December 27, 2012

The Good Samaritan Rule.

The recent shooting of firemen in Webster, N.Y. had me thinking a little bit during my drive this morning. For those unfamiliar with the tragedy, an armed man set fire to a house and called the fire department. When the firefighters arrived on the scene, he shot at them, killing two of the men. He just wanted to kill people that day.

This got me to thinking a little bit. When I was commuting on a daily basis, it wouldn’t be a rare event to see a car off the road along the Thruway during the winter months. Driving in Central New York between November and April can be a challenge if you’re not accustomed to the adverse winter conditions this area is known for. I would often see cars with out-of-state plates sitting in the middle of the roadway or off in a median. If it looked like it just happened, I would stop and make sure the driver was ok and see if they needed to make a phone call or something. I’ve always thought that it was the right thing to do. I figure if people are driving on the Thruway with out-of-state plates and they’ve gone off the road, they’re probably not familiar with the area and could use a little help.

Here’s the thing. The shooting in Webster has me rethinking this. And quite frankly, that’s unfortunate. Who’s to say that there isn’t some maniac sitting in the car waiting for a Good Samaritan to stop by. Naturally one would hope that this isn’t the case, but with all the negativity in the world today, quite frankly it would be hard to know for sure. And to me, this boggles the mind and quite frankly it is very sad.

Ultimately I’ll probably take my chances if in that situation again. This morning I saw a car go sliding up the Thruway sideways because they were driving very fast and without their headlights in the unplowed left hand lane of the roadway. The driver righted the car and it looked like it was on its way again without incident, but had there been an incident, would people be inclined to stop and help them? Human Nature hopes the answer is yes, but with all the weirdness in the country these days, it’s hard to tell.