On January 28, 2010 Aiesha Steward-Baker was attacked in the Seattle tunnel. She was punched, stomped, and kicked by another 15 year old girl acting with a larger group. These facts alone are scary enough. However, the story gets worse. Aiesha was shopping in Macy’s when a boy from the group moved closer to her with his fists balled. She asked the Seattle police for help several times before leaving the store. The police told the boy and the rest of the group to leave the store but ignored Aiesha when she insisted they would be waiting outside the store for her. In an interview, Aiesha stated that “I was trying to explain that the kids were following and threatening me, which both officers witnessed, but the police officer just wasn’t listening.”
Aiesha was attacked after exiting the store into the Seattle tunnel. She was attacked in front of three security guards and multiple other citizens. You’re probably wondering how many people helped her. The answer is zero. Nobody helped Aiesha. Apparently there is a policy for security personnel in the tunnel that they can call for help but cannot intervene. This makes me wonder about some things. At what point does the gravity of the situation unfolding in front of you trump the policy at your job? At what point did policymakers feel it was a good idea to enact such a policy?
Unfortunately, nobody can change what happened to Aiesha. What we can do is focus on what we will do going forward, how we will live our lives, and how we will treat other people. I genuinely believe that we are all here to look out for each other and that should be reflected in our behavior and policies. Think how much safer we would all be if everyone decided to have each other’s backs. Think of Aiesha and how different her situation could have been if the policies in the Seattle tunnel reflected that attitude. Going forward, when we see a serious situation that could benefit from our intervention, I say we make that situation our business and lend a helping hand to keep each other safe.
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