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Chicago: No Good Samaritans on Facebook Live

by | Mar 22, 2017 | Crime & Punishment

Kitty Genovese was murdered March 13, 1964, outside her apartment building in Queens, New York.  Stabbed repeatedly, screaming for help, in front of a dozen eyewitnesses and a dozen more who heard the violent attack, Kitty succumbed to her wounds and lay dead on the cold, hard sidewalk.  The police were summoned, yet failed to honor the call believing it to be more of a ‘domestic disturbance’.   The murder was covered by the New York Times sparking an investigation into the indifference of witnesses to violent crimes.

Let’s fast forward 53 years.  The city is Chicago, the violence seemingly unchecked, and rampant.  Now, add in the lure of social media, and the instant stardom for otherwise regular people and you have created a perfect platform for sadists to act upon fantasies of savagery.

The latest victim of ‘indifference’ is a 15-year-old Chicago girl, whose apparent gang-rape was live streamed on Facebook.  At least 40 people watched the feed, and according to Fox News, not a single person called the police.

None of the roughly 40 people who watched the video called police about the attack, investigators said. It’s the second time in months that Chicago police have investigated an apparent attack streamed live on Facebook.

Police finally learned of the attack after the girl’s mother approached Superintendent Eddie Johnson late Monday afternoon and showed him screenshots of the alleged assault, spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. Johnson was leaving a news conference in the Lawndale neighborhood on the city’s West Side.

“Here’s what’s even more disturbing, more than the fact that they did this, there were so many people that saw it and didn’t pick up the phone to dial 911,” Johnson told WGN-TV. “That’s not right. It’s just not right.”

An investigation was immediately opened, is ongoing and requests were made to Facebook to remove the video.

Live streaming is the latest feature from the social media giant allowing anyone to broadcast any content they deem worthy—no filter, no sensor, no control until the damage is done, or fame achieved.

Last January, in Chicago, four people were arrested for their participation in the ruthless and brutal beating of a mentally-challenged man who had the audacity to wear Trump paraphernalia.  All live streamed on Facebook for their followers to enjoy.

At what place in time, in these past few decades, did the paradigm shift of society and community, default to the dark ages of parading and propagating violence as entertainment?   Hollywood’s best screenwriters could not create the stories that we see in the real world today and we have become immune to acts of cruelty and viciousness.

It has been 53 years since the Genovese murder.  Laws have been enacted that criminalize the act of witnessing a crime without rendering aid of any kind.  Yet, the reality is at least 40 individuals, sat in the safety of their homes, watching the gang-rape of a child on their smartphone, and not one person thought to dial 9-1-1.   Is this a reflection on those individuals, or on the rest of us—a society that allows for this to happen?  America, our monster is alive and well.

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