A few weeks ago, at the end of a food-shopping expedition, I had just completed loading groceries into my car and wanted to return the cart. Sometimes, I bring it back into the store, and other times, I look for an area where they are retrieved. I was about to leave the carriage in one of those selected areas or what I thought was. On this particular day, I noticed an employee sitting outside in one of these spots. As I was about to leave the carriage, I realized that perhaps I was wrong about this designated location. I asked the employee. Cheerfully, she responded with, “Everyone else leaves it here.” I looked at her and said, “Well, just because everyone does it does not make it right.” I proceeded to wheel the carriage into the market, and as I walked by this woman again, she smiled and said, “Thank you.” I returned her friendly gesture and repeated what I just stated.
Thinking about this issue, I realized how often we do this innocuously and not so harmlessly. When it comes to the latter, the situation can be deadly.
The Murder of Kitty Genovese
I remember hearing later about a homicide that took place when I was a child. In 1964, Kitty Genovese of Queens, New York, was raped and stabbed to death. Reputedly, several witnesses heard her cries or saw her but did nothing. Later, further discovery revealed there was gross exaggeration in the number of witnesses. Whether or not there was inflation is not the question. Even if there were a few who chose not to intervene because they saw no one else do so, does that make it right? Of course not. We do not know the facts because of the embellishment of the reporters and the obscurity of the details at that time. Allegedly, contacting the police rendered no immediate action as not deemed a priority. Again, there is no way to know. What can be deduced from the information is that some people were fearful or believed others could handle the situation more appropriately, so they did nothing.
A Man Drowning
A few years ago, some minors posted a disturbing video on social media, which, thankfully, I did not view. Researching this tragedy, I found it took place in Florida in 2017. These young people watched, laughed, and videoed this man crying for help before he succumbed to his death. Charges were withheld against these minors because, legally, there was no requirement for them to intercede. The law may state one thing, but you would hope that our moral compass conveys another. Just because there was no legal responsibility to rescue this distressed man, does that make it right?
Acquiescing to Peer Pressure
Last year or so, there was a commentary in the Wall Street Journal regarding a situation that was occurring at a college. I do not recall the specifics, but the writer indicated that his professorial friend was signing something that he knew did not comport with his friend. When he asked his friend, the professor told him he was correct but was doing it as was everyone else even though he doubted they agreed with it. Alrighty, then, but does that make it right?
Just Because Few People Say It, Doesn’t Make It Wrong
We live in times where you are not always able to be yourself so let me try. I am a privileged woman. How so, you might wonder? Well, not in a conventional manner. I am not referring to the color of my skin or my socioeconomic status. No, I am referring to the following: I am a sixty-two-year-old woman of faith soon to be sixty-three blessed to have a zest for life and continuous openness to the possibilities. I have been a solopreneur for over thirty years, fortunate to have a robust career working with some of the most remarkable people you could ever encounter. I am most grateful for living in a great country where opportunities remain abundant to those of us throughout the lifecycle and being alive in the 21st century.
Most importantly, I am beyond appreciative of being healthy and expressing myself, being who I am supposed to be. I am indeed wealthy, and what a privilege that is. Many people will disagree with my definition of ”privilege.” Even if most people do, that is their right, but it doesn’t mean they are right.
What are your thoughts on following the crowd, not speaking out, or fearful of standing out? I look forward to receiving your comments.