When Good People Do Nothing

It’s no wonder so many of us are fascinated with superheroes. They embody the fearless qualities most of us wish we possessed — strength, will, conviction. But however well-intentioned we may be, most of us lack the courage to intervene in a bad situation and stop a wrong when we see it.

I spent my afternoon with friends downtown at the Asheville Comic Expo, which is a celebration of superheroes, among many other geeky endeavors. There were, of course, people cosplaying as their favorite comic book, video game, cartoon, anime and manga characters. But they were, of course, just normal people in costume.

After finishing our visit and disbanding our party, David and I set off down the street to get a slice of pizza. As you might know, it’s been raining all day; just like it’s been raining almost nonstop the entire summer. We weren’t two blocks from the civic center when a homeless man approached us for change. I’d already spent what little cash I had at the expo, so I didn’t have any tangible money to offer the man, nor did David. He didn’t complain; he just continued to walk in the opposite direction.

As we were standing at the corner of the sidewalk, waiting for the crosswalk to clear, we heard someone yelling. We looked over and saw a guy on a mo-ped screaming obscenities at the homeless man. But he wasn’t yelling back or even responding to the guy on the mo-ped; he was simply minding his own business. Continue reading

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