WWYD – When band members attack

This year I want to pose the same question in a number of different scenarios based on things that I see or read in current events. The question – ‘What would you do’, places us in the position of witness, perhaps even a participant in any given event. Though it may seem rhetorical, I believe that there are valuable insights and lessons to be learned from each scenario. I also think that your initial perception and assessment of any circumstances may change depending on where you are in your life.

But how can any one person physically be involved in all of the events that are happening at one moment around the entire world in order to learn a lesson from it? In my mind, it’s absolutely impossible. Sure we have the technology to participate in conversations via the social media tools that are available to us but what if there is an actual event, catastrophic or otherwise? You can’t understand the emotions that someone feels unless you are actually there, in the flesh.

Sure, there are times when you have a similar experience, but the events leading up to or even the things that occur immediately after were only experienced by those who were present.

So I play the WWYD game. Mostly, I play the game to evaluate my own thoughts, potential actions, outcomes and possibilities if I were put in that position. But I do it because I’m fascinated by the actions taken by humans when they are faced with a decision.

And by the way, I’m positively sure that this is not a game that I invented. In fact, this same question is the premise of an ABC show of the same title that poses the same question to its viewers after setting up a scenario for unsuspecting people who have unwittingly become the shows social case study.

So here is my scenario: You and a friend are on a trip with peers. You’re both fairly new to the group but you’ve developed camaraderie with some of the trip-goers. At some point during the trip, some of your peers decide that for the both of you to be completely accepted by the group, you have to undergo a number of ‘tests’. You think it’s stupid but don’t say anything. But you’re friend absolutely refuses to take part. Unfortunately, what you think doesn’t matter because everyone else has had to go through the same ritual and so must you. Suddenly, the group starts beating on your friend. Chaos erupts and your friend is lost in the commotion.

I’m in a dilemma now. I want to be a part of the group, but I don’t want to take part in this silly game in order to be accepted. If I keep quiet, they are going to assume that I am okay with whatever it is they want me to do. If I’m vocal about it, or worse tell someone about it, I’m going to be ostracized or perhaps suffer worse consequences. So do I sit this one out and allow my friend to be beaten to death and wait for bygones to be bygones? Or do I take action despite the obvious peril or at the least being a social outcast?

A similar scenario played out in a hotel parking lot when members of the Florida A&M University marching band was beaten to death. Information is still surfacing in the case but I wondered what I might have done if I was a friend of Robert Champion, Jr. witnessing the harassment he must have suffered before he was brutally beaten.

The hero in me wants to say that I would not stand by and watch someone die, especially if that someone is helpless, defenseless and crying out for help. But would I really do that if there was a possibility that I would suffer the same fate?

What if I was one of the instigators with a blood lust? At some point would a conscious thought come to my mind telling me that this is wrong? What were all of the bystanders and witnesses doing at the time of the beating? Did anyone think that it would actually result in the death of a peer? A friend perhaps? Someone whom you had had a discussion with while sitting in a classroom with them on campus?

I’ve taken a moment to think about this and I’ve come to this conclusion about myself – I’ve done it before and I would do it again. I cannot stand idly by and watch another human being be victimized no matter what the situation might have been. At the very least, I would have notified the authorities and I would not lie or be silent in order to cover up the actions of those who are involved.

But that’s just me … WWYD?

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4 Responses to WWYD – When band members attack

  1. Anonymous says:

    Seti, I really enjoy your blog and the topics you discuss.
    I love watching that show as well — WWYD because that show made me think of what I would do in similar situations. Like you, I would also do something because I was taught to take action.

    I hate bullying and will not put up with it. As a young child in primary school a bully tried to bully me once and I stood my ground. Mandy is a witness to my standing my ground against this bully who was a female and was bigger than most of the boys and girls in our class. I remember thinking at the time that even if she beat me to a bloody pulp I would still say, “No, I will not give you my lunch.” So with my heart racing a million miles an hour I stood up to her and told her NO. The look on her face was priceless. She assumed and expected me to give in right when she asked and it surprised her to hear, “No.” Most of the kids she had bullied had given in to her demands and just gave up their food versus getting beat up from her. However, when tested she did not follow through with her threats.

    I’ve been reading the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and I think that if we lived by these four agreements or by the Word – doing what the Savior taught us to do – we will not and cannot stand idly by while someone is getting beat up. “Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive — the risk to be alive and express what we really are. Just being ourselves is the biggest fear of humans.” (Four Agreements, 17).

    I think of Hitler and the Germans who sided with him. Some of them did not agree with Hitler but because they were afraid to stand up to him they allowed millions of Jews to suffer and die at the hands of this cruel leader. I think of Jesus who also stood up against the Pharisees and Sadducees of his day and was crucified for it. What would have happened instead if when the leader of his day had asked if he was innocent the people had said Yes, he was versus choosing Barrabbas a common thief?

    To me, a coward stands idly by and watches someone get beat but a Toa/Warrior will not. They will go in guns blazing or with their own body to sacrifice to protect and to help someone in need.
    What would I do? I would defend and protect my neighbor, my fellowman as I was taught as a child to do. Love one another! Love really is the answer and the key!

    great article bro,
    xoxo
    Cyn.

  2. In one of my Psych or was it my Sociology class, anyways I remembered learning about a social phenomenon called “Bystander Effect” – basically it’s something that occurs when a gathering or group of people witness something bad happening nearby. The larger the group, the less someone is willing to step forward & do something to help those or that one person being victimized. Because everybody is thinking to themselves mate, that guy there looks bigger then me, I’ll wait till he steps forward then I’ll step forward too. So if that bigger guy doesn’t step forward, than you decide – oh well, maybe someone else will & so on & so forth until eventually the incident comes to an end. I guess with this bystander effect we second guess our own abilities to help someone that needs it. That kinda goes to explain things, but it doesn’t make it right!

    I’m hoping that I’ll die a hero, because I’m one of these idiots that’s highly alert & on the lookout for situations where I can help someone I perceive is being victimized. Not that I’ve had to do it much in my life, but frequently my husband literally holds me back from jumping in at the store when I hear or see a parent being overly abusive (verbally or physically) to their screaming child. Not that I start screaming at the parent, but I usually interject & say, hey let me hold your kid for a minute while you calm down. Its made for a few instances where Rodney’s had to overplay his being blind to garner the parent’s sympathy, which, bless his heart has prevented me from going off on the parent & threatening to call CPS on them if they keep it up! 😉

    I remember when I was in my early 20’s & was out with some of my mates heading back home from a night club in Sydney that we’d been to. One of my mates was driving the car & the rest of us were crowded in there jamming music at full blast. I think it was TLC or something, anyways we had to stop at a crosswalk where some drunks were making their way across the street. One of the drunks turned & saw that our car was full of Polynesians & made some racist remarks about us. Well, our driver a 6′ 250 lb Samoan & his Rarotongan co-pilot, who was also close to 6′ & easily 200 lbs started talking back to these 4 drunk pedestrians & high beamed them as they stumbled their way in front of our car. Of course, that enraged them & one of the drunks used the bottle of beer he was holding to smash our mate’s front headlight! Next thing I knew our two guys were outta the car & a fight was ensuing! In the meantime the three of us girls (in the back of the car) were shouting for our mates to get back in the car & leave the drunks alone. Well, one of my mates was the younger sister of our driver & she was bawling her eyes out in the back seat. My other mate, was kinda interested in our Raro co-pilot & when we realized our guys were outnumbered, she & I jumped outta the back of the car & approached the fighting men. Seeing as the drunk blokes were doubling up on our guys & kinda thrashing them, she & I got in there to drag our guys outta the fight. Next thing one of the drunks clocked my mate trying to get her Raro boy away! All I remember was that when I finally got dropped off home, I had blood all over my new top & pants, a torn sleeve, missing buttons, a black eye, fat lip, bruises & scrapes all over my face! But mate, those drunk pedestrians certainly had no idea how us Poly women fight when we’re backed into a corner! I kept thinking the next few days that eventually the poh-poh would find us, but no one ever came to my front door. I think the drunks didn’t wanna report being beaten up by two women!

    Not that I endorse violence, but hey… when a mate’s in need. Think that’s why I am pursuing a healthcare career!

    • Seti Matua says:

      Wanda, that’s a great explanation. We all have that urge to ‘mix it up’ and be a hero in order to save the downtrodden and distressed. I’ve done it before and thought later on, “Why did I do that?” but I can’t say that I wouldn’t do it again. I just wouldn’t feel good about myself if I stood by and watched another human being beaten to a pulp because it’s just none of my business. I may be naive, but I think if we all got in and made a statement that this is unacceptable, maybe these bullies would think twice about their actions?

      Thanks as always for our great insight Wanda!

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