WHY don’t decent blokes do anything? Have we lost our collective cojones?
In today’s viral video of feral females monstering an innocent train passenger, the most depressing aspect is the sea of faces studiously looking down at their phones, tablets, papers – anywhere but at the aggressors and their victim.
Nobody got up to help, to shield the man, tell the girls to pull their heads in or even to show silent support … not until the teenagers had left the carriage.
I’m sure everyone had a reason to not get involved – as a daily train traveller who has seen plenty of vile incidents, I get the dilemma – but in the cold light of day it adds up to a shocking show of apathy, especially from the men.
What has happened to us? And it’s specifically the blokes I’m talking to.
Why, in such a situation, do ordinary guys sitting nearby not exchange glances, give each other a nod and take collective action?
When young oiks of either sex rampage up and down train carriages, distressing mums and kids with vile language, why do the big guys in suits or fluoro vests – the regular real men who would not wish their families subjected to this – not stand up together, exercise their natural authority and bring calm to the situation?
It works; and even if it does not stop the idiots, it gives the traumatised victim a much-needed shield and comfort.
“But I don’t know what’s going on, it’s not my business,” I hear you think. “How do I know who’s in the right?”
Even if it’s not obvious, you don’t need to know – just stopping the situation escalating is enough, then leave matters of right/wrong/crime to the proper authorities.
I’m no hero: I’ve asked gangs of swearing teens to stop and had great results, possibly because I spoke with respect; I’ve also chosen not to tackle big, hairy Neanderthals in the same situation because they looked way too dangerous. A considered decision, but for a time I still hated that I bottled.
I’ve tackled a bag-snatcher and chased him away from his victim and his loot, but backed off when he turned on me in case he had a weapon. Another considered decision – one that I was much happier with.
I don’t suggest people put themselves in danger, but I’d argue that a few calm adult men acting as a group would be enough to dissipate the danger in these situations.
Humans are capable of heroic altruism – witness those ordinary citizens who confront serious maniacs like terrorists – but can be shockingly slow to act.
Who stepped in when Nigella Lawson was being choked in a restaurant by her husband? Nobody. Not a single one of their genteel, cashed-up fellow diners.
In the recent string of racist attacks on Australian buses, a few brave souls have intervened for the victims – but far too few.
It’s time to stand up and be counted, fellas. Be the role models and leaders our society needs, but don’t leave each other hanging when someone gets the ball rolling.
When ordinary good guys act together, it can be an enormously powerful force.
See the video here.