Brian's Blogs

Hit & Run

The outcry after a two-year-old girl was left bleeding by the side of a road after a hit-and-run accident in Foshan, Guangdong province, when more than a dozen people passed by without stopping to help her, has been predictable. To my mind, what is all the more surprising is that people are actually surprised by this so-called fall in morality.

Only recently a survey by Renmin University indicated that people are unlikely to help an old person who has fallen in the street to avoid being blamed for the accident in the first place.

The problem is even worse in other parts of the world – most notably in the Middle East, where in some places, the last person to actually touch someone in an accident who subsequently dies can be obliged to pay bloody money to that person’s relatives. When I worked in Saudi Arabia and subsequently Abu Dhabi and Dubai I was always told by my employers never to help out at a road accident, but to walk away from the scene as quickly as possible – for this very reason.

But I would suggest that nowadays another reason that so many people turn their backs is the prevalence of security cameras. In the UK, for instance, you can bet that someone somewhere will be monitoring your every action in the streets; and if there is an accident, the “authorities” will ensure help gets there pretty fast.

So maybe the Guangdong incident is purely a reflection of this modern age where no one is really ever alone and where the “nanny state” will be checking up on the welfare of all?

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