Plummeting to the depths

July 7, 2007 at 3:00 am 11 comments

Dave Pollard and I have two things in common – we both used to be Chief Knowledge Officers for our respective countries (Canada and Australia) for a global consulting firm and used to meet with other CKOs for global meetings; and we both have a tendency to post ‘blog essays’ (not sure where I read this term recently) – rather long posts on pet topics.

So I’m trying hard to deliver short, snappier posts and refrain from my usual rants or long essays. But I’m afraid I can’t hold back today – not after I read this tidbit of news from Crimerant. I don’t know too much about 27 year old LaShanda Calloway, other than she died the other day in the US in a convenience store and that her death was witnessed by up to five people. What’s so unusual about this you may ask? Well, here’s the problem – LaShanda’s fellow humans shopping in the store didn’t even stop to help her as she lay dying on the floor as a result of stab wounds. As LaShanda tried not once, but three times, to struggle to her feet, her fellow humans did the following:

  • stepped over her as they continued on their important mission of finding food, snacks and cigarettes to buy;
  • callously ignored the poor woman as she tried to struggle to her feet three times only to collapse back on the floor.

But the most disgusting act:

  • one woman stepped over LaShanda FOUR times, then decided to take out her camera phone and snap a shot. Police have been warned that the photos may be on the Internet.

At first, I thought this story might have been some sort of gross urban myth or hoax, but unfortunately it appears to be true. I am refraining from saying that this exemplifies the depths to which contemporary society has sunk – a society that is more interested in vacuous news about some blonde socialite who has recently been incarcerated; a society that has taken individualism to the extreme; a society that cares more about flashy life-styles and designer brands.

As a lawyer, my first reaction is to say that the eyewitnesses should be charged with reckless indifference. In Australia (in New South Wales where I live), s18(1)(a) Crimes Act 1900 says:

18. (1) (a) Murder shall be taken to have been committed where the act of the accused, or thing by him omitted to be done, causing the death charged, was done or omitted with reckless indifference to human life, or with intent to kill or inflict grievous bodily harm upon some person, or done in an attempt to commit, or during or immediately after the commission, by the accused, or some accomplice with him, of a crime punishable by penal servitude for life or for 25 years.

In this case, the omission of doing something like calling 911 or helping LaShanda is tantamount to murder. There was apparently a two minute period of criticality – if someone had tried to save LaShanda’s life or phoned for help, she might still be living. The woman who stepped over LaShanda four times and snapped a photo showed a callous and reckless indifference. I don’t know the law of the United States, but let’s hope the legal eagles get onto this case to make it a precedent.

I read that LaShanda came from Kansas, but couldn’t find news of whether this incident occured in Kansas or elsewhere in the US. I also couldn’t establish if LaShanda was Afro-American or white. If the former, I certainly hope we won’t eventually find out that her fellow shoppers were all white – leading to a possible allegation of this incident being racial in nature. Regardless of the race of the victim and the eyewitnesses, this has to be THE worst story I’ve read.

(Update: ThinkingShift reader Oohlala has provided a link to a news article on LaShanda, which includes a photo of her).

And while I’m on a rant – news from New Zealand that shows the extent to which our societies have bowed down to political correctness or succumbed to a maze of laws. In Christchurch, NZ a church bell has been tolling every Sunday for the last 50 years (by my cunning mathematical abilities, I’d say that’s since 1957). St Christopher’s Church used to ring its bell for 33 seconds at 7.45am each week. The 33 rings symbolised each year of the life of Jesus.

Now, read that again: 33 seconds, not 33 minutes. But one neighbour decided this was 33 seconds too long, complained to Christchurch City Council and now the bell is silenced. Apparently, the bell exceeded the noise provisions by 11.3 decibels. It measured 86.3 decibels.

I’m all for privacy and individual rights, but when it comes to one person being able to selfishly get their way at the expense of the collective, well that’s another matter. For 50 years the bell rang with no complaints. Presumably, it was a pleasant sound on a Sunday morning and presumably people in the area came to view the bell as a tradition evoking memories of a village atmosphere. Then one neighbour has a hissy fit and affects everyone else.

Now I’m no bell ringing expert (missed that course at Uni!) – why not tinker with the bell until it reaches the acceptable decibel level? Then the bell isn’t breaking any law. As Archdeacon, Mike Hawke, expressed: “This church has been here for 50 years. When people come to live here, they need to be aware of what is around them…Do we tell children to stop yelling in the playground because someone bought a house next to a school….The law is an ass sometimes“. Go Archdeacon Hawke!

From his comment, I’m presuming that the neighbour who chucked the tantrum had just moved into the area and had not conducted due diligence ie checked out the neighbourhood to see if it would suit his or her lifestyle.

This sorry tale reminds me of another ridiculous situation I read about recently in the Times Online. Seven very beautiful and regal peacocks at Paignton Zoo in the UK were destroyed recently because……one person objected to the noise the peacocks were making. The birds would occasionally stray into the yards of residents living around the zoo.

When I was growing up, our family had a peacock and a pea hen. No doubt about it, the male can cause a raucous; rip up a garden and be territorial and leave their mess everywhere. But when the peacock fans its feathers to entice the female, and you see the irridiscent indigo blues and aqua greens – you can forgive any antics they get up to.

In May and June each year, the males grow their tails and for six weeks they carry on. But for the rest of the year, they are silent. So one selfish person, who couldn’t withstand a bit of carry on and noise for six weeks of the year, demanded that seven beautiful birds be given a lethal injection and the Council caved in to that one resident.

The Executive Director of the zoo said that he is in the business of keeping birds alive and that his staff were distraught over the peacock cull. And as one resident said: “It is disgusting that they have been killed. They don’t do any harm to anyone, they are very friendly.”

So I’m afraid there’s no good news stories today: just stories about human selfishness, human callousness and indifference to life. I’m off to have a good lie down!

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Entry filed under: Rant, Social problems, Society.

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11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dale  |  July 7, 2007 at 4:10 am

    LaShanda was African-American, as likely were the other shoppers in the convenience store since it was in a part of town with few white people. They showed some video from the store on the news.

    Reply
  • 2. thinkingshift  |  July 7, 2007 at 4:40 am

    Thx for letting me know Dale, wasn’t sure. Did it occur in Kansas?
    Kim

    Reply
  • 3. neiladams  |  July 7, 2007 at 4:42 am

    Apparently the authorities stepped in and agreed with the archdeacon, so the bell is tolling again!!!

    Reply
  • 4. thinkingshift  |  July 7, 2007 at 4:56 am

    REALLY pleased to hear this Neil…thx so much for leaving the comment. Let’s hope that’s the end of the matter and the bell can toll for another 50+ years.
    Kim

    Reply
  • 5. Harry  |  July 7, 2007 at 5:30 am

    People are sheep.

    Reply
  • 6. oohlala  |  July 7, 2007 at 7:43 am

    LaShanda’s story is tragedy. Sad indeed.
    To see the photo of LaShanda, you may visit http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2007/07/04/1183351250746.html

    Reply
  • 7. thinkingshift  |  July 7, 2007 at 7:46 am

    Thx for the link Oohlala….fleshes out the story and tells us more about this tragic incident.
    Kim

    Reply
  • 8. Mike Batey  |  July 7, 2007 at 7:26 pm

    Unbelievable, lost for words…..

    Reply
  • 9. Top Posts « WordPress.com  |  July 8, 2007 at 12:01 am

    […] Plummeting to the depths [image]Dave Pollard and I have two things in common – we both used to be Chief Knowledge Officers for our respective […] […]

    Reply
  • 10. Gale I.  |  July 8, 2007 at 2:24 am

    This incident did occur in Kansas…”LaShanda Calloway, a 27-year-old mother of three who had dreams of becoming a model, was attacked with a knife inside the Noori Convenience store in Wichita, Kansas, on June 23.”, what a sad, sad reflection on our society of today…unfortunately things like this occur pretty frequently…and people say we are ‘evolving’, if you ask me we are ‘regressing’ day by day…that we have lost mercy and compassion for another human being, regardless of race, religion, etc…shows me just how selfish and uncaring this world has become…

    I am very glad to hear that the bell is ‘tolling’ again, and I agree with you, one person should not be able to change the laws for everyone…

    I love peacocks, and I actually ‘like’ the sound they make, I guess that’s weird, but it is a very exotic sound, and I have always liked it, I am so sorry to hear that this happened to them…

    It seems as tho’ ‘money’ and ‘power’ and ‘greed’ have become the ‘gods’ of todays world…I know there are millions of good people out there, but it is time for all those good people to STAND UP and let people know what they think…and do something about it…and today is a good day to start 07.07.07…I have been watching ‘Live Earth’ off and on today, and it has actually put a little hope in my heart that maybe we can change…

    Reply
  • 11. thinkingshift  |  July 8, 2007 at 2:27 am

    Welcome back to ThinkingShift Gale and thx for leaving another comment. I’m of two minds about Live Earth – I wonder about the “celebrity” of it all and the carbon emissions from the whole event – but guess it’s better than doing nothing at all to raise awareness about climate change.
    Kim

    Reply

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