “Why didn’t he help? It’s not my responsibility. He (the first witness) should have helped.” As the crowd increases, the dissociation increases. They all mentally relieve themselves of responsibility and the dark side of man takes over.
There is no question that certain salient factors make the bystander phenomenon more likely to happen. A lawless system where there is inadequate policing and injustice, a broken health system where wounded victims have little chance of survival will all unknowingly smear the subconscious of its indigenes.
But are these controllable excuses enough?
As I saw the pictures of the “supposed 7-year old” who was killed somewhere in Lagos yesterday, I froze in horror. Don’t be that person who stands by. Tell yourself every day, that it is your responsibility to do right. It is scary standing against a crowd but the fact is, it takes one person to break the trance. Tap someone in the crowd next to you and seek for signs that they will agree with you. Speak reason gently and “Stand Up! Don’t standby.
If you ever fall victim, search for a face in the crowd, and establish eye contact. Beg this one person for help. By doing this you are making someone directly responsible for getting you help. It is more effective than waiting for the crowd. We all like to beat our chest and say others do not influence us. It is time to prove it! STEP UP!
Meanwhile, the police needs your help for exact location where young boy was burnt to death.