KITTY GENOVESE REVISITED—DO STRANGERS CARE? Apparently this March 13 is the 50th anniversary of the murder of Kitty Genovese in Queens, New York. The murder became famous because the New York Times reported that 37 people who saw the murder did not call the police. The case became a symbol of the indifference of New Yorkers to the problems of others. I remember the news reports well.
I posted here about how my father told me that if I needed help, I might find someone who would help me anywhere in New York, and about how I did find that to be true later when I passed out on the subway. The 37 witnesses who did nothing would be strong evidence that my father was wrong. Nicholas Lemann has an article in the New Yorker (March 10) which reviews two new books about the Kitty Genovese case and the press coverage of it. He says that, based on historical work over the years, it is clear that the journalistic view of the case was wrong. Indeed, when the ambulance arrived at the scene (because of calls to the police by neighbors), “…Genovese, still alive, lay in the arms of a neighbor named Sophia Farrar, who had courageously left her apartment to go to the crime scene, even though she had no way of knowing that the murderer had fled.”