It’s the latest violent video to shock the country, setting off a fiery new debate about what it means to do the right thing.
Surveillance cameras at a bus station tunnel in Seattle captured the vicious beating of a 15 year-old-girl as three security guards stood and watched, refusing to intervene. The main attacker, also a 15 year-old girl, is seen knocking the victim to the ground and stomping on her, repeatedly kicking her in the head. Other youths steal her purse, phone, and iPod.
The Seattle Post Intelligencer reported that the security guards—employees of a private firm hired by King County—were just following orders. “Guidelines in the contract say the guards, who are unarmed, should ‘observe and report’ assaults and suspicious activity to police, but not try to physically intervene.” The guards did radio the transit control center about the incident, but by the time police arrived, the attackers were gone.
The city’s metro transit chief said that while the guards adhered to their job descriptions, their actions were “unacceptable.” But according to CBSNews.com, King County Sheriff’s Sgt. John Urquhart said the guards did the right thing. “If you’re a bank teller and you do something other than give them the money, you’re going to get fired,” he said. “We don’t expect civilians to take police action. In this case, it was a violent fight, and they were outnumbered by this pack of people 3-to-l.”
Tell us what you think: The security guards did their job, but did they do the right thing? What if they had helped the girl but were fired for violating their job contracts? When should someone stop “following orders” and start taking action?