A surveillance video captured in graphic detail the aftermath of an accident that killed a 30-year-old art curator, Victoria Nicodemus. An unidentified woman present at the site of the accident first turned around to see the source of the commotion. As people on the street started rushing to the site to help the victims, she turned around and walked away biting into her pizza as if completely unfazed by the incident.
Understandably, the reactions to the video — uploaded by DNAinfo — haven’t been kind to her. Other witnesses from the site seemed especially disturbed by her indifferent behaviour. The video has been extensively shared with some headlines describing her as cold blooded.
“I don’t know how you could keep eating your pizza and keep walking. There’s no reason,” said Lerima Guadelupe, 32, who works at a nearby bakery, upon being shown the footage. “At least try. Make it your business to help. Not OK. … Wouldn’t you want to help?” Guadelupe added.
“All I can say is the world we live in, some people are cold-hearted. There’s nothing I can do to change them. God have mercy on them and that’s it,” said Frank Lopez, 33, a deli worker. “If that was me, I would’ve reacted. I would’ve run out of the way and then run to help. She didn’t even care. She could’ve gotten hurt too. She ran on,” Lopez said.
Slate magazine said “going into shock during and in the immediate aftermath of catastrophic events is apparently a frequent enough occurrence that there’s a technical name for it: ‘peritraumatic dissociation’, which can involve ’emotional numbing, reduction in awareness of one’s surroundings, depersonalization and amnesia’.”
Xiomara Morgan — who works at a café nearby and was herself witness to a victim crawling through blood to help Nicodemus — said, “Honestly, I can’t judge her. She has her own reason for walking away in a situation like that.”
The video reached over a million people on YouTube. The comments posted are a healthy balance of criticism and sympathy, apart from downright insensitive ones like:
“You’re not yourself when you’re hungry.”
“Shame on you all for judging her. We don’t know how good that pizza tasted.”
Amid the outrage and the sympathy, the most insightful comment, however, was not about the culprit, the victim or the woman herself, but concern over a possible dystopian surveillance culture. “Jesus christ. We’re all on candid camera these days. Not saying what she did wasn’t wrong or if she was even aware of the situation, but the fact that it seems like we are always being watch by somebody these days and that there is no privacy is scary.”
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