It is pointless to act outraged and claim moral superiority because everyone, at some point, has passed the buck. I cannot even recall how many times I have passed a homeless person lying on a grate in the middle of winter, without checking to see if s/he was even breathing.
Ever since I learned about the bystander effect in my first year Psychology class, I have always assumed that I might not get the help I need if I was ever in danger. This is not to say that there are no helpful people in society. In fact, with such a spotlight on the bystander effect, I believe that people are bound to be more proactive, if only for the next little while.
However, if faced with danger, it is best to make your predicament someone else's problem as well:
- If you're being attacked, start breaking windows or damaging merchandise. Now, the store owner will definitely call the police.
- If you're being mugged, grab someone's purse or wallet and start running after the mugger. Now, you have an army of dubious support following you. Avoid taking anything that might slow you down like laptops or groceries lest you get overtaken before you reach your mugger.
- If you are being abducted, drag someone else along. Two heads are better than one, and maybe s/he will have friends that will work harder than yours to find missing people.
*That's an awesome movie, and the apathetic bystander character is topical.