Imagine the following. You are sitting at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan. While you are there, you see someone get punched in the face a few feet away. The victim staggers and collapses, bleeding, in front of you. Do you:
- Take a good look at the perpetrator, move away quickly (for fear of a weapon), and immediately call the police;
- Run to the victim (realizing that he is concussed and may not recover) and make sure that he is still breathing and responsive;
- Run in front of the perpetrator and yell “Basta!” or something along those lines, while blocking him with your body.
All three reactions would be honorable. A fourth would be a completely understandable variant on (1): move away and call 911 on your cellphone (within seconds, obviously) without memorizing any identifiable characteristics of the perpetrator.
What you do not do is what Christine Quinter and her father did, and then bragged about doing in a letter to the New York Times Metropolitan Diary column. I reproduce the letter for you below.
My father and I recently spent a lovely day in Manhattan. We saw a matinee performance by the New York City Ballet and met good friends for an early dinner on the Upper West Side.
While passing the time before our bus came in the Port Authority’s Deli Plus, we witnessed a fight. One of the young men was punched in the face and collapsed on the floor just a few feet away from us.
I think my father and I handled the situation like true New Yorkers. We didn’t panic or run for safety. We merely moved our $22 bag of cupcakes from the Magnolia Bakery out of the way to avoid having it splattered with blood and went on with our conversation.
Sweet Mary mother of God. Somebody please tell me that this letter is fake, or otherwise lacking in context, because the above is just unforgiveable.