Is it our duty to help or intervene when we feel as though someone may be a danger to themselves or others? Shall we assist or offer help and take it upon ourselves to take action? Our unspoken duty to man; shall we assist that old lady crossing the street or help her put groceries into the trunk of her car. Not so much a danger to herself or others however may this be a duty for us to aid her. Someone has fallen right before us, do we help them up? A person has a flat tire on the side of the road do we stop or do we drive past them. A car accident has occurred and both parties are too limp and unconscious to call for help, this may be our duty to intervene.
There are many scenarios in which I may question is it our duty to step in, the right thing to do, or maybe just helping out society and being a part of it. A man in a wheelchair or someone who is handicapped is approaching a door; do we open it for them? A person has dropped money or a personal belonging, do we make them aware of it. Is this our moral duty? On another note, something more simply – do we hold the door for the person behind us, do we open the door for a mother pushing her baby carriage, do men need to open doors for women? Think about it…
Now, this is a thought. A man is sitting drunk in his car while the vehicle is still in drive in front of a busy restaurant. Is he drunk, unconscious or sleeping? Is it up to a bystander to find out and see what is really going on? Is it our duty to step in or will it be best to call authorities. Shall we intervene because perhaps it may be too late? Is this worth it? How will this person react, will they be grateful or angry and unappreciative. We may just never know. This boggles my mind.
So indeed a man was laid out on his steering wheel at 3am in his car, immobile in a parking zone and facing a restaurant full of people. Someone taps on his window to see what was really going on, he gets startled and rams his car straight into the building. Luckily, the bystander wasn’t injured and luckily he didn’t run his car through the glass of the window. Should the authorities have been called first before taken upon action, or was this the right thing to do? It all depends on the person and what they feel may be their unspoken duty. Maybe it was up to the restaurant owner to have taken upon action – he should be liable, or the bartenders who continuously served him drinks even after he was drunk, and the bouncers – maybe they should have prevented him to even get into his car. What if this man would have attempted to have driven off before he passed out, he could have killed a pedestrian or caused a serious accident. He was of danger to himself and others. The authorities were eventually called and this man was so intoxicated his body was so hobble that police officers had to literally drag him out the car. He failed all the “DWI” tests. Clearly this could have been a much worse situation.
What would you have done? This brings about the idea of perception. Another person’s perception may not be what we perceive and vice versa. What we may feel as helping, assisting, our duty to man or society as an action to take upon; the recipient may not. The drunk man may not want help, the disabled person may not want a door opened for them or the old lady may want to cross the street alone. It’s a tricky concept. Shall we ask the person for approval or do we make our own judgment. Does the recipient want to feel their own independence and want to reject assistance or are they dependent on bystanders and society to step up to the plate. Where do we draw the line? Misleading boundaries, which ones are bold and shall we not cross? Will you place yourselves in their shoes and decide what would be best? Whether or not we take action may depend on our experiences, customs, morals, values and perception. Contemplate this for a moment; this may be something that you yourself may come across in your daily life, will you take on your duty to man? – xo Evelyn Ortiz has spoken *