Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Fighting the good fight

People will have multiple reactions to seeing a crime in progress. Some will step in to try to stop the events from unfolding, others will contact the police and attempt to maintain visual contact, and still more will turn their heads and continue on their way, not wanting to get involved. Of those that directly step in, they have their own reasons. While many may come from some sort of law enforcement background, there are those who simply want to help out a fellow human being in need. And, of course, let's not discount those among us who would rather spend their days as costumed vigilantes.

But another, more interesting reason for stopping a crime might just be because you want to see how it will look on YouTube.

That's pretty much the reasoning behind why a New Jersey Dunkin' Donuts clerk smashed a mug against a robber's head. He wasn't concerned about the loss of money, be he certainly didn't want to be caught on the store surveillance camera turning tail and hiding in the back room. In fact, he even believes that releasing the video on YouTube will help show the robber who's boss. After all, why else would he say, "There are only a few videos like that on YouTube now, so mine's going to be the best"?

Some people may say that simply stopping the thief from getting away with more than the $90 he did secure should be thanks enough for the donut-seller, but those people obviously have forgotten about the lure of online video sharing. When people are more than willing to make complete fools of themselves and distribute the video online (something previously only done with the hopes of monetary compensation from America's Funniest Home Videos), it's actually somewhat refreshing to know that, once the police have finished with the tape, we'll be able to watch an act of heroism, even if said act was coming from a place lacking total altruism.

Perhaps this could lead YouTube in a different direction. Instead of watching people in pain or humiliation, we may be able to turn to that web site and find examples of some of the goodness that lurks within so many human spirits. If that happens, there's really only one thing we can possibly say to that.


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