The Genovese story left me and many other New Yorkers with troubling questions. How would I react to a similar situation, especially one in which the actual level of danger -- to the possible victim or to myself for intervening -- were unclear?
The fall of college football icon Joe Paterno continues to be America's most-watched story. Why does the chronicle of yet another fallen hero resonate with us? What does this say about the pulse of America?
His main supposition is that none of us truly knows what we would do in that very same situation until we're in "McQueary's shoes," and that it's easy for us to judge and condemn others when we might actually behave in the same manner.
True, we don't want to create a nation of stool pigeons -- individuals casually going around making complaints to the police. At the same time, we can't allow the enforcement of law for serious crimes to rest on the idiosyncratic limitations of one's moral compass.
If a friend, acquaintance, relative or neighbor had noticed the writings on Jared Lee Loughner's MySpace page or his videos on YouTube and called them to someone's attention, might this horrible tragedy have been averted?