Tuesday, November 27, 2007

THE BUCK STOPS WITH THE PEOPLE: STANLEY MILGRAM ON THE KITTY GENOVESE MURDER

At the end of a recent Newsday article, "The Killing of Kitty Genovese", http://www.newsday.com/community/guide/lihistory/ny-history-hs818a,0,313222,full.story, there is a very good Stanley Milgram quote: "The case touched on a fundamental issue of the human condition, our primordial nightmare,'' Milgram said. "If we need help, will those around us stand around and let us be destroyed or will they come to our aid? Are those other creatures out there to help us sustain our life and values, or are we individual flecks of dust just floating around in a vacuum?''
Imagine what might have been if people throughout the world were more involved with each other and their societies. In the United States, would there have been a miltary medical industrial complex conducting involuntary human experimentation programs? "We have identified hundreds of radiological, chemical and biological tests and experiments in which hundreds of thousands of people were used as test subjects." (Congressional Testimony of Frank C, Conahan of GAO http://archive.gao.gov/t2pbat2/152601.pdf. The knowledge that most citizens would not become involved(Kitty Genovese) or obey orders if they might think of becoming involved(Milgram's Yale obedience experiments) gave a green light to the growth of human and social experimentation programs.
To fully understand how "pathological apathy" affects everyone: Would 2007 United States citizen longevity be tied for 26th at 77.9 years as compared to # 1 Japan at 82.3 years if the American public were as involved with their own health as they are with professional sports? All presidential candidates have health proposals but no candidate considers citizens' life expectancy a winning issue.
If the importance of Stanley Milgram's work were fully understood, I wouldn't be an American Guinea Pig struggling at 62 for my health and freedom. The challenge is: In the Internet age, do we remain "flecks of dust just floating around in a vacuum"?

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