Have you heard about this one?
Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax, a 32-year-old homeless man in New York, saw a woman being attacked and intervened to help her. Tale-Yax managed to stop the assault and rescue the woman, but the assailant turned his knife on Tale-Yax, who, fatally wounded, collapsed on a nearby sidewalk.
Over the next couple hours, at least 20 people walked by Tale-Yax, as he lay in a growing pool of blood - some throwing quick glances his way, others oblivious to him or ignoring him. One man took a cell phone picture of him lying on the ground. Another man eventually tried to roust him. Eventually 911 was called. By the time they arrived, Tale-Yax had bled to death.
My instinct is to get on the bandwagon and say all the people who walked by him are A-holes who should be ashamed of themselves.
My good sense though says that I might have done the same thing: walked fast about my business, and made a snap judgment about him as I walked by, or pretended not to see him in case he wanted money or might try to engage me in conversation.
What?!?! You know I'm not writing anything you haven't thought yourself.
I walk around homeless people like Frogger dodging cars, when I stroll through downtown Miami on an average day. Sometimes you have to, or a theoretical 10 minute walk can turn into a 30 minute walk because you're stopping every few seconds to make a donation or engage in conversations about the mysterious black helicopters, or the aliens who are trying to land spacecraft at Bayfront Park or take over our brains.
I wish someone had stopped sooner to help Tale-Yax, but given all the wackiness out there, just how mad can we Monday morning quarterbacks be at those folks in the security video?
Face it: they probably assumed he was passed out drunk. Who knows? Maybe that block is known for hosting a gauntlet of passed out drunks.
One thing realllllllllllllllllllllly bothers me about the inaction though: News reports from NYC say that Tale-Yax was in a pool of blood. How do you miss that? How do you ignore that? Granted, he was stabbed at 5:40 a.m. Maybe it was dark outside yet. Still....
Question of the day - Under the same circumstances, would you have stopped to check on Tale-Yax, or would you too have zoomed right by?
I like to think I'd have stopped, but that's because it feels better to tell myself we all care. I can't swear that I would have. In fact, there's at least a 50/50 chance that I might have walked on by.
At any rate, kudos to Tale-Yax for being a hero. May he rest in peace. And may his killer get caught and get what's coming to him.
PS. Follow me, please, at twitter.com/jamesburnett.