Friday, April 15, 2011

What Would You Do?

I wrote this blog many years ago under another alias.  One of my friends told me about this news story:
A corrections officer from Florida was calling up fast food restaurants claiming to be a local cop and telling supervisors to hold and question employees about a fake crime that they had supposedly committed. In one case at a McDonalds, the supervisor made a 17 year old girl take off all of her clothes and then let her boyfriend (not an employee) rape the girl because that's what the "detective" told the boyfriend to do.  So the boyfriend did it.  We have been conditioned from birth to follow blindly the orders of authority.  Even the most horrible orders won’t make the ordinary man question what he is being asked to do.
At the time, a man had just killed himself over the internet.  He announced it.  Everyone went on his website to watch it happen.  He took pills.  He could have been saved.  People laughed about it.  Finally, someone notified the moderator of the site who found his location and called the officials.  The police came in to find him dead.  People were watching this happen on the web.  Some people were shocked, others laughed.  Thousands of people witnessed a man dying on the internet and just one person made an attempt to contact the moderator. 

I recall an incident in Vietnam.  I can't remember what it was called.  A group of soldiers were told to raid a village in search of spies.  They found none.  But they were so frustrated from dealing with the conditions they were dealt with in Nam that they violated the people in the village.  They took everyone, man, woman, children alike; and put them in a ditch to die.  One man, who flew a helicopter, saved the day.  He said he'd shoot anyone who'd harm those people and he managed to set them free.  Interestingly enough someone emerged a hero, though at the time, he might have appeared a traitor.  I’ve heard many versions of this story.  Even though many soldiers were guilty for brutally murdering innocent people, only one man was persecuted.  He was the scapegoat.  I also heard that these soldiers were following orders. If this is so, then why did the officials get of scot free?  So now the question is, are we right to just follow orders?  As innocent as it seems to be a blind follower of authority, there is something quite evil about choosing to remain ignorant.

I dealt with bullies growing up.  No, they never picked on me.  They picked on my friends and it seemed I was the only one to stick up for them while everyone else stood around and watched.  I even attacked a group of kids who were pestering my friend while other friends just looked on for entertainment.  They ran away.  This happened in the fourth grade.  In Junior High something similar happened, but this time, the crowd was bigger.  All they did was watch a friend of mine getting pestered by another girl.  I told them they should be ashamed of themselves.

We need to stop and think about how we laugh, ridicule, judge and kill people.  Whether it is someone committing suicide on the net, or a kid being bullied at school, or innocent people being tortured in a war, or a loving couple who simply want to get married, we have to be courageous and speak our truth.  Maybe speaking the truth won't do anything.  But it's better than nothing.  I'm starting to realize that now.  Why live my life just being a peon?
What would you do?  How easy it is to stop what is wrong.  But most people stand around, watch, laugh, and do nothing.  What would you do? 

An experiment in the seventies was conducted.  They told people to give someone electric shocks in another room.  the person would be screaming in pain, begging for them to stop, but when told to keep going, the subjects continued to inflict pain.  It was all rigged but the large majority of the people continued to do what was told to them even though they could hear that it could be torturing or harming another.  It was an experiment on the power of authority.  Who are you?  Are you the kind of person who would keep pushing the button just because that was what you were told?  People think they wouldn't.  People think they know right from wrong.  But when tested, the results are quite contradictory.

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