Judging from the title, I bet many of you would have immediately thought I am a cold-hearted, self-centred son of a bitch who doesn’t have any shred of compassion for my fellow humans.
But if you did, you couldn’t be far wrong – I am someone who actually makes every effort to go out of my way to be courteous to everyone I encounter. The cleaning ladies, garbage disposal men and security guards I meet ever so often gladly exchange smiles with me – and this goes on all the way up to CEOs and such, albeit usually with just a passing nod.
But back to the point of this is this: it’s simply because I’m too fearful to make my way to someone lying injured on the road or sidewalk from a traffic accident. I am sure many of you too share this view, even if you won’t openly admit it like I do.
It’s not difficult to see why when you consider the typical traffic accident scenario. Even as the injured person crawls out of the damaged vehicle, other motorists would continue whizzing past at break-neck speeds while also rubber-necking and likely fumbling with cellphone to snap photos of the tragic scene as they pass or scribble down the vehicle registration number – never mind that their lack of attention might (God forbid!) cause further accidents.
Even when some form of barriers are laid to fend off traffic flows, there’s always some idiot who’s not paying attention or simply impatient to barge through – never mind the consequences. And then, there are the vultures who are ever-ready to swoop in and take advantage of the helpless and simply motivated by self-gain – from badgering the victims to hire their services (at an exorbitant fee, of course!) to simply looting whatever’s unguarded.
For these despicable cretins, onlookers and caring samaritans are fair game too. And let’s not forget others who’d stoop even lower by snatching up the helpless for sordid pursuits elsewhere. Chances are these too might have probably staged or even caused the traffic accidents in the first place to prey on the unsuspecting.
Because we hear about these incidents or even see them, it’s no wonder many of us won’t stop to render help to traffic accident victims – especially if there are also children, disabled or elderly along with us.
Even if we’re alone – the typical adult male or female – why bother to stop? Women are especially vulnerable to theft, daylight robbery, abduction or worse. For men who try to help, victims are also likely to cower in horror if first impressions and preconceived ideas portray a different impression. And then, there’s every possibility of subsequent arrivals mistaking your aid as guilt for causing the accident in the first place and proceeding to beat you up. Its happened.
So why bother? If you somehow manage to actually render the help your conscience directs you too, chances are your vehicle would become a mess and your schedule or whatever you were doing or going to do will be thrown out of kilter – with follow-up statements to police, hospital authorities, etc. taking hours to complete while your own loved ones worry about you.
But if we don’t step up to help traffic injured victims, who will? Strange as it may sound – there’s no one else but people like you and me, despite all the negatives I’ve outlined above. Still, I won’t even think of making the first move until I see a policemen at the site and taking charge. My respect for their authority remains intact despite their reputations being soundly trashed in recent years – but there’s simply no other alternative. Even then, I will remain guarded because there have been many reports of fraudsters posing as policemen as well.
What I would really like to see are more policemen visible at all times of the day and night and responding promptly to any traffic accidents. I’m not going to go out on a limb to help someone else if my own personal security is far from assured.
And if we don’t have enough policemen available to do this, it’s time military personnel were allowed to patrol the streets. With their strict discipline, I have no qualms trusting in their ability to exert control in a chaotic situation and resolve it. This shouldn’t be difficult for the government to facilitate; our military personnel aren’t exactly overly occupied with enemy engagements. They are kept in readiness but are not utilized for years. Our taxes are spent to fund their idleness.
I’ve personally seen how effective military personnel are in keeping the peace in partnership with the police force in Israel and formerly in our neighbours down south, Indonesia and Singapore, too. The police take the lead and the threat posed by the military backing really keeps any mischief contained. If these measures are properly implemented in our country, I strongly suspect the crime rate – especially in urban areas, despite official statistics claiming otherwise – would drop really fast. I’m sure I’d feel safe enough to walk the streets again without fear of becoming a snatch theft victim or being fleeced by unsavoury characters.
I bet taxi drivers and bus drivers might actually become disciplined. Motorists and motorcyclists might think twice about jumping queues, speeding or even resort to violence. And when such a day comes to pass, I won’t even hesitate to be the first to go help any traffic accident victim.