Thursday, December 30, 2010

Forty-six years after the Kitty Genovese murder little has changed


Society today is definitely different from society in the 1960's, yet often people are still sadly the same as evidenced by a murder in East Harlem

Forty-six years ago in Kew Gardens, Queens Kitty Genovese was stabbed twice on the street shouting "Oh my God, he stabbed me. Please help me." A man yelled from his window to "leave that girl alone," so Winston Mosley, fearing that the cops were on their way, ran off. When he realized that no one was coming he pursued her again.

He reached her again at the door to her apartment that was located in a courtyard behind a building just as she opened it. She fell inside crying "I'm dying, I'm dying." Mosley then proceeded to stab her, rape her and kill her. It was determined by police that as many as 37 or 38 people had either seen or heard the stalking but had done nothing. It came to be known as the bystander effect or Genovese Syndrome.

The theory went that the more people that are witness to an event the more likely that an individual will assume someone else will take charge so that they don't need to get involved.

People just don't want to get involved

Fast forward to the case this week in which a Betty Williams was beaten to death in an apartment and disposed of on a street in East Harlem, her body inside a suitcase.

The victim and Hassan Malik fought for almost an hour inside his apartment. We know this because people in the building, home to hear it, told the cops.

There was screaming, loud banging and Williams shouting "no Daddy no" and then silence.

She was found later in a suitcase on the street.

While not an exact copy of the Kitty Genovese murder, although times have changed people seemingly have not.

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