Seeing and Doing Nothing

In Lorain, Ohio, not far from Cleveland, Paul Pelton drove by the scene of a fatal car crash. He stopped, took out his cel and began filming. He then posted the film on Facebook and tried to sell it to news outlet. To their credit no station including the Fox News affiliate did. In the car two teenagers were trapped and badly injured. He could have rendered aid,or comfort, but he did not. He was at the scene before police or rescuers and was later taken into custody. It is not a crime to film an accident and the police who then saw him at the scene searched and searched for something to charge him with and came up with vehicular trespassing, a misdemeanor. According to a police report Pelton is heard on the film referring to the two 17 year old boys as idiots. A report by the Ohio Northeast Media Group said, “He opened the back door and leaned in to film the boys and then walked around to the front door as he continued recording. At no time did he try to help either of the boys.” One died. After his arrest, Pelton posted bail, was released and apologized.
In 1964 the murder of Kitty Genovese made headlines because it was reported to have been witnessed by some 70 people who did nothing. Later reports corrected that. One shouted “stop” to the murderer, and another did end up calling the police. The shock of witnessing a murder and not doing anything eventually led to the establishment of 911 as an emergency number.
Coldly filming in hope of gain and not rendering any aid has to be worse than doing nothing, worse in the sense of what it says about how low humans can allow themselves to sink. And yet, that example of human baseness cannot make us forget the many examples of people who have risked their lives to help others.

2 thoughts on “Seeing and Doing Nothing”

  1. That’s horrible! We can only hope that he is an exception, and that not too many of these people are walking our good earth…

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