It used to be the case that when people observed someone behaving bizarrely, or even dangerously, in a public place, they would be in somewhat of a quandary. Should they intervene and try to calm the person down? Should they call the authorities? Should they ignore and go on their way?
Nowadays people seem to know exactly what to do: take out their phone cameras, record the incident, and upload it to the web.
Here is a case where a woman on a busy New York City street is either seriously disturbed or on drugs or hallucinating or uncontrollably angry about something and behaving in a way where she could get run over by cars or cause accidents that hurt others. As far as one can see, no one seemed to know what to do other than record her behavior.
Frankly, if I had been on the scene I am not sure what I would have done either and it would be good to use this incident to reflect on what one should do in such situations, since bystanders often become paralyzed by indecision. Trying to calm her down by talking to her directly seems a bit daunting. Calling 911 seems like the only reasonable option. Though it does seem extreme, I think police have some training in talking people down, though I worry that they might Tase her.
(Via Neetzan Zimmerman)