Japanese folk culture presented us with the “Three Wise Monkeys” that are named Mizaru (see no evil), Kikazaru (hear no evil) and Iwaszarua (speak no evil).
I love these creatures as they are portrayed in numerous formats ranging from coffee mugs to cartoons and everything else in between in their respective anthropomorphic poses.
However, with my sincere apologies to these primate relatives of “Cheetah”, I really don’t think that they were that wise. They were cowards! In reality, they were figuratively blind, deaf and mute that may seem wise to some but not this retired Gumshoe.
In my experience at fresh crime scenes (especially with bodies and blood), people who were physically present during the mayhem quickly morphed into being conveniently blind, deaf and mute when I asked them (individually and privately) for their assistance. I even offered them anonymity in some instances – just point me in the right direction for my investigation for Heaven’s sake!
When I was “new to the blue“ (wearing the police uniform) this most common response just seemed downright “uncommon” to me. Surely, God-fearing citizens would always step-up and do the right thing.
Over my time on patrol driving the mean streets in various barrios, ghettos or “hoods”, there was a common saying in Spanish, “ La Vida es Barata” (life is cheap).
No one wanted to get involved. Maybe it was out of fear of reprisals, intimidation or just the plain old survival instinct? Maybe folks thought that this was wise action (“inaction” in my personal playbook) to take.
“It is none of my business; I don’t want to get involved”, the old “bystander syndrome”.
A part of me always wanted to “get up into their collective faces” and shake their “collective consciousnesses” out of their blindness, deafness, and muteness! Make them care! I wanted to remind all of them about the parable of the “Good Samaritan” or what Cain said to God about “not being his brother’s keeper”. (First documented homicide by the way).
I also wanted to give all of them the sad account about the murder of 28-year old Kitty Genovese, outside her apartment complex in Queens, New York who cried out for help after being stabbed and stabbed again as she attempted to flee from her attacker. She finally collapsed on a set of stairs and nobody came forward as she slowly bled to death. (whether anyone heard her cries is still in dispute). I believe some did.
I finally, I wanted to tell them what Jesus said about whatever you do to the least of your brothers (or sisters) you do to me. No, I never said any of these things to these folks – they would never understand anyway. You cannot talk to the “dead of heart” or the “morally bankrupt”.
I maintained my professional blindness, deafness and muted silence on the outside, but on my inside, I kept my compassion, my empathy and my humanity intact for the victims. The ones who really mattered, or their next of kin who really cared.
How could I do otherwise?
That’s my thoughts, for now, my gentle readers. Remember to always love the ones who love you and to even love the ones who don’t.