Tuesday, November 8, 2011

They Just Walked By

They just walked by. 
She lay there on the ground, obviously injured, scared, alone...
and they just walked by. 
Eighteen people walked by her two year old body, lying in the street, crying, bleeding, writhing in pain. Nearly all of them looked directly at her and took a wide berth. Bicyclists and scooters rode around her, slowed and kept going. At least the first man to walk by her was in plain view of the accident. He pretended not to see her.
She was only 2 years old, and had been hit by a van. It hit her. The front wheels rolled over her torso, and in the video you can see the van slow to a stop, roll backward a few inches and then proceed again, it's back tires now rolling over her body. 
Horrifically, after a few people had passed, she was hit again, this time by a small truck, rolling over one of her outstretched legs. 
If just one of those first few people had even so much as moved her tiny body from the road, she wouldn't have been hit the second time.
Can you imagine her pain? 
Her fear?
All of it was captured on closed circuit television. 
Eighteen people avoiding a terminally injured toddler. 
Who knows how many other witnesses weren't caught on camera. 

I don't recommend watching the video. It's disturbing. 

This is despicable. It's atrocious. 

The news story hit on the same day as the wild animals escaped were set loose in Ohio. The story of eighteen endangered tigers being killed sort of eclipsed the story of the eighteen people who walked by... one of whom was a mother with her own small child. . . can you even imagine it?
After the fur settled in Ohio, everyone went back to more "regular" news stories. Celebrities getting divorced, political candidates being accused of sexual harassment, professional athletes who can't play, and the iPhone battery-gate are the kinds of stories that have filled our blogs, sites and conversations most recently. 

I had actually forgotten about the little girl, until a few days ago. 

Then I saw another video that threw into stark contrast the repugnance of the 18 who passed. 
Perhaps you've seen it. It's very encouraging. 
In the video, a dog is hit by a car, while crossing a busy freeway. As it lay there, cars blowing past at 70mph, another dog of a different breed runs out into the oncoming traffic. The small dog takes hold of its friend, not using its teeth, but wrapping its forelegs around the injured dog and dragging it to safety. 

Now, please don't think me crass. I am in no way comparing that little girl to a dog in the road. I am, however, comparing those who passed by her to the mere animal whose bravery puts their selfishness to shame. That dog made those men look like animals in their uncaring and lack of concern. 

The dog ended up dying. So did the little girl. Eventually, an old woman, collecting trash to sell for money, put down her burden and had compassion on the young girl. She picked her up from the asphalt and went to find her mother, who had been eating in a nearby restaurant, when her daughter went to find a bathroom and wandered off. 

The van rolled right over her stomach. She would probably have died anyway, but I just can't get over the carelessness of those 18 people who ignored that child. 

I am appalled at the lack-of-action those men and women showed. I am offended by it. However, I can't escape internalizing this. I don't want to, but I can't help it. 

Here it goes. 

I do this.
So do you. 

When we read the parable of the Good Samaritan, we usually like to think we're the Samaritan, the one who would sacrifice his day, his plans, his money to help the man, the victim lying in the street.  However, sometimes I think that I'm more like the priest or the Levite...the ones who just walked by.

Not little girls in the streets we walk down, but boys, girls, women and men are laying in the proverbial streets of the world, right now. You and I know it, and we do NOTHING. We walk by as they starve. We ignore them as they freeze. We look the other way as they die of preventable water-born illnesses. We pretend we don't notice when they are kidnapped, enslaved, beaten, abused, infected, sexually assaulted and murdered. We act like it isn't our problem and cry about being the 99%! 

If only we realized how rich we really are. If only we knew how much of our wealth and time we squander. If only we came to grips with how little it would really take to help....
We would wail at our own wide berths, the paths we walk around those who desperately need our help. 

And so we come to it. How then shall we live? What will you do about it? 

Will you continue to walk by? Will you make excuses? Will you pretend the problem's too big? Will you simply say you don't know how to help? 

Let me introduce you to a few organizations that are helping those weary and worn women, men and children laying in the roads of our world. 

First, Compassion International is an international child advocacy organization committed to providing food, shelter, education, clothing, clean water and spiritual guidance to real children in need around the world. 

Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

Next, "Blood:Water Mission is a grassroots organization that empowers communities to work together against the HIV/AIDS and water crises in Africa." 

Rice Bowls is basically a piggy bank for charity. You register. They send you a little plastic rice bowl-bank. You fill it with spare change. When it's full, you crack it open and send the amount inside to the org. They, in turn use the money to feed hungry orphans around the world. Cool, huh?  

Did you know that there are more than 1.39 Million victims of sexual servitude world-wide? The A21 Campaign (Abolishing Injustice in the 21st Century) is an organization seeking to end sex trafficking and free women and children in bondage within the industry. 

Love 146 is another organization fighting to end trafficking and slavery. They focus on the children who are abducted and sold into this horrifying industry. Of the 27 million victims of slavery and trafficking worldwide, multitudes are children. In fact, 2 children are sold into slavery every 60 seconds

Finally, Invisible Children is a non-profit committed to raising awareness of the plight of war-affected children in Central Africa. Essentially, they are storytellers, film-makers, activists, entrepreneurs and impassioned people seeking to save the children being abducted, orphaned, infected and enslaved during what has become Africa's longest running war. 

You now have a choice to make.    Are you ready? 


Will you help...

...or will you just walk by?


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