Bystanders? More like Bye Standards.

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We’ve all experienced the bystander effect at one point or another in our lives. Whether you kept walking as a mother punished her child at the local park, or looked the other way when someone stashed a shirt from a store in their bag. Bystander effect knows no bounds and you will be affected by it at some point in your life.

Americans are nosy when it comes to Hollywood celebrities and their lives.

But when it comes to normal citizens, we don’t seem to want to get involved in their personal lives because of the “risks” involved.

Last Tuesday afternoon, a 27-year-old McDonalds worker named Catherine Ferreira was brutally beaten after work by her co-worker Latia Harris, 25. What Harris did is unequivocally brutal. In my eyes what is even worse is the bystanders who not only stood by and watched Ferreira get thrown around like a rag doll, but pulled out their phones and videotaped the event. You can watch it below if you’re so inclined but be aware that the video is graphic.

There are some cases when you just shouldn’t get involved, but when someone is getting beaten to a bloody pulp in front of her child, I believe that it is the bystander’s duty to step in and intervene. Whether it is verbally or physically, you cannot just sit by and watch a person get battered, and if you do, you might as well throw in a couple of punches yourself because you’re honestly just as bad.


Shaking My Head.

To the people in the video standing by watching and recording as the woman’s son pleads for Harris to stop pummeling his mother: shame on you. To the kids who record videos of fights and yell “worldstar!” as punches are being thrown: shame on you. To all the men and women who record drunk people as they make fools of themselves: shame on you. And to make matters worse, these videos are recorded for the sole reason of getting attention. Newsflash people, if your video goes viral on the web, that makes you about as famous as…

Honey Boo Boo…..

I’m no saint. I know that I am guilty of looking the other way from time to time. But what I do possess are morals and a conscience. Let me define those terms, because it seems like we have forgotten what they mean as a society. Now we could delve into the discussion of what morals really mean, and I could bring up Kant, Hume, and Nietzsche and we can discuss it for hours upon hours. But to save us time I’m just going to give you the Trevor Smith definitions.

Morals: A set of just standards that we conform to because we are civilized beings.

Conscience: That little voice inside your head that tells you when something is really wrong.

I know that we have evolved into a society that condones fighting, which is why people may not see the problem with Harris beating the shit out of her co-worker. But have our consciences disappeared? Did the little boy pleading for the fight to end not just break your heart? Did Ferreira’s limp body not make you want to jump in and say, “Hey Latia, I think she’s had enough?” No? I guess not.

Ah Choooooo

As a society our moral compass is starting to point in the wrong direction. We don’t need more videographers recording our worst moments, we need more heroes to step in and stand up to the Latia Harrises of the world. So I’m going to challenge you: the next time you see an argument heat up, or a kid getting bullied, or a fast food worker getting mistreated, say something. I promise you’ll feel great about yourself, and it will make a world of difference for the person you’re helping.

That felt good

Trevor Smith

Featured image courtesy of [Taylor Sloan via Flickr]

Trevor Smith
Trevor Smith is a homegrown DMVer studying Journalism and Graphic Design at American University. Upon graduating he has hopes to work for the US State Department so that he can travel, learn, and make money at the same time. Contact Trevor at



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