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How can anyone with a pulse walk by a person lying on the sidewalk who is injured or already may be dead and do nothing? Surveillance video shows at least eight people walking by a Guatemalan immigrant stretched out on the sidewalk and then doing nothing.
Police said Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax, 31, was a hero. The homeless man was killed after coming to the aid of an unknown woman who was being robbed at knifepoint. At the writing of this editorial, even the woman who was being attacked has yet to come forward. She may be frightened, but that is a poor excuse for not going to the police. Tale-Yax may have saved her life. The least she could do is help the police arrest the mugger who killed him.
The video showed one of the eight passers-by shaking the body and when he got no response continued walking. The other people did not even do that. The police said the attack occurred at 7:30 a.m., when the streets were filled with people heading to work.
It is a safe bet that most if not all of the people who walked by were carrying cell phones. If they were unwilling to take the time to stop and offer help, at least they could have dialed 911 or stepped into the nearest store and asked a manager to call the police.
This tragic incident brings to mind the infamous Kitty Genovese case. In 1964, the young woman was killed in the courtyard of her Kew Gardens apartment building. Her neighbors heard her screams, but no one went to help or called the police. That such cowardice and indifference exists in Queens more than 40 years later is disgraceful.
It may be that some of the people who walked by are in this country illegally. That is an understandable concern but no excuse for not doing what should be expected of any human.
We would like to hope the people who walked past Tale-Yax are having trouble sleeping, including the woman he risked his life to save. They should come forward. Meanwhile, the police have urged anyone with information to call Crimestoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS, text their tips to 274637 then enter TIP577 or log on to nypdcrimestoppers.com. All reports will be kept confidential and callers do not have to worry about their immigration status.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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