Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Big Apple is rotting.

People tend to forget that New York City is made up of five boroughs: Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens. "The Big Apple" tends to refer to Manhattan only, but if you're not picky, you can include all the other boroughs, as I have.

And why is it rotting? It was just one incident. Just one. And it's made me lose some of what little faith I have in humanity.

You see, a woman was attacked by a mugger last Sunday morning. A homeless man intervened and was stabbed. The mugger ran one way. The victim ran the other. And the homeless man staggered a few steps before he collapsed. When emergency folk got to him, he was dead, lying in a large pool of blood.

So far, this isn't really news, right? I mean, people get killed all the time. It's horrible, but there are some horrible people out there, and that's the way we try to explain it away so as not to live in fear all the time.

What makes this news is that the homeless man, Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax, age 31, finally identified only recently, collapsed in front of a security camera...and lay there for an hour and twenty minutes.

Oh, wait. Still not news, right? Crimes are caught on tape all of the time. We're shown such things regularly, and often become numb to how violent some people are. It keeps our psyches safe.

Well, this is the part where my faith in humanity falters. According to the NY Post, over 25 people walked past the dying man, and none of them called for help. Some people called 911 when the attack occurred to report a woman screaming, but the cops found nothing. After that, there were no calls...and yet 25 people passed the dying man, often gawking at his collapsed form.

Oh, wait. That's right. Two people DID do something. One particularly coldhearted bastard stepped out of his apartment building to use his cell phone to take a picture. Didn't use that same phone, or any other, to call for help. The other shook Hugo vigorously, saw the blood, and kept walking. That person also didn't call for help.

Hugo was found by accident when firefighters responded to a non-life-threatening call.

I was fairly young when I learned about the 911 system. I learned that when things are seriously bad, and there's no one around to help, you call 911 for the police or firemen. Eventually, as I grew older, I heard of a case, that of Kitty Genovese, who was raped and killed while dozens of people listened to her cries for help. The Post says some even witnessed part or all of the attack on Kitty. And why did no one summon the police? Because everyone thought everyone else was doing just that. With that in mind, I have called the cops, (especially when I lived in Phoenix), several times, because I can never be sure if anyone else is even bothering to do so.

But this just leaves me feeling sick. Twenty-five people, all of whom didn't go to the nearest payphone, (and NY practically has one within spitting distance). TWENTY-FIVE! And two of them had some interaction with Hugo as he was dying or already lay dead. One took a picture, and the other walked off when he saw blood. THERE'S NO RECORD OF ANY 911 CALLS BEYOND WHEN THE WOMAN WAS ATTACKED!

What happened to the city I virtually grew up in?

When I was 16, I went into Manhattan with some friends. The weather was on and off that day, and when it rained, it RAINED. This left some of the street corners, which are in perpetual need of repair, badly flooded. But we were young and agile, so leaping such monstrous puddles was nothing.

We were standing at one particular corner, when a tall, fit man looked down at a tiny, elderly woman, and asked her if she needed help getting across the street. I had always considered "helping little old ladies cross the street" as a joke. This woman had been looking at the puddle, and may well have decided she would have to trudge through it to get where she was going. The guy was wearing a shirt and tie, and those business types tend to not want to get their suits messed up. So try to imagine how everyone reacted when the light changed, he scooped her off the ground, leaped across the puddle, carried her the rest of the way, and gently set her down on the opposite sidewalk.

Everyone around him applauded, including my friends and I.

We need more people like that guy.

Meanwhile, there are 24 people in NY who have set themselves on the road to Hell. Oh, you know I'm not religious. But it's times like this when I truly hope Hell exists, as some people simply belong there. And to the one I didn't count...the one who took a picture and walked away...Well, I deem him the very worst of the lot, and pray he'll have an express ride to perdition.

If you want to read the various stories that are now out there about this crime, or, if you're brave enough, watch the horrific video, simply Google "Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax." Oh, and it should be noted that some reports say "almost 25 people," and that Hugo may have been 32.

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