I've been troubled by a few recent stories. One, is the sex scandal at Penn State, the other is the murder of Jayna Murray, a Lululemon employee in Bethesda. There are obviously, many things about both of these cases that are troublesome, but the one thing that bothers me the most is that there were people who heard or saw something wrong and did not act.
The story I am going to focus on is the Jayna Murray story. The Penn State scandal has been covered quite a bit in the media and probably everyone knows about it and is shocked by the actions of the coaches and administrators there.
Let me tell you what I know about Jayna Murray and her death. I am a big fan of Lululemon. Its a clothing store. There are blogs dedicated to it and those blogs follow everything that has to do with the brand. Last March, there was a posting on one of the blogs with a story about a robbery and murder at the Lululemon store in Bethesda, Maryland. The story said that two unknown men broke into the store after closing and assaulted two employees, murdering one of them.
I live 3000 miles away from the crime scene, but I was riveted by the story. I followed it online via blogs and news reports. I was shocked when a few days later, the police arrested the coworker who survived the attacked, claiming that she had attacked and killed the other worker.
There was a huge outpouring in the community for the family and friends of Jayna Murray. I did not know her and I don't know anyone who did, but I feel the pain, sadness and horror that they must feel at this senseless death. According to reports, the attack was instigated because Jayna caught her coworker stealing. I guess going to jail for murder is better than getting fired for stealing.
As I have followed this story, there is one piece that sticks out to me. The Lululemon store was next to an Apple computer store. At the trial of Brittany Norwood - the accused murdered, two Apple employees testified that they heard something. Here are some quotes:
"I heard noises coming from the right side of the store- something heavy sounding," "Like it was being hit or dragging, some grunting and some thudding."
"We approached the area of the store where the sound was the loudest. At that point we heard some screaming or yelling. It sounded hysterical," They heard two female voices, one hysterically, "God help me, please help me."
The Apple store manager at the time also testified that he heard a panting, "like when you can't breathe and need to catch your breath."
They employees testified that they asked the security guards in their store to check it out. The way they checked it out was to put their ear to the wall. There have been no answers as to why no further action was taken. Why the police weren't called, why the security guards didn't go next door and check it out.
Jayne Murray suffered more than 322 blows before the final fatal blow. She was found with a rope around her neck, hammer and knife wounds to her head, and had been repeatedly struck with a metal stand. The attack allegedly went on for more than 20 minutes. Plenty of time for someone to have intervened and saved her life. But no one did. How can that be?
I know there are all kinds of studies about why people don't act, why they don't step in and take action to stop something they know is going on - they think someone else will call the police or they don't want to meddle in something that isn't their business.
I have always held the belief, in the case of my safety and the safety of others, its better to look stupid then end up dead. I would rather have the police come and find nothing wrong than not get involved and have to live with myself for not taking action.
Sure, none of us know how we would act in the same situation. We'd all like to think we would do the right thing. Its ironic to me that due to the internet, social media and reality TV, we are all so involved in the lives of others. We have no problem butting into the lives of friends, family and acquaintances, but when we need to pick up the phone and call 911 or physically stop someone from committing a crime or an immoral act, we freeze, become scared and decide to mind our own business. Minding our own business isn't the American way. So let's stop acting like it is and start looking out for each other. If you see something that doesn't seem quite right, if you hear or read something that makes you think there is a problem - ACT on it. You may look foolish, but better to be foolish than regretful.
Those Apple employees had to sit in a courtroom and look at Jayna's parents and know that they did nothing to stop the brutal murder of their daughter. How do you live with that?
Here is a link to Jayna's Foundation: http://www.jaynamurrayfoundation.com/
Here is a news story about the conviction of Jayna's murder