Posts Tagged ‘Danger’

Service of Passivity

Monday, May 20th, 2013


I ran an errand in Grand Central Station last week and on my way in I noticed two suitcases leaning against a wall near the door to the food court. They were still there on my exit.

At first I figured a tourist must be on the curb flagging a taxi, [most New Yorkers wouldn’t dare leave suitcases unattended like that for fear of theft], but this person would have been long gone in the four or so minutes it took for me to buy bread and walk outside.

The picture above was the first one I took on my phone and as the cases were hiding behind the young woman in the shot, I took another one which clearly showed the cases and nobody near them. The camera was full so I couldn’t save that image but it was evident on my phone’s screen when I showed it to a policeman in the station’s office downstairs. By the time I emerged three police officers were standing around the cases.

Was I the only one reporting the situation? I didn’t see anyone in the police office and the young woman in the photo, like countless others on this busy midtown street, didn’t notice them.

I described the incident to a few friends. One, Martha Takayama, urged me to draft a post about it. She wrote: “It is a shocking commentary on our indifference to the realities of today’s world! What an arrogant attitude! How can we possibly, as a nation or a people, confront our social and political problems if we continue to be so turned in! Boston is still reeling and will be forever from the bombing.”

The admonition, “When you see something, say something,” seems to have been around for ages. Loudspeakers at Grand Central and in the subway chant the message for those who might forget. Don’t we hear it anymore? Why do you think the message isn’t sinking in, just one month after the Boston Marathon bombings? What might do the trick?



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