The now-infamous video of a 15-year old Seattle girl being brutally attacked while not one, not two, but THREE security guards — and numerous other bystanders — literally stood by and took no action is stoking outrage nationwide.
Americans are wondering why the victim, robbed and knocked unconscious after repeated kicks to the head, wasn’t assisted in any way. Most chilling is the sight of one of the guards standing directly over the girl as the events unfolded— doing absolutely nothing.
The private security firm, contracted by Seattle Metro Transit, follows a policy of "observe and report," not getting involved in any way except to call police. And unfortunately, this is a common practice nationwide.
To the guards’ credit, if you can call it that, they certainly followed that policy to a tee. It made no difference to them that the victim could have been paralyzed, brain-damaged or even killed. They were just following orders.
Hmm. "Just following orders." Haven’t we heard that excuse somewhere before?
Seattle police defended the guards, stating they were following protocol.
According to the Associated Press, one police officer said, "If you’re a bank teller and you do something other than give them the money, you’re going to get fired…we don’t expect civilians to take police action. In this case, it was a violent fight, and they were outnumbered by this pack of people 3-to-1."
Is he serious?
Number one, bank tellers aren’t security guards. Since their job description doesn’t include the words "security" and "guard," that comparison is ludicrous.
Number two, what’s the point of having security guards if they neither secure nor guard? Why not just rely on security cameras?
Number three, you can’t have it both ways. Are they not supposed to get involved at all, or only step aside when they’re outnumbered 3-to-1, in this case by teenagers?
And what of all the other people who watched and did nothing? Sadly, such inaction has become all too common, but it wasn’t always that way.
Americans used to be a people who would lend a hand to anyone in trouble, whether you had a flat tire, suffered a fall, or yes, if you were getting beaten and robbed.
And status didn’t matter: family member, neighbor or total stranger, it made no difference. The decency of human nature, common sense and an innate feeling of civic duty were the orders of the day, and we were a better country — and a better people — because of it.
From the unique fighting spirit of the Founding Fathers, to the pioneers who explored and settled this great land, to the Greatest Generation that saved the world in World War II, Americans came to be known as the most generous and caring people on Earth.
But somewhere along the way, a parasite emerged on the American landscape, leeching onto the hard-working spirit of Americans and destroying it from within. Unchecked, this toxic force has grown exponentially over the last several decades, and now threatens the very fabric which made America so upstanding.
Enter the ambulance-chasing trial lawyers. Perhaps the only people who can make used car salesman and politicians look like saints.
We have become an over-the-top litigious nation, so much so that the urge to sue has become ingrained in the citizens’ collective psyche.
Don’t like the way a co-worker looked at you? Sue. Get fired because you didn’t do your job, but happen to be ethnic or female? Sue. Spill coffee on yourself —an honest mistake, but your own fault nonetheless — sue. It has gotten so out of hand that if a medical mistake occurs, we sue everyone. The doctors (some of whom may not have even been present during the occurrence), the hospital, the medical device companies….and on. And on. And on.
From cowardly insurance companies all too willing to settle because of their short-sightedness, to jackpot juries awarding insane amounts of money because they’ve been suckered by snake oil salesmen trial lawyers who tell them that all "evil" corporations have deep pockets anyway, the legal costs for America’s companies, doctors and individuals have skyrocketed.
And we are all paying the price, literally.
Products are more expensive, lifesaving drugs are manufactured elsewhere, defensive medicine has made healthcare costs all but unaffordable, and the workplace has become a bastion of political correctness and inefficiency.
Now, just the threat of a lawsuit leads to companies making ill-fated decisions (see accompanying "Freindly Fire" June 20, 2007 column on cowardly Kellogg’s: http://www.thebulletin.us/articles/2007/06/20/import/20070620-archive.txt ).
But by far, the biggest victim of the trial lawyers’ legalized extortion is the near extinction of extending one’s hand to help someone. Despite Good Samaritan laws in many states, most people now choose to look the other way when it comes to "getting involved," thinking that doing the right thing is far outweighed by getting sued and hassled by legal thugs.
And we see that tragic mentality increasing across society, from the handicapped man lying on the side of the road (not one person stopped) to the 15-year old Seattle girl who rightfully (but now it appears naively) thought the uniformed security guards would actually protect her from her pursuing attackers.
She was right to believe it, just not correct.
So for this horrendous situation we find ourselves in, blame the plaintiff bar. They, more than anyone, are responsible for such flagrantly irresponsible policies.
If Americans — and their elected leaders — don’t stand up to the cowardly, nefarious, blood-sucking, extortionist trial lawyers, the tragic result will have proven the words of statesman Edmund Burke correct:
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil to prevail is that good men do nothing."
Chris Freind is an independent columnist and investigative reporter whose news site, The Artorius News Bureau, is slated to launch in this month. Readers of "Freindly Fire" hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. Freind also serves as a weekly guest commentator on a Philadelphia-area talk radio show, WCHE, and makes numerous other television and radio appearances. He can be reached at [email protected]