Part of last week's reading assignment for my Social Psychology & The Legal System class is this article about the infamous Kitty Genovese murder over 40 years ago in Queens during which there were supposedly more than 30 witnesses, none of which stopped the crime.
Kew Gardens does not look much like the setting of an urban horror story. Nestled along the tracks of the Long Island Rail Road, 16 minutes by train from Pennsylvania Station, the Queens neighborhood is quiet and well kept, its streets shaded by tall oaks and bordered by handsome red-brick and wood-frame houses. At first glance, the surroundings appear as remote from big-city clamor as a far-flung Westchester suburb.
Forty years ago, on March 13, 1964, the picturesque tranquillity of Kew Gardens was shattered by the murder of 28-year-old Catherine Genovese, known as Kitty. The murder was grisly, but it wasn't the particulars of the killing that became the focus of the case. It was the response of her neighbors. As Ms. Genovese screamed -- ''Please help me! Please help me!'' -- 38 witnesses did nothing to intervene, according to reports; nobody even bothered to call the police. One witness later explained himself with a phrase that has passed into infamy: ''I didn't want to get involved.''continued...
* Thanks to the New York Times for opening up their archives!!