Civil courage versus brutalization

Recently, a news report from the US has left me speechless. After that, a group of teenagers between 14 and 18 years watched and filmed a man drowning in a pond. The video, showing how the man struggles for his life, was uploaded to Facebook after the incident. In addition to the terrible images, the soundtrack of the video shows the teenagers berating and mocking the drowning man. "Nobody will come to your aid, stupid bitch. You should not have gone in there?

All this happened to the news agency in Florida, a US state where failure to provide assistance is not a criminal offense. Only the fact that the adolescents have not reported the incident to the authorities violates Florida laws.

Why am I so shocked by the news of this death? Actually, it would have to fade from the background noise of the daily reports of horrors. Death is omnipresent in the news, framed by sports, weather and lottery numbers. No, it's the behavior of the teenagers that makes me so stunned, or more precisely, their non-behavior. I try to imagine the situation. A human drowns in front of my eyes. Is not it a human automatism to help the drowning man? A spontaneous, strong impulse? Apparently not everyone.

About the motives of the adolescents, prefer to pull their mobile phone as the man to help, can only be speculated. We do not know anything about their origins, whether they were formative experiences of violence or what social background they have. Was there an ominous group dynamic or was it under the influence of drugs? All pure speculation. Yet one thing is clear: their behavior reveals a degree of brutality that is more than frightening.

Why am I writing such a thing on TheFruitAndFlowerBasket, confronting recipes and funny life hacks with such real horror? Granted, I hesitated on this subject. But then I thought: Hey, here are thousands of socially committed, open-minded and open-minded people on the go. If all these people oppose the increasing brutalization of our world, that can make a difference.

The likelihood that we as a witness get into such a terrible situation, as I have described above, is fortunately very small. But whether Florida or Castrop-Rauxel: situations that require our valiant intervention are everywhere. Then a much-discussed property is in demand, which everyone would like, but hardly anyone knows, if he really has it in case of emergency: civil courage. The term is composed of the words civil (Latin civilis, bourgeois) and courage (French? Courage?). Citizen courage is probably best.

What does civil courage mean?

According to political scientist Gerd Meyer, there are three forms of moral courage:

  1. Stand up for something. This usually happens without acute pressure to act, for example when individuals or a group work for the preservation of certain norms and values ​​(fight against radicalism, etc.).
  2. Fight back. Here exists an acute pressure to act. For example, when a person is attacked, abused or bullied, he defends himself.
  3. Intervention. Here, too, there is a high pressure to act. In most cases, it is a reaction to an unforeseen situation and the threat of another (for example, when a group of teenagers attacks a homeless person).

Most of us probably associate civil courage with the third point, intervention. But how does it make sense to intervene?

DOS and don'ts

In order not to fall into a kind of fright in an emergency, it is helpful to deal in advance with possible options for action. What do I do if I witness a fight, witness a robbery, or observe that a defenseless person is being harassed? How should I act without jeopardizing myself? The moment when our intervention is in demand can not be predicted and will never go to Scheme F. Nevertheless, there are a number of behavioral rules that apply in almost all threat scenarios.

  • First, address the victim. Ask if assistance is needed or the police should be called. If the police are already notified, explain that help is on the way.
  • Targeted offender speech, if necessary. Address the perpetrator loudly and definitely. Always speak in the? You? Shape to signal distance. "You, with the baseball cap, leave the woman alone."
  • Help without own risk. Never play the hero, but always keep your distance, especially when weapons are involved. Many perpetrators can already be prevented by a loud word of their actions.
  • Request help. The more people do not duck, the greater the chance to defuse a threat situation. Therefore, address those present in a targeted manner (? You in front, with the blue jacket, will you help me?).
  • Memorize offender characteristics. The more accurate a testimony is, the more likely the police will be to put a fugitive later.
  • Call the emergency. Either choose the 110, or specifically ask someone to do so.
  • Help the victim. Immediately after a physical attack take care of the victim, calm it down and provide first aid in an emergency.
  • Testify. Be sure to stay there until the police arrive and make a statement.

OUR STORY: Jim Peck, White Freedom Rider Brutalized (December 2019).