Monday, 24 March 2014
Are We An Uncaring Society?
Today’s Daily Mail has an article about how our society has changed in the last 40 years.
As part of a social documentary Channel 5 television, with the permission of two young girls’ mothers, filmed the wee girls as they stood, acting lost, in a busy London shopping centre. In the hour the wee girls participated in the experiment 616 people walked by - some even veered away in an effort to purposely avoid them. Only one person stopped to ask if help was needed and she had initially walked past, but thought the better of her action and returned to ask if the wee one was lost or needed help.
Left-wingers are outraged (read the NSPCC’s comment) that this can happened today but forget that it’s their protests and complaints over the years that have produced a society where adults are afraid to approach a child in case they end up in court or, worse still, in prison.
Even in the 60s I found London an impersonal and unfriendly place so it’s little wonder similar attitudes are still present today, but what if the experiment had been carried out in Manchester or Newcastle. Would the result have been the same?
Fortunately I live somewhere which hasn’t changed too radically since I was a child and a lost-looking child would be noticed and helped but very possibly only by women. Most men I know would not approach a young girl for fear of being accused of molestation or worse.
A sadder result of this experiment is that not one of the 616 attempted to find a policeman/woman to help the girls. In my local town, since the introduction of Police Scotland, police are rarely seen. The local office has been closed and their base is now nearly 20 miles away. Their presence on the streets each weekend used to help keep the daft behaviour of teenagers in check, but in the past months they have been more or less invisible after 10pm.
Are we uncaring? I think, in general, we’re not, but we’re certainly a society that lives in fear rather than friendliness these days. Instead of the adage ‘It’s better to do something than nothing’ the reverse not seems to be the norm.