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Someone else’s problem

Some young women stop to offer help

                                          Some young women stop to offer help

The New Zealand police force recently did a disturbing social experiment. They hired a very convincing child actor – maybe 10-12 years old – to dirty his face, dress in shabby clothes, look generally dejected and apparently search for discarded food in rubbish bins on a busy intersection in downtown Auckland.

About 500 people walked right past him as if he wasn’t there. A few even threw garbage into the rubbish bins without acknowledging his presence. One photographed him with a phone. Over the duration of the experiment only seven people stopped to ask if he was OK or offer help. Just seven.

The cops videoed it for a recruitment advertisement. The tagline comes when a group of young women stop to see if the kid’s alright. “They cared enough. Would you?”

Karen Jones of NZ police public affairs explains “If you said you would have stopped, then you may be just the kind of person NZ police is looking for”. I’d rather not be the kind of person police look for. It’s not healthy. I’m not sure how the NZ police force sees itself but here in NSW if you would have stopped, ordered the kid to empty his pockets, demanded to know his name, his address, what he was doing, why he wasn’t in school and whether he’d recently used any drugs or alcohol, thumped him a few times if he didn’t answer promptly or gave some lip then threw him to the ground, pinned him with a knee to the back, handcuffed him and ran him in for Offensive Language, Resisting Arrest and Assaulting Police then you already are a cop.

But what about you?  Would you have stopped to offer help? Are you one of the seven in five hundred? What if you saw police treating him badly? Would you still have tried to help? Would you have stood up to the cops who were abusing him?

From → cops

  1. At least in metaphor truth is that 493 city folk are already in an unwitting social experiment and truthfully where i live most people would have stopped to help ’cause he was a little boy and the white and the blonde hair gets him Southern Red State fundy extra credit but never the less that is a part of the good old boy culture here.. women and children are treated with respect on the street.. Smaller cities with many churches have common sense value.. Still.. Big cities are truly sick human experiments in this measure.. But humans.. Only evolved to connect to around 150 to 200 sets of eyes tend to lose parts of their humanity this way when eyes miss human suffering… In the city…. But compassion does not meet the Jesus model as homeless adults are largely ignored here with much discrimination among those who do not meet the Old Testament requirements of the Bible.. As far as being different.. Husky white men get the best ride still.. Privilege in the Patriarchy with rules of Caucasian women and children first..:)


    • I think he’s a redhead, but yeah he’s white as. Note that the women who stopped to help aren’t though. Maori by the look of it.

      I dunno whether less than 1,5% of people would have stopped here in Newcastle or in Sydney where I lived most of my adult life. I suspect far more people would have helped but I don’t really know. The figures claimed in the Auckland example sure shocked me.

      But the reason I made the post is because of the implication that police generally help homeless people. Here in NSW at least that couldn’t be further from the truth. Being white, this guy would have been less likely to face the ‘trifecta’ of charges I cited but if he was Aboriginal … In any case, if the police stop to talk to him it’s almost certainly bad news. Probably a retailer would have made some sort of complaint against his presence and even if no allegation of shoplifting or aggressive begging had been made the cops would definitely search him and move him on and would be unlikely to be gentle and polite about it. If he had a knife, some pot, something valuable he couldn’t account for or showed signs of mental illness he’d be forcibly detained. If he resisted or tried to run off he’d probably be violently subdued. If he fought back he’d get cap-sprayed, tased and/or bashed (the severity would depend primarily on witnesses, but if there’s one thing more invisible than a homeless person it’s one being accosted by police). Once they’d whacked him around a bit they’d cover their arses by charging him with the trifecta.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s sad.. I’ve watched my city over 5 decades growing in leaps and bounds along with home/screen entertainment.. Humans get whacky when they lose REAL flesh and blood face time.. And i for one force them to face flesh when i dance in public as the American Indian archetype of a sacred clown and law enforcement has never bothered me as i am mistaken FOR law enforcement by my general look inherited from my father who did 46 years as a cop.. Not my style of free.. TG.. As he left early and i did not get bred that way..:)


        • I should probably mention that NZ police seem quite different to their Australian counterparts. They’re not routinely armed for a start and I think that changes the whole culture. Not so many cowboys looking for an excuse to act out their Clint Eastwood fantasies.

          For example, a few weeks ago four NZ police were shot during a raid on a cannabis growing operation. None died but one was seriously injured. After an extended siege the shooter, a Maori guy, was brought in unharmed. An outcome like that would have been unthinkable here. Even if the shooter had managed to surrender without being executed he would have arrived in the cells looking like he’d just done ten rounds with Mike Tyson. Most police car chases here end with a bashing for the driver too.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Lord.. yes.. humans
    without weapons
    are most alWays
    less likely
    to inflict
    hurt on other humans
    as it is heir apparent.. still..
    more of a human struggle
    to strangle someone
    than to pull
    a trigger..
    But in general..
    birds of a feather do
    fLock together in human
    terms.. and generAlly speaking..
    weepy cops don’t last.. or
    doctors.. surgeons and
    CEO’s.. etc… i heard
    some stories about
    my father.. that were
    unpalatable too.. from
    some of the black folks who
    were more fully aware of some
    of the stuff he and his buddies did
    as cops.. again..
    so glad i did not
    get into that line
    of work.. then..
    but i’m pretty
    sure it’s always
    been that way..
    someone has to do it..
    and more of the bad stuff
    now gets caught on newly
    devised public
    In other words..
    not unlike prisons..
    cops are a necessary
    evil that they are too..
    the human system..
    is insane.. but
    it works well
    for some
    to still be free..
    So order does remain
    in chaos for the free of
    some of us.. who
    are fearless
    enough to do
    it.. No doubt
    i got that from
    my father.. friend..
    but the Love came from
    the super feminine Mom
    to balance out the super masculine
    Dad.. and before the days of birth
    control.. that’s how many real heroes
    per the archetype were born and
    raised.. the Fearless bad boy
    dad leaves early and the
    super feminine
    good girl
    (Mary Virgin)
    mama.. raises
    the ‘Jesus’
    hero with
    Love.. now
    the boy
    oh sure..
    ‘God’ iS now..
    the baddest
    ‘boy’ of all.. iN
    Big Bang terms..
    But as science says..
    now girls who are doing
    the Pill go for the Beta Boys..
    and that’s why there are so many
    movies these days about heroes..
    as they are not getting bred as much
    the price
    of a Pill
    is now
    more fear
    full men..
    and with
    fear even Love
    doesn’t do much.. in action..
    all my my opinion of course..
    from watching iT all around me..
    i started


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