THE BLOG
09/26/2014 11:48 am ET Updated Nov 26, 2014

Why Don't People Care When It Doesn't Affect Them?

As I sat down to write one of my latest pieces on domestic violence, my buddy turns to me and snidely asks "Why do you care so much about domestic violence -- you've never been beaten, right?". "Right", I replied as I continued typing. As I focused on the screen in front of me, my thoughts wandered into this question, this elephant in the worldwide room. Why don't we care about things that don't affect us?

Well, maybe the bigger question is "Why do we ignore other people's problems?".

We are humans. We are social animals that seek companionship and interaction with others of our kind. At the deepest root of this is the idea that if another of our kind is being hurt or killed, it directly affects our ability to interact with that other being. One cannot interact with another human who is dead. Of course, one can interact with another human who is being hurt, but I can guarantee you that it won't be a fun interaction.

Ratchet up the concept a few notches, and we come to dealing with (or ignoring) other people's problems. Gun violence, theft, drug crimes, domestic abuse, child abuse, and any other "bad" thing you can think of, probably affects a person that you know, either directly or indirectly. As such, we are all victims of this bad stuff at some level. But apparently we are too busy with our days, our jobs, our smartphones and our apps, to even take a second to care about another human being's issues.

In other words "it sucks to be you".

What the hell kind of society do we have when we see fellow humans suffering, and all we can come up with is "it sucks to be you"? We see folks in car accidents, we see elderly folks slowly crossing a busy street, we see someone with a flat tire, we see someone littering, we see a man beating his wife in their car, and all we do is move on. It sucks to be you -- right?

But in a flash, if WE are the person in any of those situations, then all of the sudden we look around wondering why human beings around us are going around us, instead of stopping to help. Now you are the "you" in "it sucks to be you,". Of course, a friend or relative is only a phone call away right? Have you ever tried to call friends or relatives to help you move? Good luck.

The point here is that I care about what happens to other human beings (and so should any of you) because I know that life throws us curve balls on occasion. Wild pitches that stress and confuse us, leaving us asking ourselves if anyone cares about others anymore. I reminds me of another cold societal phrase -- "every man for himself". The idea speaks t the notion that if one of us has to suffer, it ain't gonna be me.

Man, that's cold. Reality, but cold nonetheless.

I have two kids just getting into their 20's. Each in college, and generally good people. What I don't want for them is a world where you have to look out solely for yourself, because nobody else gives a damn. It's reassuring that when I see car accidents or elderly people crossing the street, I still see a few random people getting out of their cars, and for a moment, out of their own lives, to help another human being.

We still have hope.

As a fellow human being, I would look to you, any of you, to be human once in awhile. To take some time to care about what other humans go through. To understand how other human being suffer. To feel that other human beings could use your help, or at least benefit from you caring and giving a damn.

Every bad thing that happens in society is usually caused by a human being. There's no reason why another human being can't help to solve those problems.

Why don't people care, when it doesn't affect them? Maybe people ought to start.

... Because one of these days, the person needing help, or just some caring, will be you. That's why I care...