Are We A Nation Of Individuals?
18 July 2013 in Commentary
I really am not quite sure where to even start with this and keep thinking I could fill up a book with everything that I personally think is or has ruined the country I was born in, defended and believed in.
Last night a situation came up that really showed me the nature of what our country has become – a nation of individuals.
I was getting gas at a station in town that is usually very busy, as it was this night. As I started to pump I heard a quiet voice say “can someone please help me” and I turned around to see an elderly woman who was getting ready to get gas at the pump behind me lying on the ground with blood gushing out of her head.
A lot of things ran through my head in that split second before I rushed over and instinctively propped her up a little, braced the back of her head with one hand and applied pressure to the wound on her head with the other. Everyone else just stood there gawking. Some glanced over, then continued to pump their gas, others waiting in line did the same, just looked over but continued paying the attendant. One older gentleman came over and seemed concerned, more about her dog that was in the woman’s car than for the woman lying on the pavement.
I called out could someone please call 911, and finally a fellow came up and called on his cell phone. I then yelled out could someone please get me a towel, some paper towels, something. A lady came over (after paying for her gas) and brought over some paper towels and just handed them to her. This woman on the ground had blood all over her face and in her eyes and this other woman didn’t help.
Another fellow pulled up in his truck at the other side of the pump we were at and asked “is it ok to use this pump?” Are you kidding me? Really? I’m kneeling here with this ladies head in both my hands and blood is oozing out from between my fingers and you are worried about your fuel?
The EMT’s finally arrived and took over. The lady was calm through the whole ordeal, was thankful that I came to help her and kept telling me I was her “protecting angel.” They didn’t need a statement or anything from me, helped clean the blood from my hands and that was it. I put my hand on her arm and told her I hope she gets better soon and got in my van and left (oh, I was only going to get $10 in fuel, but completely forgot the pump was running while this was going on and spent $79 instead).
I’m not patting myself on the back, but I know that my actions had something to do with my military training. It’s been well over 20 years since I was taught basic field medical aid, but it must have stuck.
OK, so that is the story… Is this really what we have degenerated to? Are we that self-serving that helping others is a bother? Are we just afraid? Afraid of the blood, afraid of getting sued, afraid we might do something wrong, afraid that it might interfere with our lives?
Everything is about self. “What can I get out of it?” or “If I don’t get anything out of it why should I bother?” It could have been that these people saw me react and figured “he’s got it, so I don’t need to get involved.” Maybe.
But I would think on a 96 degree Topeka afternoon, with a guy kneeling on the hot pavement, both hands occupied holding a bleeding woman’s head, that we could show some compassion, some concern, and could at least take a minute from our cell phones, shopping, or everyday life, and ask “is there anything I can do to help?”