Crisis Reasoning

I was running today, on Wilshire Blvd and Bundy, and I saw a man lose control of his three small dogs. He was an asian man and he chased after them, horrified. Then a car hit all three of them. Blood was on the street (though when I left, it seemed like they were all alive). The man picked up all of them in hands and hugged them to his chest. He cried out and I could see in dim light, the blood on his arms and body. He carried them to the side of the street and cried and shrieked. It was an arresting scene.

I was close by and wondered what I should do. I honestly did not know. I did not think cops would respond, I did not have a car to drive him somewhere. Others came up. Someone suggested an emergency dog hospital. Another got his car to help. Another hypothesized that the man was in shock. I waited in the small crowed to see what would be done and what could be done. Then I left.

I don’t think I did anything wrong in this circumstance, but I learned a lot about how I reason in surprising, intense situations. I don’t do that well. I thought of how I could help, but I didn’t get too far. Part of this was due to the fact that I did not have the tools or knowledge that would be helpful.  But I was also taken in by the presence of others (bystander effect) and also just a kind of weird inertia. I was disturbed while I tried to think about what to do, and my thinking had a thick, kind of underwater feeling.

In the future, I think I’m going to try to remind myself to think for 2 seconds about what my best response should be, and then I will try to execute that response. I think I should have at least asked the guy if he was ok. Somehow, in the moment, even that didn’t feel right.


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