Friday, October 21, 2011

Two Year Old Run Over - Twice

A couple of days ago someone called our attention to an horrific accident in China, where a 2 year old girl was run over by a van, and left to lie on the road.  People walked past her tiny body without looking or stopping, and yet another vehicle ran over her.  Finally a woman saw her and rushed to drag her from the path of vehicles. Her mother then arrived on the scene.

One of the comments on the newspaper report was from an Australian, who said

For one person to walk by, that's an attitude. For 19 to do so, that's CULTURE. I hope there is a good deal of outrage in China about this.

There is tremendous outrage over the incident, and, I believe, also about the fact that the footage was posted to the web.  The newspaper report gives the impression that this all took place over a long period of time, whereas the video itself is just 7.01minutes long, and most of it is the television reporter speaking.  The whole sickening ordeal for this tiny girl took only a very short while.

The horrendous part of this is, firstly, that the van driver knew he had hit something, and STOPPED.  He didn't get out of the van, he just started driving again, and ran over YueYue with the back wheels as well.   People walked past, TRAFFIC VEERED AROUND HER TINY BODY  and didn't pause.  The next vehicle was actually a small truck, which didn't pause, just ran over her legs, with front and back wheels.

When a woman finally saw her and went to investigate, she did EVERYTHING wrong, and the poor tiny girl was dragged around like a rag doll.

I challenge anyone to witness this and not feel sheer horror, anguish, and outrage at the callous disregard shown by the people walking or driving by.  It doesn't matter if it is an adult, a child or an animal - surely our own humanity must compel us to stop and assist?  To stop, get out and CHECK, after we KNOW we have hit something?  Arresting the two drivers is all well and good but it won't bring that baby's life back to her.

Sadly, this isn't a new phenomenon, just an old one, with the new twist that the poor little girl was repeatedly run over.  We can point fingers and blame the Chinese culture all we like, but the apathetic attitude displayed is not confined to China! 

I don't even know if it is a product of the "big city" but I do know that the indifference, perhaps insensibility of people towards other people's pain and suffering has been with us always.  We only have to look at our homeless to see what consequences our uncaring attitude towards others has produced.

Probably 44 years ago, I worked for Shell Company in Sydney. Our office windows, 7 floors up, overlooked Wynyard Park, through which commuters used to flood from the underground railway station. At the beginning of the day we noticed a man asleep under a tree, his back leaning against the tree trunk, head down, arms folded.  When it was morning break we realised he was still sleeping in the same spot.  I remember remarking that it was a lovely warm place to sleep.  Not long after that we witnessed Police erecting a screen around the man, and an ambulance standing by.  This poor man had died.  He was surrounded by dozens and dozens of people having coffees, reading, chatting, strolling past or just sitting in the park in the sun.   And yet it took until almost midday for someone to check on him.   Needless to say, we felt extreme guilt that we hadn't gone down into the park to check.   It hadn't actually occurred to us to do so.
The incident did change my attitude though.

Wynyard Park, Sydney

Probably 6 years later, and I was living in England.  I walked from work to the town centre during my lunch hour and in the street  there was a man, face-down, half in and half out of the gutter.  He was being very sick.   It was only 12.30 pm and I thought it perhaps a little too early for him to be drunk.  He was well dressed, in a suit, tie, white shirt.  I got no response from him when I asked what help he needed.   I went running into the market square looking for a telephone and was fortunate to see a police constable walking toward me. He thanked me and said he would check immediately.
The man lay on footpath exactly where this man is standing

To this day I have no idea what was wrong with the man, and guess it doesn't really matter.  What did matter to me was that I didn't walk past - everyone else did, and who knows how long he had been there?  I felt they were making a judgment call, and believed him to be drunk.  Even so, would you leave him there without checking?  Dozens of other people walked past him in either direction, without the slightest interest.

So is this a CULTURE, as the lady from Brisbane commented?  Or is it just general apathy?  The old "don't involve me, I don't want any trouble" syndrome?

Whatever it is, it seems that it is a trait that goes back into antiquity, and has nothing to do with a single country or any one race of people.  It is an indictment against all of us.

Man's inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn!


Anonymous said...

I don't know people can just walk past.

I saw a accident yesterday, a man got knocked off his motorbike, a few people stopped (including the driver that knocked him down) and rang the ambulance. I didn't stop for a good reasons. 1. i had 2 young children with me, 1 year old and a 4year old..

and my god, i was in tears, the guilt i felt for leaving, i kept think this is not something a 4year old should see and in no way did that make me feel better but my little monster handled it better then i did.

I rang the police when i was able to.

Even so, 7mins, 2cars run her over and 19people walk by, just wrong.

Carol said...

Oh that is just awful. Yes I think children don't have our knowledge about accidents etc and they tend to take things in their stride a lot better. You did well and should be proud of yourself totally. Don't feel guilty, you did the right thing even if you couldn't stay with the man. My girl had a similar thing, saw a car going at high speed, and it then flew literally off the road into a pole. She had Fifi in with her and couldn't stop but she did ring the police and ambulance on her mobile. She explained she had a tiny tot and they didn't mind.
You did well, please don't blame yourself for ANYTHING xx