Just imagine shopping with your friend. As you exit the store you’re suddenly blindsided by three male store employees. They punch you; they beat you, and knock you down. Dazed, shocked and confused, you stumble to your car, and grab your tire iron in retaliation, but before you can deliver the first swing, it’s taken from you; and you’re struck again. As drivers-by witness the 3-on-1 assault, they do nothing! Instead of helping you…they laugh. Instead of dialing 911, they videotape the attack; viewing it as a modern-day spectator sport to be posted on the internet for fun.
Well that’s what happened to 55-year-old Ben Robinson, as he and a friend were leaving the Family Dollar store at 47th Street and Girard Avenue in Philadelphia. A store employee thought Robinson stole bar of soap and alerted two other employees of the alleged crime. As he exited the store, the trio bum-rushed him, knocking him to the ground.
After the beating, the 3 vigilantes returned to the store and called the Police; who instead of taking Robinson to the hospital…took him to jail. “I’m thinking I’m going to the hospital to get stitched up after getting beat up and I find out I’m being arrested,” Robinson previously told NBC10.com. “I couldn’t understand it. I’m getting arrested for getting beat up.”
In my opinion, whether Robinson stole the soap or not, is inconsequential at this point. But to see a man bleeding, falling down, and being attacked on the sidewalk, and not come to his aid is heart wrenching. Are we so devoid of feeling and compassion, that we’re becoming a society of “I don’t know, I don’t care, and just leave me out of it,” if it doesn’t pertain to us or those we love?
Every day we read headlines or hear stories so devastating, that we either cringe in shock or gasp in horror, because we can’t believe that what we’ve read or heard is true.
Just think about it, if two children are fighting after school with a gathering crowd, how many will stop the fight? None! I have witnessed 4 afterschool fights in the past year; and instead of stopping the fight, it turns into a free-for-all. And those who aren’t involved in the brutal melee are gathered as cheering spectators ready to upload the next punch.
Several years ago while riding my bike, I hit a speed bump. After descending from the stratosphere to the ground, I was a bloody mess. As I lay in the street, several people were kind enough to provide honking horns, spewed obscenities, and encouraging statements, like “get your a@!$$ out of the street.” But what they didn’t provide was help.
To further my point, just today, Derek Medina, 31, posted a picture of his wife’s bloody, lifeless body on Facebook; along with his alleged confession, “I’m going to prison or death sentence for killing my wife love you guys miss you guys take care Facebook people you will see me in the news.”
So I ask you, who are those on Facebook or those looking at YouTube? Spectators! People, who want to see what has happened, read what has happened or tell what has happened. In some cases, the more brutality, the better it is; beheadings, shootings, fighting; it’s all there, actual footage.
If our level of concern for each other doesn’t evolve, then we’re no different than those ‘body snatches’ that could watch a dead bodies quiver in the street and just walk over them.
Oh, before I forget, I just learned today the six charges associated with the Ben Robinson incident of April 2013, have been dropped and the case dismissed. Common Pleas Court Judge Karen Simmons called the beating “a disgrace.”
A happy Robinson made the following statement, “Well I just felt that the truth prevailed,” he said. “One thing’s for sure, I don’t want it to happen to anyone else.”
Written by DeBorah Heggs