The Importance of a Bystander

By: Daniel Sheehan

Bystanders play an extremely important role in any situation. In Martin Gansburg’s text “The 38 Who Saw Murder and Didn’t Call the Police” a woman was stalked and murdered in the streets of New York City. There were 38 people who witnessed it and did not call the police.


There are various reasons why these people did not notify the police. When asked why they did not step in and help the woman, a husband and wife who witnessed the murder states, ” Frankly, we were afraid” (Gansburg 242). Another woman asked the same question replied, “I don’t know why” (Gansburg 242).

The Significance.

The significance of this event is not why the witnesses did not call the police, it is how none of them stepped in and the woman ended up dead. Police think if just one of the 38 witnesses had called the police that there is a good chance the woman who was killed would still be living today.