Good Samaritan or Victim Volunteer
Have the times changed or have we? Are people meaner and more vicious then they used to be or are we just more aware and less trusting? I have memories of my grandfather offering rides to strangers or even bringing them home to his family for a meal. I can remember him doing business deals with nothing but a handshake and a man’s word. That’s right no lawyers no de facto Latin legal language that you have no chance of understanding with out your own law degree. Just a handshake and a promise. Was my grandfather ever ripped off? Probably…if he was I never heard about it and it never stopped him from doing business that way. Did that make him naïve or was he just good at reading people and their intentions? Is it just a case of the generational gap?
Estimated crime in United States-Total
Violent Crime Rates
Crime rate per 100,000 population
Year Population Violent Crime Murder Rape Robbery Aggravated Assault
1960 179,323,175 160.9 5.1 9.6 60.1 86.1
1970 203,235,298 363.5 7.9 18.7 172.1 164.8
1980 225,349,264 596.6 10.2 36.8 251.1 298.5
1990 249,464,396 729.6 9.4 41.1 256.3 422.9
2000 281,421,906 506.5 5.5 32.0 145.0 324.0
2010 308,745,538 403.6 4.8 27.5 119.1 252.3
Notes: National or state offense totals are based on data from all reporting agencies and estimates for unreported areas. United States-Total –
The 168 murder and nonnegligent homicides that occurred as a result of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995 are included in the national estimate.
The 2,823 murder and nonnegligent homicides that occurred as a result of the events of September 11, 2001, are not included in the national estimates.
Sources: FBI, Uniform Crime Reports as prepared by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data
While the population hasn’t even doubled; violent crime rates, rape, and aggravated assault have all almost tripled. In the good news department, your chance of being murdered has decreased. (I don’t remember the 80’s and 90’s being that violent.)
What started me down this morbid road of thought? A case of it could have been me…
About a month ago a neighbor of mine’s son (I will call him “Joe” so I don’t have to keep typing my neighbor’s son) was driving to visit her. It was almost dark. The weather was turning bad. It was starting to rain and the temperature was rapidly dropping. Joe came around a curve in the road and noticed a women standing next to her van, on the side of the road, with the hood raised. She did not look scary or threatening. She looked cold, wet, and alone. She looked like she needed help. Joe did what I like to think someone would do for me if they came across me in that situation. He pulled over, got out of his truck and walked towards her to see if he could offer assistance. Before he could get to her, a man stepped out of the woods and stuck a gun to Joe’s head. While the man held Joe at gun point the poor, alone, defenseless (sarcasm) woman preceded to plumage his vehicle looking for valuables. The man then ordered Joe to hand over his wallet and watch. As the gunman cocked the gun to shoot Joe in the head at point blank range, fate intervened and another car came around the curve. Instead of shooting Joe the gunman bashed him in the head hard enough to drive Joe to the ground and put him on the verge of loosing consciousness. The perpetrators then ran to their vehicle, got in and drove away. (Never to be heard from again.) Had that car not appeared when it did Joe would most certainly be dead. Joe had a gun in his truck (they stole it). Joe was former military. Joe thought he had it covered. Joe was trying to be a good Samaritan. Joe almost died.
The scary part for me was realizing that that could have been me. We live in the country, outside the city limits of a small town, where neighbors help neighbors and we are not used to strangers. Had I come upon that same scenario instead of Joe…it would have been me. I like to think that I would have been smart enough to stay in my vehicle and to offer to call help for her instead of getting out and exposing myself to danger but, chances are I wouldn’t have left her standing out there all alone and “defenseless”. I would have at least offered her a ride. And I very well would not be here writing this now.
Have the times changed? I don’t know.
Have we changed? I don’t know.
Have I changed? Most definitely!!! I’m not entirely sure it’s for the better but it is safer. I will not volunteer to be a victim.