The Evil in Indifference

“There is another kind of evil we must fear most, the indifference of good men.”

man-praying-on-one-kneeEvery night before bed I pray.  I ask God to replace my fear with faith.  I ask that he puts me in situations where I can be courageous and face things I fear.  This doesn’t necessarily mean I have to be put in a fight or flight situation; but put in situations where I am forced outside my comfort zone.

Today I was presented with an opportunity to be courageous for someone else and fear kept me from acting.  I was rushing on my way to get my haircut.  I stopped at a red light when I saw a older man about 50 feet away from me walking his dog.  The man was probably in his 60’s.  He was clearly intoxicated and was yelling at his poor, defenseless dog.  The dog was terrified.  The man even went as far to kick at the dog when it wouldn’t listen.

I love animals, especially dogs.  I was enraged by the mans actions.  I started screaming out of my window at the man to leave the dog alone.  The dog was trying its hardest to run away from the man and almost ran out into traffic.  A police officer was stopped at the same light perpendicular to me and watched the same events I saw.  The police officer sat in his car and did nothing.

The red light stayed red for what seemed like an eternity as I watched this drunken, abusive man yell at his dog.  I so desperately wanted to jump out of my car and harm the old man for treating a scared, defenseless animal in this manner.

My blood was boiling as I screamed at the old man from my car.  But I did nothing to help this animals plight.  I let my fear stop me from doing what I felt was the right thing.

I feared that if I got out of the car I would have immediately act in a violent manner.  I was not in the frame of mind to handle the situation delicately and kindly.  A police officer was sitting there watching and I feared getting a citation or possibly arrested.  I feared hurting the old man and getting sued and what that would cost me.

I was confused as to what I would do if I did step in and was able to take the dog from the man.  Would I keep the dog?  Would I be arrested for stealing his animal?  What happened if I did not take the dog from him?  Would this drunken man abuse the dog further for my actions?

Then I realized the fear I am most embarrassed to admit.  I feared being caught up in this altercation and missing my haircut appointment.   I feared how that would effect my day and all of my other plans because I am leaving for Las Vegas tomorrow for vacation.

My selfishness and indifference played instrumental roles in my lack of action.  I call myself an animal lover; yet I see an injustice and I am more concerned with how this may impact my day instead of doing what I feel is right.  That realization made me ashamed and disgusted in myself.  I turned this into “someone else’s problem.”  That is the greatest evil in my opinion.

I’m not sure what the correct action was at that exact moment, but inaction certainly was not it.  I feel that is one of the greatest problems facing communities and societies today.  People are afraid to stand up and defend those who cannot defend themselves.  This is one of the main cuas why neighborhoods and cities are destroyed and overrun by  those who wish to do harm.

People are afraid to stand up and do that right things because they fear the outcome.  Quite often there is a good reason to be fearful.  You could get arrested, sued, injured, shot, outcast in the neighborhood, be targeted for violence later.  The list goes on and on.

If we want real change to occur in our world for the better, we as a society must start taking these risks.  We have to develop a plan to take our streets and neighborhoods back.  We have to make a difference in the lives of those who are young and defenseless in order to instill in them the confidence and courage to take the correct actions.  Even if it’s an unpopular decision.

Parents, teachers, leaders need to evolve in our communities and invoke the sense of pride that people once had where they would not stand for people acting out and destroying where they lived.  Without citizens taking ownership in what occurs around them their environments will continue to decay.

I know their are good and courageous people out their every day who take action to make the world a better place.  They understand how turning a blind eye to what may seem like an insignificant problem leads to ignoring much larger issues later.  Like the people in Baltimore who stood outside of local businesses defending them from looters.  To all these men and women I respect and salute you for your efforts.

Plato poignantly and concisely said it better than I ever could:

“The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”