This afternoon I was about my business in town, when I saw a bit of a crowd gathering around the shop I was on my way into. Just a normal grocery shop, the Londis at the top of Grafton St to be more specific.
“Why are people gethering there” I ask myself. At first I thought it may have something to do with the Securicor van parked beside the shop, but why would a small convenience store require Securicor? Doesn’t seem likely, must be something wrong.
All the time more people are gathering, quite a flock now. Then I see, there seems to be a fight of some sort inside, perhaps a shoplifter was caught or maybe a robbery gone awry or could be just a couple of people having a disagreement that turned physical. Whichever way you look at it, a violent situation of unknown severity in a small shop in a busy city centre street.
I was interested for a brief minute, I have been active in the security industry for sometime and had a profesional curiosity to seee how the situation was being handled, ready to help out if needed, but I was on a mission so carried on to the next shop (20 meters up the road).
Why were so many other people interested? Then it struck me, voyerism.
This is the age of “reality TV”, Big Brother just started on TV again, Cops on Camera, Street Crime UK, Jerry Springer, the list goes on.
As a society we are becoming Vampires living off other peoples problems and adventures. Fantasies are no match for real life. Why watch Stargate when you can see Keeping up with the Kardashians? We are voyers, too afriad to get involved and help somebody, to embarressed to be the one to stand up and be counted, but if there is a crowd watching something you’d rather join it rather than risk missing out. Plus the fact that the action was happening right inside the shop window meant it looked just like a TV screen.
I’ll be wiling to bet that of the number of people watching, only a tiny handful would be able to provide the Gardai with descriptions and details, the rest will go back to burying their heads in the sand, hurrying back to their little worlds of youtube and Big Brother.
Should I have gone in and helped out? Maybe.
Should I have joined the flock of Vampire Sheep and got a cheap thrill and a translucent feeling of superiority, absolutely not, never.
I am a sheepdog, not a sheep. I live in the real world and would rather watch fantasy TV (go on SG-1), I do not live in a fantasy world watching “real” life on TV (unless you count the news).
I do not cross the road because the people infront of me did, I cross because I judged it to be safe. I do not hang around a potentially dangerous situation to “see what happens” so I can sound interesting around the coffee machine in the office, I see if I can help, if I cannot, I walk on about my business, I don’t know if anybody is armed, how many there are or which side to join.
The Sheep, Sheepdogs and Wolves reference is from and article you can read (and I recommend you do) here http://mwkworks.com/onsheepwolvesandsheepdogs.html, yes it’s very american and refers heavilly to 9/11, but the message it conveys translates into any language, in any country in any era.
The Vampire reference I use myself, people who feed off other people, Vampires.
Walk your own path, don’t be afraid to be different.
All the Best