As Kevin Aviance made his way from the hospital to the press corp yesterday, with his jaw wired shut and unable to speak, most of the media attention swirled around a moot New York Times debate and whether the alleged assailants will be tried as adults. But so far, it looks like only City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a lesbian, is addressing the elephant in the room: that nobody among the onlooking crowd tried to intervene or even called 911 during the attack.
“What happened to Kevin over the weekend is just outrageous,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan). “I hope the district attorney prosecutes those responsible to the fullest extent of the law, and that this crime is prosecuted fully as the hate crime that it was.”
Quinn, who is gay, had equally strong words for the witnesses who allegedly did nothing as Aviance was dragged down the sidewalk.
“When New Yorkers see a victim of a crime, they have a responsibility to pick up the phone and call 911,” Quinn said.
“We can’t ever go back to the days of people just closing their windows when they hear someone in trouble.”
Which reminds us of the counsel we received way back in 5th grade during a D.A.R.E. session that turned into a discussion on rape and violence: Never rely on a crowd to help you. When in danger, single out an individual by making eye contact or shouting his name if you know it, and demand him to call 911 and help you. Certainly, perhaps easier said than done. But mob mentality doesn’t only strike when there’s a day after Christmas sale at Wal-mart.