Beliefnet
Everyday Ethics

“I bet this is a learning incident.” 

This is a quote from West Contra Costa Unified School District spokesman Marin Trujillo, in regards to the gang rape that occurred on school grounds after a homecoming dance.
I actually felt chilled as I read this account — gang rape of anyone, let alone a teenage girl after her homecoming dance is beyond words. So what words do we use to describe the gang rape of a girl with multiple bystanders watching, snapping photos and not lifting a finger (let alone a cell phone) to help? 
We’ve discussed getting “involved” on this blog quite a bit. I think most of us are similar in the sense that we want to make the right choices in life, both for our own sake as well as for others, but often are unsure when it’s the right time to step in if it doesn’t directly involve us. I couldn’t even bring myself to interject my opinion in a verbal scuffle between a passenger and airport shuttle driver

But this–to know that there were children watching this horror show and doing nothing more than snapping pictures completely blows my mind. It’s possible I’ve lowered my standards, but I wouldn’t even expect anyone to try to stop the brutality — I simply would expect them to call the police
According to KGO-TV in San Francisco, the police were informed only after someone not at the scene overheard people talking about the incident called and reported it. 
As I said, we’ve discussed the question of when to get involved several times here — mostly regarding smaller, seemingly petty incidents. However, it seems to me that questioning these so-called inconsequential interactions prepare us to take a much more important step when the results aren’t so inconsequential, when it truly is a simple matter of right and wrong, black and white. 
At the moment, it doesn’t look like the supposedly “innocent” bystanders will by charged with anything; do you think they should be?

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