Should we need the Good Samaritan?
In this 21st century should we need the Good Samaritan or should we just rely on the professionals?
Part of the landscaping in the centre of Bristol includes a line of huge ceramic balls. They provide decoration but also somewhere to sit (although not for long!). Nick and I were in town and had separately to go to different shops and as I walked past them I heard this dreadful, wailing noise. I looked behind me and a man, who appeared to be drunk, was lying on the ground with a bottle in his hand looking as if he had fallen from a ball.
I continued to walk. So did lots of others. All of us, looking back to check what was going on.
When Nick met up with me, he started to tell me about the man outside. I interrupted, told him I’d seen him and asked if someone had called the police. He said he hoped so they had as there were lots of people standing around watching the man, who was clearly in distress.
Neither of us did anything.
Should we have stopped?
What help would we offer?
What stopped us?
If I was surveyed I would hope that if asked if I had a social conscience, I would say yes.
Definition: social conscience
nouna sense of responsibility or concern for the problems and injustices of society.“the prisons were run by a board of people with a strong social conscience”
Whose responsibility is it?
We live in a country where we have a free health service supposedly; where people can get benefits to help them in difficult times possibly; where our philosophy is regarded across the world as being one to help those in need. This is put forward as the reason so many economic migrants want to come here.
Now this is not a political post so please bear with me. Even if all those things were true and in place, there would still be people like the man on the ball and I would still walk past. If I had not been on my own I might have suggested calling someone but that is as far as my ‘Good Samaritan’ act would go I suspect.
Is it something particularly British or something particular to me? I don’t think I’m the only one. Well, I know I’m not because there were others there. I’m not unfeeling but there are some things that I cannot do. When I was a headteacher, folks would chuckle that if the child was bleeding they came to me. If they’d been sick they went to my secretary. We both had an aversion to the other situation.
Is it fear of danger? Nowadays, with so many knives being carried and violence often seeming to be the only way out for the victim, helping can get you into difficulties. Often the police ask the public not to get involved as they can make a tense situation more difficult.
Is it is a case of minding your own business? It’s not my job, I’m not qualified to help, I’m not paid to do that? Surely, we do have a duty to our fellow human beings but how far should that duty go?
My experience today has shaken me and made me think and has left me asking myself