Recent events have set us to thinking about the mindset of people thrust into intense, "My God, what am I seeing?" moments.
Everyone would like to think they would do precisely the right thing at the right moment, but it is evident that different people react in different -- outwardly strange -- ways. In the recent, headline-grabbing case of Penn State Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky, a junior member of the coaching staff who allegedly walked in on Sandusky as he was sexually attacking a boy in the university shower room left the area, calling his father and revered Coach Joe Paterno to ask how to proceed.
Another potential witness -- a university custodian and Korean War veteran -- also allegedly walked in on Sandusky as he was attacking a boy in the Penn State shower room. According to one of the man's colleagues, the janitor, who was reportedly “upset and crying” as he talked about what he'd seen, said that he had “fought in the war…" and that he had "just witnessed something in there I’ll never forget.”
The janitor told his immediate supervisor what he’d seen, and the supervisor “told him to whom he should report the incident, if he chose to report it.” The janitor, who now suffers from dementia and is unable to testify before the grand jury, never made an official report.
So, dig deep. Put yourself in the scenario: at work, surrounded by people on whom your job depends, and you see a colleague perpetrate a crime in front of your eyes.
What would you do?