Saturday, September 26 2020


Why do we become unthinking mobs?

Update: February, 19/2017 - 09:00
Viet Nam News

by Phạm Hoàng Anh

The proverb that says “No good deed goes unpunished” is affirmed quite often these days. Just look at what goes on around the world these days.

However, a recent incident took it to a shocking extreme in Bắc Ninh Province.

Nguyễn Hải Sơn, a resident of the province’s Thuận Thành District, saw a traffic accident take place in front of his house last Sunday.

A young woman was knocked unconscious after being hit by a taxi. Sơn and the taxi driver quickly took the woman to a nearby hospital.

However, instead of overwhelming gratitude, Son had to face overwhelming hostility, as families and friends of the victim assumed immediately that he was the culprit.

And as the insults flew around him, Sơn felt a sharp pain in his chest. Someone had stabbed him with a knife.

For the next four days, Sơn and his doctors fought for hisl life. The wound was serious, and he lost a lot of blood.

Sơn’s story made headlines. It was not much of a saving grace, but the man who stabbed him surrendered to the police and probably faces some jail time for assault with a deadly weapon. The irony is that the victim, the assilant’s female friend, was fine except for a few scratches.

To all the questions that this incident throws up, I have no answers.

It happens far too often that relatives and friends look for a target to vent their feelings through violence on learning that a loved one has been hurt. This is senseless. All they have to do is to put themselves in the position of the person they are targeting, whether or not he or she is guilty in some way or the other for an accident.

I cannot explain how sadness and anger at some relative or loved being hurt triggers the shouting of accusations, insults and violence that can kill. When someone is injured, surely he or she needs gentle, calm reassurance, not angry people shouting murder and revenge. This was obviously an accident, not a premeditated act that needed to be avenged immediately.

What are we? Some kind of mafia?

To reiterate, what happened to Sơn is not an isolated incident. My father, a retired policeman, has told me often not to stop near traffic accidents and be extremely careful should I need to take a victim to the hospital. He said it happens often that good people get roughed up and worse by families and friends of the victims.

If we extrapolate this attitude on to bigger stages like national and international affairs, we can see the dire consequences of throwing caution and reason to the wind and eagerly joining the pack to attack some falsely accused villain or villains. History is replete with such instances. 

The good Samaritan, meanwhile, has done something even more impressive. He has taken his plight well, refusing to give up his faith in humanity.

Asked if he would repeat his actions in light of the brutal response he received, he said: “I cannot possibly ignore someone in trouble or pain and needs help.”

“I hope that the law will be strict in punishing those who are violent so that good people feel that they are protected. It is important that in our society people will not ignore or be too afraid to help others.”

Amen.  — VNS



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