At what point does aiding a person who's being attacked lapse into vigilantism? I listened to a couple legal experts talking about the fact that witnesses to this savage beating stood around and watched or recorded it on the phone rather than coming to her aid. One lawyer said that it's possible that if someone intervened they might be guilty of vigilantism. (What?!!!)
One of the downsides of cell phone technology is that a lot of people would rather record something horrific than jump in and help. Notice that some people watched and some walked by and at least one thought the thing to do was to whip out the phone.
Reminds me of an incident last year. I was on my way home from college and while walking down the street I saw a woman about 50 metres in front of me collapse/faint. About 100 people walked past her and stepped over her unconscious body in the middle of the pavement. I was the only person to stop and help her. By the time I reached her she was bleeding profusely from where she hit her head on the pavement and immediately called for an ambulance. As I sat next to her, applying pressure to her wound people just stood there watching!! I totally flipped out and told people if they weren't going to help they could f*ck right off. Only one other person stopped to help and stayed until the ambulance came. Disgraceful!
It is incidents similar to this that helped create the so-called Good Samaritan laws across the U.S. It really is a can of worms. Some U.S. states have enacted penalties for not coming to someone's aid while others have made it possible for those providing aid to be sued/liable in the event the outcome turns out bad. The key is whether your involvement puts you at potential physical risk or harm. This is where many choose the cowardly position of watching with their cellphones or IPads and remain non-committal. I can understand the reluctance of a woman to intervene but as a man my conscious would make me step in. It's a risk but where are we headed as a civilization if we all turn away from someone in need.