During a sunny August afternoon in an alleyway in Newark, in an act of brutal manipulative violence, three men stripped a teenager of his clothes, poured water over him and beat him multiple times with a belt as bystanders watched and walked by. The beating allegedly occurred because of a measly $20 debt the victims father owed the three men.
The three men caught the violent act on video andposted it on a popular websitecalled WorldStarHipHop.com. The video soon went viral on YouTube and it quickly received more than 40,000 views. All of this before any of theperpetrators faced anycriminal charges.
Because of the popularity of the video and the overwhelmingfear of retaliation, the reluctantvictim never brought the incident up with police. It was not until Wednesday, seven months after the crime, that the three men were finally arrested.
Episodes like this are the embodiment of what isquintessentially wrong with the world. The fact that this man was in broad daylight, people walking past him, as he stood naked, being beaten by a group of men who showed little emotion besides sociopathic laughter issimply disheartening.
But equally troubling is the sense of voyeuristic interestthat attracts hits on the video and its rapid rate of viralness. Why is the same general public who is willingto watch the video, notwilling to take action insimilar situations?
It speaks to the lack of compassion of everyone who walked past the alleyway who did nothing. It speaks to the lack of compassion of every one of the 40,000 peoplewho watched the beating on YouTube while the threecriminals witnessed thepopularity of the video rise from their houses.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Newark Mayor Cory Booker said, In the face of evil, those who remain quiet are participants in that evil.
Booker rightfully condemned the video and deprecated all of those who witnessed the crime, either in person or online, and did nothing.
The crime that occurred that day was a malicious andheinous act, but the videos viralness indicates that the general public is willing to live in a desensitized world that doesnt allow them to notice when its time to stop being passive bystanders.