The Narrow Road | Aug. 2014

Bob_Anton_Narrow_RoadDo you remember the name Kitty Genovese?

Miss Genovese was a 28 year old bar manager who was attacked and killed while returning to her home in Kew Gardens in the early morning hours.  Her attacker, Winston Moseley struck first when Miss Genovese was just 100 feet or so from the safety of her apartment.  He stabbed her twice in the back as she was walking home.  Her screams alerted neighbors, one of whom yelled at the attacker from a 7th floor tenement window across the street.  Moseley, in fear of being discovered, broke off the attack and retreated as Genovese struggled to her feet and continued toward the safety of her apartment.  However, seeing that no one was coming to her aid, the attacker returned, catching up with Genovese in her apartment vestibule and finishing the horror which he had begun.  Kitty Genovese died that day of multiple stab wounds.  

It is reported that some 38 people heard or witnessed some part of the attack on Kitty Genovese.  Some called the police while others assumed that the situation was nothing more than a loud quarrel.  In the end, only one person rendered aid to a dying Kitty Genovese.  In the following weeks, an erroneous and some might argue intentionally exaggerated news report, painted a picture of an unconcerned group of neighbors who refused to get involved even at the cost of a young woman’s life.  Although the report was untrue, it captured the imagination of not only the city of New York, but the entire nation.  People were outraged at the reported refusal of Kitty’s neighbors to get involved.  The attack left such a scar on society that psychologists were prompted to coin the phrase “Genovese syndrome” to describe the failure of bystanders to get involved.  That was March 13, 1964 and the report of Kitty Genovese death created such a stir that I myself, just four years old at the time, somehow had the story permanently ingrained in my memory.

Fast forward;  DETROIT (AP) — A World War II veteran said nobody helped him in the minutes after he was attacked and carjacked during daylight at a busy Detroit gas station and he had to crawl across a concrete parking lot to get help.

A roughly four-minute surveillance video shows 86-year-old Aaron Brantley struggling to get from the fuel pump to the gas station’s door as people walked and drove by him Wednesday morning. The video was first obtained by the Detroit Free Press.  Brantley told The Associated Press that several people passed by him as he crawled, unable to walk because his leg was broken in the attack. The carjacker knocked Brantley down, took his keys and drove off in his car about 10:40 a.m.

“I was trying to go in … and see if somebody could call the police and an ambulance because I couldn’t stand. I had to crawl — I tried two or three times to get up,” Brantley said Saturday. He said he was on way home from Bible study when he stopped to put gas in his 2010 Chrysler 200, which he recently bought to replace another car that had been stolen.  “People were passing me just like I wasn’t there. … I was crawling and they just walk by me like I’m not there,” he said.

Brantley said as he approached the building, he asked a woman to open the door for him. He said at first it appeared she wasn’t going to, but she did and then kept walking. He found it distressing that nobody helped him.

A young woman is attacked and killed 50 years ago and the exaggerated report of her uncaring neighbors indelibly engraves her name in the memories of people across the nation.  Nearly 50 years later, an old man is savagely and senselessly attacked in broad daylight.  By all reports virtually no one lifts a finger to help him and we don’t hear a thing about it.  No psychological studies conducted, no social outrage, nothing.  Seemingly no one cares.  What has happened to our society?  What is happening to our world?

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,  treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God”  2 Timothy 3:1-4

You think about that.  God bless you and…..

See you on the road.

Bob Anton, Christian Motorcyclists Association

For more information on CMA or questions or comments concerning this column, please contact Bob Anton at 631-897-8122 or

Leave a Reply