This poor woman...
This past week a 28-year-old woman was grabbed by the wrists from behind the counter of the convenience store where she works.
The man, who had been reportedly been stalking her for some time, attacked her with a hammer, dragged her through the store and out into the street in broad daylight, shoved her violently into his car and drove away.
But that isn't the worst part of this nightmare.
Footage of the attack shows that at least one person, and possibly at least two more, clearly witnessed the kidnapping as it was happening — and did NOTHING.
The most outrageous offender in this is nightmarish, live-action case of the bystander effect is the U.S. Mail Carrier — who walks into the store behind the kidnapper, is accidentally brushed aside and then tripped by both the man as he brutally pulls her along and the victim and she unsuccessfully tries to find solid footing to stop the continuing assault.
Still, he goes about his business, allowing the kidnapper to leave the store dragging this poor woman out without doing a thing.
Here's how it went down:
Before the attacker even makes it out of the store with the victim, the mail carrier walks in behind them.
Intent on getting the woman outside, the attacker walks straight backwards into the mailman. The mailman is forced to move to the side and even reaches out to the attacker to steady himself ...
The mailman then trips over the feet of the woman as she struggles to pull herself back to safety.
The mailman recovers from his stumble without bothering to find out why the attacker was forcibly dragging the obviously struggling woman out the door.
The mailman takes one brief look back as he sets down the mail on an ice cream case.
And then casually moseys on along out of the store and about his perfectly "normal" day.
As if this weren't horrifying a scenerio enough, the kidnapping footage continues as the woman is now shoved into her attacker's car...
In front of at least one more witness!
The person in the passenger's sear of the white vehicle can be seen adjusting themselves somewhat in their seat, at least momentarily looking forward in the direction of where this poor person is being packed into a bright red car parked directly in front of them ...
The victim manages to pop the back seat door open for a moment.
But because no one has actually taken a step out of their own way to try and help her, the assailant drives away, carrying the victim along for whatever evil plan he had in store for her.
In case you were thinking to yourself, "Listen, that postal worker can't go risking his life! And he is a federal employee. What is he supposed to do?," last year the U.S. postal service made a MAJOR announcement that they had spent $200 million to equip all 230,000 mail carriers across the country with GPS tracking devices that include a "panic button" feature.
A panic button! Supplied to ALL mail carriers!
Did this mail carrier have one on him? I haven't been able to find information as of yet to confirm or deny that fact.
Either way, I find it beyond my comprehension as a human being that both he and any other onlookers failed not only to act, but to even register an expression of shock or concern!
Didn't we just find ourselves in a national outrage over the killing of Harambe the Gorilla at the Cinncinati Zoo?
Didn't we publicly slaughter the mother of the little boy who fell into that gorilla enclosure for failing to take notice of her child's imminent danger in time to act and save both his life AND Harambe's?
How can we not consider someone who allows another human being to be dragged off to their possible torture and death without so much as yelling, "Hey!" or immediately calling the police for help?
WTF is going on that we couldn't care less about what may have happened to this woman?!
It isn't clear yet whether or not this attacker and his victim knew each other, but according to the FBI's National Crime Information Center:
"Acquaintance kidnapping involves a comparatively high percentage of juvenile perpetrators, has the largest percentage of female and teenage victims, is more often associated with other crimes (especially sexual and physical assault), occurs at homes and residences, and has the highest percentage of injured victims. When acquaintance kidnappings end in murder, the murder happens quickly."
This means that if you see a woman (or child) being taken against their will, odds are EXTREMELY high that person is being taken to their death, if not to experience traumatizing injury beyond most of our imaginations along the way.
Amazingly the woman in this case was found alive, by sheer luck and the unbelievable strength of her will to fight and escape.
The 29-year-old man who captured her drove her to a nearby cemetary where he planned to bury her alive.
When the mailman was reached for comment by "ABC7 ... he said he wasn't sure at that time if that was her boyfriend or if they were playing around because he didn't hear her yelling for help. He said he was shocked to later find out she had been abducted."
Just an innocent bystander. Poor guy.
In the 1964 watershed case that led to our current understanding of the Bystander Effect, a woman named Catherine Susan "Kitty" Genovese "was stabbed to death outside her apartment building ... [during which time] 37 or 38 witnesses saw or heard the attack and did not call the police ... In 2015, Genovese's younger brother Bill said that the police were indeed summoned twice but did not respond because they believed it was a domestic dispute."
The failure to act was reported by those witnesses to be due to the fact that everyone there assumed someone else would do something about it.
That 52 years ago! We should know better by now, shouldn't we?
I can clearly remember the moment in 7th grade when my history teacher broke down the word "assume" on the chalkboard (Yeah, chalkboard. I'm old. Sue me.) into ASS-U-ME.
As in, "Making assumptions makes an ASS out of U and ME."
To the mailman who walked past that shattered woman, you sir, are an ASS.
YOU and ME had better start paying attention to the world and those around us and those who are in need of emergency or long-term help.