Thursday, March 13, 2014

Kitty Genovese: 50 years ago today

Today is the 50 anniversary of one of New York City most infamous and brutal crimes in recorded history, the "Kitty" Genovese killing.  The murder sparked a serious controversy about apathy and indifference among eyewitnesses to this killing which still radiates today with the advent of Instagram and You Tube when a Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) bus operator was attacked by a passenger while other passengers on the bus took pictures of the bleeding victim. 

On March 13, 1964, Catherine Susan "Kitty" Genovese was closing her Hollis, Queens bar for the night and drove to her apartment in 80-20 Austin Street in Kew Gardens.  Ms. Genovese parked her car at the Long Island Railroad parking lot across from her apartment building when she was stalked by Winston Mosley.  Ms. Genovese ran across Lefferts Blvd when she was stabbed twice by Moseley, as she started to scream for help.  Moseley returned at least one time to rape and stab Genovese in an area away from view of witnesses - it took nearly 30 minutes of the stabbing and rape before Moseley was finished with Genovese.  During the attack, there were up to 38 witnesses who saw or heard Genovese's screams for help but did nothing to call police.    By the time someone called police, one of Genovese's neighbors who went outside to help her, it was nearly an hour after the initial attack before police showed up.  Ms. Genovese died from multiple stab wounds while enroute to a hospital in an ambulance.  Media reports on the Kitty Genovese murder highlighted bystander's indifference to what society should do, the "It's not my problem" or "I don't want t get involved" attitude.  Criminologists use this case to highlight apathy and the effect on reporting crime.  The aftermath of the Kitty Genovese case brought reforms in how citizens report crimes in progress to the police and the urgency in responding to the crime scene, Moseley was caught almost week later on a burglary charge and is still serving life in prison, in addition to two 15 year terms stemming from his escape and recapture during transport to jail. 

I wonder 50 years later if the same crime happened today (of course, by God I hope not), would people use their cell phones and take pictures or videos of the attack then post them on Instagram or Facebook?  Would they bother to call police or do nothing but take pictures like the recent bus operator attack in Nassau County?  Would people help or just ignore their neighbors? 

ermergencies should be handled

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