Three unarmed security guards were following orders last month when they stood by without intervening as a 15-year-old girl was badly beaten in a downtown Seattle bus tunnel. Now the company they work for and government officials say those-orders should be revised.
When a group of teens and young adults approaches the girl, she appears to seek refuge by moving around to the other side of the guards. The guards, who have standing orders to "observe and report," called police. The guards' duties include helping customers and reporting suspicious objects, disruptive behavior and equipment problems.
At the department store, two Seattle police officers noticed the escalating situation and kicked the group out of the Macy's, then brought the girl and her friend to another exit, the victim said. She reported that she asked the officers for an escort to the bus tunnel, just below the department store, but the officers refused.
King County Sheriff's Sgt. John Urquhart said the guards were right to follow their training. "If you're a bank teller and you do something other than give them the money, you're going to get fired," Urquhart said. "We don't expect civilians to take police action. In this case, it was a violent fight, and they were outnumbered by this pack of people 3-to-1."
My question to you: Do you think the security guards should have stopped the teenage girl from getting brutally beaten, or were they right to follow orders?
Absolutely they should have stopped the fight. It's one thing to be following orders, its another to be a decent human being. They're in uniform so their presence would have had more of an impact than a civilian and could have stopped this from happening. The world is full of cowards.
The problem is if they had stepped in they would have opened up the terminal to possible litigation and most likely been fired for exposing their employees to a potential lawsuit. They could have been hurt in the process as well, no one would pay for their medical bills. Also, in this climate, people are reluctant to put their jobs at risk. If they did act and were fired, it would prevent them from getting another security job because it would show they can't follow procedure/policy.
The point I'm trying to make is that it's a gray situation. From a humanitarian perspective they had an obligation to help prevent this from occurring and to step in to minimize the injury to both parties. Then again so did everyone else there.
What I'm more concerned with is the conduct of the Police. I used to work as an EMT and one of things that we learned is that everyone's emergency is an emergency to them and should be treated as such. If she was concerned about her safety then the police should have escorted her as she asked. If anyone is at fault it is the police who's job is to serve and protect. Neither seems to have been done. To me this is the real issue here. While I agree that the role of a security guard should involve actual security duties, but they were acting within their job description however inhumane. The police, however, seem to have abandoned their responsibilities.
Its such a sad commentary to our society when we are so scared of a law suit or going against the "rules" that you just don't do the right thing. Honestly, how the hell do you not do something when a girl is being beaten? I mean, if it wasn't Snookie, Tila Tequila or Paris Hilton, why don't you intervene? Insane.
"It's such a sad commentary to our society when we are so scared of a law suit or going against the "rules" that you just don't do the right thing.'
You took the words right out of my mouth.
What a sad civilization we've become..I hesitate to even use the "civil' in civilization.
That's the nature of people. It sounds cynical but most people wouldn't act because of the fear they would be hurt or face some other from of reprisal. History is littered with atrocities that were allowed to occur due to the amazing ability people have to ignore horrible things. It's the situations where people due act that makes them a hero and something special.
Sure history is filled with both cowards and heroes. None of us know for sure how we would act when faced with a situation like this. All I can say is I have a good sense of right and wrong and I think that would supercede all other concerns.
I think it's fair to say I've certainly been the devils advocate on this so this may come as a bit of a surprise... I agree. I've been on the wrong side of a knife, a gun, and a pack of dogs(Yeah didn't see that one coming either) and held up respectably and I am personally disappointed that they didn't do something. I probably would have stepped in early on and kept this from going so far. However, the biggest problem I have with the whole thing is that I don't think they should necessarily be vilified for not acting.
I think the biggest problem with public perception regarding this incident is that a Security Guard is there to provide Security or to Guard. While at one point this moniker may have been appropriate, today it's nothing more than a misnomer. They have no training and they're job description is defined by Observe and Report. If anything they're more like Scouts than Security Guards. It's the perception and expectation that these individuals will act that creates the sense of security and protection. It's nothing more than a meaningless job title, like how the guy at Subway's who makes your sandwich has the job title of a "Sandwich Artist."
Even if they did provide security and some sort of guard service it would be to protect the property and facilities of the place that's paying for them, not for the people. That's what police are for and where the true breakdown here occurred.